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“Oceanfront - Buyer Beware”

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Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina
Ranked #33 of 51 Hotels in Key West
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 27, 2008

We recently stayed at the Westin Key West Resort & Marina, from April 20-26th.

We had booked online at spg.com for Starwoods Preferred Guests and had booked an Oceanfront Room and specified, "true Oceanfront Room with high floor"

On arrival we received a fairly friendly welcome, once we arrived at room we ventured out onto a puny balcony for our "Oceanfront "view of a marina and view of a large berthed Yacht and an even larger Cruise ship, no Ocean View and definitely not Ocean "Front".

A quick trip back to the front desk, resulted in being offered an alternative room, that was truly oceanfront, Suite 163, that while on the ground floor, provided a superb Oceanfront View, twin rocking chairs on a large patio and a great vantage point for the daily "Sunset Celebration".

The pool area and pool are quite compressed, but we never had difficulty in finding chairs to hang out there.

We had breakfast twice and dinner once at the Oceanfront Bistro 245, and both the food and service were very good.

We took advantage of the Sunset Key Island on three occasions across the Harbour and accessible by launch. This is an excellent guest feature that you should check out and is well worth the $20 per person fee. Although the description of the fee as being "nominal" (dictionary defined as: "being trifling in comparison with the actual value") is not really accurate. Twenty bucks is a lot of dough and I encountered several guests at the concierge desk who were "sticker shocked" at the fee. Get to concierge desk before the 8:00 opening. I discovered showing up at 9:00 that they had already sold out the beach passes that are apparently capped at 40 per day. Even then you should take the first boat out to the beach at 9:15, as after that time the lone beach attendant is scrambling to secure chairs for everyone.

We had both lunch and dinner at the Latitudes restaurant at the Sunset Key Island, which featured outstanding food and service, and an unbelievable setting. You must check this place out.

The overall staff experience was top-notch, very friendly, courteous quite attentive and responsive.

The only exception was a very negative experience when we made an inquiry at the front desk of the Sunset Key Island adjacent to the Latitudes Restaurant on last Wednesday after lunch.

Given that we were essentially paying a daily $40 premium to visit the Beach there, we were curious on the price differential between an Oceanfront Room at the Westin and a One Bedroom cottage at the Sunset Key, if it was minor we would've upgraded and stayed there for the balance of our stay.

The receptionist there, dismissively babbled out the Westin website address and suggested that we check out room rate availability and pricing there online and advised that she did not have any pricing information as they were in the process of changing the rates.

None of this response rung true it appeared that we were getting the "not subtle at all" brush off by this brusque individual. When I advised that I was well aware off the website and we had booked our reservation there initially, and I was quite serious in my inquiry.

She responded that if I we were "really, really, really, serious" that she would look into this. Finally, she quickly advised that there was no room availability on the Friday in any event. Her unpleasant treatment was the only exception to otherwise excellent customer service that we had encountered. This particular employee is better suited to a back of the house role, versus front of the house role -- one far removed from direct guest interactions.

My other observation would be on the housekeeping, that I would describe as a cursory "once over" only versus a thorough room cleaning process.

Also, our room was near a staff lunchroom and we had to, on more than one occasion, run a gauntlet of staffers hanging out in the hallway adjacent to it, and once immediately directly in the alcove in front of our door blocking access to our room.

While obviously staff need to have their lunch and rest area, management should advise and attune the staff on the poor guest optics of congregating and loitering in spaces adjacent to guest rooms.

We also once encountered a staff person having a post lunch siesta in the shade of a palm tree immediately adjacent to our room patio.

Advice: Be insistent on getting a true Oceanfront room at the time of check in. Management's definition of this and a reasonable guest's expectation vary greatly. During our short stay I overheard numerous guests complaining about this fact. Westin should differentiate between an Oceanfront and a OceanView/Marina View and price accordingly. Their current pricing practice is quite dubious at best.

Overall though an top-notch vacation and the Westin Key West Resort is clearly one of, if not the best, properties in the Key West area.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Rhubarbmaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 23, 2008

We spent a week @ the Westin 4/9 to 4/16/08. An early check in was possible and went smooth with no problems. The staff was friendly and courteous. This was our seventh visit to Key West and are familiar with most of the hotels. The rooms at the Westin are nice and comfortable and above average for Key West. They are however in need of minor updating which we noticed was ongoing. Cruise ships do block the view of the Gulf when they are in port, but we spend little time in the room so this did not concern us. Starbucks coffee in the room was a plus. Room service was quick and polite. The bars are also staffed with courteous and attentive staff. If you get a chance visit Sunset Key for lunch or dinner. It's expensive but worth it if nothing else other than the view . All in all a fine experience.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank JimfBearDE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2008

Just back and still excited about our first visit to Key West. This hotel was a great experience from the moment of arrival to departure. The staff was accommodating and a pleasure to deal with. We requested connecting King rooms with another couple and when my birthday was mentioned we received an upgrade to a suite. The living room bedroom combination had four small balcony's for two with an ocean view. Sunsets are spectacular there with easy access to the pool. the concierge was helpful and accommodating. We were to dine at Latitudes for my birthday but canceled due to high winds and a cold front. They graciously accepted the cancellation and made certain the reasons were known to accommodated us as necessary. We ate at Kelly's and had a great Happy Hour there. Blue Heaven for breakfast is a must. You can walk everywhere from this hotel if in relatively good health and have comfortable shoes. The Ghost tour was fun, and the Conch train a nice ride with some history of the island............The hot tub here was clean and the rooms were spotless. Look for the hair dryer in the closet!

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with friends
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3  Thank kaperin0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2008

The Westin Key West Resort and Marina is located next to the docking pier for up to three large cruise ships. When I made the reservation, I wondered about the online photo of the Westin, and thought the photo from the ocean was taken at a peculiar angle. I now know they were attempting to minimize the view of the cruise ship piers. Thousands of cruise ship travelers disembark for a day in Key West within 300 yards of the Westin, and walk through the resort grounds. The good of the
Westin is that it does have the best view of the fabled Key West sunsets and Mallory Square entertainment such as the cat shows. The bad of it is that the cruise ships block the ocean view for which I paid extra all day until around 6:30 when they leave. The Hyatt Hotel , which is one block to the north, is much more private and serene.

Stayed: March 2008
2  Thank lakelover1950
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2008

While the hotel is not the best Westin I've stayed, it was a fine stay. The grounds are very nice, but the rooms leave a bit to be desired. I guess its true that its about location because the location is hard to beat. The price was high but the stay was fine. Our room was more of a motel, but that seems to be the status quo for Key West. We were steps from Mallory Square and LOTS of activities. I would be inclined to stay elsewhere next trip, just to try something new but I would stay here again.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank dpuck1998
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2008

My girlfriend and I stayed here in mid-March. I have to say I was impressed with the rooms, maybe a little below Westin standards, but still nice. I have stayed at nicer Westins in Chicago and New York, but this by no means is an average hotel. The views were amazing on two of the four days we were there. Be mindful of the cruise ships. Most of them leave by sunset (city rules). We stayed in a room on the second floor with a side view, which has more privacy, but still has a great ocean view.

The best reco. I can give........use the Westin to your advantage and go to Sunset Key for the day. They charge you $20/person/day to use the beach, but it is worth it. If you are looking for a quiet beautiful beach in key west, this is the only place to go. They only allow ~40 people from the Westin over in one day, no one is allowed on the island unless you have a house, are going over for lunch opr have beach passes. Get your passes early. We went over there for a day and felt like movie stars, maybe 15 people were on the beach with us all day long, the closest couple to us was about 100 feet away, total privacy....only drawback was that they close the beach at 5:30PM....we stayed for the sunset anyway....

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank dcs194
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 9, 2008

My girlfriends and I stayed in a suite at the Westin Feb 19-21st. You couldn't ask for a better location in Key West. The hotel is right near Mallory Square and has a beautiful deck for watching the sunset if you don't want to be in the middle of all of the Mallory Square action. We sat by the pool during the day. The pool is nice, not fantastic, but nice. I do think that someone should be around to tell children to get out of the hot tub. We had breakfast on the property one day. It was good and what you would expect from a Westin property. The front desk was helpful and accomodating. This hotel is within walking distance of all shops, bars and restaurants in Key West. I spoke to a man at the pool who spends a week here every year and has been doing so for 10 yrs. I hope to return someday too.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Yankees21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina

Address: 245 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040-8313 (Formerly The Westin Key West Resort & Marina)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key West
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#8 Spa Hotel in Key West
#10 Top resorts Hotel in Key West
#15 Luxury Hotel in Key West
Price Range: $294 - $780 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina 4*
Number of rooms: 178
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ideally located right on the waterfront of Old Town Key West, just steps from the famous Mallory Square, and one block from Duval Street is the Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina - a hub of relaxation and luxury in the middle of all of the excitement that Key West is famous for. Experience the beauty of the sparkling sea, access to water sports, and endless dining, shopping, and entertainment options all just steps away. Our marina is one of the three cruise ports in Key West welcoming cruise ships from around the world. Dine on fresh island cuisine, indoors, on a deck, or oceanside. Sip a cocktail and lounge by our outdoor pool surrounded by lush native plants, or take a launch to the nearby private beach on Sunset Key. Rejuvenation awaits in the serenity of our massage studio. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Westin Key West Resort & Marina Hotel Key West
The Westin Key West Resort And Marina
Key West Hilton
Key West Westin

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