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

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

 
Old Aug 9, 08, 1:42 am
  #61  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor Area
Programs: UA Million Miler, BonVoyLifetime Platinum, UA Platinum, President's Club,
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Thanks to both posters- I love the photo of the hotel, it looks nice from far away! I actually contacted the hotel to see what the upgrade situation was like, if they might have availability or not, and received an odd, somewhat rude reply. I wasn't asking for a free suite, just wondering about availability, possibility.

After seeing the photos of the suite's bathroom and how small it looks (especially the tub) I'm not very hopeful for the regular room. But then I wasn't exactly thrilled about this trip in the 1st place. Maybe the hotel will upgrade me and maybe not, I just hope everything else works!

I'll post an updated review when I get back. After my recent experiences at the Westin Cancun and Westin Grand Lucaya, I am a bit worried. Then again, I loved the Westin in Cabo and the one in Puerto Vallarta. I wish they could all be like Miami's Westin Diplomat- now THAT is a great hotel!
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Old Aug 9, 08, 11:12 am
  #62  
 
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My advice would be to keep expectations low--expect to receive what you purchase...and be happy if an upgrade pans out. As a gold, I received an upgrade from a standard room to what I think they called a 'family suite'...in the back of the hotel--nice room but it has NO ocean view.

This might be heresy but the Hyatt and Marriott on Aruba are also very nice--myself I prefer them both to the Westin.

I am very turned off by the "dance" once must go through very early in the morning to get a palapa on the beach. I would never do this "dance" again and would just pay what they want to reserve them.
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Old Aug 9, 08, 11:14 am
  #63  
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Originally Posted by thaliajen View Post
I actually contacted the hotel to see what the upgrade situation was like, if they might have availability or not, and received an odd, somewhat rude reply.

I wasn't asking for a free suite, just wondering about availability, possibility.
1) why would you contact the hotel about an upgrade? the platinum benefits are quite clear. upgrades are given to platinum members at check-in.

https://www.starwoodhotels.com/prefe...gram_tour.html


2) yes you were. you might not have actually used those words (i.e., "please upgrade me"), but you were writing for an upgrade. let's not kid ourselves.

Last edited by fly co to see the yanks; Aug 9, 08 at 6:42 pm
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Old Aug 9, 08, 4:55 pm
  #64  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor Area
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No, I was asking about the possibility of upgrades. IF I have a suite with a living room separate from the bedroom, I feel comfortable having meetings in my room. Would I have liked an upgrade- yes. But more important was knowing if there WAS a possibility. That way I'd know (if they said no possibility) that I needed an alternate site for my meeting. Since the email made me feel as if there was not much of a chance (unless I wanted to pay full rate for a suite which, I don't) I made other arrangements for the meeting.

Meanwhile, as I check in, I am told that I was "denied" an upgrade, a notation made in the computer. Not just "we don't have one" but "I see a notation that you were denied an upgrade." EXACT words. Maybe it didn't translate right. And when he was looking at possible junior suites, a woman was listening intently and came over and listened to our whole conversation. She seemed very interested in my check-in. I believe it is the woman who emailed me, though I don't know for sure. Also, I have been unable to see the details of my current reservation on SPG.com. Usually when that happens, it is because someone upgraded me. I still don't know why I couldn't see the details yesterday and today. Meanwhile, I was told they DO have junior suites available but they are not separate rooms and have a not so great view.

I would've preferred that- more room is more room, but after the long flight, I just wanted to get to my room. I got exactly what I paid for, though I am not impressed by the hotel decor and layout. My room has a tiny balcony shaped like a V with a view of the pools and partial of the ocean. The pool area looks nice- and I'm already wondering about a Palapa since I have a morning meeting. Maybe I'll just get a chair by the pool when I get back- it sounds too confusing to tangle in the Palapa affairs!

Anyway, no harm, no foul, I am not whining or pouting, I am laying on the bed checking my schedule and using the $15 for 24 hours internet service to prepare for an important meeting, which will take place at the Hyatt, where everyone else is staying. I might actually take a look at one of my colleague's rooms as I hear it is a very nice hotel, and I have a separate reservation number for Monday (using Cash and Points) so if it's a lot better, I may cancel my last night here and try something new.

And now I will order room service and sleep (hopefully) despite the construction and noise. I was told that if a suite is available tomorrow or Monday, they will contact me. Either way, I'm in Aruba, which is lovely and I don't need to worry now about holding the meeting here, so after tomorrow I'm just going to relax. And shop, of course!
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Old Aug 14, 08, 1:51 am
  #65  
 
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Okay, here is a recent review. I posted above about not getting a Plat upgrade the 1st day, but I did call down and get it the 2nd and 3rd days. The suite I had on 15th floor overlooked the sea- an awesome sight. I didn't expect to love Aruba as much as I did, but just looking at that water made me happy.

The suite had a separate living room and much bigger bathroom with separate tub and shower. The tub was larger than the one in the single room and the shower was, well, what do you call that large circular shower head that hangs above you and rains down one you? It was like the spas have, and very, very nice. There was a walk-in closet at the end of the bathroom with a safe, very convenient. The little vanity area had a little stool, but there was no room for make-up because it had the ice bucket and coffee maker. There was plenty of room, though, on the sink area.

The bedroom had the Heavenly Bed, a large flat screen like in the living room and a chair. There were 2 walls of window- actually 2 separate glass doors that opened onto a nice balcony overlooking the pool area and sea. There was a smaller and separate balcony from the living room.

The suite was comfortable and IMO, well set up. The rest of the hotel wasn't as great as I'd expected it to be- it was kind of old and certainly not as nice as most seaside Westins I have been to, but it wasn't BAD either. Considering that after the 1st day I spent most of my time outside or in a casino, it was a fine place to change and sleep.

The staff is hard to put a finger on- I found several very nice people at the desk and room service, but everyone else seemed to not really care much about anything. The bartenders at the pool were downright surly, and pointed out that even though there was a tip added to the bill, they should still get tips. Okay. Even the bellman who delivered my new keys to me when I switched rooms made sure I remembered his name so I could leave a tip for him. I didn't have any cash on me and I didn't have him take my bags, so he wanted a tip just for bringing up the keys. I did tip housekeeping everyday, and one night when I got turn-down service, but they never asked for or expected a tip. They leave water everyday for SPG guests which is very nice. Also, Aruba has exceptionally good water quality so mixing my water with ice didn't bother me a bit.

The pool was a bit of a disappointment to me- smallish for a Carribbean resort, and no waitresses or waiters. To get a drink one had to order it at the bar. I did see, on Monday, a waitress on the beach taking drinks to people who'd rented out the beach palapas, but she never came near my beach chair.

The beach was the best thing about the hotel and a reason I might just return for pleasure next time. It was a calm beach and the water was crystal clear. I spent hours by the beach, where I normally spend my time sitting by the pools reading at these beach hotels. The beach was one of the best I've ever been to, hands down- clear aqua water and white, white sand. I would put it up against Cancun or Cozumel anyday.

The small casino was, well, small. They had a $5 blackjack table that was full most nights, but it was not a BAD casino, just small. I went down to the Raddison, it wasn't much bigger but it was busier. I had fun and met a woman whose son was sick and she had an extra ticket for a snorkeling tour. I went with her the next day and loved it. If you ever get to Aruba, take the tour that allows you to snorkel among the remains of the WWII shipwreck. The Westin has a good concierge service, though I wasn't there long enough to use it.

The beach activities at the Westin were very good. They offered everything- banana boats, jet-ski, parasailing, etc. The Westin's LL had several stores and a Japenese/Chinese restaurant that I heard was very good. I ate room service one night (not such great pizza) and one night had dinner at the Westin's Italian restaurant which was VERY good. The beach/pool restaurant was okay, just not many options.

I don't think this hotel has earned the category it has (5), but it is not a bad place. I saw a few rooms and a suite at the Hyatt and think it is a better hotel, but I would stay at the Westin again if I got a good deal. I consider myself lucky that I got a suite for the last 2 nights and it really made a big difference to me. The view was gorgeous, though it was hard to stare out at the sea with so many darn boats all over.

The beach of white sand and gorgeous water was worth all the trouble, and I wish I'd had more time there. The hotel itself was nothing like Le Meridien in Cancun or even Westin in Cabo or Puerta Vallarta- it just wasn't in their league. But I would stay there again, IF the prices were right.

The one thing that made me sad was the caged tropical birds. They look so sad. In Maui, at their Westin, the caged birds are well-cared for and they look beautiful. This Westin displayed their birds with a sort of carelessness that made me worry for the birds' health and safety. No one was there to stop kids from poking them or people from acting stupid. And people DID act stupid. At least in Maui they were all in 1 area with a keeper nearby. And those birds don't stay there 24/7. Either way, it was a sad sight. I almost cried as I watched a gorgeous bird eating its own feather. He (or she) had it in his claw and kept pecking at it- a full feather from a large bird- I don't know how it came out or what happened, but it was sad. (I'd never admit it to my hubby- he has a cockateel that drives me NUTS and I avoid at all costs because I don't care much for birds in cages.)

One additional thought- some people there stayed as all-inclusive guests. I have never done that as I don't drink so it never seems to work out in my favor, but considering the prices of the restaurants and the tips upon tips and service charges, I might look into it if I return.

Overall- I'd say since it is the only Starwood on the island, I'd recommend it for people who aren't too picky, but I think it is overpriced and doesn't deserve to be a category 5. It could use an overhaul, not just the hotel, but the staff, too. Still, when you get right down to it, just go out to the beach and look at the water. It will make you smile. I miss it already.
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Old Aug 14, 08, 5:15 am
  #66  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
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Originally Posted by thaliajen View Post
I did see, on Monday, a waitress on the beach taking drinks to people who'd rented out the beach palapas, but she never came near my beach chair.
Maybe she just avoided you after the bellman failed to put in a good word for you.

Thanks for the more detailed review! I agree that the common price is a bit too high, but it's a good place when a special rate is offered. (When I was there on July 4, it was on a Starpick rate of $135.)
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Old Aug 16, 08, 2:13 am
  #67  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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LOL- could be!
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Old Sep 12, 08, 11:44 am
  #68  
 
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Westin Aruba

Hi everyone,

First posting ever, although I've been reading all the SPG threads for weeks now - great community. I'm glad I discovered this.

I'm thinking of staying at the Westin Aruba this October (former Wyndham apparently). The reviews from sites like Expedia aren't grand. Although the property has undergone a major reno. Unfortuantely, the pool is under renovation the period I'll be there so they are offering guests the use of another resort's pool - The Mill - across the street.

Anyone ever been to this property before? If so, I'd love to hear your comments.

Hoping for some sort of room upgrade with SPG Gold - soon to be Plat.

Thanks.

OMCA
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Old Sep 12, 08, 11:50 am
  #69  
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Hi and welcome.

Hopefully this will help.
Westin Aruba [Master Thread]
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Old Sep 12, 08, 11:59 am
  #70  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Thanks Cheap Elite

Evidently I need to learn to search the forums a bit better...I tried, but I couldn't find this - thanks Cheap Elite.

Going down there for a big poker tournament. If I win, dinner on me next time you find yourself in Ottawa, Canada.

Thanks again.
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Old Sep 12, 08, 12:13 pm
  #71  
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OMCA, welcome to the Starwood forum. I'm glad that Cheap Elite was able to help you with a link to the property thread. I've now merged your request for info into it, so that folks can see if they have any additional info for you.

SanDiego1K
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Old Jan 14, 09, 9:02 am
  #72  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Westin / Marriott/ Ren?

Okay - I've read through this thread and all of the threads on the Marriott and Ren and I'm still conflicted (plus I'm hoping there might be someone with a more recent stay at the Westin who could chime in).

My choices for a Feb or March 1-week trip are the Marriott (ocean view, 180K points), the Ren (ocean suite, 110K points + $600), or the Westin (ocean view, 58K points).

Could anyone who has seen/stayed at more than one of these properties help out? Looking to rank them on:
  • quality of beach/pool (either is fine, beach preferred)
  • quality of rooms/likeihood for upgrade (MR Plat, SPG Gold)
  • decent local (non-fast food) restaurants within walking distance

In the Marriott threads I see people bashing both Marriott properties and preferring the Westin; in this thread I see a lot of the opposite.

This would be our first trip to Aruba. We've done St John and St Maarten in the last couple of years and while reading these threads has made clear we won't be in that league here, we're hoping for at least something close...

Advice appreciated!
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Old Jan 14, 09, 8:24 pm
  #73  
 
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Originally Posted by FormerLurker View Post
Okay - I've read through this thread and all of the threads on the Marriott and Ren and I'm still conflicted (plus I'm hoping there might be someone with a more recent stay at the Westin who could chime in).

My choices for a Feb or March 1-week trip are the Marriott (ocean view, 180K points), the Ren (ocean suite, 110K points + $600), or the Westin (ocean view, 58K points).

Could anyone who has seen/stayed at more than one of these properties help out? Looking to rank them on:
  • quality of beach/pool (either is fine, beach preferred)
  • quality of rooms/likeihood for upgrade (MR Plat, SPG Gold)
  • decent local (non-fast food) restaurants within walking distance

In the Marriott threads I see people bashing both Marriott properties and preferring the Westin; in this thread I see a lot of the opposite.

This would be our first trip to Aruba. We've done St John and St Maarten in the last couple of years and while reading these threads has made clear we won't be in that league here, we're hoping for at least something close...

Advice appreciated!

I was in Aruba this past September. Prices were high so I reverted to Priceline. Landed a room at the Marriott which was on the tail end of some major renovations - likely explaining how we got a room for $95 US/night for 7nights. They gave us an ocean-view room which was just magnificent. The room was fully renovated: nice bathrooms, large flat screen LCD's, everything was updated nicely. Why we got an ocean-view room via Priceline is beyond me. It was the deal of a lifetime.

The pool area was very nice imo...although there was the noise of renovations not too far off. As those must be completed by now, I'm sure it's gorgeous. I went to the Westin just to check the property out (about a 20 minute walk away) and its lobby was just stunning, also having undergone a big renovation. Never saw the rooms. The pool area was closed when we were there, also being renovated so who knows how nice it ended up now. In between the two properties are several reasonably priced restaurants in my opinion.

I don't know the value of Mariott Reward Points to point you in a good direction though to compare value for $. If I was given the choice of both, I'd go with Westin with the hope of landing an upgrade, but if I were not eligible, I'd consider both properties to be 5*.

Have a great trip!
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Old Jan 14, 09, 8:56 pm
  #74  
 
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Originally Posted by FormerLurker View Post
My choices for a Feb or March 1-week trip are the Marriott (ocean view, 180K points), the Ren (ocean suite, 110K points + $600), or the Westin (ocean view, 58K points).

Could anyone who has seen/stayed at more than one of these properties help out? Looking to rank them on:
  • quality of beach/pool (either is fine, beach preferred)
  • quality of rooms/likeihood for upgrade (MR Plat, SPG Gold)
  • decent local (non-fast food) restaurants within walking distance
My experience is that the beaches and pools are pretty comparable all the properties.

I've never been to any of them as a Plat so I can't speak to upgrades.

The Marriott is not in walking distance of anything, really, being ALL the way at the end of the hotel zone. The Westin and Ren are much more centrally located and pretty close together, with a lot within walking distance. That said, having a car in Aruba is handy, easy, inexpensive, and highly recommended.

If you can, I'd also consider the Hyatt which is a great, central property.

AS
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Old Jan 14, 09, 10:58 pm
  #75  
 
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Posts: 5,760
I've stayed at all three and I would say that the Marriott is the strongest of the three...although as others have mentioned, its location is a bit farther away from some of the action. The suggests to investigate the Hyatt is a good one. My big beef with the Westin is the gigantic line that starts forming before dawn to get a beach palapa.
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