Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Discontinued Programs/Partners > Starwood | Starwood Preferred Guest
Reload this Page >

GONE : Westin Aruba (Leaving Starwood February 27, 2014) [Master Thread]

GONE : Westin Aruba (Leaving Starwood February 27, 2014) [Master Thread]

 
Old Dec 25, 06, 10:37 am
  #16  
 
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.
johnsmith is offline  
Old Dec 25, 06, 11:27 pm
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: BOS/TUL/DEN
Programs: AA EXP (and 3mm), SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, Virtuoso, FSPP
Posts: 184
upcoming stay 1/1-1/8

John - thanks for the update.

I'm scheduled to spend a week there 1/1-1/8, and now I'm a little concerned. I'm only have spg gold - and so i don't have nearly as much pull with spg cust. service.

I had read that the hotel was undergoing renovations for the Westin acquisition. So I called gold support before I booked (a couple weeks ago) and they told me that there was NO construction or disturbances to the hotel.

Any advice, especially if I arrive and the hotel is still in disrepair?
challett is offline  
Old Dec 26, 06, 7:48 am
  #18  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 556
are you doing the stay on points or paid? If its paid, I'd consider moving to the Hyatt. While they are also doing renovations, its a much better hotel to start with (Hyatt vs the Wyndham).

Also, the Hyatt has a nicer pool area and a more established staff.

I was planning on splitting my stay 6 nights at the Hyatt and 3 at the Westin, but wound up with 7 at the Hyatt, 1 at the Westin and went home a day early.

I'm really disappointed in the Westin b/c I was looking to find a *wood on Aruba that I could stay at--I'm sick of trying to accumulate Hyatt points just to burn for one week in Aruba (I go down the week before Christmas every year). A Westin with no award blackouts would have been great, but given the condition of the hotel, mgmt and staff, this one ain't worth it yet.

If you have to stay at the Westin, I'd ask to see the room first before you check-in. Make sure the floor is really renovated (not just partially complete). I would also contact Sonia Bryson in advance--she seems to be on the ball at the hotel. Its the rest of the staff that is still learning that being a Westin requires a different level of customer service...
johnsmith is offline  
Old Jan 1, 07, 11:08 am
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Programs: Starwood Platinum, NWA Platinum, Marriott Silver, AA, UAL, USAir, etc.
Posts: 58
New Westin Aruba - Report

Just came back from Aruba. The new Westin Aruba is much nicer than many have reported. Beautiful pool area. A bit dated lobby, but still very nice. Rooms upgraded from the previous Wyndham property. All in all very nice, but not amazing. it's at the end of a strip of hotels in the "high-rise" area. Nice loacation. Nice beach.
mjharad is offline  
Old Jan 1, 07, 12:13 pm
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 556
Just a follow-up.

I had an extended conversation with the GM of the hotel last week. He didn't attempt to create excuses for the experience I had and said the staff had been extremely stretched in the weeks leading up to the holidays. He returned my points for the stay as well.

He said there had been some sort of strike at the port in Aruba and the materials for the renovations had been delayed in arriving. He's hoping to have the hotel in "westin" shape by mid-January at the latest.

I'm very interested in hearing from anyone who goes down after then--

Also, they are breaking ground on the timeshare property in January also--that should create some interesting promos to travel to Aruba and check out the hotel and the timeshares
johnsmith is offline  
Old Jan 1, 07, 12:31 pm
  #21  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: BOS/TUL/DEN
Programs: AA EXP (and 3mm), SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, Virtuoso, FSPP
Posts: 184
John - I am here on a paid stay, and I could have cancelled but I would have incurred a significant service charge. I decided to come and see how it is. I figured that if it was unacceptable it would be much easier to leave/get a refund.

I checked in today, and while service wasn't Westin quality - it wasn't awful either. I am in my newly renovated room, and it is okay. I was upgraded to an oceanview room, which seems a bit small. Some of the final details definately have not been attended to.

For example, there are no paintings on the wall - only the hangers. My desk ports are not plugged in. And my phones are from another room. There are a few other missing details (phone instructions sheet). But I suppose they are trying to make up for that by giving me an extra safe in the closet.

My first impression of the staff was okay, but as I interact with them more, I am less and less pleased. I'll be sure to keep you posted.
challett is offline  
Old Jan 1, 07, 8:57 pm
  #22  
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 556
one of the interesting things from the conversation I had with the GM is that he's a 10 year vet at the hotel, so he's come over from the Wyndham side. Honestly, it disappointed me a bit b/c I think the staff is a major issue and keeping the GM means that the hotel won't make major strides with the staff.

at the same time, I think Rob Smith (the GM) recognizes that he needs to up the product by a huge amount to justify the Westin name, price and reputation.

If you are still at the hotel, I would reach out to him. He called me from his cell on a Friday night, so he's obviously interested in making things right
His email is [email protected]
johnsmith is offline  
Old Jan 1, 07, 9:54 pm
  #23  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: BOS/TUL/DEN
Programs: AA EXP (and 3mm), SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, Virtuoso, FSPP
Posts: 184
John-

I couldn't agree more. It is without question the staff that sets Westin properties apart from the rest.

I'm curious to see how tomorrow goes. A new day, and no longer a holiday. Also the staff have made me a few promises for which I'm eagerly awaiting their execution .

I'll be sure to contact Rob if necessary.

Thanks again John.
challett is offline  
Old Jan 4, 07, 12:42 am
  #24  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Metro Detroit
Programs: DL Plat, NW Plat
Posts: 708
Just got back last nite from 9 days at the Westin Aruba. I'm not a happy camper. There is no way that place should have a Westin name on it.

The place is drastically understaffed. There was almost no service on the beach as might be expected. The rooms have great heavenly beds but the sheets were so rough that the joke was that this was the in-room exfoliating spa treatment! The furniture is old Wyndham stuff except for the new TV. They put up pictures on the 4th or 5th day of our stay. Spoke to many people that had construction on their floors daily. I was lucky that we didn't hear that. The bathrooms have little counter space for toiletries.

The food was aweful . So bad that we walked down to the Dunkin Donuts for coffee every morning and to the Hyatt for breakfast and lunch the last half of the vacation. The "Westin" needs to drastically improve food quality and offerings. A coffee shop that offers eggs and toast past 11 am for those that partied too late would be very well received.

Wireless was good but expensive ($12.00/day).

I had a few conversations with locals and the consensus was that there isn't enough popluation on the island to staff these large resorts. And foreign workers are only allowed to stay 2 years, so that kills consistency.

Would I stay there again someday? Probably not, considering the quality of other offerings at the same price nearby. Hyatt, Radisson, Marriott were standouts. If the weather and beach hadn't been so nice, I'd be even more frustrated than I am right now.

Lots of money paid for few services.
jcherney is offline  
Old Jan 4, 07, 4:03 pm
  #25  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Programs: Starwood
Posts: 29
Thanks for the recent review. For our 10th Anniversary in February I was debating whether to go to to Cancun and stay at the Le Meridien or to go Aruba and stay at the Westin. I am using points so I have to stay at a Starwood property. I decided a few days ago to go to Cancun and you just confirmed that I made the right decision!!!!
BrooklynCPA is offline  
Old Jan 13, 07, 5:30 pm
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Programs: Starwood Preferred guest
Posts: 1
I am planning a vacation at the Westin Aruba in November 07 for 3 families and am a little nervous to commit to the Westin. Any updates on stays in January and February will be appreciated prior to committing to the Westin Aruba. Is it worth staying on points or simply paying to stay at the Hyatt or Radisson where I know I will not have any issues nor status.

Last edited by pgoetz; Jan 13, 07 at 6:05 pm Reason: First time using
pgoetz is offline  
Old Jun 6, 07, 6:22 pm
  #27  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NYC
Programs: AA 1MM, DL Silver, SPG Lifetime Gold
Posts: 91
Westin Aruba - MASTER THREAD

Hi:
Wondering if any recent visitors to the Westin Aruba Resort would acknowledge that $489 for an ocean view room with balcony is a good value. Have searched and not seen very good comments, but perhaps those who had great experiences there don't post.

Don't mind paying $489 per night if it is a wonderful hotel and is the "place to be!"

Thanks!
kflyer2 is offline  
Old Jun 6, 07, 6:39 pm
  #28  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Programs: Starwood Platinum, Hilton Gold and Marriott Silver
Posts: 112
Find out the redemption level. If they are doing 10k, buy starpoints. You save $69 a night.
jswede1507 is offline  
Old Jun 6, 07, 10:35 pm
  #29  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Houston
Programs: TK*Gold; WN A-list; AA EXP; Hyatt Globalist; Marriott Titanium, Hilton Diamond, UA 1.56MM (fmr UA1K)
Posts: 5,760
Originally Posted by jswede1507 View Post
Find out the redemption level. If they are doing 10k, buy starpoints. You save $69 a night.
The redemption level is now cat 5.

I was in Aruba a month ago...stayed at the Marriott but walked through the Westin. I, however, did stay there last summer...post Starwood takeover but pre-Westin. All I can say is that if I were spending $469 a night for a hotel in Aruba, I'd be at the Hyatt. The Westin is fine but not for those kind of bucks imho.
Renard is offline  
Old Jun 6, 07, 10:45 pm
  #30  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Metro Detroit
Programs: DL Plat, NW Plat
Posts: 708
Originally Posted by Renard View Post
The redemption level is now cat 5.

I was in Aruba a month ago...stayed at the Marriott but walked through the Westin. I, however, did stay there last summer...post Starwood takeover but pre-Westin. All I can say is that if I were spending $469 a night for a hotel in Aruba, I'd be at the Hyatt. The Westin is fine but not for those kind of bucks imho.
Unless something drastic has changed since December, the quality is no higher than a Cat 3, maybe.
jcherney is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: