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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 May 28, 10, 4:54 am
  #106  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Northern NJ
Programs: All, but tend to stick with Starwood and Continental
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by sapguy View Post
How much is the cab ride from the airport?
About 25 USD.
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Old May 28, 10, 5:25 am
  #107  
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL
Programs: AA 4MM EXP; Starwood Lifetime Plt
Posts: 2,485
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.
I agree - a car is the way to go in Aruba. But, curiously for a tourist destination, even well-known international companies such as Budget rent worn-out, dirty, dented old vehicles that would have been sent to the junk yards anywhere else.
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Old May 31, 10, 8:14 am
  #108  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Ann Arbor Area
Programs: UA Million Miler, BonVoyLifetime Platinum, UA Platinum, President's Club,
Posts: 1,481
I'm headed back on Wednesday and honestly can't recall if they use different currency and what it is, or if they take dollars. Some places will take both.

I noticed on my reservation online that the request section was deleted last night. Is that odd? I always put a request for an upgrade in that area and I've never noticed it disappear before. I added it again so we'll see if it stays put in the reservation.

Since it's been almost 2 years since my last visit, I'm hoping the customer service is a bit better. I remember getting an upgrade to a suite which was beautiful on the 2nd night I was there, and am hoping to get another. But either way, at least I'll have that beautiful beach!

Has anyone stayed recently? Anything new? How are the upgrades? From what I read, it seems like not much has changed. I'm hoping it is nice enough for me to recommend for an upcoming group vacation. So far the Westin Diplomat is in the top 3, but it can hardly compete with Aruba's beauty. Then again, I am always partial to Cancun's Le Meridien. I'm judging on upgrades, pool area, service (especially in the pool and beach areas) and the state of the rooms. I think Aruba has an edge b/c of the casino but that's just me. I'd hate to recommend it and have people treated with a cool or rude demeanor. Westin Diplomat and Le Meridien Cancun have exceptional customer service, so I guess we'll see!
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Old Jun 1, 10, 3:17 pm
  #109  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: BWI
Programs: SPG Plat
Posts: 105
Originally Posted by thaliajen View Post
I'm headed back on Wednesday and honestly can't recall if they use different currency and what it is, or if they take dollars. Some places will take both.

Has anyone stayed recently? Anything new? How are the upgrades?
I think nearly every place accepts USD. A lot of places will list prices in the local currency(Florins). The exchange rate was 1.8 Florins to USD last week, so don't be too surprised when you see a burger for $16, it's probably in Florins.

I stayed here last week for 4 nights. My original booking was a standard garden view room. For the first two nights, I was put in an ocean view room. The last two nights, I was put in an ocean front suite(one of the xx01 rooms). It's really a great room if you can score it. Very spacious, two separate terraces, and most importantly, a killer view.

The elevators are a common complaint and I kind of agree they do have some issues. One thing I noticed was that there seemed to be a lot of people going from floor to floor rather than just floor to lobby which causes a lot more stops and more waiting time. It was common for the elevators to leave the lobby totally jam packed.

I found the staff there to be quite friendly. More often than not you will be greeted by a staff member as you walk by.

I also discovered why they put a flashlight in the nightstand. The whole island lost power for about 6 hours on one of the nights I was there. The hotel did have a generator which supplied power to only essential functions, like the front desk and lighting for the common areas. But all the rooms, restaurants, and even the casino were totally dark. Meanwhile, the Riu next door was business as usual. I ended up making good money on the slots so it kind of worked out for me

I wouldn't get a car for more than 2 days. Considering you can drive from one side of the island to the other in an hour, you can easily see everything that's "remote" in 2 days and just cab it to any other local destination for the rest of your trip.

Last edited by SixString; Jun 1, 10 at 3:25 pm Reason: added my rental car thoughts
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Old Jun 2, 10, 9:46 pm
  #110  
 
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 SixString View Post
I wouldn't get a car for more than 2 days. Considering you can drive from one side of the island to the other in an hour, you can easily see everything that's "remote" in 2 days and just cab it to any other local destination for the rest of your trip.
I tend to agree...2 days would be enough for a car to see the sights. Downtown can be easily accessible by bus too for just an informal jaunt to check that out...lots of tourists take the bus. However, I am not sure that the bus would be great if you want to dine downtown and are all dressed up...then a rental car or taxi would be best.
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Old Jul 24, 10, 2:30 pm
  #111  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 177
Has anyone encountered internet issues?

I've got a buddy there right now who says the internet is terrible and is run by the gov't, so the hotel isn't a lot of help. If you had any internet issues, what solutions/workarounds did the hotel provide? Any ideas for internet access nearby?

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 24, 10, 3:15 pm
  #112  
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL
Programs: AA 4MM EXP; Starwood Lifetime Plt
Posts: 2,485
Originally Posted by Bucko View Post
I've got a buddy there right now who says the internet is terrible and is run by the gov't, so the hotel isn't a lot of help. If you had any internet issues, what solutions/workarounds did the hotel provide? Any ideas for internet access nearby?

Thanks in advance!
When I was there recently, the Westin offered TWO internet plans -- one free (for everyone) and very slow, and the other charged and less slow. For my purposes the less slow one was satisfactory.
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Old Oct 18, 10, 7:35 pm
  #113  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: up in the air!
Programs: SPG Lifetime Plat, AA EXP/Lifetime Plat, AV Diamond
Posts: 154
$25 resort service fee

Just made two sets of points based bookings for next jan and I see that dreaded resort fee - wonder what platinums get for their $25?
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Old Oct 19, 10, 10:48 am
  #114  
Company Representative - Starwood
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Austin, Texas
Programs: Marriott Employee Level
Posts: 31,593
Originally Posted by gimmedub View Post
Just made two sets of points based bookings for next jan and I see that dreaded resort fee - wonder what platinums get for their $25?
No reason to guess. The policy is listed on their announcements page:

Resort Charge Policy
There is a daily 13% resort charge includes access to fitness center, tennis and transportation to local court, pool concierge and resort activities: popsicle service, water-spritzing, CD players, magazines, stock quotes dance lessons, picture memories, variety of water toys, kids activities, stargazing, movie night, parent’s night off, cooking with chef and storytelling.


Looks as if they have settled on $25 being the resort charge for award bookings instead of 13%. They might have to substitute for access to the fitness center for Platinums, if the hotel owns and operates it.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

[email protected]
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Old Oct 20, 10, 7:02 pm
  #115  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Programs: CO, UA, AA, WN, DL Gold
Posts: 2,970
Originally Posted by Starwood Lurker View Post
No reason to guess. The policy is listed on their announcements page:

Resort Charge Policy
There is a daily 13% resort charge includes access to fitness center, tennis and transportation to local court, pool concierge and resort activities: popsicle service, water-spritzing, CD players, magazines, stock quotes dance lessons, picture memories, variety of water toys, kids activities, stargazing, movie night, parent’s night off, cooking with chef and storytelling.


Looks as if they have settled on $25 being the resort charge for award bookings instead of 13%. They might have to substitute for access to the fitness center for Platinums, if the hotel owns and operates it.

Best regards,

William R. Sanders
Online Guest Feedback Coordinator
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide

[email protected]
Nice of them to allow stargazing.
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Old Nov 8, 10, 9:49 am
  #116  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Lafayette, CO, USA
Programs: SPG Lifetime Plat, AA Gold, UA Gold, DL Silver, HH Gold, Vail Epic
Posts: 9,096
From the hotel's Announcements webpage:
From October 27 through November 27, 2010, the Casablanca casino at the Westin Resort, Aruba will temporarily close due to an ownership change. The hotel is not affected by this closure. The newly named Palm Beach Casino, Aruba, will reopen in approximately four weeks, redecorated and with many new machines. In the interim, the hotel is working with other area casinos to serve its guests. Please contact the hotel for further information.
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Old Nov 18, 10, 7:55 am
  #117  
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Toronto vicinity
Programs: UA 1K, AC MM E50, Marriott LT Titanium, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 13,582
Is it possible to get an all-inclusive package on a reward stay at this hotel? I couldn't find it on the web site.

TIA
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Old Dec 18, 10, 11:09 pm
  #118  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Programs: SPG Gold, Hilton Diamond, DL, AA
Posts: 42
We just came back from a great stay at this resort. The Casino reopened on 12/13 and is very nice. We got great treatment as plats including an upgrade to an oceanview suite on the 15th floor! (it was an award stay)
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Old Dec 19, 10, 12:39 pm
  #119  
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Pawleys Island
Programs: SPG Plat
Posts: 7
The hotel is very friendly to SPG platinum!!! This was our 3rd trip to the Westin Aruba. I used points to book 2 rooms for a week. The hotel was very full; but did not seem like it. They upgraded both rooms. The 1st room to high floor room ending in 00. This room is a Jr. Suite with the most beautiful ocean view in the entire hotel, ocean front and 2 balconies. The 2nd room was upper floor (XX05) a 2 room suite, they called it an island view, but you could see the ocean from both balconies. We were charged the $25.00 resort fee per room per day, which did not bother me because we used points. The staff was so accommodating and friendly; every request was fulfilled quickly and with a smile. The casino opening party was held when we where there. They did that instead of the manager’s reception with champagne/open bar and heavy hors devours. We ordered lunch by the ocean/pool and it was the best cooked to order cheeseburger I have ever had and so were the nachos. The Hotel is not a Four Seasons, but is very nice and clean, and the view of the ocean cannot be beat!
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Old Jan 3, 11, 11:32 am
  #120  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 191
Just returned from 10 nights on points at the Westin Aruba and I can say that I was quite pleased with the service and the hotel. We had an ocean front suite, room ending in xx02 is to me the best suite because you get the ocean front view and you get a direct view of the sunset. Rooms seemed to have had a soft renovation; however the bathrooms have not been renovated. Living room had a pull out couch which my kids slept on. The only negative to suite is there is only one bathroom.

We have always traveled during the week between Christmas and New Years and hotels generally get overstressed and facilities overtaxed. I can say that from a service point of view the hotel had their “stuff together” . It rained a few timed, and the hotel had plenty of clean towels ALWAYS, they never ran out, this was a surprised and I have been to RC and FS and they run out, especially when it rains 3 or 4 times throughout the day.

We reserved a Palapa $45/day (sort of like an umbrella by the pool), if you do not reserve one you can get one if they are unrented in the morning on a first come first serve basis. During the holiday period they are all reserved. If you do not rent one there is basically no shade.

The pool was quite busy and they never ran out of chairs, the pool guys just kept brining more and more out. Its good news bad news because by end of day it like a maze to get around the pool area. The beach was the same it was PACKED wall to wall people you could not move. The Westin has a very small beach compared to most hotels.

I cannot talk that much about breakfast because we did not have. There is a Dunkin Donuts just a short walk down the path by the beach, we saw many people there from our hotel each day. We did have lunch each day by the pool and we thought the food was “ok” not great but I can complement the waiters and the kitchen as we never waited long for either drinks or food.
If you want to do water sports do not book with the hut across from where you get towels thay are the most expensive. Pelican has a building by the pool and we found their rates to be very good. Jet Skis were $65/half hour, if you want a Sea doo jet boat (4 people) take a walk down the beach to the pier right before the Marriott. The first hut after the pier they rent them for $100/half hour rather than $130 or $140 as they actually own the boat rather than most who are just “agents”

We only had one dinner at the hotel the Italian restaurant it was “fair”, we found a great place to eat called Sunset Beach Café at the Phoenix hotel next to Westin. You have dinner on the beach, yes there are other that do on the beach as well, but this place was great and very quiet if you like that as well as it has the best view of the sunset. I would avoid the restaurant Azull at the Westin for beach dinning, as they have a $70.00 price fixed menu and its not great.

We found the restaurants in Aruba to be good not great but good, I can recommend the following:

Marindi
Que Pasa
L.G. Smiths
El gauchos
The Flying fish Bone
Sunset Beach Café
Madame Jeanette’s

Do not rely on the concierge’s recommendations for dinner. The conciergies per them do not work for hotel they are an outside service and can not recommend one restaurant over another based on quality. I found a website http://www.restaurantsaruba.com/ to be very helpful for recommendation, then I asked the concierge to book for me.

We rented a car at the Hertz location in the hotel. The cabs are cheap in Aruba, and given that we were going out each night for dinner and were playing golf and other activities we rented one. I generally rent a car when on vacation as I like the freedom to explore the island. The hotel does NOT charge for self-parking THANK YOU WESTIN ARUBA!!!!! Valet parking is $10/day.

The hotel give you free internet access (included with the mandatory resort charge) its very slooowwwww, especially in the late afternoon and early evening.

As you will read in many posts there are problems with the elevators at the hotel. There are 4 however one of the four is generally broken so you can wait a long time. One of the days we were there 2 were broken, it was a disaster people waited 20 minutes for elevators. If there is a long line in the late afternoon when coming up from beach/pool, walk up the one flight of stairs and go to the main lobby. Press the down button and take the elevator down. That way when everyone is getting on you are not shut out by the elevator being full. Yes this is a pain but if one or two are broken which happens quite a bit there, this is an easy way around the problem.
When you leave for the airport, you can plan on it taking from 1.5 hours to 2 hours to get from the hotel to the gate depending on how the lines are at the airport. It took us 1.5 hours and I am an elite on American and had no wait. Jet Blue has some of the longest lines as they have 2 flights that leave around the same time. Its about a 20 minute drive depending on traffic to Airport then after check-in you wait on line for Aruban Customs, then you go through security, then you reclaim your luggage and go to US Customs and Immigration. Aruban customs has a line as their were only 2 agents working, US Customs had 10 Agents working so the line moved quickly. After US customs you put your bags on a belt and then have to go through another security checkpoint. None of the security checkpoints have a elite line or first class line. Once you are through the US Customs you will NOT miss your flight regardless of how long the next line is, if it gets close to flight time they come down and call out the names of people the airline is looking for and bring you to front of line.

All and all we found the Westin Aruba to be a GREAT family place and will plan on returning next year.
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