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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 Feb 4, 11, 8:05 pm
  #121  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: up in the air!
Programs: SPG Lifetime Plat, AA EXP/Lifetime Plat, AV Diamond
Posts: 154
My $0.02 on the Westin Aruba

Just got back from a 5 night stay and thought I'd share my thoughts...

The GREAT:

- lots of good restaurants on the island (but you need a car)... my fav. is Marina Pirata - just past the airport on the water... priced in florins ... second is El Gaucho (Argentinian steak house)
- Weather was awesome; beach is great (no need to pay for a palapa - just show up before 10am); scuba is good
- People are great and speak english and spanish (needed for my small family)

The GOOD:

- Westin Heavenly Bed
- no $25 resort fee charged (well I haven't seen the final AMEX charge yet)

Things I'd change:

- a reno on the bathrooms - they're showing their age now
- the fact that you need a car (or cab) to get to great eating spots - IMO the restaurants across the street are overpriced/underwhelming

At first I wasn't really into Aruba - kinda felt like it was trying to be Cancun (think American Mega-resort) while attempting to cater to the European crowd... however after 5 days I loved it for what it is - a small, SAFE Caribbean island with a fairly decent economic base and a nice mix of tourists (Latin, Euro, American) and no major set of spring-breakers (that stage of life has passed)
gimmedub is offline  
Old Mar 28, 11, 10:38 am
  #122  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 69
Westin Aruba

Does anyone know if Plat's get free breakfast or Resort Fee waived?

Resort fee is 13% ($33) per night, and if I do get something free what if my rate is 'Pre-pay' ?? do they take the money now for resort fee and we settle up when I check out?

I've got 2 rooms at $219 each (is that the best rate?) for 8nites 4/27-5/5? so this is resort fee adds up to over $500


thanks

Bill


Average est. room total per night**

Estimated total for your stay**
1 room(s) for 8
night(s)
Room rate: USD 249.00 USD 1,992.00
Room rate excludes the following:
Ahata: USD 5.83 USD 46.61
2.34 % Per Room / Per Night
Government: USD 21.54 USD 172.31
8.65 % Per Room / Per Night
Resort Charge: USD 32.37 USD 258.96
13.00 % Per Room / Per Night
Estimated total**: USD 308.74 USD 2,469.88
billyidle is offline  
Old Mar 28, 11, 11:16 am
  #123  
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL
Programs: AA 4MM EXP; Starwood Lifetime Plt
Posts: 2,485
Originally Posted by billyidle View Post
Does anyone know if Plat's get free breakfast or Resort Fee waived?

Resort fee is 13% ($33) per night, and if I do get something free what if my rate is 'Pre-pay' ?? do they take the money now for resort fee and we settle up when I check out?

I've got 2 rooms at $219 each (is that the best rate?) for 8nites 4/27-5/5? so this is resort fee adds up to over $500


thanks

Bill
No free breakfast for Platinum in April 2010. On the second day, I was upgraded to an ocean front suite, but only after a lot of negotiation with the front desk. The resort fee was charged, but there were no perks associated with it, other than low-speed internet. Your rate seems good, as the best I could get was $270 (for "Island/resort View").
ajnaro is offline  
Old Apr 7, 11, 8:35 pm
  #124  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Boulder, CO
Programs: SPG Plat, AA Plat, UA Silver, kettle everywhere else
Posts: 363
As platinum, did you get the slightly better internet?
SceneStealer7 is offline  
Old Apr 8, 11, 1:38 am
  #125  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bay Area, CA
Programs: UA 1K MM, SPG LT Plat 100
Posts: 378
As a platinum- I'm looking to come June 1-8th..anyone been recently that care share some reviews and upgrade experiences?

Thank you much
vg247 is offline  
Old Apr 24, 11, 4:05 am
  #126  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: YVR SFO EOF
Programs: UA 1K, VX S
Posts: 4,866
Any upgrade love for Golds?
unavaca is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 1:05 pm
  #127  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: up in the air!
Programs: SPG Lifetime Plat, AA EXP/Lifetime Plat, AV Diamond
Posts: 154
YES

Yep - Did get the "better" internet comp'd as a Plat!

Originally Posted by SceneStealer7 View Post
As platinum, did you get the slightly better internet?
gimmedub is offline  
Old Apr 27, 11, 6:58 pm
  #128  
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL
Programs: AA 4MM EXP; Starwood Lifetime Plt
Posts: 2,485
Originally Posted by gimmedub View Post
Yep - Did get the "better" internet comp'd as a Plat!
A receptionist explicitly told me that I could have only the lower speed as an SPG Platinum guest and the higher speed was charged on my bill at check-out. At that point the check-out receptionist removed the charge, but it was again recharged to my credit card a week later as a separate charge. I never had the time to follow up with Starwood customer service. Maybe some day ....
ajnaro is offline  
Old May 9, 11, 9:35 am
  #129  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 69
Just got back Thursday from 7 day trip.

My interent process went like this,

Low Speed is free and High-speed is charged like $62 for the week.

I called the FD and asked about Platinum Internet services.

Resposne yes its free.

I said does that include High speed?

she said no Internet is free for all.

I said is there any Platinum level perk?

She spoke in spanish to someone and said , yes just use it and we will remove the charge,

well the next day the folio showed the weekly charge and I told the FD person that I was told it would be removed and he said no problem and credited me immediately,

sadly High speed wasnt so high speed, so Im not sure how bad the low speed was.
billyidle is offline  
Old May 9, 11, 9:55 am
  #130  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 69
7 nites, 2 rooms. we had a great time, not sure Id go back. There was nothing wrong with Aruba but nothing to justify a return also remember its just about in south america so the added 2hrs from say San juan is a pain.

the best rooms are high floors like 16-18 room 00, this has a double balcony that looks directly at the ocean. 01,02 are almost as good, 04 you can see the ocean and pool. 03 ocean and the Riu.

higher floor is a bit more quiet, I was on 9th and the view was great but napping in the afternoon would be tough.

staff was always nice and attentive, I only got my rooms cleaned once, and they did a great job, I say them out side in our hall corner cleaning every morninng and just asked for a couple of bottles of water and they didnt hesitate to give them to me with a smile.

Blossoms jap.sushi was very good, Pago Pago was good but better steaks can be found elsewhere, Bon Bini breakfast buffet isnt bad for $21 its just not needed. Nice place called Salt & pepper just 1/4 down across the street next to Sopranos great full american breakfast for $12

happy hours were great 12-1 and 4-6 at pool for all frozen drinks, and 9-11 martinis at lobby bar. Girls said the spa was ok, nothing special not overly pricey as spas go.

casino is ok, smallish, but no riff raff just guests.

there was daily activiies sheets with about 8-10 things a day scheduled , some things for kids , some for adults (beer drinking contest) and others for all bingo, movie nite.

didnt use there service for our atv tour, snorkel tour, or parasail as they just mark up and add little value.

the pool is ok, a bit lack luster but it is fairly old, the beach was pristine, cleaning started at sunset a crew would go out and pick it spotless.

palapas were available for reservation every day for free before 8:30ish, and if you got up late some would come available by 12-1ish. you can reserve them at $27 per day but I'd just send someone down in the morning to reservce one day of for free.

temp's were warm low 90's definetly a very breezy island, i dont think there was a day there wasnt atleast a 10mph breeze and somedays 15-20 with gusts, so lots of sand mixed in with SPF 50 is kinda crappy.

also as nice as DIVI 9hole course and Tierra Del Sol 18hole courses were the winds where just not fun to play in.

favorite spots,

#Salt and pepper for breakfast
#Sopranos piano bar for after dinner drinks
#madam Janettes couldnt be more hyped but I have to say the meal was delish.
#Chalet Suisse was also delish, but we were the only folks in there under 40yrs old.
#Giannis was good nothing out of this world but good
#Pizza napolitano? just 2 doors down from Giannis was actually very good and reasonable.
#promenade had a kind of all you can eat tapas deal and it was good especially for the money and very low markup on wine.
#Amazonia wasnt so good, lots of meat , but mediocre meat, try Texas Brazil instead.

more to share if needed

Bill
billyidle is offline  
Old May 9, 11, 12:05 pm
  #131  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bay Area, CA
Programs: UA 1K MM, SPG LT Plat 100
Posts: 378
Thanks for sharing your visit Bill ^

I'll be there in June and was curious- how was the beach front at the Westin, any other beaches you went to and recommend?

Originally Posted by billyidle View Post
7 nites, 2 rooms. we had a great time, not sure Id go back. There was nothing wrong with Aruba but nothing to justify a return also remember its just about in south america so the added 2hrs from say San juan is a pain.

the best rooms are high floors like 16-18 room 00, this has a double balcony that looks directly at the ocean. 01,02 are almost as good, 04 you can see the ocean and pool. 03 ocean and the Riu.

higher floor is a bit more quiet, I was on 9th and the view was great but napping in the afternoon would be tough.

staff was always nice and attentive, I only got my rooms cleaned once, and they did a great job, I say them out side in our hall corner cleaning every morninng and just asked for a couple of bottles of water and they didnt hesitate to give them to me with a smile.

Blossoms jap.sushi was very good, Pago Pago was good but better steaks can be found elsewhere, Bon Bini breakfast buffet isnt bad for $21 its just not needed. Nice place called Salt & pepper just 1/4 down across the street next to Sopranos great full american breakfast for $12

happy hours were great 12-1 and 4-6 at pool for all frozen drinks, and 9-11 martinis at lobby bar. Girls said the spa was ok, nothing special not overly pricey as spas go.

casino is ok, smallish, but no riff raff just guests.

there was daily activiies sheets with about 8-10 things a day scheduled , some things for kids , some for adults (beer drinking contest) and others for all bingo, movie nite.

didnt use there service for our atv tour, snorkel tour, or parasail as they just mark up and add little value.

the pool is ok, a bit lack luster but it is fairly old, the beach was pristine, cleaning started at sunset a crew would go out and pick it spotless.

palapas were available for reservation every day for free before 8:30ish, and if you got up late some would come available by 12-1ish. you can reserve them at $27 per day but I'd just send someone down in the morning to reservce one day of for free.

temp's were warm low 90's definetly a very breezy island, i dont think there was a day there wasnt atleast a 10mph breeze and somedays 15-20 with gusts, so lots of sand mixed in with SPF 50 is kinda crappy.

also as nice as DIVI 9hole course and Tierra Del Sol 18hole courses were the winds where just not fun to play in.

favorite spots,

#Salt and pepper for breakfast
#Sopranos piano bar for after dinner drinks
#madam Janettes couldnt be more hyped but I have to say the meal was delish.
#Chalet Suisse was also delish, but we were the only folks in there under 40yrs old.
#Giannis was good nothing out of this world but good
#Pizza napolitano? just 2 doors down from Giannis was actually very good and reasonable.
#promenade had a kind of all you can eat tapas deal and it was good especially for the money and very low markup on wine.
#Amazonia wasnt so good, lots of meat , but mediocre meat, try Texas Brazil instead.

more to share if needed

Bill
vg247 is offline  
Old May 9, 11, 1:51 pm
  #132  
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 69
Originally Posted by vg247 View Post
Thanks for sharing your visit Bill ^

I'll be there in June and was curious- how was the beach front at the Westin, any other beaches you went to and recommend?

the beach couldn't be any nicer, it was super clean, the water was very clear with a soft sandy bottom and a very very light tide, no fish, maybe a crab or two on the waters edge and usually once an afternoon one of the 20 or so 2-4ft Iguanas come down from the trees above your head and look for tourists to give them food, its fun to watch those who are afraid running screaming for chairs to stand on as much as it is watching the fools feed an iguana McDonald's french fries, but peaceful water you can basically grab a float and a happy hour frozen drink and just float around all day, out to the boundary ropes is probably only 8-10ft in most spots, just 50ft off shore is a nice large jedi(sp?) to climb up on and jump off.

as for other beaches the only other one we went to was Baby Beach, gorgeous, soft sand, large beach front, pretty quiet only a dozen folks the Tuesday we were there, the water is so shallow you can go forever and only be up to your armpits, but the fish are abundant so beach/snorkel in the same spot is the bonus here.
billyidle is offline  
Old May 9, 11, 8:14 pm
  #133  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bay Area, CA
Programs: UA 1K MM, SPG LT Plat 100
Posts: 378
fantastic we can hardly wait thanks so much again, for taking the time to post and share your experiences ...I assume you rented a car to get to baby beach?

^

Originally Posted by billyidle View Post
the beach couldn't be any nicer, it was super clean, the water was very clear with a soft sandy bottom and a very very light tide, no fish, maybe a crab or two on the waters edge and usually once an afternoon one of the 20 or so 2-4ft Iguanas come down from the trees above your head and look for tourists to give them food, its fun to watch those who are afraid running screaming for chairs to stand on as much as it is watching the fools feed an iguana McDonald's french fries, but peaceful water you can basically grab a float and a happy hour frozen drink and just float around all day, out to the boundary ropes is probably only 8-10ft in most spots, just 50ft off shore is a nice large jedi(sp?) to climb up on and jump off.

as for other beaches the only other one we went to was Baby Beach, gorgeous, soft sand, large beach front, pretty quiet only a dozen folks the Tuesday we were there, the water is so shallow you can go forever and only be up to your armpits, but the fish are abundant so beach/snorkel in the same spot is the bonus here.
vg247 is offline  
Old May 11, 11, 11:06 pm
  #134  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: EWR/NYC
Programs: CO Silver, HH Diamond, SPG Platinum
Posts: 161
i will be using my FRN certificates at this hotel in the fall and found out some up-to-date info on their all-inclusive package if anyone's interested....

"classic" all-inclusive = $125 per person, per night or 7,500 points
"premium" upgrade to the "classic" = $40 per person, per night or 3,000 points
(the all-inclusive has a minimum of three days consecutive)

if not buying the all-inclusive, and if you are a platinum, you are offered a passport with discounts of 5% - 10% for some of their restaurants.

resort fee when using certificates = $25 per night (i think this might have been in an earlier thread, not sure)

it took me forever to get them to confirm this, so that's why i'm sharing!!!
bkgourmet is offline  
Old May 28, 11, 4:36 pm
  #135  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Programs: UA General Member, SPG Gold, Hyatt Platinum, Hilton Silver, Hertz 5-star Gold
Posts: 274
Originally Posted by bkgourmet View Post
"classic" all-inclusive = $125 per person, per night or 7,500 points
"premium" upgrade to the "classic" = $40 per person, per night or 3,000 points
(the all-inclusive has a minimum of three days consecutive)
Thanks for providing this. I am not sure that I completely understand.

So, if I have two adults and three children (ages 1, 7, 9), would that mean that I would have to pay 37,500 points/night to get all inclusive for everybody? Alternatively, I'd have to pay $625/night for all-inclusive? Who could possible each enough to justify that cost?
hooterbif is offline  

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