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ac/elite Aug 26, 07 10:56 pm

I've got 5 nights booked there next week and notice on the website that they are warning of slow lifts and construction noise from 8am to 8pm. Can someone who stayed there recently comment on just how bad the noise is?

marksec Aug 27, 07 1:17 pm

Stayed there about a couple of times last month. Late arrivals so can't comment about the construction noise but there was a large contstruction dumpster on Hilgard and a very large tractor trailer unloading furniture at 7:00am (neighbors can't be happy).

The updated room didn't thrill me - the color scheme was fairly garish and to turn the shower on you needed to stick you hand through a hole in the shower door. The TV was also on a wall very far from the bed. Further, the hallway lights were harsh and bright (perhaps as a result of some of the earlier reported security concern(s)).

The lifts have always been slow (in the past I tried to walk the stairs to the lobby but ended up outside at a service entrance). Recently, at least one of them has been out of order - but I didn't have to wait probably becuase of the late arrivals and early departures.

Ak17 Aug 27, 07 2:20 pm

I had two stays there earlier this month on two consecutive weeks. I didn't notice the noise (but I tended to leave the room early and get back late) but the elevators are an issue. It takes forever for ANY elevator to come and then they frequently open and close very quickly if there's no one in them.

My biggest problem with the W was the service. The W screwed up my reservation (I had extended my stay, received the bill under my door on the second to last day because the front desk hadn't actually put through the 1 night extension, and then they tried to charge me the rack rate rather than my corporate rate to extend my stay), as well as my colleague's reservation the next week (he shortened his stay, front desk didn't put it through, and then tried to charge him the early departure fee). I was charged a ridiculous amount for a room service order that was supposed to be complimentary and the "whenever whatever" service was unable to find either a wired or wireless router. Actually, all of my experiences with the whenever whatever service have been disappointing -- it really just seems to be a concierge and they're great at restaurant reservations but not much else!

andymo99 Aug 31, 07 4:06 pm

I have had 2 stays there in the last month. Both times, I got upgraded to a great suite: separate bedroom, work area, and living room. The first one wasn't renovated, but I still thought it was great. The second time it was renovated, and I thought it was outstanding.

Platinum on $309 rate.

As an aside, the service at this hotel is examplary.

ac/elite Sep 7, 07 12:45 pm

I just got back from a 5 night stay over the Labor Day weekend. I've always really liked this hotel, but my experience there last week was not up to par. I won't likely stay there again at least until the renovations are completed and service is back up to the quality it once was.

I was given a great upgrade to a newly renovated corner room with a living room and another room as well as the bedroom. The renovations have brightened the place up, both in the hallways which are now well lit, and in the rooms themselves. The look of the rooms has been completely changed to sort of retro minimalist look. Lots of white. The cabinets and new couches are all primarily white. Not sure I'd like that look in my house, but it works in the hotel I think. I don't think all the white will wear very well though.

To me a HUGE disappointment is the new bed. I absolutely loved the beds that they used to have. I thought they were better than at any other W or other Starwood branded hotel I've been at. It felt like sleeping on a cloud. The new beds are quite firm. Sleeping on my side, my hip hurt in the morning. For our second night on, we requested that a feather bed be added and that made it better, but still not what it once was. Apparantly we aren't the only ones who have been complaining about the new beds.

There were many service issues that arose during our stay. The stock answer from any staff when approached about problems was an apology and explanation that the hotel was very busy. Well, at least two of the floors were still closed for renovations and I presume that the hotel has an idea of just how many rooms are going to be occupied, so being busy shouldn't be an excuse for lousy service. Put on more staff!

Here are a few of the problems we experienced:

1. Long waits for the Wherever/Whenever operator to answer the phone.

2. On Saturday, we pulled up to the hotel in the late afternoon and waited 15 minutes for a valet attendant to take the car. While waiting, we saw a couple checking out who said that they had just checked in but experienced so many problems in the short time they were there that they were leaving. The husband said that he stays at Starwood hotels weekly and had never experienced anything like this.

3. Also on Saturday, we returned to our room at 5:40pm to find that it hadn't been cleaned yet. We had friends coming over for a drink before dinner at 6:30pm. To their credit they were able to get it cleaned in time, but there was no excuse for it not being done earlier. They gave us a $25 food/beverage credit for the inconvenience, which was nice.

4. Also on Saturday, the hotel only had one of the three elevators working. Waits were extremely long. For the rest of our stay, one regular and one service elevator was available for guests' use, which was still slow, but not too bad.

5. On one of the days (can't recall if it was Sunday or Monday), the entire telephone system for the hotel went down for a few hours, so there were no incoming, outgoing or internal calls.

6. On Monday, we wanted to go to the pool in the early afternoon, but it was packed with outside people there for the hotel's "Labor Day Pool Party". There were no towels left. They kept saying that they were being cleaned and would be available shortly, but one person waiting said that he had been waiting for an hour and a half for a towel. There was no place left to sit near the pool anyhow since there were so many non-hotel guests there.

damon88 Nov 15, 07 6:42 pm

W Westwood "broke my heart" an LA Times Review
I found this review in a recent LA Times very interesting. I've always had a love-hate relationship with this hotel
(love the rooms and location- hate the sometimes mediocre service)

But I actually thought the reviewer was a little hard on the hotel. The remodel sounds great and I'm looking forward to checking it out.


Mod makeover for W Los Angeles-Westwood Hotel
The Westside hotel and spa stays in chic shape with a $35-million upgrade. The resulting luxe stunner is maddening at times, yet full of promises. Does it deliver?

By Valli Herman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 6, 2007

W Los Angeles-Westwood: How it rates

After a terrific makeover by Thom Filicia of 'Queer Eye,' the W is quite the looker. But true sophistication is more than skin deep.

I couldn't resist him, sitting there alluringly in the sultry darkness of the W Los Angeles-Westwood. He was small, dark and handsome, and I just had to put my fingers all over him. But then he froze and refused to issue a single word.

The nerve. The W management had set out this gorgeous, black antique typewriter in the lobby, along with a tray of paper and a sign encouraging guests to compose a love letter, yet they had neglected to put in a ribbon.

"What a tease!" said a handsome bystander, watching my frustration while he swiftly e-mailed on his BlackBerry.

The W is a lot like that typewriter: an intriguing stunner full of come-ons and promises. It just proves that even if a luxury hotel spends $35 million to upgrade an interior that was just 7 years young, it still needs substance to earn the title "luxury."

The annoyances? Waits of as long as 45 minutes at the valet line; slow and indifferent restaurant service; a pool too small for real swimming; highly salted meals; a remodel that puts style over function; and air pollution, inside and out.

The success? Wonderfully contemporary and inviting looks. Celebrity interior designer Thom Filicia, of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" fame, gave the all-suite W the same kind of surface makeover that's great for making positive first impressions.

The newly sophisticated outdoor lounge, the Backyard, is full of wide sofas and dark wicker. The space flows seamlessly toward the new luxurious poolside cabanas, each of which has a flat-screen TV.

Distinctive color schemes and plush fabrics make the guest room suites feel residential and -- dare I say? -- hip.

Though the hotel bar, Randy Gerber's 3-year-old Whiskey Blue, makes the W a hot nightspot, Filicia's improvements allow scrutiny in the bright light of day.

I attended a July preview to hear Filicia explain his "Babe Paley meets Neutra" theme, an approach that mixes the modernity of the 1969 building with a country-club cabana. Groups of journalists oohed and aahed over the swanky, signature touches he has given the 258 suites: low-slung, simple lines executed in neutrals -- straw, charcoal, almond, chocolate, grass and sand; a "lightbox" illuminated ledge that abuts modular couches; light filtering into the bathroom through frosted glass that replaced a hunk of wall.

In mid-October, I checked in to check out the hotel's new look and feel. I reserved a $339 "Spectacular Suite," asked for a free upgrade (which I got, not because they knew who I was but because I asked) and got a room that overlooked the pool and Westwood backyards.

I felt as though I could do laps in the living room, so large was my 550-square-foot, one-bedroom suite, complete with a separate living room and glass-topped table big enough to seat 50 super (thin) models.

I wheezed from the strong carpet glue fumes, which dissipated a bit after I left the lone operating window ajar overnight. The bed (billed as a queen, but it looked and felt more like a double) was outfitted with the now de rigueur down duvet and featherbed. My room didn't have the internally illuminated closet rod, the peekaboo bathroom window or the glowing living-room ledge that were touted during the preview.

It's difficult to generalize about the overall success of Filicia's guest-room redesign because the building, which began life as a UCLA dormitory and was once the Westwood Marquis, is configured with a mind-bending 80 different room layouts.

And much of the renovation is dedicated to technological upgrades that are harder to notice than new upholstery.

If your college dorm room had looked like this, you'd still be there. A double closet, built-in dressers and shelves offered ample storage space, even for serious clothes horses. (If you forget your mascara and lip gloss, a Diane von Furstenberg "survival kit" is for sale in the mini-bar for $26.)

I can't fathom why a hotel so dedicated to the fashionable would cheat on bathroom shelf space. A bowl sink's widely flaring sides left little room for hands beneath the spigot and had counter space for little more than a toothbrush.

I moved the $9 Voss water, four Bliss mini-toiletries, soap dish, two tumblers and three washcloths to a bathroom bench to make room for my makeup. Still, there was no sink space to lay down the blow dryer, a pitiful miniature, and the light on my makeup mirror was dead. Oh, the tortures.

Filicia said he's no fan of bathtubs ("They're very expensive and not used in hotels very often"), yet my room had a perfectly fresh, if ordinary, white tub. Who doesn't love a good soak?

I slept somewhat peacefully in the comfortable bed, though Filicia sacrificed the box spring to keep the design lines grounded. My eyes focused upward on the heavy, yard-wide mirror above the headboard, a flourish that seemed unwise here in earthquake country.

Business travelers frequent the W, I'm told, yet I was glad I didn't have to spend long hours at my room's ergonomically awkward and poorly illuminated desk. The stylish pair of plastic, molded Eames chairs flanking the glass table aren't comfortable for extended sitting.

Yet the W knows the value of cool. It's willing to risk inefficiencies for the rewards of the creative atmosphere its customers demand.

Or maybe the W realizes that few people sit at a desk; they slouch on the sofa with a BlackBerry or laptop, the devices giving the room all the light it needs. The hotel knows to give tech heads a bank of easy-access electrical outlets and a high-speed Internet connection.

Still, until the W design team installs the swing-arm lamps intended to illuminate the couch, the comfiest seating in the room will remain the darkest. I read by the light of a lamp five feet away and by my huge, high-definition plasma TV; a second flat-screen helps light the bedroom.

Officially, the hotel finished its remodel Oct. 15, but on Nov. 1, chef Monique King (co-owner of Firefly Bistro in South Pasadena) introduced new menus of "modern American cuisine with global influences," W says, in the main dining room, NineThirty, and in the Backyard. My food would have tasted a lot better in the Backyard without the acrid smoke wafting from oil lanterns planted within the adjacent waterfall. Smoking is allowed, and if you forgot your brand, the menu sells cigarettes for $8 a pack.

Perhaps dizzy from a lack of oxygen, I incorrectly recalled the time of my Bliss Spa appointment. Unaware I was 30 minutes late, I asked the check-in clerk to confirm my appointment time.

She didn't tell me I was late, so I futzed around in the steam shower and sauna (both good and hot).

Eventually, the therapist found me and added some compensatory minutes. The manager apologized with samples of Bliss products. The spa, the only Bliss Spa in Southern California, still ranks as a favorite because of its nicely priced services (a 75-minute "Blissage" is $150) and consistently well-trained staff.

I'll come back to the spa but to the hotel only if I have absolutely no need to work. Mr. Typewriter and his tempestuous brother, Mr. Not-So-Suite, broke my heart.

BlissWorld Nov 15, 07 7:40 pm

When it comes to W Westwood, I feel like most people are reviewing "LA", not W @:-)

sfozrhfco Nov 15, 07 10:32 pm

I've stayed there 15-20 times this year and I've had good experiences every time. The check in staff knows me by name and seem genuinely happy to see me when I arrive. I like the fact that every room is a little different as I hate cookie cutter hotels. Some rooms have the peek a boo shower--others have the old tub and regular shower. The place is comfortable, the pool service can be hit or miss but was truly stellar during Memorial Day weekend. Regular rounds of stawberry and mint water, cucumbers, frozen grapes--brought around frequently--no charge. Sure you get the people that are lounging by the pool to be seen and aren't staying at the hotel--but who cares--it is LA afterall. Not many people are there to swim anyway and most days it is temperate enough to lounge by the pool and not get hot enough to swim.

Yeah the typewriter has not had a ribbon for months. How many people use them these days anyway? It is just to create a look. If somebody were really into writing a script for their next big movie in the lobby of the W, most likely he/she would have a lap top.

The great thing is that the rooms are spacious, comfortable, and inviting. It is also convenient with restaurants and Whole Foods within walking distance. Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood are not that far away and accessible by public transporation. There is even a new Flyaway service direct from LAX to Westwood.

I'll be interested to see what the new W in Hollywood is like as well as the former Le Meridien/soon to be SLS property on La Cienega. In the meantime, the W is by far the nicest Starwood hotel in LA.

thaliajen Nov 19, 07 4:51 am

Changes in security at W Westwood?
This is the W in Westwood, the one near UCLA? I heard they were making some changes as of last January, but am curious as to what. The most important of all is, did they install a new key-card system for the elevator for security purposes? I was told that would be done, and that security would be tighter. Has anyone noticed efficient security there, especially the key-card system in the elevator? Call me Curious because I'd love to hear that management did correct some of the problems. Anyone know?

ac/elite Nov 19, 07 10:35 am

I've stayed at the hotel quite a number of times both pre and post renovations. The rooms look great, but it is definately form over function and I don't think that the mostly white interiors will wear well. My biggest beef, though, is with the bed. The old bed was IMO the best bed anywhere in the Starwood chain. Don't know what it was, but it was better than any other W bed I've been in. The new beds are fairly firm and my wife and I had to request a featherbed be added last time we were there. The hotel staff admitted that they had been hearing quite a number of complaints from people who preferred the old bed.

nologic Nov 22, 07 2:15 pm

W Westwood Platinum Upgrades -- Are they Consistently Amazing?
The Platinum Concierge told me that the W Westwood has a reputation of upgrading to incredible rooms. Is that true?

Leisureguy27 Nov 22, 07 2:37 pm

You will always get a suite upgrade since it's an ALL Suite hotel!

nologic Nov 22, 07 7:18 pm

Originally Posted by Leisureguy27 (Post 8774777)
You will always get a suite upgrade since it's an ALL Suite hotel!

I know that and I stayed at it's predecessor many times int he late 80's...but she said they have a history/reputation upgrading pats to really special suites???

nologic Nov 23, 07 2:03 pm

Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker (Post 4185153)
Officially, if you book a suite that is considered to be "select standard" by the property, then they are not obligated to upgrade you beyond it to a better suite. I've heard that some do regardless, and we applaud their generosity when this happens.


William R. Sanders
Customer Service Coordinator
Starwood Preferred Services

[email protected]

This is basically what the Platinum Concierge/Agent said this hotel has a reputation for doing.

She said that she is based in LA, and that this hotel, which starts out as an all suite hotel, upgrades Platinum members liberally, so you can end up in an especially elegant/cavernous suite.

NicholasEvans Jan 22, 08 6:54 pm

I loved the W Los Angeles. Upon check in, I was upgraded to a suite as a Plat. We got to the room and noted the music playing in the room as well as a complimentary bottle of wine, water and a plate of nuts and fruit. I felt nothing but welcome at this hotel and can't wait to get back. The decor was amazing, pool area fabulous and the hotel just had a good vibe.

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