Which is best, Four Seasons or St. Regis? While the choice between these two hotel brands varies between individual hotels, Four Seasons hotels are generally more service-oriented, have more facilities like larger grounds and pools, and, in my opinion, are more modern and stylish. St. Regis hotels are often smaller and are often more ornate in design. That said, there are exceptional properties within each brand, so we break the comparison down into the different features of the hotel.
Four Seasons is an ultra-luxurious hotel brand that currently has 124 hotels and resorts in 47 countries. There is no Four Seasons loyalty program although you can get all our free benefits from your very first Four Seasons or St. Regis stay by booking with our luxury travel concierge agents. You also get Marriott Bonvoy loyalty points on St. Regis stays too.
St. Regis is a high-end brand under the Marriott umbrella. It shares this elite spot with Ritz-Carlton, BVLGARI, EDITION, and The Luxury Collection. These brands occupy a 5-star luxury category, with room quality and size, service, restaurants, and the hotel as a whole offering an ultra-luxurious setting. This means that St. Regis is part of the Marriott brand loyalty program.
There are currently 61 St. Regis hotels. There are 11 in North America, 2 in Africa, 24 in Asia, 6 in Central America and the Caribbean, 6 in Europe, and 10 in the Middle East.
Four Seasons offers a variety of styles across their hotels according to the destination and the property itself. For example, Four Seasons Grand Hotel Du Cap Ferrat is a historic property, so takes its style accents from its classic and historic french architecture.
Another example of a Four Seasons hotel that embraces traditional architecture and mixes this with classic modern furnishings is The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, the Bahamas. Others, such as the best Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii offer a more modern architecture and feel.
Four Seasons Milan is another brilliant example of a completely unique Four Seasons hotel. This Milan property is housed in a former 15th-century convent that is situated up a tiny side street in the heart of Milan. You’ll find a most unusual and warm pool here in the convent’s former cellar. This pool is reached via steps between thick pillars, and you swim in its warm waters under 19th-century vaulted ceilings. The soon-to-open Four Seasons Venice is also dripping in history.
On the other hand, the St. Regis offers a more ornate and fussy style. While we love St. Regis hotels, overall, I think that Four Seasons hotels tend to offer more of a contemporary look within a historic setting.
Florence is a good example of a destination that offers both a Four Seasons and a St. Regis hotel. Four Seasons Florence is set a 15-minute walk from the center and offers incredible historic murals and a stunning garden that enables you to escape the heat and often frenetic tourist heart of Florence. On summer evenings, a band plays in the grounds, creating a wonderful ambiance and the perfect setting to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat surrounded by greenery and history. This Four Seasons also offers a beautiful outdoor pool. We have compared these two hotels in more detail in our review Four Seasons V. St. Regis Florence.
St. Regis Florence is set in the very center of the tourist district. As one of the best St. Regis hotels in the world, it is hugely ornate, with enormous formal staircases, stained glass ceilings, and chandeliers. It offers a historic, airy double-height lobby with archways and pillars and lots of ornate detailing. The styles between these hotels are very different, and the facilities, including the pool, are far superior at Four Seasons Florence.
By contrast, the St. Regis in Venice offers a plainer, more modern design with much less detailing. Here, it’s all about the garden and the waterfront views. The Four Seasons in Venice is newly refurbished and opens in 2025. This will be a very special hotel in Venice, although it will not have a pool – for the best hotel pool in Venice pick the Cipriani Venice.
There are two Four Seasons in San Francisco, and both are superior in decor and facilities to the St. Regis San Francisco.
The hotel with the better location is dependent on the individual hotel and will often dictate which brand to choose. As an example, the location of the St. Regis Florence quite literally couldn’t be better. The hotel is centrally located at the very heart of the historic city and lies on the River Arno itself. It is situated on the beautiful square, Piazza Ognissanti, which is a peaceful space that lies just steps from the buzz of the city. Four Seasons is a 15-minute walk from Piazza Ognissanti, which means you can escape the crowds easily but also means that in the heat, this walk can be longer than you would might want.
In Venice, the St. Regis is further from the main tourist areas and square. The Four Seasons has everything you could possibly want right on its doorstep, plus the ferries for tours, shuttles to other hotels, water busses, and gondolas depart steps from the entrance of the Four Seasons.
In Washington, DC, there’s a stunning St. Regis, but the Four Seasons Washington, DC, is the only 5-star, 5-diamond hotel in the nation’s capital, offering a range of luxury accommodations in historic Georgetown. So once again, Four Seasons wins.
Although this is not always the case, generally, St. Regis hotels tend to be similar in size to Four Seasons hotels. For example, in Venice, St. Regis has 126 guestrooms and 37 suites, the new Four Seasons Venice is likely to have similar. St. Regis Florence has 100 lavish and ornate rooms. Four Seasons Florence has 116 carefully restored rooms.
In Florence, the Four Seasons offers glorious grounds with a pool and gardens. The St. Regis has no grounds at all other than a terrace. Four Seasons hotels tend to offer larger, more extensive grounds than St. Regis hotels.
6. Beach, Pool & Spa
St. Regis has a number of beach hotels, including St. Regis Bali Resort, St. Regis Bora Bora, which we’ve compared to Four Seasons, St. Regis Langkawi, St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, St. Regis Maldives, and St. Regis Punta Mita, Mexico, so St. Regis has amazing beach hotels. Four Seasons also has brilliant beach hotels, including the best hotels in Hawaii.
While there are no beaches in Florence, there is a stunning pool in the grounds of Four Seasons Florence. The Four Seasons also offers a locally inspired spa where you can spend afternoons in pure indulgence, just steps away from the cultural heart of Florence. There’s no pool at St. Regis Florence, and the spa is small, so in this case, the Four Seasons is best for pool and spa.
The Four Seasons San Francisco has a great lap pool. The St. Regis San Francisco is currently revitalizing the swimming pool and spa areas, with an expected debut sometime in 2024. Generally, Four Seasons has more facilities than St. Regis hotels.
Both hotels offer luxurious rooms. As a general rule, I find the rooms at the Four Seasons to be more consistent in the quality of decor and larger in size, but again, this is very property-specific. One thing you can guarantee is that all Four Seasons bathrooms are of a good size, usually with a tub, a large vanity area, a separate shower and toilet, and generally more than enough space. In Florence, the rooms at the Four Seasons tend to be larger and have the edge, although the Four Seasons don’t offer river views, and many rooms at St. Regis do.
The rooms at St. Regis Florence are also very good and boast either 15th-century Florentine, Medici, or Renaissance-themed décor and comfy beds. The rooms are surprisingly spacious for a central European city hotel. Even the marble bathroom is large and has all the mod cons. A river view is a must here (about half of the rooms enjoy one), so definitely request one; gazing upon the landmark Ponte Vecchio bridge as the sun sets over the city is the perfect prelude to an evening sampling Tuscany’s delicious cuisines and wines.
The St. Regis Deer Valley and Aspen are the two main St. Regis Ski hotels. They are both excellent properties, but some of the best ski hotels in the world are Four Seasons, so Four Seasons is better for skiing.
Both brands offer excellent and not-so-excellent restaurants. You will need to review the specific property to determine whether a particular property has an award-winning restaurant. For example, it is hard to beat the incredible Michelin-starred Italian restaurant at Four Seasons in Florence.
10. Family Facilities
Both brands are family-friendly, but Four Seasons has a particularly amazing kids program with gifts and special touches in the rooms. I would say Four Seasons is the best child-friendly hotel brand in the world.
Both of these hotel brands offer magnificent hotels. Four Seasons is best for room size, pool, grounds, other facilities, and restaurants, but St. Regis can sometimes offer a more central location and St. Regis hotels are usually cheaper.
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