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 Nov 30, 09, 10:29 pm
  #91  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: MSP
Programs: Delta PE, SPG PE
Posts: 180
Originally Posted by mikeef View Post
We are going to pre-reserve a palapa, just in case. They are offering us the choice of a beach palapa or a pool hut. Is there any difference between the two, other than location?

Thanks,
Mike
Mike,

Go for the beach palapa. The beach view is something postcards are made of and their pool is mediocre at best.
trader61 is offline  
Old Dec 1, 09, 10:18 am
  #92  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Finally back in Boston after escaping from New York
Posts: 13,528
Originally Posted by trader61 View Post
Mike,

Go for the beach palapa. The beach view is something postcards are made of and their pool is mediocre at best.
Thanks. I probably should have mentioned that we'll have two babies with us, so convenience is also a factor.

Mike
mikeef is offline  
Old Dec 12, 09, 7:50 pm
  #93  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 41
Question--Can anyone offer the room numbers for premiuim ocean view rooms and or suites at this property??
golfer727272 is offline  
Old Jan 20, 10, 1:48 pm
  #94  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Finally back in Boston after escaping from New York
Posts: 13,528
Recent stay: Overall, I'd give it a "B."

Just completed a stay with my wife and one-year old twins, 1/14-1/19. Here's the good, the bad and the ugly.

We arrived on Thursday night and got a very friendly Westin driver (We had pre-reserved.) named Ricky. We kept trying to put our bags in our car and he told us that we weren't allowed to, since we were on vacation. The ride to the hotel was about 15 minutes and there were bellmen waiting and no line to check in. Since we had the kids, we had booked a suite and got room 702, which had a gorgeous view of the pool and sea. Everyone was extremely friendly and cribs were actually waiting for us in the room, which is rare for our Starwood stays (Normally, we have to call the front desk and remind them that we had requested cribs.). The bathroom was the size of a New York co-op and had the rainfall shower and oversized bathtub.


The amenities at the hotel included a decent pool, several restaurants (average, but not terrible, food) and a lousy casino (Don't know what I was expecting, but it clearly ain't Vegas. Hell, it's not even Laughlin.). As had been previously mentioned, all the restaurants, including the buffet, add a 17% service charge, which we didn't mind paying, considering the mess our kids made at the buffet. We didn't eat at the nicer restaurants but ate a couple meals at The Terrace and tried the Benihana-style dinner at Blossoms. Both were fine. For those of you with young people, there is a small kids club but we never saw anyone using it.

Note for non-smokers: The entire hotel inside is non-smoking but the entire outside allows smoking. If cigarette smoke bothers you, you may have to move around a bit. But it was pretty gross that there were people smoking in the pool and the drain area around the pool was covered in cigarette butts. Eww.


The good:


Service from everyone who worked inside the hotel and at the restaurants was generally excellent (There are some exceptions that I'll hit later.). People were friendly and seemed happy.

The suite was gorgeous (although you should note that if you are over the pool, it gets very noisy on the nights they have music or parties).

The hotel seemed to have plenty of activities and we were particularly impressed with the Monday night reception where they held a raffle with some excellent prizes, including dinner for two at a couple of the restaurants, a massage and three free nights at the hotel.

Service recovery, when needed, was excellent.


The bad:


Everyone who worked outside seemed miserable. I don't know where they found these people but, other than the one good employee we found at the pool hut, they ranged from apathetic to downright rude. The bartenders were pretty nasty. According to the website, "Our pool concierge is happy to deliver the finest luxuries." I'm still waiting to find the pool concierge, never mind the finest luxuries.

The palapas/pool huts were disappointing. We prefer the pool to the beach, so we pre-reserved a pool hut. When we got there, we discovered it wasn't much of a hut but more of a pole with an oversized umbrella made of palm. It really wasn't big enough to provide shade for two lounge chairs. We were there about five minutes before we unreserved. Since none of the pool huts were ever used anyway, there would have been no problem using them for free if we had wanted to.

The elevators were a disaster. We frequently waited >5 minutes for one and couldn't take the stairs with strollers. Often, two or three full elevators would pass us by before a half-empty one came. One of them was broken for most of the time we were there, but it didn't seem to matter when it got fixed.

The Ugly

While service recovery was excellent, there should have been no need for it in most cases. For example, if you are an SPG member, you are supposed to be given a restaurant "passport" that gets you discounts at some of the restaurants. We weren't, and when we asked after learning about it two days later, we were told that they were out of them. After some back and forth, the desk person told us that she would just adjust our bill when we left. They ended up giving us a $50 credit, which was probably more than we would have gotten if they had just given us the booklet up front.

Example two: Our bathroom kept filling up with puddles. We just put towels down, but the people below us complained so they came into our room to fix the problem. They ended up leaving a bottle of wine and chocolate-covered strawberries for us and cookies & milk for the kids as an apology. ^ Unfortunately for the babies, we felt they were too young to eat cookies and chocolate milk and finished the snacks on their behalf.

Final example: The day after they fixed the bathroom problem, the puddles started again. Maintenance came to the room and told us it was condensation from the air conditioning. As soon as he fixed the A/C, cigarette smoke came pouring in through vents into our living room, which is where the kids were supposed to sleep. We went back and forth for almost an hour trying to get the problem solved and eventually they sent someone up to air out the living room, moving the kids into the main bedroom. What really annoyed me, however, is that nobody uttered the words, "I'm sorry." We got excuses, explanations, transferred to several different people, etc., but no one even gave us the standard, "I apologize for the inconvenience." Eventually, we got a manager on the phone, expressed our feelings and he ended up giving us 10K points, which was more than generous. But if somebody had apologized up front, we would never have gotten started with him.

Overall, the hotel was quite nice and we had a good time, despite a few issues along the way.

Mike
mikeef is offline  
Old Feb 11, 10, 11:22 pm
  #95  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: PVD, GVA, BUD
Programs: AA ExecP
Posts: 830
Tried scouring the thread as best as I could - is there any lounge available for plats? Also, I spent an extra 1500 for a guaranteed ocean facing room, as it seems capicity is very, very high for this property around the 26thFeb-1stMarch...is it worth the extra 1500 a night, or should I back down and 'expect' an upgrade?
flying_q is offline  
Old Feb 12, 10, 10:29 am
  #96  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Finally back in Boston after escaping from New York
Posts: 13,528
Originally Posted by flying_q View Post
Tried scouring the thread as best as I could - is there any lounge available for plats? Also, I spent an extra 1500 for a guaranteed ocean facing room, as it seems capicity is very, very high for this property around the 26thFeb-1stMarch...is it worth the extra 1500 a night, or should I back down and 'expect' an upgrade?
No lounge. Upgrade capacity could be tight, but how important is that ocean view to you? We didn't spend a lot of time in our room.

Mike
mikeef is offline  
Old Feb 24, 10, 2:55 pm
  #97  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Connecticut
Programs: SPG-PLT, DL-PLT, AA-GLD (1 MM)
Posts: 141
Ouch - Rough Stay

Here's a trip report from my stay February 15-23, 2010

Hotel is in a great location. Nice pool. Beautiful beach. Nice restaurants. Nice, friendly staff. I was there with my wife and 3 young children for a February break vacation. Booked using points. Called in advance and they let me upgrade a suite for a couple of hundred bucks a night. Would have preferred a free upgrade, but happy to pay to guarantee a suite during a peak period.

Here's the problem. The Westin is the tallest building on the island. There are only 4 elevators. The whole time we were there at least 1 elevator was inoperable. At times TWO of the four elevators were out of service. We were on a middle floor and were forced to wait over 20 minutes for an elevator on multiple occasions. Horrible! Would have taken the stairs but had kids/strollers/etc... To the hotel's credit, after complaining I was comped a lunch and a breakfast as well as two nights of my paid suite upgrade. But the problems with the elevator really put a damper on the experience. There was constantly a line of guests at the front desk waiting to complain to management about the elevator situation.

We were informed of, and given, the dining passport (which results in cumulative discounts for subsequent meals) only after we heard about it from someone else - and after many meals without being able to apply the discount.

We asked the concierge for directions to Madame Janette's (one of the best restaurants in the Caribbean, and likely the best restaurant in Aruba) - and the concierge couldn't provide directions and didn't have a decent map. We got lost and found a friendly local who let us follow her to the restaurant.

Room did not have a hotel directory or room service menu anywhere to be found.

Hotel policy was for PLTs to get 2 bottles of water in their room. Delivery was spotty at best. Some days none at all. Other days we had to call to have it delivered.

Tough stay. Would probably go back to the hotel again because of its great location...but would NEVER go during a peak time like February break again. The hotel was full and it didn't seem like they could handle it. I like the property. I loved the view from my room. Great beach. Just a rough experience traveling with the little ones. If it was just my wife and I stairs would have been a better option.
Orange44 is offline  
Old Apr 14, 10, 9:16 pm
  #98  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 1
Westin Resort Aruba

Going in June - any recommendations or thoughts?
jwalt1121 is offline  
Old Apr 15, 10, 12:19 am
  #99  
Community Director
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Anywhere warm
Posts: 30,427
Welcome to FlyerTalk, jwalt1121. I've moved your query into the master thread on the hotel. If you read backwards, you'll find a lot of information about the hotel. Feel free to ask for anything that you don't already see here.

SanDiego1K
Starwood Mod
SanDiego1K is offline  
Old Apr 18, 10, 9:20 am
  #100  
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL
Programs: AA 4MM EXP; Starwood Lifetime Plt
Posts: 2,485
Originally Posted by Orange44 View Post
Here's a trip report from my stay February 15-23, 2010

...Called in advance and they let me upgrade a suite for a couple of hundred bucks a night. Would have preferred a free upgrade, but happy to pay to guarantee a suite during a peak period.

...Here's the problem. The Westin is the tallest building on the island. There are only 4 elevators. The whole time we were there at least 1 elevator was inoperable. At times TWO of the four elevators were out of service.

...We asked the concierge for directions to Madame Janette's (one of the best restaurants in the Caribbean, and likely the best restaurant in Aruba) - and the concierge couldn't provide directions and didn't have a decent map.

...Hotel policy was for PLTs to get 2 bottles of water in their room. Delivery was spotty at best. Some days none at all. Other days we had to call to have it delivered.
Here's our experience, in April 2010. The hotel appeared to be full. The first day we were assigned a junior suite, basically the same size as a suite, but open plan and in the back of the hotel. It was classified as 'ocean view' and it was indeed possible to make out the ocean in the distance. We did get a complimentary Platinum ocean-front suite upgrade on the second day, but only after insisting and eventually finding a very helpful receptionist who actually tried to find one. As for elevators, one was programmed to stop automatically on every floor (presumably as a courtesy to orthodox Jewish guests over the holidays and sabbath), but the others worked fine. The concierge had lots of maps and was very helpful. Bottled water was delivered without problems twice a day and the attendants were happy to provide as much as we wanted.

The weakest point of this hotel is the fact that exactly half of its rooms have no view at all as they face a neighboring hotel that blocks off nearly everything except very short stretches of mountains or beach, visible if you stick your neck out (this is known as 'island view' to the hotel). The other rooms face a lagoon and, further off, the sea. Only three rooms per floor, two of which are suites, actually face the sea. So, a real ocean-view room is nearly a statistically impossibility.
ajnaro is offline  
Old Apr 22, 10, 7:02 pm
  #101  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Programs: IHG Spire Elite; Hyatt Platinum; SPG Preferred+; Club Carlson Gold; SW CP
Posts: 674
Here's a trip report for visit April 14-19...

An award stay. Requested ocean view at check-in. Was given an island view suite (junior?). Could see the ocean from the balcony but normal line of sight was at the Riu.

Room was okay, nothing special. The bathtub faucet flanges, designed to be caulked against the shower wall, were protruding from the wall leaving an unsightly gap. Mentioned it to the front desk on check-out but it wasn't a major issue.

The location was nice. Beach was nice. Not too windy while we were there except for one day. Pool was decent. They were doing some work at the pool, removing a couple palm trees. Lots of iguanas.

Elevator situation wasn't perfect but wasn't horrible. Had to wait a couple minutes several times but nowhere near the 20 minutes others have had to wait.

Got to hold the exotic birds on the last day. That was cool.

Was not charged for taxes or resort fee on check-out (award stay). I had previously been told by SPG reps that I would have to pay the resort fee which would have really ticked me off.

Overall I'd give the property a 7 out of 10.
meecal is offline  
Old Apr 23, 10, 7:05 pm
  #102  
PHL
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: PHL, NYC
Programs: AA PLT, DL SLV, UA SLV, MR LTT, HH DIA
Posts: 8,584
Like the prior poster, (meecal), my travel mate and I were there during the same time period he was. But alas, these two FT'ers weren't able to coordinate our schedules to meet up.

We checked in on Friday 4/16, and out on Tuesday 4/20. We were upgraded to a 1 bedroom ocean view suite on the 11th floor. The 3 best rooms to get in the hotel are xx00, xx01 and xx02. the 01 and 02 suffixes are the 1 bedroom suites with a living room balcony and bedroom balcony. xx00 is a standard room with a direct ocean view, according to the room map I looked at. We were in 1102 and had a fantastic view directly out onto the beach/ocean.

The bathroom was very nice, with marble tiling and a 2 sink vanity. The bath, shower and toilet were in a separate room off the sink/changing area, and the shower was large and spacious with a big rain head that poured down on you. Very nice and refreshing after being out on the beach/at the pool all day.

There was a 42" TV in the bedroom and living room, served by various channels on Dish Network. It even had Fox 5 from New York, which I found funny.

I found the elevator situation pretty good, with only a few delays.

The pool bar and service was very good, in my opinion too. I've read other reviews here and on other travel sites that the pool staff were not all that friendly, but we loved the staff and often encountered the same people each day who remembered us and were very friendly and prompt.

Finding pool loungers was never a problem as long as you got out there by 10 or 11.

And, getting a lounger right on the beach (exposed...not under a shade) was easy. The staff happily would assign you two loungers and put them on the beach where you wished. A tip is all that was needed to say thank you to them.

I enjoyed the fact that there was a water activity desk(run by a third party) who was very helpful in helping find activities. I water skiid one day, and we were going to go out on the jolly pirate boat for snorkeling at the Antilla shipwreck, but ran out of time.

My only real complaint is the Hertz desk, which is not really the hotel's fault. But beware if you wish to rent or return from them. It is staffed by one person and she really seemed to take her time. For every rental return or pick up, the processing was extremely slow and she had to go out to the car each time to verify condition. Even though it was a short walk down the hall, she really took a LOONNG time to come back. There were just 3 people ahead of me and she still hadn't gotten to me after an hour. I finally said screw it and opted not to take it. Back to the pool for some more lounging and fantastic Aruban rum!

Overall, I concur with the meecal's rating of 7 out of 10. I would go back to Aruba any day, and likely would stay here but maybe try the Hyatt since it's slightly more centrally located to the high rise hotels (although not a long walk from the Westin).
PHL is offline  
Old May 27, 10, 9:19 pm
  #103  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Philadelphia, LAX, Paris
Programs: UA 1K/2MM, SPG/Marriott Lifetime Titanium, HHONOR Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, AA Exec Platinum
Posts: 2,639
What are your advices for transportation from the airport, and how much does the taxi ride costs? Thanks.
sapguy is offline  
Old May 27, 10, 10:07 pm
  #104  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PHL
Programs: AA EXP, HHonors Diamond, Marriott Lifetime Ti, UA Silver
Posts: 4,710
Originally Posted by sapguy View Post
What are your advices for transportation from the airport, and how much does the taxi ride costs? Thanks.
Unless you're planning on hanging in Palm Beach the entire time I'd seriously consider renting a car. That way you can explore the opposite side of the island, go to baby beach and boca grandi, check out downtown, and access all the really good restaurants that aren't in the Palm Beach area.

Other than that, I'd just get a cab at the airport.
PHLGovFlyer is offline  
Old May 28, 10, 5:38 am
  #105  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Philadelphia, LAX, Paris
Programs: UA 1K/2MM, SPG/Marriott Lifetime Titanium, HHONOR Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, AA Exec Platinum
Posts: 2,639
Originally Posted by PHLGovFlyer View Post
Unless you're planning on hanging in Palm Beach the entire time I'd seriously consider renting a car. That way you can explore the opposite side of the island, go to baby beach and boca grandi, check out downtown, and access all the really good restaurants that aren't in the Palm Beach area.

Other than that, I'd just get a cab at the airport.
How much is the cab ride from the airport?
sapguy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: