In case you missed it, here are the previous and upcoming posts about our summer trip to Italy:
- United Airlines To Rome
- St. Regis Rome
- Osteria 44
- Photo Essay of Angels & Demons
- A Quiet Meal At Cul de Sac
- Trevi Fountain (Semi) Closed For Business
- A Fast Train To Venice
- St. Regis San Clemente Island
- Hotel Danieli
- Antico Pignolo
- A Quick Trip To Murano
- How To Ride The Vaporetto (Water Bus) In Venice
- Getting Lost In Venice
- British Airways 787 Flight Home
If Rome is a special city for us, the St. Regis Rome is our special home. And, it’s one of the best examples of why it’s worth playing the points and miles game. This hotel is rarely under $500 a night and usually will set you back closer to $1,000. That’s just not a realistic expenditure for us, but my minor obsession with points has enabled us to stay here a number of times over the years.
We arrived at Termini after a short, 30-minute ride and took the short walk to the hotel. We had a few too many suitcases to make it a leisurely walk but we managed just fine. I’ll be happy when Charlie is a bit older and can pull a suitcase!
Because I had registered 100 nights with Starwood Preferred Guest last year, I was able to take advantage of SPG’s Ambassador service to help plan the trip. Shortly before we left, my Ambassador had suggested that there might be a surprise from the hotel. That surprise manifested itself in a pretty awesome room upgrade. We had reserved two Imperial rooms so we could request connecting rooms. The entry level rooms (Superior) don’t have a lot of connecting options. Instead of giving us two Imperial connecting rooms, the property upgraded us to a Junior Suite for one room, connecting to a Deluxe for the other!
It was right around noon, obviously well before check-in time. But, the St. Regis has always outperformed. The last time we arrived in the early morning, they bought us a late brunch in the grand bar. This time, our rooms were ready way ahead of time, and we were able to check-in right away. Whether you have kids or not, if you have the opportunity to stay at the St. Regis Rome, there’s only one way to get to your room, IMO.
Sure, there’s an elevator bank near the front desk, but that’s not the way to go. If you find the hallway behind the front desk and take it around to the back of the hotel, you’ll find an old-fashioned cage style elevator. It was originally installed over 100 years ago and is still in operation today. Not sure whether I enjoyed it more than the kids, but it’s a great piece that adds character to the property. The rooms have plaques outside with door bells, and each has its own name. Ours was Tempo di Esculapio, a reference to the temple of Aesculapius in Villa Borghese.
Minutes after arriving in our room our butler rang the bell. The St. Regis is famous for butler service in its suites, something I’m still not 100% sure how to take advantage of properly. Our butler, Giuilo, immediately befriended the kids and made everything more pleasant. He brought plenty of fresh fruit for the kids (and always made sure we had a full bowl during the entire stay), had a bottle of prosecco waiting for us in the evening along with little treats along the way. We took advantage of the complimentary beverage service during our last day, ordering up coffee, juices and pastries. I’m really not a coffee drinker, but it’s something I enjoy as an indulgent pleasure every time I’m in Italy.
The kids really bonded with Giuilio, disappointed if they didn’t see him each morning and throughout the day as we returned to the property. As an added twinkle in their eye, he even managed to rustle up a couple of ultra-cute stuffed animals with the St. Regis Rome logo on them.
The rooms themselves were beautiful, as has every room we’ve ever stayed in there. The Deluxe room had two twin beds, a small seating area by the window and a beautiful painting on the wall. The bathroom was spacious and wonderfully appointed, with both a shower and deep soaking tub.
The suite was a large living room with a separate bedroom area. Technically it was one big room but the layout made it feel like two separate rooms, and quite spacious. There were two TVs, though we never actually turned them on, motorized blinds to black out the light at night, a phenomenal sound system and a large walk-in closet. There was a couch and some soft seating as well as a desk. We were more than comfortable. The bathroom was also sizable, again with both a bathtub and shower. The amenities are Remede. While I’m not a huge fan, my wife loves them.
Starwood Preferred Guest Platinum members get a free full breakfast at the property, served in Le Grand Bar. It’s a sizable buffet, with plenty of fresh juices, an omelet station, standard American breakfast buffet items, a European-style breakfast buffet of meats and cheeses, and plenty of fresh pastry. There’s also a small but reasonable Asian buffet as well as self-serve Champagne. And, just in case that isn’t enough, there’s an iced coffee machine.
We found the quality of the buffet to be very good, with plenty of choices. On the weekend, the service was a bit slower when the entire room was full. But, based on the buffet layout, the only thing we needed our server for was specialty coffees, which were quite good.
We also did a quick dessert one night in Le Grand Bar. Pricey, but a great Cafe Americano, pastry and gelato (Cappuccino for Michelle).
If you’re up for fitness, take that old-fashioned cage elevator to the top floor and you’ll find the gym and spa. I was a bit surprised at how nice the workout facility was. Michelle was disappointed to learn when we discovered it on the last day of our stay that they have Pilates equipment, including reformers, that she could have used any time she wanted (they also do private classes).
How To Stay At The St. Regis Rome Without Breaking The Bank
This is an expensive property. While SPG has other properties in Rome that are just fine (Westin Excelsior), the St. Regis is the grand dame. SPG bumped this property up to a Category 7 this year, which means 30,000-35,000 points a night.
You can also use cash & points, for $275 & 15,000 points a night.
But, there are a couple other ways to get even better value. If you’re looking for a better room, you’ll find the Deluxe and Imperial rooms for 31,500 and 32,500 points a night, respectively. Since these rooms are bigger (the Imperial is 100 sf bigger on average than the basic room) and more well-appointed, it may be worth the extra points.
But, that’s not the whole story. What if you can’t find availability for a standard room online for your dates of travel? SPG doesn’t generally have all the upgraded room categories online for award inventory, but a quick call to customer service and a few thousand extra points may unlock extra inventory most people don’t know about.
Lastly, you can now use cash & points to book upgraded rooms. In this case, expect to spend an extra $15 a night plus another 750 to 1,250 points a night for that upgraded room.
Again, while it might not be worth it to some people, having the option to pay just a little bit more to redeem for the dates you want is a hidden benefit we often use. And, it generally nets you a nicer room.
I value my SPG points pretty highly, around 2 cents a piece. A big part of that is for redemption at world-class properties like St. Regis Rome. While the Starwood Preferred American Express is a great credit card to build up your Starpoint balance, that’s because it’s also really the only way to do it short of staying at Starwood properties. The card does give you bonus points for charging at Starwood properties as well.
The SPG program has generous transfer options to airlines. But, for me, the value is in the premium properties. I made the mistake early on of transferring too many points to airlines. I wish I had held onto those points for more awesome stays like this.
To me, Rome is the soul of Italy. St. Regis is our home there. The rooms are in excellent condition, wonderfully appointed. The staff is excellent, the treatment as an elite member always top-notch. If you can afford the high price of points (or, gasp, cash) to stay, there’s no other way to go.