Old Dec 25, 06, 9:37 am
  #16  
johnsmith
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 556
I just got back from Aruba and will follow up with the GM of the new westin. this place is nowhere near ready to fly the Westin flag. Its basically a run down Sheraton with a staff from a bad 4 Points.

I was supposed to be at the hotel for 3 nights--I typically stay at the Hyatt and was looking forward to having a *wood on the island, but...

My reservation was for Dec 22-25, but I had an overlapping reservation at the Hyatt on Dec 22 in case the Westin didn't look ready.

I walked over to the Westin on 12/21 and the place was a mess--construction boxes everywhere, lobby had a funky smell, etc. Since it didn't look very good, I stayed at the Hyatt on 12/22 and changed my reservation to check-in on 12/23

I traded some emails with a reservations person named Sonia about getting an upgrade and she said they wouldn't do it in advance (no prob with that--just following policy) so I came by the morning of 12/23 to check in. Took about 20 minutes of me explaining platinum benefits to get the front desk to check me in and then pry an upgrade out of their hands. They finally gave me a jr suite (even though I explained to them that the website showed availability for full suites). Since it was fairly early in the morning my room wasn't ready, so I didn't have a chance to take a look. The front desk said it was on the 8th floor, "where construction had just finished, so I'd be the first person in the room" (sounded pretty good). I went back to the Hyatt for the morning and came back at 2:00 to get the room keys.

At 2:00, when I came back, the room keys were ready (good) and the porter took our stuff up to the room (very nice guy). Sonia also made a point of greeting me after I emailed her again that we were coming back to the hotel.

The 8th floor was a disaster. The floor was absolutely covered with construction materials--the carpet was stained with some brown stuff, there was a cup of some kind of alcohol from the night before in the plant near the elevator, there were garbage cans outside of most of the rooms, etc. The room renovation wasn't done either--new carpet and a new flat screen TV, but old bathroom tiles and floor, no Westin shower curtain, old curtains in the room, but the heavenly bed, etc.

When we went to go to dinner, the porters didn't bother coming out to help people in and out of cabs. This was a problem b/c the wind is brutal near the front door and for some reason, a bus decided to pull up at the front door of the hotel even though they have a bus port at the lower lobby level...It took about 10 minutes to clear the bus.

On the morning of the 24th, I spoke to the front desk staff about the mess on the 8th floor and the construction noise that started at 8am. They said that the were aware of the left over construction materials, but that was the construction company's problem and that even though all of the guests on the floor had complained, there was nothing they could do about it. I asked them if I should pay the construction company for my room...no response. I asked what they were doing to make up for the construction and they said nothing.

I gave up and checked out a day early.

This place needs a lot of internal work and a tremendous amount of training for the staff. The clientele is still left over from the Wyndham (airline crews all over the place) and they kept the original staff but just slapped Westin badges on their shirts.

I'll walk over again next year and see if anything has changed, but I don't know if Westin is pushing hard enough to make changes at the hotel to make it worth staying here.
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