Having come from an above average Marriott experience at the Boscolo Exedra Roma, it was onto the Starwood owned property - the St Regis. I think a comparison between the Boscolo and St Regis is a good one - mostly in part to them both being known as traditional grand. Now I may have a little less photos of the St Regis, because I ended up spending less time here than I though (what with Rome Food tours, and meeting the same British friends I made the night before for drinks). I swear I'll make it up with the Armani Hotel Review!
As mentioned previously, I had a big night the night before - so I came in a little groggy. I left my old hotel and took a cab to the St Regis, and upon arriving someone was out very quickly to help me with my bags (you could learn from that Exedra Roma!). The entrances seemed nice and grand as well. I was then directed to the reception/check-in area - although I thought I had come to the wrong place, because the setup was all kinds of weird.
For me - it looked very makeshift. The couch I was sititng on when I took this picture felt at least 20 years old, and it wasn't in great condition with the sagging. The reception tables were normal tables with a cloth on top, and the chairs (while appreciated) were nothing to write home about. I know the St Regis was going through some renovations at the time (none which I saw personally), so I hope this was the temporary reception till they finish renovations. Or at least upgrade the setup, because it felt like a 2/3 star setup more than a 5 star. I decided to book the St Regis through my American Express card (Platinum Charge), which gives me access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) portal. I booked the rate at 374 Euro for the Superior Double Room, which converts to $560 AUD - not a cheap rate, but surprisingly cheaper than their normal rates which hover around $600 AUD+. Of course, for those who don't know, the FHR benefits are as below:
I don't quite think I did get a room upgrade (there's a couch in the room, but it doesn't look like the upgraded room from photos), considering the hotel wasn't too full, but I didn't bother asking since I just wanted to get to the room and order some food (thanks to that 85 Euro food/beverage credit as part of the FHR perks). As a SPG Gold member, I would have thought a room upgrade was also part of the deal - but oh well. As I excited, I was offered to take my bags up, but I declined since I just wanted to get straight to my room. The lobby entrance looks absolutely stunning and Regal, the only issue I had was with the lights which sometimes could give it a cold and boring feel - slightly warmer tones during the day would have been preferred. The main lobby/bar area pic is a little blurry, I didn't quite realize till much later.
Nevertheless, I quickly found the lifts and was on my way to the room. The walkway's were nice, but boring in a way.
The room itself was around 35 sq m, just the right minimum size for a 5 star hotel in my opinion. The room was fascinating - both a mix of classic and grand - I was digging it. I especially liked how they made it look like they had a mural behind the bed (it was just an older painting), and a smaller chandelier hovered above the center of the room.
While the room looked well maintained for the most part, the couch just seemed so sad and out of place in terms of the quality. That definitely needs to be either re-upholstered or replaced. The other thing that was a dead giveaway as to the age of the hotel - the tv cabinet. I don't hate veneer, but this made it look quite old, more so than anything else in the room - the TV quality wasn't terrible though. I quickly found the room service menu, ordered some food, and went to check out the bathroom.
At least the shower was bigger here, however there was no direct light on the shower area - so it gave a darkish vibe. One thing I really love about St Regis properties is the logo, and their branding was all over - it gave a very luxurious feel. The bath ammenities were good, but nothing special. After around 30 minutes, two hotel staff members came by to deliver the food, which I thought was different. One female who was pushing the cart, one older male who removed the lids in exquisite fashion - it was different, that's for sure. I appreciated the attention to detail and the service levels however. I ended up ordering their house burger (yes very Italian I know!), an Apple pie, and an orange juice.
The burger was good, the orange juice fresh, and the Apple pie delicious. I was definitely full - which is good as I knew early dinner would be a food walking tour. I lazed around a little, and before my tour I decided to check out the lobby a little more. I came across a genuinely beautiful room - which I presumed was either their ballroom or an executive meeting room.
It was a good thing I took the photo when I did, because the room was never open again the rest of the time I was there. I then headed towards (by cab, being in the lazy mood I was) Campo de' Fiori.
It wasn't the greatest day and it did rain a little throughout the tour, but luckily I
stole borrowed the guides umbrella for a bit. I gave it back I swear! Unfortunately most of the food walking tour's photos were taken on snapchat, and I forgot to save them except for the below Pizza action.
If you are looking at some tours around Rome, I would highly recommend Secret Food Tours, and they do a bunch of tours across Europe in other cities as well (It cost me 69 Euro's which isn't cheap, but I've got a few new joints to go to next time). Robbie was a great guide, and he took us to some interesting hole in the wall joints with delicious foods and snacks. Some genuinely good food places to check out are I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza (for canoli's) and Supplizio (for suppli/arancini, you have to try the carbonara arancini).
We found some cool drink bars near the Pantheon once I was done with the food walking tour, as I met up again with my new British friends to head to Salatto 42 - which was a super trendy bar. The drink quality was awesome as well, even if service was a little slow - however I definitely felt underdressed here. Following this, in the heavy rain, we made our way back to my hotel where we all had a night cap and said our goodbyes (but not before we explored different parts of the hotel just in case there was something cool I hadn't seen). The only issue here was the bartender seemed indifferent to being there, and almost was cautious to serve us till I said you could put it on my room tab (have people learnt nothing from Julia Robert's Pretty Woman?).
It was honestly really nice to have some cut fruit to come back to, and I'm not sure if that was a Gold Perk or a FHR perk. My only issue was that since I came back at 1am to the room fruit must have been sitting there for hours, so it wasn't cold nor did it taste very fresh anymore - a bit of a missed boat here, as the fruit went mostly the waste. Still, it was appreciated. I went to bed soon after, as I had an early 7am train to Milan.
The next morning, I was down to breakfast fairly early, and was promptly shown to my seat. The breakfast area is accessed from the main lobby, but it almost sits in a different wing.
Since it was early, I had a good opportunity to take some photos of the breakfast area.
The breakfast selection was considerably larger than most Italian brekkies, so I had a lot of options - though it was lacking anything amazing. The Fresh juice was lovely though.
It's a very traditional breakfast setting, and I'm sure the upgrade works will find their way to here as well. Staff pro-activeness was decent, as they asked me if I wanted a coffee as soon as I arrived, which I declined as I wanted to sleep on the 3 hour train journey to Milan.
As I was starting to fall behind in time, I quickly finished up and made my way to check out area, where they were friendly & professionally and helped me with my bag to the cab. Of course, with the drive being less than 5 minutes, the cab driver (in a old van no less) wasn't thrilled at such a short fare - but whatever I suppose, I didn't want to be late. And with that, I was off to Milan - to stay at my most anticipated hotel ever - the Armani Hotel Milano!
In terms of the overall stay - yes, the St Regis was much better than the Boscolo Exedra property - but it wasn't without their imperfection. Now just replace all the damn old furniture St Regis, and you're on the right path!