Stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for hours one day in August en route to New York City, singing the Frozen soundtrack for what I think was six hours straight, I thought to myself, “We should have taken the train.” As someone who is on the road a lot, I have a special, meditative place I can access to avoid being stressed by travel delays and mishaps. But when the St. Regis New York is what is at the end of my journey, I long for the ability to teleport.
The St. Regis New York, built by John Jacob Astor IV, opened in 1904 as the tallest hotel in Manhattan. These days, the new Residence Inn Central Park carries that distinction, but it certainly can’t match the St. Regis in historic charm and elegance. The St. Regis New York has recently been renovating and freshening up their interior spaces and the results are stunning, a great eclectic mix of the original Beaux-Arts elements mixed with early-century modern touches. At posting time, the lobby and meeting spaces are undergoing renovations, but the room and dining areas are complete. Before the hotel was a sea of pale celadons in rich damasks and gold gilded accents. Now things are a little edgier with grays, ivories, and golds with contrasting pops of cobalt blues, orange, and black.
When I made our reservation, I was asked the names and ages of our children, and when we checked in, welcome gifts were given to them, each age appropriate: my daughter received St. Regis ear buds and my toddler received a coloring book and crayons. Even if they do not have a more official check-in table for children like other luxury hotels, you cannot improve upon personal and sincere greetings. The staff made every effort to make my children feel welcome in the check-in process.
Although the King Cole Bar & Salon is beautiful, they are not very family-friendly public spaces. The staff was certainly welcoming to my children, but I was very mindful that they didn’t make a peep to avoid glares from other guests. However, it is easy to get to the room elevators quickly without having to linger in the Astor Court area, so this wasn’t stressful during my stay.
Once you reach the guest floors then you know you are in for a treat — an exclusive and tranquil hideaway amidst busy Midtown Manhattan. The rooms were designed with every comfort in mind, a master control panel that adjusts lights and room temperature, Bose radios that charge your iPhone, and excellent bedding. We had the Grand Luxe room category with a larger sitting area that could very comfortably accommodate a roll away bed.
We arrived in our room and housekeeping staff were still adding special touches for our children such as robes, slippers, special notes, bookmarks, and fresh fruit displays. A painted step stool was waiting at the bathroom sink for my toddler to wash his hands and brush his teeth. Our St. Regis Butler arrived to offer a French press of coffee or tea and to press a garment. My daughter discovered the room’s electronic control panel and turned the room into a dark night club with flashing lamps, making her declare “This is the best hotel ever.”
I asked the kids if they were ready to go to Central Park or FAO Schwartz, and the answer was a resounding “no.” I was not getting them out of that room—they loved it as much as I did. We ordered a variety of items from the impressively long children’s room service menu for dinner, and everything was outstanding. After the children took a bubble bath in the marble bathroom, the butler returned with cookies before bedtime.
As many parents will relate, I would have slept like a baby, but I am a mom, and each of my kids woke me up at 2:00AM and at 4:30AM for various needs. When my youngest woke me for good at 6:00 AM, I honestly didn’t mind the state of sleep deprivation that I was in because I knew the St. Regis butler was the touch of a button away from bringing me my personal French press of excellent coffee and the Sunday Times. Not that I had one second to read it.
The St. Regis New York Concierge team will help customize a family outing for you with the Family Traditions experience. Private museum tours suited for children, shopping adventures, and more were available. After the experiences, the children can return to the hotel and select some Dylan’s Candy Bar merchandise from their boutique as a prize.
The lower level of the hotel contains a small but strategically stocked fitness center, spa, and salon for a little pampering. I had used them on previous visits and found them perfectly suitable for a morning workout and solid facial. And for other child-free moments, the King Cole Bar, home of the Bloody Mary, is a great place to have a drink while gazing at the famous Maxfield Parish mural. Interestingly, the mural was brought over from another Astor-family owned Knickerbocker Hotel.
Its location is perfect for being within a stroller’s distance of many attractions, shopping, and Central Park. After shopping at Gucci Kids, FAO Schwartz, and exploring a street fair, all within a few blocks of the hotel we were sad to check out. Getting a ride in the St. Regis Bentley took a little of the sting out.
The St. Regis is one of those properties in New York where you can expect excellence in everything they do. I think my children appreciated every detail to our stay as much as I did, and I think they felt as special as I felt, making this a true Luxe Recess.