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The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico [Master Thread]

The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico [Master Thread]

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Old Aug 12, 10, 11:56 am
  #151  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Houston
Programs: CO Silver, Hyatt Platinum, Priority Club Gold
Posts: 382
Just finished 3 night stay

Booked 3 rooms for 6 adults and 1 child. Standard, partial ocean view.

Arrival: Airport arrival is typical of Mexico. As soon as you clear customs, you will inundated with people trying to get you to use their transportation service. Push your way past them and walk outside. The taxi stand will be on your left. Official taxis will have a yellow panel with a number on the side of the car. Hotel says they will send a suburban for you at a cost of $65 one way. Total time to the hotel was 10-15 minutes.

Check-in: Agent was very friendly and welcomed us to the property. Only complaint was that it was a bit slow. There was no problem with the reservation, and our rooms were pre-blocked (I saw our keys were already pulled), and I presented her with ID and credit card as soon I approached. However, it still took 15-20 minutes to check in. Not sure why. Lobby was nice and colorful. It is open air so it has a nice view of the ocean. There is a jug of liquid refreshment and some apples placed on a table.

Rooms: Received upgrade to full ocean view rooms on 9th floor. We got 902, 903, and 904. 902 and 903 are connecting rooms. 9th floor is the SPG floor. Hallways are open air as well.
The rooms were nice size. Big enough for a desk and lounge chair with ottoman. The balconies were very nice and large. Each had a table and two lounge chairs. Bathroom had a walk in shower and tub. There is no carpet in the rooms, it is tile all around. Rooms were incredibly hot when we entered, but they cooled down nicely once the A/C was cranked up. Note: The rooms come with dehumidifiers. I highly recommend turning them on if you want the room cool. Also, if you find that you have turned on your AC but you cannot feel the air, make sure the sliding doors to the balcony and front door are completely shut. The A/C will not turn on if they are open.
Furniture was nice and comfy. Bathroom was a bit worn. Grout was very dirty in alot of places and the sink drained very slowly. No robes or slippers. Mini fridge can be unlocked and it has enough space in it for you to put milk or bottles of coke of your own in it. You are only charged if something is moved, not rearranged. There were two free small bottles of water in the bathroom of each room.
The duvet and comforter were a bit dirty or stained in all three rooms. In room 904, my mother found a comb on the floor with a fistful of hair stuck to it on the floor when she entered.

Location: Right in the marina. Right on the beach, though we spent most of our time by the pool. The ocean water was especially dirty. There is an OXXO convenience store right across the street. There is a WalMart and a mall about a mile away. Downtown is about a 15-20 minute taxi ride away.

Food: We ate at the Palmar Restaurant for breakfast and dinner each day. Breakfast buffet was great, with plenty of choices. Dinner was also nice. Food was well prepared and the waiters were excellent. The food did come out slowly during dinner though.

Customer service: the people were very nice. In particular, a bellman named Pedro and a waiter named Ishmael (works at the bar on the ocean) were extremely pleasant and helpful. The Director of food and beverage, (I believe his name was Otto) was walking around during meal times and introduced himself to use and asked if everything was okay. We told him we were having a lovely time and that we were celebrating my daughters 2nd birthday, which was the next day. The next day, he saw us by the pool and said hello and walked away. He came back out 5 minutes later with about 5 of the wait staff and a slice of chocolate cake with a candle in it. The place had a personalized birthday greeting on it written with chocolate. The wait staff sang happy birthday and clapped for my daughter. It was a very nice touch.

Housekeeping: The only real issue was housekeeping. Besides the dirty comb and sheets upon arrival, there were other little issues. Over 3 nights, only shampoo and conditioner were replaced, not the bath wash or lotion or bar soap. Towels weren't replaced in one room one day.

Overall very nice stay.
drnp is offline  
Old Aug 15, 10, 8:10 pm
  #152  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NYC
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP, SPG Plat
Posts: 285
Just returned from a 5 day stay at this property (August 4 to 8). There were 4 of us.

Pre-arrival: I received no less than 4 emails from various people asking me if they could arrange anything for my stay. The only request (and I'll admit that this was out of the ordinary) was if it's possible to have something special for my parent's 25th anniversary. The hotel agreed to have chocolate covered strawberries. And, they were good!

Location: Excellent location. About 10-15 minutes away from the airport and about 25 minutes away from the main city. When you exit the airport, exit it fast. There are a lot of people trying to sell timeshare services. Across the footbridge, there is a yellow taxi stand. It costs $50 (Mexican Pesos) to the hotel.

Arrival: Check in was a little slow for no reason. We arrived at 3:00pm and are rooms were just being cleaned.

Property: Absolutely beautiful property -- day and night. Here are some videos (Sunrise timelapse: http://vimeo.com/14050631 ; Sunset timelapse: http://vimeo.com/14050616 ; Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aanarav...7624566826733/)

My only complaint would the housekeeping service. The first day we went into town and returned at 5:00pm. Our rooms had not been made up. Similarly, it was very inconsistent. One some days there were chocolates. On other days, the staff had even forgotten towels. When we called them to get towels, they started asking us if "we were sure."

A few tips:

- There is an OXXO convenience store across the hotel. Get water and snacks from there.
- The hotel breakfast is a great, so if you do get access to it, definitely worth the $$.
- If you're an SPG Gold and plan on having the breakfast, get the Lounge pass -- it's $40/room. That includes breakfast and drinks/snacks in the evening. Given that breakfast is $25/day/person, this is a better bargain.

Overall -- good stay!
aanswer is offline  
Old Dec 8, 10, 10:02 am
  #153  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PEK
Programs: Alas, the Gravy Train Hath Ended...just happy to be an OW Sapphire and a ST Ivory...whatever
Posts: 4,388
Most enjoyable

I stayed at this property after 2 nights at the Sheraton, and the Westin was certainly a better property for a relaxing stay. I was able to checkin at 1100am, and was immediately upgraded to one of the uppermost rooms with an outdoor jacuzzi and a great view. ^:-: The hotel itself is very similar to the Westin in Cabo in look and feel -- the restaurants are even named the same -- but it seems that Westin consistently delivers a 4-star experience at every turn. The rooms were very well maintained, smelled nice, and were very well furnished. The restaurants were decent, but it was still hotel food. Go elsewhere if you want a fancy meal, I say!

The pool was magnificent, and felt good for the somewhat warm days (80-degrees or so in December) even though it wasn't heated. Was able to access the timeshare portion of the Westin and their heated pool, but could not charge drinks/food to my room on the timeshare side to I retired to the hotel pool. Neat small-ish beach area that was good for a few turns walking....although there were more souvenir hacks there than tourists! Too funny. The pools were divided up into a kids pool and an adult one, which kept the screaming munchkins away from me.....the pool is broken up into several secluded areas, which means you can soak and sun with some semblance of privacy. If you are looking for a Spring Break experience, the Sheraton is better. But if you are looking for a quiet place away from the action to just sit, read, and chill with a better atmosphere, the Westin is the best! ^
theblakefish is offline  
Old Jun 15, 11, 12:46 pm
  #154  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Marin County, CA
Programs: Marriott LT-TE, United Gold
Posts: 455
I posted this in the Punta Mita thread but haven't seen a response so hopefully someone following this thread can chime in. We'll be staying at the Westin and then the Punta Mita in August for our honeymoon and I'm considering renting a car at PVR to get to the Westin and then to drive to the Punta Mita. The car will end up being ~$200 for the week we'll be there which, from what I can tell, is significantly less than a one way transfer to the PM and will allow us to do some exploring away from the hotels if we decide to. My question is how safe is the drive between the two properties? Obviously a little nervous based on the news we get on the issues down in Mexico and while I've heard that the resort areas aren't really in the spotlight, it's still a concern of mine. Has anyone done the drive on their own? Appreciate any feedback!

Thanks!
chrisdeaner is offline  
Old Jun 15, 11, 3:02 pm
  #155  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: GVT
Programs: AA MM, Starwood LTG
Posts: 177
I would not expect any issues. It looks like a pretty short drive. We've driven hundreds of miles in Mexico and the worst I ran into was a military checkpoint down by El Tamarindo. Just watch out for the topes!
aleksir is offline  
Old Jun 15, 11, 6:49 pm
  #156  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: From: PWM
Programs: United GS, Fairmont Platinum,SPG LTPlat, Hilton Diamond, MarriottGold..like the rest of the world
Posts: 4,399
Originally Posted by chrisdeaner View Post
My question is how safe is the drive between the two properties? Obviously a little nervous based on the news we get on the issues down in Mexico and while I've heard that the resort areas aren't really in the spotlight, it's still a concern of mine. Has anyone done the drive on their own? Appreciate any feedback!

Thanks!

You needn't be worried at all. That's some of the safest driving in all of Mexico! It's also a very short drive, really. While you're up that way, I'd recommend a stop into the intriguing beach town to the north, Sayulita. What an amazing little village by the sea. There are SCADS of surfers here and some fun places on the beach to sit back and have a few drinks or enjoy a lunch. A fun place so spend a few hours.

Also, just to the south of Punta Mita is the interesting little village of Bucerias. Well worth a quick stop - some low priced spas here, coffee shops, nice beach, etc.

Lastly, FWIW, some of the most interesting driving in these parts are to the South of Pto Vallarta. Head down hwy 200 for some great views and really unusual restaurants. There are botanical gardens, a zoo, and zipline opportunities down this way. Also, some tequila destilling/bottling if you have an interest.

I've driven quite a bit in Mexico and can't think of anyplace I'd feel safer driving than in and around Pto Vallarta.
sbtinme is offline  
Old Jun 15, 11, 7:40 pm
  #157  
abk
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: stl
Programs: AA LT Plat/8.1mm. SPG LT Titanium. UA 712,524 miles and no longer trying.
Posts: 2,929
I have been to the Westin a number of times. It is literally 5 minutes from the airport and I am fairly certain there is not a reason to have a rental car there. You will walk to the marina when you leave the resort and take a taxi into town at night if you want to go there. Not worth driving downtown, parking and worrying about how much to drink when the taxi is a lot cheaper than the rental car. Maybe a better idea would be to take taxis while in PVR and then pick up your rental car to go to the SR. Not sure if there is someplace at the hotel but you can be at the airport rental car places in 5 minutes.

PS: if you rent a car don't ignore the collision damage waiver issue in Mex. Make sure your credit card covers it and then think twice about whether you pay anyway as in Mex this is a revenue generator.
abk is offline  
Old Jun 15, 11, 7:55 pm
  #158  
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: From: PWM
Programs: United GS, Fairmont Platinum,SPG LTPlat, Hilton Diamond, MarriottGold..like the rest of the world
Posts: 4,399
Originally Posted by abk View Post
PS: if you rent a car don't ignore the collision damage waiver issue in Mex. Make sure your credit card covers it and then think twice about whether you pay anyway as in Mex this is a revenue generator.
Everyone should be advised that more often than not, credit card CDW insurance is NOT recognized in Mexico. Mexican law is that, if insurances cannot be very quickly verified (generally meaning issued by a Mexican agency) and parties dispute who's at fault -- it's not uncommon for both parties to end up in the local jail until things are sorted out. [I had a good pal that this happened to three summers ago.]

Additionally, it's a very rare credit card that also offers LOSS OF USE protection, which can add up to hundreds of dollars quickly.

While I don't pay for auto rental insurances in most other countries, I certainly do in Mexico.
sbtinme is offline  
Old Jun 15, 11, 10:35 pm
  #159  
abk
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: stl
Programs: AA LT Plat/8.1mm. SPG LT Titanium. UA 712,524 miles and no longer trying.
Posts: 2,929
Originally Posted by sbtinme View Post
Everyone should be advised that more often than not, credit card CDW insurance is NOT recognized in Mexico. Mexican law is that, if insurances cannot be very quickly verified (generally meaning issued by a Mexican agency) and parties dispute who's at fault -- it's not uncommon for both parties to end up in the local jail until things are sorted out. [I had a good pal that this happened to three summers ago.]

Additionally, it's a very rare credit card that also offers LOSS OF USE protection, which can add up to hundreds of dollars quickly.

While I don't pay for auto rental insurances in most other countries, I certainly do in Mexico.
I started down there renting cars and in the end I determined it is cheaper to hire cars.
abk is offline  
Old Jun 21, 11, 10:56 am
  #160  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Marin County, CA
Programs: Marriott LT-TE, United Gold
Posts: 455
Originally Posted by abk View Post
I have been to the Westin a number of times. It is literally 5 minutes from the airport and I am fairly certain there is not a reason to have a rental car there. You will walk to the marina when you leave the resort and take a taxi into town at night if you want to go there. Not worth driving downtown, parking and worrying about how much to drink when the taxi is a lot cheaper than the rental car. Maybe a better idea would be to take taxis while in PVR and then pick up your rental car to go to the SR. Not sure if there is someplace at the hotel but you can be at the airport rental car places in 5 minutes.

PS: if you rent a car don't ignore the collision damage waiver issue in Mex. Make sure your credit card covers it and then think twice about whether you pay anyway as in Mex this is a revenue generator.
This is sounding like a better idea. I figured I would just get the car for a week since both hotels offer free parking (per their SPG sites) but I doubt we'd be using it much while at the Westin anyway. I will definitely be looking into the coverage provided by the various cards I could use to see what I should/shouldn't purchase but if it comes down to spending $20-$30/day extra to not have an hassles, I'd think that was worth it.
chrisdeaner is offline  
Old Aug 28, 11, 8:09 pm
  #161  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA
Programs: UA1K, SPG Platinum
Posts: 11
Recent Stay at Westin PV

Had a recent two night stay at the Westin PV, over a Friday and Saturday night. As many people have reported, the hotel decor is a bit outdated. However, overall, we had a good stay there. When we first checked-in, I asked about a Platinum Upgrade, and was told that I was upgraded to a "deluxe room." Well, considering deluxe wasn't much of an upgrade, I pushed back a bit, and let the check-in agent know that I saw some junior suites available on spg.com (I checked earlier in the day), and asked if one was available. He pushed back a little bit more (probably not his fault, was just doing what he's told), but right when that happened, Fridel Von Son, the Guest Services Manager came over. Fridel is great...she quickly upgraded us to a Junior Suite and apologized for the inconvenience. Fridel is one of the best parts of this hotel - I was very impressed with her attentiveness when she was dealing with us and level of customer service.

The junior suite wasn't bad at all, again a little outdated, but that was ok (I was expecting this, based on other postings). Had a very large bathroom, sitting area with a sofa, Westin Heavenly Bed, and finally, a very nice outdoor sitting area with a private Jacuzzi.

As Platinum members, we were also granted access to the Royal Beach Club, which offered very generous evening canapes, wines, beers, and champagne. from 5.00-8.00pm. The breakfast there was also decent, including hot and cold options.

We didn't use the pool at the hotel, so can't really comment on that.

Overall, not too bad of an experience. Yes, it could use some updating, but with managed expectations about the hotel it wasn't bad at all. Plus, Fridel really made a big difference. We left from the Westin to head over to the St. Regis Punta Mita (using those free resort nights) Fridel called ahead for us to let them know we were on our way. It was a very kind gesture, and helped when we got to the St. Regis, as our upgraded suite there was waiting for us.

Thanks again to Fridel and would stay at the Westin PV again.
sfconsultant is offline  
Old Oct 3, 11, 3:45 pm
  #162  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Marin County, CA
Programs: Marriott LT-TE, United Gold
Posts: 455
My wife and I stayed here for 5 nights for the first part of our honeymoon before heading to the St. Regis in Punta Mita (I did a write up on that stay in the thread) and we were overall very happy with our stay.

We had reserved a honeymoon suite on points (paid for 4, 5th night free) which is what we received when we checked in. I think it's slightly larger than the junior suite with a full balcony and a nice private jacuzzi tub we used almost every night. We were greeted by the MOD (I forget her name) who took us through the hotel and up to our suite making sure we knew where everything was and let us know to give her a call if we had any questions or issues. She also offered us a free day in one of the lanais on the beach which we ended up not using.

Our bed was setup with "towel swans" and covered in rose petals which was a nice touch and we also had a small dessert tray wishing us a Happy Honeymoon. The floor of the suite is traditional stone tile which was somewhat unexpected but turned out to be nice since we weren't as concerned when we got some sand on it from our shoes or clothes. The suite had a sitting area opposite the bed with a couch and chairs around a little coffee table. The bathroom was large with typical amenities. It also had a large shower with separate bathtub.

We were given access to the Royal Beach Club Lounge (included with my Plat status, not sure about the room) which had a nice breakfast spread each morning with several hot dishes in addition to cereals, breads/pastries, fresh fruit, yogurts, juices and other cold selections. In the evenings they had a nice spread of appetizers and snacks as well as beer, wine and champagne.

One thing to note is the wireless internet in the hotel is somewhat spotty. We couldn't get a signal in our room and were told by Service Express that they in fact did not have wireless and we'd have to use a wired connection which wouldn't work with our iPad we had brought. We used the pay internet downstairs by the front desk until, on a whim, I brought the iPad to the RBC lounge and low and behold, found a signal! Fridel (the Guest Services Manager mentioned above) contacted me about this and another issue I'll get to after our stay and said she was going to make sure the staff was aware of the issue and told me there were some parts of the hotel that did not get a signal. If your room ends up being one of these, we were able to get a signal in both the RBC lounge and downstairs in the lobby. I also saw people with iPads and other tablets by the pool but I'm not sure if they were using the internet.

The pools are pretty nice and the area is well kept up. There were plenty of lounge chairs around the pool and on the sand both above and on the beach but this could be because we were there during the low season. We ate at both of the bars (there is one near the beach and one swim up in one of the pools) and had good food at each. The Al Pastor (pork with pineapple) tacos for 13 pesos were awesome, 3 or 4 were enough for a good snack. The salsa and guacamole are also very good but FYI, it's also available for free in the RBC lounge in the evenings. The drinks are good and reasonable and there is a 2 for 1 deal everyday at the pool bar from 5-6pm if I remember correctly. I think it was always one of the beers and another liquor but you'd have to ask the bartenders to be sure.

We ate dinner at the main restaurant one of the nights and while the food was pretty good, it was a little overpriced and we avoided it the rest of our stay.

The hotel is located in the Marina Vallarta area of the town which is newer and close to the airport. There is an OXXO market right across the street which is great for picking up bottled water, beer and snacks much cheaper than the hotel. The Marina area has a lot of small shops, cafes and restaurants but is also fairly touristy. We were recommended to eat at El Coleguita which is on the far side of the Marina but unfortunately we got there after it closed the one day we were planning on trying it. There is a Starbucks if you need your fix on the far side of the Marina, on the street you enter/exit from the main highway on. It's not possible to walk to the downtown area on the beach as the marina entrance cuts through the beach about 1/4 mile down the sand. Taxis downtown are 60-80 pesos and are the best way to get there. There are plenty of taxis around so you shouldn't have a problem getting to/from anywhere you want to go.

As far as things to do, we had a Dune Buggy/Zip Line/Tequila Tasting activity purchased for us as a wedding present. It was fun since it was low season and there were only 3 other people on the tour with us. One thing we really took away from it is how nice the beaches south of PV are. I can't remember the beach we drove to but it was ~20min south of the city on the mouth of another river. There were many water taxis hanging around so I think you could get a ride from the downtown beaches pretty easily but there was no one else on the beach besides our little group. There was a small restaurant with tables right on the water that had amazing ceviche and fish tacos. Definitely worth checking out if you have time. Otherwise the downtown area is fun to explore and there is plenty to do and see walking around.

The only other issue we had was during one of the nightly storms (during the rainy season, which is also the off season, the days are warm, sunny and humid and at night it usually rains with thunder and lightning) there was a banging noise on the roof. It sounded like someone was stomping there feet above us but where our room was located, we were the highest floor so I think something on the roof was knocked loose from the winds. Fridel said they would check into it and make sure it was fixed.

I'll try to get some picture up but hopefully that helps answer questions people have about the property!
chrisdeaner is offline  
Old Oct 3, 11, 7:38 pm
  #163  
abk
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: stl
Programs: AA LT Plat/8.1mm. SPG LT Titanium. UA 712,524 miles and no longer trying.
Posts: 2,929
Good report. Glad you enjoyed the hotel. I have stayed there a number of times and it has been consistantly good.
abk is offline  
Old Oct 15, 11, 7:05 pm
  #164  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: Marriott Ambassador, Skywards Platinum
Posts: 3,053
I see that most people here are staying at this resort first then off to the St. Regis Resort, I'm thinking of doing the opposite, St. Regis then the Westin.

Is it a BIG downgrade or I should be better in staying for the whole time at the St. Regis?
LovetoTravel83 is offline  
Old Oct 15, 11, 7:27 pm
  #165  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: SFO
Programs: Marriott Ambassador, Skywards Platinum
Posts: 3,053
I see that most people are staying at this resort first then off to the St. Regis Resort, I'm thinking of doing the opposite, St. Regis then the Westin.

Is it a BIG downgrade or I should be better in staying for the whole time at the St. Regis?
LovetoTravel83 is offline  

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