It’s hard to say this since the St. Regis is one of, if not my absolute favorite hotel brand. It always exceepds expectations and never disappoints. The design is perfectly my taste and the service is always incredible. However this time, the brand fell short. Far short. And for something I felt was standard at all St. Regis properties just wasn’t there. For me, it was a miss and hopefully I can at explain why I feel the way I do.
I booked 2 nights here for 85,000 points/night. It certainly wasn’t cheap and I definitely could have stayed at a lot of different places for a lot less, that’s for sure. However, considering the room rate was over 1,000 Euro/night, I was getting some incredible value that I just couldn’t pass up. Also, since I used my suite night awards for stay, I was getting even more value for my points. Also, since I knew I’d be able to spend a full 2 days there (vs. having to check in late or leave early due to flights or something else) I knew I’d be able to get the full experience.
The location couldn’t be better since it’s literally a 5-10 min walk from Termini Station (which is where you’ll end up if you take the train from FCO airport). Add that you can’t possibly get lost since it’s a straight shot to the hotel, and it’s a pretty stress free way to start your trip. Also, the Republica metro stop is about a 3 min walk away (the first stop after the Termini stop if you REALLY hate walking) but Republica is also a major stop for busses as well so you can pretty much get anywhere you want in Rome with relative ease. For context, the Trevi Fountain was about a 10 min walk and the Spanish Steps were about 15 mins away. Considering those are two of the most popular sites to visit, you can easily wake up early in the morning and get all the photos you want before the massive crowds descend onto those locations. Good luck finding a place to stand without having someone elbow you out of the way.
Check in was a breeze since the Waldorf shuttle (where I stayed for 2 nights prior) dropped me off a block away from the St. Regis. As soon as I walked through the door, I was greeted by the bellman who immediately stored my back and then escorted me to the check in area. I was greeted but was told my room wasn’t ready yet (which was fine since I was there early at around 1pm). I wanted to catch up on some stuff anyways so I made my way to the corner of the lobby bar where due to it being Easter Sunday, they were serving an amazing brunch with live music. I wasn’t hungry so I just decided to sit in a corner where I wouldn’t be bothered and just worked for a bit and enjoyed the lived band while enjoying the signature St. Regis Bloody Mary cocktail.
After about 2 hours, I received a call notifying me that my room was ready. It was actually perfect timing since I was just about getting to a great stopping point. As I was shown the elevators, I was given the lay of the land as well as being told that there is a sabering done every day at 7pm (more on that in a bit). I also decided on getting the breakfast as my welcome amenity vs. the points.
I was given room 411 (the top floor except for the gym and spa which is located on the 5th floor) and wasn’t blown away but wasn’t disappointed either. I was given an Imperial Room after my Suite Upgrades cleared so I guess I was hoping for a bit more. However, considering I was just a 10 min walk from the Trevi Fountains and a less than 15min walk to the Spanish steps, I really can’t be expecting a massive room when space is at a premium.
As you walk in, there were 2 hallway closets. The usual bags for laundry, shoes, and hangers were there as well as the safe. Past that, you hit the bedroom part of the room. There was a mini bar tucked away/hidden in the bottom cabinet along with coffee tablets for the Illy espresso machine. Above that was a mirrored cabinet where there were snacks as well as more still and sparkling water.
Next to that was the desk with all the expected outlets located right where they’re needed. I love it when designs are done with the user in mind because it shows that the person is thinking about the person and not just about asthetics. Behind that was a couch that went the entire length of the bed and finally the king bed with again, more outlets on either side for charging.
The bathroom was a decent size and made good use of the space. There was a toilet and bidet in one area that was separated by a glass wall and door. A shower was on the other side of the glass wall with it’s own glass door. On the opposite side was a soaker tub. There was a dual vanity and the amenities were Acqua di Parma which is fitting for a top hotel in Italy. There were also 4 extra bottles labeled face toner lotion, intimate cleanser, cleansing milk, and mouthwash. Of course I know what mouthwash is but I have no clue what the other 3 bottles are used for. I’m not a big proponent in taking hotel bottles home but 3 of those bottles came home with me so I can give them to someone who might know what they’re for and get some use of them.
The room looked out over the small courtyard in the center of the hotel. I don’t think it’s accessible or even real grass since I didn’t see any tables or seating set up. If the were access, I think it would be a really quiet oasis in the middle of a bustling city.
I was told that every night, they have their sabering ritual. This was a pleasant surprise since all the other St. Regis properties I’ve stayed at have only done their sabering ritual every other day or twice a week. And every time, I’ve missed it. It’s either been too late for my check in or I’ve check out too early to have witnessed it. I know it isn’t much but to see someone open a bottle of champagne with a saber is pretty cool. Not going to lie. I went down both nights to check it out side the inner child in me was almost giddy with excitement to see it.
So I chose the breakfast buffet as my welcome amenity vs. getting the points. I was definintely impressed with the selection since a lot of European breakfasts mainly consist of just fruit, yogurt, and some bread or pastry. There was not only an cooked to order egg station but also bacon, sausage, pastries, cheeses, salads, and more. It was really a well presented selection of food that in my opinion would only be rivaled in some of the top Marriott brands in Asia or the Middle East.
**I was contacted by the manager who apologized profusely and was compensated Marriott points for my experience. **
So first issue was with the butler service. Usually when you check in, you’re greeted by a butler and they not only explain all the features and aspects of the hotel but also offer to unpack your bags, offer you coffee/tea/drink, make reservations, etc. This is something that’s advertised as a standard service from the St. Regis brand. I always decline but it is nice to be able to meet a local person for a few minutes to get to know them and to pick their brain as to what restaurants are good close-by, when the best time to visit someplace is, etc. Nothing special but get a local’s perspective. This never happened. I’m almost always greeted by a butler when I check in but I know it sometimes happens when they have a moment because they can’t be everywhere at once. They’ll usually pop in to introduce themselves and at the very least check in at some point during my stay and usually within the first hour or two. The butler did bring up a bowl a fruit and I thought that would be when he would do his spiel but he just set the bowl down and immediately left. When I called to ask for a bucket of ice, the butler showed up with the bucket and asked if he could just hand it to me or if he should set it down somewhere. It almost seemed like my request was somehow a burden and he couldn’t wait to get out of there.
Next came the issue with breakfast. The first morning, as I sat down, I was asked if I wanted anything to drink. I ordered a cappuccino and some sparkling water. I was halfway through my meal when the cappuccino arrived and it was cold. Well basically room temp by the time I got it. I don’t know what to make of it. When I finished it, the server asked if I wanted another and I said no. It just wasn’t worth the wait for a cold drink. But the server was nice and I did think she was trying her best so I left it at that.
Believing that was a one off, I tried breakfast again the next day. Sadly the next morning was the same routine. I sat down and was asked if I wanted anything to drink. I asked for a cappuccino again, hoping it would be somewhat hot and not tepid. I waited and waited…..it never came. Honestly, I NEVER saw the server again. Not once. I wouldn’t have even been able to flag her down since she disappeared like a ghost. As I was finishing, a family of 3 was seated next to me. They ordered in English (like I did…which I thought may have been off-putting to the server since I don’t speak Italian) and their double espresso and cappuccino appeared within seconds. I don’t know what to think of that. I didn’t bother asking for my drink since I was basically finished and getting ready to leave.
Next there was the issue with the doormen. Most of the time they would just stand there and see me coming and then not move. It wasn’t like there was just one person. There’d usually be a doorman by each door (1 for entering and the other of exiting due to Covid) and it was glass so they’d see me coming. There’d often be a few of them chatting as they saw me coming. I’d see them open the door for other guests in a “of course I’ll get that for you…it’s my job” kind of way. But I’d say 4 out of 5 times, I’d be walking toward the door, they’d see me coming, and they would instantly turn into statues. If I had to wait for one of them to open the door, I’d still be stuck in the lobby of the St. Regis Rome hotel.
the largest issue was with house keeping constantly coming and knocking on my door or just letting themselves in for no apparent reason. I actually had to double check to make sure the privacy please button was working because they would knock or ring the doorbell even though the privacy light was clearly lit. Sometimes they would ring the doorbell and just start to let themselves in. The first time, I had just gotten out of the shower so I couldn’t answer the door until I heard the door open so I asked to have a quick minute so I could get dressed. Another rang the doorbell and just barged in as I was working. And to be fair, I did answer “one second” just to let them know someone was there. I’m just completely confused as to why they would feel the need to not just come to my room but come INTO my room that often and for what reason? Sometimes they’d ring or knock and when they heard me, they’d just leave. I’d answer the door and the hallway would be empty. I was beginning to think I was either hearing things or maybe the place was haunted.
All those things combined just left a really bad taste in my mouth. But especially the issue with housekeeping constantly knocking on my door at all hours of the day. At first I thought maybe they were coming for turn down service but is that really done at 4 or 5pm? And even if that were the reason, why wouldn’t you wait to enter if you make the effort to knock? I’d understand if this happened once or twice during my stay. But this happened multiple times a day….and that’s only the times I was there. I mean when I got back midday, the room had already been cleaned so why the constant interruptions? And if you needed something and you hear me answer, why not wait to ask me about what you came to do in the first place? It was just bizarre and after a while, really annoying.
Of the amenities, I can’t say there are too many but certainly what you’d expect to find in a high end hotel. Although there were only 4 floors of rooms, there was a “5th floor” which was more of an attic space than anything. It wasn’t accessible via the regular elevators but was only accessed by this old timey elevator (the ones that look like birdcages) or via the steps. Up there, they had the gym (which looked like they had some pretty good equipment) and the spa (even though I’m not sure what treatments were offered). I was shocked when I found it and only bothered to looked because I saw the signage and couldn’t understand what they meant by the 5th floor.
It pains me to say it but I just found this stay so disappointing and underwhelming because I’m such a fan of the St. Regis brand and that’s backed up by all my former stays at St. Regis properties. My view is that higher prices come with higher demands. I wouldn’t be this critical if I had stayed at some 2 star hotel for 100 Euros a night. But if I had paid cash for this room at over 1000 Euros a night, I’d be really, really upset for paying that much. I don’t know if I just got unlucky with bad timing or if everyone’s focus was on some VIPs who were staying at the same time as me. Even if I weren’t an elite member, I’d still be a customer paying over 1,000/night. That type of fee commands a different attitude to quality and service.