Memories from the St Regis in NYC

We are getting a brand new St Regis, by the people who gave us The Ritz Carlton, on the empty space between Riu Antillas and Divi Phoenix. I noticed the construction company discreetly draped the fence to contain the activity within, and spare guests next door the view of construction.

Who wants to look at construction while on vacation?!


Now, if only they put up a sign explaining exactly what they are doing, with the name of the developer, architects and companies involved, it will even be better. Throw is a small architectural rendition too.

Last year, Raiz tried to collect signatures in an attempt to abort the project and found out that the project was 50 years old, and grandfathered in.

This has been on drawing boards for ages, and now finally, we’re getting a top brand, staffed with Ladies and Gentleman, a much-needed commodity, with 200 rooms, considered small in today’s standards.

I believe it was just before the 2008 financial crisis that the clever Alfonso Riverol managed to offload the Wyndham hotel property on a NY self-styled show-off, so-called investor, whose pockets were just deep enough to spring the purchase, but not to upgrade and run the resort as a Westin.

At that time, the empty lot was to become a Starwood timeshare, a glitzy flagship, and some of my hard-working girlfriends quit their perfectly secure jobs in order to join the sales staff at the new Starwood timeshare whose deluxe Sales Gallery was being built at the Westin, in the lower lobby. Developers spent money like water on the design, and then as the world’s financial crisis overwhelmed them. They shut down the operation, fired the staff and the lot remained empty, until plans hatched in recent years, named it a St Regis.

24Ora gave an excellent 50-year resume of the property. I wonder who wrote it.      

I remember arriving at the St Regis in NYC in a limo, stocked with Champagne and strawberries. That was a great number of years ago. I glanced at the hotel’s red carpet entrance through the smoky windows of my car as a spiffy uniformed bellmen rushed up with a gleaming luggage cart. It must have been October. My birthday month. The next morning in bed, still over Champagne and strawberries I watched the delegates of an Anti-Hunger conference on TV, they were arriving at their meetings in limos and I couldn’t help but wonder if they too had Champagne and strawberries for breakfast, in their cars.

That thought – strawberries and Champagne – stuck with me for years, it was a much talked about humanitarian conference, and I decided that if we just provided every single hungry person with a black American Express card, and checked him/her into the St Regis, issues would be resolved. Sorry, I was young, that was an alcohol inspired plan, in decadent times.

The St Regis at the time was a bit stuffy. In consequent visits I noticed they renovated continuously but the Italian marble bathrooms and the Bloody Marys, remained. Then was created, and revolutionized reservations. We now shop by price, not just location.

Good memories. I am ready to make some more.

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February 04, 2020
Rona Coster