I just stated at the W for four nights. Overall impression was very good. I enjoyed my stay there. Everyone is very friendly and they definitely know how to give service. Now for some specifics:
Check in: Process was smooth and quick. I did check in late and noticed some lines start to form around 11 - 2 and then again around early dinner time. If you want a quick check in, I'd avoid those times. No upgrade--guess I didn't have enough SPG points and it could have been because the Labor Day weekend was approaching too. Thus, though many have noted upgrades, even without asking, don't count on it.
Room: The room was clean by most people's standards. I say this because I'm a clean freak, and I think they could have done a better job for such an upscale hotel. I did notice that the tile walls in the bathroom were in need of a wipe down. Nothing gross, just from use. The bed's headboard where the uplights are was a bit dusty--again, little things that let me know the cleaning staff was on top of it just didn't happen. A little Pledge or something can go a long way. No alligator on the bed, but then again, I wasn't really looking for it. Bliss products in the bathroom were pretty nice. Loved the sage and lemon milled soap. Heavenly! The peek-a-boo shower can be covered with a curtain if you're so inclined to your privacy. Hated the shower head. It's supposed to have a rain-like feel to it, but the water pressure sucked and made it all the more frustrating to wash soap from your body. Definitely need to fix this.
Bliss Spa: I enjoyed a Bliss 49 with Jacqueline at the spa. Just wonderful! Though much too pricey for a "regular" trip (to be expected at a hotel, though), I considered it worth it. HOWEVER, the music was absolutely horrid. I don't know how they consider music for relaxation, but hearing Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles belt out tunes while I'm on the table for a massage was NOT relaxing in the least. Jacqueline turned the music down, thank God. Piano music, smooth jazz or Soundscapes, people! Keep this in mind if you'd like to get a relaxing massage or facial--consider bringing headphones. It didn't go unnoticed that the woman who checked me out of Bliss said absolutely NOTHING when I complained about the music at Bliss. Verdict: Won't go again if I visit this hotel (or any Bliss spa anywhere, for that matter ...).
Steak 954: Unless you're a serious carnivore and purveyor of all things steak-y, including lamb, skip it. I'm not a big meat eater (yeah, I know ... but keep reading) and even when I've frequented other "steak houses" with friends, there's ALWAYS something on the menu I can eat and enjoy. Not so much at Steak 954. I think it's way overpriced as well. I mean like, WAY. You'd be better off trying to find a Morton's or something like that than eat at Steak 954. I was kind of hostage that night, which is why I ate there. The chopped salad is HUGE, so if you order that, be aware. The lump crab cake was absolutely delicious. If you want dessert, DO splurge on the chocolate panicotta if they have it--to die for. Service was impeccable. As far as the menu, just not for me.
Service: Some had noted sketchy service at the W. I did not find this to be the case at all. Service at all times was absolutely wonderful. From Luis, Ali and Mike pool side to the W Cafe servers to Getian (who worked valet but didn't hesitate to call a taxi for my little car-less self), I knew I was in good hands. When I ordered poolside during the week, food came literally within minutes. On Saturday, I was told it would be 30 - 40 minutes, which was understandable since it was a weekend. I was pleasantly surprised when my food arrived in about 15 minutes. The fries are awesome and the size will feed about 3. My only complaint about poolside: skip the drinks. They're watered down and very expensive. Stay hydrated with their wonderful, free fruit-infused water by the pool and go to a happy hour down the street.
Living Room/Whiskey Blue: I did enjoy a drink called the Cali Ginger. A MUST if you like ginger beer in any of your drinks. 'Nuff said. As for their "light fare" and "small bites": skip, skip, skip. Unless you like food that they've tried to make so fancy none of it sounds good (Fried pork belly sushi? Guh-ross!) at all.
In fact, for food overall, unless you're looking for something fancy,walk next door to the Hilton (sorry, W) and go inside their little cafe that sits right on the corner. Pizzas and paninis to order at REASONABLE prices, alcohol, desserts, snacks and salads for eight bucks. Yeah, like normal.
The area around the W was lackluster, in my opinion. Beach Place Towers down the way has a bunch of cheesy looking kiosks selling ugly sunglasses and beach gear; a few other stores sit there along with a Subway (cheap eats for the beach) and some ice cream shops. There are a couple of restaurants and a CVS for sundries. (Note: There's a little beach cafe shop in there near the Haagen Dasz-- DO NOT eat there. The owner is gross and doesn't wash his hands after handling money or smoking his cigs.) In the opposite direction head to the Atlantic Hotel for close happy hour specials. And definitely hit the beach! If you have no car and need to get around, expensive taxis are abundant. You won't really need one though--unless you like browsing around in shops, skip Las Olas Boulevard. Not a whole lot going on there.
Overall, really liked the W. I just may return. I didn't like that they allow dogs, since barking dogs as part of my relaxing vacation were very much unwelcome. Didn't bother with taking photos of this one here, as there are plenty of accurate traveler photos on this site.