Asking for a review from your average adult visiting a restaurant or staying at a hotel -- "sharing your experiences," as we are asked to do -- is somewhat akin to playing Russian roulette. Our ability (or desire) to quantify the quality of food or services; to appreciate the subtle differences in preparation and presentation; to examine details dealing with cleanliness, for instance, or proper maintenance, etc., are quite subjective, unless we are there expressly to judge, rate and review the establishment. In other words, we, the general public, are not trained, objective evaluators, much less paid critics, or style gurus.
We know what we like and what we enjoy -- all very subjective -- even though that is sometimes influenced by critics and trendsetters, the aforementioned manipulators of popular tastes. Furthermore, our experiences can also be swayed by a multitude of irrelevant factors -- whether we found parking nearby, or how accessible the spot was, or what mood we're in, or personal biases and preferences (I favored a hotel by the beach, the wife wanted near shopping, we stayed in a cabin by the woods...). Spin the barrel...
So, in my humble subjective opinion, this place was paradise! A nonpareil family destination that was fun, full of descovery and reasonably affordable.
Check-in was a breeze, and we were in our room in a flash. The room itself was neat, airy, and well appointed, and we had a great view (thanks to Starwood status, I suppose). We had the AAA package, which included a terrific buffet breakfast for two, so we paid only for the kids' buffet. The service was exceptionally warm and friendly.
The beach was nothing less than exquisite, endless sand and surf and warm Atlantic water. The weather was mostly great, so we walked for a while, saw several people fishing by the shore, even met a wonderful man from Ohio who let our nine y/o reel in a 2.5' black tip shark. (He also taught him that if you weren't going to eat the fish, you put it back in the water.) There were, however, a few thunderstorms during our stay, and, much to our dismay, the front desk couldn't do anything to arrange picture-perfect days.
The pools, too, were terrific, and bar service was prompt and, again, exceptionally warm and friendly. There is also a covered pool, which we used during one of the late afternoon showers.
The concierge had encouraged us to go out and explore the island. We enjoyed the beach and pool so much, however, that we were usually late stepping out for dinner, and that was a serious drawback since restaurants close early on the island. Lesson learned: if you're going out for dinner, book a reservation and make it before 9pm, as the concierge had warned us.
We requested and got a late check-out, and had one last fling with the ocean before heading out. Short of some nasty weather, there is not one thing which could have been bettered (of course, there is always room for improvement, but...). Kudos to the manegement and staff of the Westin HH for having made part of our summer vacation so memorable.