The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba
Travel Blogs from Palm/Eagle Beach
... adult march. And in San Nicolas everything is much more relaxed than Oranjestad. There were participants arriving at the starting point when their group was already half an hour on the road. They figured the parade would start late anyway. And it is easy to walk out of line to talk to acquaintances, pose for pictures with friends at the curb, have a rest in the car behind your float. Actually, the interactions with friends cause tremendous delays. By the time the march ...
... example. We got a tour and learned all about how the caterpillars are very particular about what plants they eat and then turn into the chrysalis. Some of the moth cocoons silk is so strong they offered us the opportunity to try to rip it. We all tried and none of us could do it. A couple butterflies landed on Suzanne - they said each time one lands on you that you can make a wish. I wonder what she wished for!
... southern Caribbean for it's uniqueness and tax free shopping. Dave got an early birthday present, a Swiss watch from here. (he didn't want a pair of diamond earrings unfortunately). Maybe the French side is a sh*t hole (oops did I say that), because the cruise terminal and money is on the Dutch side. The French side does have a nudist beach though, where people in their late hundreds swim - not a place you want to be accidentally snorkelling at. Regardless of that, these two ...
... Denis off the line and put us right through- that was nice of him.
I'm glad I sneaked my coconut shrimp through-it made a nice dinner on the plane. And it is going to be a long time before I get some more. They make the best coconut shrimp at The Red Parrot. Our plane was delayed an hour and a half (with us on it) due to computer malfunction.
We didn't get home until 1:30 am. A very long day.
Almost always ...
Today was centered around a dive/snorkel trip of WWII shipwreck. But first, we started the day with a nice, 5K walk from our hotel in Eagle Beach to Palm Beach which is where the high rise hotels are located. There was a nice path that led past the various beach areas in front of the resorts. Along the way, we counted lizards and commented on how much we liked our hotel compared to the mega resorts. Later that day, it was time for our excursion. We ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba Palm/Eagle Beach
Westin Aruba was good
This trip was booked at the very last minute using Starwood points (base points for this hotel 10k/night, we got a *slight* upgrade for 11k/night). Since our booking was so last minute, we were unable to upgrade any further to get a better view. Our total stay was 3 nights.
As others have pointed out, there is major construction next door (on the North side of the property) where they are building the new RIU resort, which is scheduled to open sometime this year. Our room faced this project and if you stuck your neck out around the corner, you could see the beach. The construction was going morning to around 10 pm, but we never heard it inside our room.
Our room was recently remodeled and looked like a typical Westin room (heavenly bed). The bathroom was on the small side, but had a good showerhead (I guess this is what they were calling the heavenly shower).
The pool area was nice, but a little worn around the edges. There were several elevated pools that cascaded down where the tiling was somewhat chipped. The lounge chairs were padded and comfortable and there were always plenty available. What I loved about the pool area were all of the iguanas and other colorful little lizards crawling around. They were quite fun to watch and would amble up next to your beach chair. The only time I got freaked out is when two of them were right next to my chair looking up at me and bobbing their heads. They also have a number of tropical birds in cages between the lower lobby exit and the pool area.
You don't have much of a view of the beach/ocean from the pool area. The beach area seemed a bit more crowded. We got there at 3 pm the first day and didn't have trouble getting lounge chairs out there, though. The sand was soft and the water was beautiful. The big "Tattoo" boat and some other boats anchored out slightly north of the property distracted a little from the view.
On Monday nights, they have a Manager's Reception near the pool that lasts about 1 1/2 hours where you can line up to get free drinks (rum punch or a little can of Balashi beer). They also have some snacks and some performers come out and dance for a while. We didn't stay around very long for this.
We had lunch at the Terrace restaurant on two days and otherwise did not dine on site. The food there was good - sandwiches, soup, salads, etc.
The casino was nice. They have a poker room, but it was closed every time we went in there. We spent the last evening playing blackjack. If you tip the dealers, they are VERY helpful (at one point, the dealer told us what we needed to beat him - lol).
There are a few clothing stores and jewelry stores on the lower lobby level. It is a little less expensive to go to the gift shop to buy water, beer, cokes that pay for them by the pool. The bar by the pool makes amazing tropical frozen drinks. Pool and beach serivce was spotty, but the bar was so close by that we just walked over there whenever we wanted something.
Overall, we had a nice stay here and would return using points (but not pay the posted $300-350/night). If you can get it, ask for a pool view and you won't see the construction. We had read enough reviews to know that all is not perfect here, but we were also not disappointed either.
Great vacation while inbetween names
The Westin was called the Aruba Resort Spa and Casino when me and my wife visited for a friend's wedding. The only negative I found was that the pool water was a little dirty, but with such a great beach and ocean I didn't spend much time in the pool. The restaurants were great and I especially loved the Japanese restaurant. The beach is beautiful. The sunset was also a perfect backdrop for our friend's wedding. I can say that most people in our party did have to complain about the side of the hotel facing the construction. The rooms on that side not only dealt with the horrible view but seemed to have a musty odor. Luckily we stayed on the other side of the hotel and our room was great. We had a great view of the sunset and ocean. The service was ok not the best I have had but respectable. I hope this helps and I hope it hasn't gone downhill in the last few months with the westin takeover.
2 things spoilt the visits
To be fair, Westin Aruba is a nice enough hotel. All rooms have not been upgraded yet, but the beds are fabulous.
The Westin has two major challenges now though:
1. The construction next door. This really spoils the view for half of the rooms and the noise isn't exactly conducive to rest and relaxation.
2. Service is poor. All service obviously isn't poor, but it only takes a few inept individuals to bring down the overall impression to being very unfavorable. I'll give you a few examples: 1) despite having a written confirmation from the hotel one party in our group had to move during the stay. Now, stuff happens, but they had to spend 3 mornings with the reservations department to solve the problem, every day dealing with someone new (who knew nothing of what had happened before), were promised compensation by one person then the compensation was removed by another person. Westin was simply inept at dealing with the problem at hand. 2) A guy in our party had a cup of coffee in the lobby bar. There was a fly in the coffee, which he pointed out to the server, who responded "that is not a fly" (which hardly addressed the challenge at hand). Not a big deal, but symptomatic of the service approach at the hotel.
The bottom line is that you may have a great time at the Westin if you get a good room away from the construction and if you encounter nothing out of the ordinary during your visit. If there are any problems however, the hotel is not equipped to help you.
Mixed Experience at the Westin
We stayed for 5 nights at the Westin. First the negative. Although they had a low occupancy, less than 50% on those dates they managed to place us at a construction view room, 50% of the rooms had that view. We had to ask for a room change and badge my platinum status to obtain the change. The initial front desk greeting, terrible. A confusing 15% service charge is added to all your bills, including minibar...what service did I receive for grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge? The waiters explained that such 15% is part of a fund for paying their salary, but only the additional tips will make it directly to their pocket. The pool is a huge kids pool with the level of the water getting no higher than your waist. The staff at the gym will not care of you at all, they basically ignore you, unless I guess you pay them a fee. The possitive, Friendly and helpful staff at the concierge, friendly staff at the breakfast buffet, great beach and ok staff, fantastic SPA with fantastic therapists. Room simply OK. If I return to Aruba, I will head for another option. Hope this helps.
Nice vacation at the Westin
My husband and I just returned from the Westin and I wanted to let you know the construction was not that bad. Reading other reviews, it made me want to try to cancel my Westin reservation and get a last minute booking at another high-rise. But I stuck with the Westin, and we were pleasantly surprised. Yes, construction is happening and they work 24 hours a day. However, it's not loud jack-hammering type construction. While on the beach, I couldn't hear it at all. At the pool, I'd occassionally hear the hum of power tools in the distance. But again, it was fine. Honestly? Annoying, screaming kids at the beach or the pool bothered me more than the construction ever did.
Here's a rundown of where we ate:
Pago pago (at the Westin): very good. They know how to serve and give you a wonderful meal. It was our most expensive meal but well worth it. It lives up to it's hype.
Salt n'Pepper: we love their sangria so we always stop there. The tapas is good, I wish it were more adventerous, but it's good food nonetheless.
Pizzeria Casa Tua: this is in the same row at Salt N' Pepper and Tango. I liked it for the change. We shared a salad and a pizza, so it was a cheap dinner and not as heavy as our other meals. Service wasn't great though. The waitstaff is friendly, and tries hard but they need to iron out some kinks. I'd return and give them another shot.
Soprano's Piano bar: also in the Salt n Pepper/Tango row of restaurants. Go there at 8:30PM or 9PM for a good piano player who gives you all the favorites to sing along to. It was a nice time.
Caffe Baci (at the Westin): Italian place in the hotel. It's bad. Expensive, no entree less than $20, and the food is sub-par. Avoid it.
Tambu BBQ (poolside at the Westin): one day we figured we'd just grab cheeseburgers rather than sit down for a longer lunch at the Terrace. What a mistake. Firstly, you get charged a 15% service fee so you might as well gone to the Terrace and enjoyed legit service. But more importantly, the food was TERRIBLE. I had the worst cheeseburger possible. I mean, it was bland, cold (despite just coming off the grill) and utterly nasty. Don't waste your money. Eat at the Terrace.
Pelican's Nest (at the pier across from Holiday Inn) we took a sunset cruise and ate dinner at the pier afterwards. The sunset cruise was ok, but the crew was sketchy, the captain kept talking about sex to each passenger (hey, make a joke here and there all you want, but is that all the captain can talk about? It was uncomfortable). The dinner was bad. Rolls were stale, the salad was iceburg lettuce and dessert straight out of a box. And it was about $50/person. If it were cheaper, maybe I would have accepted the food more, but for the prices, the food is really not good. I will not return.
We only did an ATV tour with Rancho Daimari but I was surprised at how extreme it was. I tend to like adventure, push the envelope type things but this was too much for me. My husband, who is a skilled ATV driver even thought it was a difficult course. Very bumpy course, worrisome being on main roads being passed by other cars, very dusty and dirty and down right scary at certain points going up or down steep, rocky hills. We were really glad when it was over. Plus all that we saw: Natural Pool, Natural Bridge, Mines etc. I thought was very overrated, as though Aruba is trying to make money on absolutely anything they possibly can on the island. I will not recommend the ATV tours unfortunately...and I don't think you are missing anything not seeing the Natural Pool etc.
Hope this review helps--good luck in your travels!
The Westin Aruba Sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
They gave us a room with a view of the all day construction next door. When we complained about the noise they said they could move us to the other side of the hotel, but we would have to pay an extra $200 a night. That came to an extra $1400. I told them I would not have booked this hotel if they told me there would have been noise and I could not relax on my vacation. They did not care and the trip was a disaster thanks to the WESTIN. I should have stayed at the Holiday Inn at least I could have relaxed on my trip. I will never staty at a Westin ever again and I won't use Travelocity to book a trip because the Travelocity gaurentee sucks too. Once they charge your credit card they don't care about your trip or if you have problems.
Disappointed with Westin
We were greeted cordially but placed in a room that overlooked the all day and late night construction about 50 yards away, the furniture cushions were torn and badly stained, the tub wouldn't drain, and the deadbolt was hanging off the door frame. The hotel moved us the next day to the other side of the hotel with a lovely ocean and beach view but it took the entire day to get it done. two days lost! No access to conceirge floor for Starwood Gold members and the explanation was they didn't have one at this property. READ CAREFULLY -- "balcony oceanview" means you can only see the ocean if you hang over the balcony. Beautiful property but best to wait till they are finished becoming a Westin if you expect Westin standards.
Beautiful, peacful and wonderful place to stay...
The staff was friendly, always available, and ready to help make your experience in Aruba a pleasant one. My husband and I stayed here and didnt want to leave. It was one of the best vacations we have ever been on. There were waitresses walking up and down our beach brining us drinks, there were several restaurants to choose from, a casino, excellent room service, beauiful views no matter which room you stayed in, excellent customer service to help you choose special activities outside the hotel, etc. I could go on forever. I definitely recommend this hotel to anyone, including those with children. There was fun for everyone and the staff was so friendly.
Better As A Wyndham
They say that few things in life are never as good as the first time. Conversely, that maxim holds true for the Westin Aruba Resort, which we had previously stayed at when the property was a Wyndham less than a year ago.
The resort still boasts tastefully modern decor, but it seems that the property has somewhat deteriorated in its upkeep. For example, none of the hot tubs actually were, well, hot. In addition, the property , as a Wyndham, featured exotic birds in cages outside the hotel. Upon our return, the cages seemed all but empty, intimating that the avians had taken leave of the hotel. While I am all for the freedom of birds, and that I found the keeping of birds rather cruel, the deteroriaton of the cages belies a sense that the hotel has seen better days.
Compounding the aesthetic problems, there is a massive construction project not more than one-hundred feet from our room. Legions of construction workers toil noisily on two, soon-to-be-complete hotel towers. Half of the Westin faces the construction side and the sight of these monstrosities seriously blights the view of the ocean and the island. However, the hotel's sliding balcony doors all but silence the construction cacophany.
My husband and I stayed here for our honeymoon 11/6-11/11. We had an absolutely fabulous time. The hotel was in the process of transitioning at the time to Westin, and there is construction next door, but neither of these factors affected our stay. We had reserved a deluxe oceanview with king bed, though none were available upon checking in, so we chose to upgrade to a suite, which was beautiful. Regarding the lack of room we originally requested, this is a common thing in the hotel industry and we were understanding of the fact as my husband is a general manager for a hotel in Connecticut. If you're concerned about it, get to Aruba early. We had great dinners at Cafe Baci and Pago Pago, and the buffet breakfast was nice. They'll make omelets to order, just request it. Casino was a blast, great people, drinks a-plenty. Any debris in the pool was minimal and we could see that the heavy tradewinds made keeping up on pool maintenance a trying task. We did the ABC 1/2 Day Jeep Safari and the Jolly Pirates Swim/Snorkel/Sail/Swing excursions. Both were awesome, worth every penny. We look forward to visiting Aruba again and would certainly considering staying the Westin.