Free perks like area car service, evening Champagne, and morning tea/coffee
Free basic Wi-Fi
Business-oriented neighborhood is dead at night
Fee for high speed Wi-Fi (free for SPG members)
Fitness center is small and offers few machines
No in-room coffee/tea facilities (but can be requested)
Pricey valet parking
Conservative decor and mature vibe may not suit children (pro for some)
The feather in Starwood's D.C. cap, the luxury St. Regis hotel is just two blocks from Lafayette Park and under a 10-minute walk of the White House. Beautiful, classically styled interiors include an atmospheric lobby bar and 172 guest rooms, where traditional decor is accompanied by modern amenities like flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and Bose iPod docks. The on-site Decanter restaurant serves haute American cuisine, plus a wonderful afternoon tea service is available and the hotel offers free evening Champagne. Other perks include a 24/7 business center, several meeting rooms, and free area car service -- but the fitness center offers a limited number of machines and high speed Wi-Fi incurs a fee (free for SPG members). Travelers might want to compare with the nearby Hay-Adams or the Jefferson, which offer plenty of charm and similar amenities.
Luxury chain hotel right down the street from the White House; dominated by businesspeople during the week and leisure travelers on weekends
In the eight decades since Calvin Coolidge cut the ceremonial grand-opening ribbon, every president has visited the St. Regis. For seven of those decades -- from 1926 to the end of the last century -- the property was known as the Carlton Hotel, and hosted influential figures ranging from presidents (Reagan had his hair cut here) to celebrities (Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Cher were frequent guests). Howard Hughes kept a permanent suite at the Carlton during World War II.
In 1999, the hotel changed hands and became the second St. Regis in the world, 95 years after the flagship property in New York opened. Just as significant as the hotel's St. Regis label is its association with Starwood, which enables the chain's frequent customers to use or accrue preferred guest points. The result is a clientele -- and hence a vibe -- even more corporate than other Washington hotels, at least during the week when business travelers dominate -- though weekends see many leisure travelers. Note that because of the mature vibe -- think: antique furniture, conservative decor, and butler service -- the St. Regis isn't ideal for families with young children, but it does offer kids' menus and cribs. During our visit, mellow jazz played in the lobby, and we were lucky enough to sample the afternoon tea -- a decadent, (pricey) treat, that's indicative of the hotel's posh, grown-up, and slightly stuffy vibe.
Interiors here are grand and elegant; the lobby impresses with its gorgeous ceiling adorned with intricate carvings, large chandeliers, and big, beautiful Palladian windows. These grandiose Old World details are paired with elegant red velvet seating clustered here and there, as well as lovely antique pieces and lots of fresh flowers. Decanter, the on-site restaurant, puts a different spin on the traditional details, marrying original architectural elements with clean-lined, modern decor.
In the heart of downtown, a seven-minute walk to the White House
The St. Regis is in the heart of "old downtown," just a short walk from the White House (seven minutes away) and two blocks from Lafayette Park. Several must-see historic sites are within walking distance, such as the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the International Spy Museum, and the Washington Monument, which are all about a 20-minute walk away. Other sites that are a bit farther away can easily be accessed by public transportation, and the nearest metro station is just a two-minute walk from the hotel.
While the immediate area around the hotel is bustling with nine-to-fivers during the day, it can border on desolate at night. There are a couple of dining options nearby, including restaurants in other hotels like the Hay-Adams or the Jefferson. Union Station, D.C.'s main train station, is a 15-minute subway ride away. Ronald Reagan National Airport is around a 15- to 20-minute drive, depending on traffic, or 25 minutes via public transportation, while Dulles International Airport is 45 minutes to an hour by car, or a bit over an hour by public transit.
Elegant rooms and suites with classic decor and modern amenities
Rooms here are some of the best in the city, marrying elegant and classic traditional decor with modern technology (Bose iPod docks, flat-screens embedded in the bathroom mirrors). In general, they're bigger than the rooms at the similarly pricey hotels just down the street, the Hay-Adams and Jefferson, but smaller than those at luxury hotels in other parts of the city. Large plush beds are topped with fine Italian linens and down feather comforters, while accent pillows match the color schemes of the spaces, which range from blue to beiges and browns to olive greens.
There are four types of basic rooms: Superior (350 to 480 square feet or 33 to 45 square meters), Deluxe (350 square feet or 33 square meters), Premier Deluxe (375 or 35 square meters), and Grand Luxe (440 to 485 square feet or 41 to 45 square meters). Suites range from 620 square feet (58 square meters) to 2,510 square feet (233 square meters) in the Presidential Suite, and all but the Metropolitan Suite have separate living rooms. They also add extras like Nespresso machines and butler service.
Standard amenities include 36-inch flat-screen TVs, DVD players, Bose iPod docks, well-stocked minibars, safes, and free internet -- but high-speed Wi-Fi incurs an extra charge (it's free for SPG members) and there are no in-room coffee- and tea-making facilities (only suites have Nespresso machines), though coffeemakers can be requested. Elegant bathrooms have walk-in showers, while suites add separate soaking tubs, plus some even have flat-screen TVs embedded in the mirrors. Magnifying mirrors, robes, and Reméde toiletries are supplied.
Elegant restaurant and bar, small fitness center, business facilities, and some free perks like evening Champagne
The St. Regis doesn't offer a ton in the way of amenities, but, with the exception of the fitness center which is poorly equipped, everything is top-notch. One of the highlights is a nightly "Champagne Sabering Ritual," with free Champagne for guests, and other perks include free car service within a two-mile radius of the hotel (during select times of the day and subject to availability).
The hotel does a great job catering to business travelers, with a business center equipped with computers and a printer, as well as eight meeting rooms of various sizes. There's also a ballroom available for events such as weddings, as well as a terrace. The fitness center has only a handful of cardio and weight machines, but it offers some nice touches like free bottled water and fresh fruit.
The St. Regis's restaurant, Decanter, serves haute American cuisine in a beautifully designed space, and draws hotel guests and locals alike. It's open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The lobby bar is an atmospheric place complete with a fireplace, serving excellent cocktails and small plates. The hotel also offers afternoon tea service, and room service is available 24/7.
Other amenities include free shoeshines, babysitting services, nightly turndown service, and loaner bikes. Valet parking is available, but it's expensive. Pets under 20 pounds are allowed for a fee.
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