My girlfriend and I go on a mini vacation every few weeks and try to find some great resorts to stay at. Because I am SPG Gold I really try and stay at Starwood resorts when ever possible. As I own my own plane i try to find resorts near to local airports we can fly into.
First let me say - I stay at A LOT of hotels, so I am a critic and notice the little things that many would miss.
I love the weekly starpicks email, and I have booked many last minute trips. The deal offered was fantastic and I quickly booked a trip and surprised my better half with the trip for her birthday.
After booking I called up the hotel to arrange travel between the nearby airport and the hotel. I was informed that there was no airport shuttles to any airport and that my best bet was to either rent a car or take a taxi or private car.
I got a few prices and found I was looking at another $150 round trip. At that point I simply couldn't justify flying and decided I would just drive the 2 hours from my home in Phoenix.
This is where the resort just went head and shoulders above almost any hotel I have ever stayed at. Starting with the drive up, the valet was overly friendly and put me in a relaxing mood instantly! I had to stand near my car for about 30 seconds before they acknowledged that we were there, so it would have been nice for them to have walked out as I drove up. There were no other cars there at the time.
As soon as we started talking, I was blown away - they were totally dedicated to making sure my check in was easy. They let me leave by car and get all checked in.
Upon entering the reception desk, the staff were very friendly and worked hard to get us into a fantastic upgrade. The staff were easily some of the most friendly I have ever experienced.
After getting all checked in, I walked outside to have the valet staff offer to help me unload and get loaded up into a golf cart. The staff member that took the two of us to our room was not only outgoing and friendly, he was polite to an almost fault and really did everything he could to showcase and setup the resort. At this point we were completely blown away.
The last time we were in Tuscon we stayed at the Ritz Carlton and I can honestly say by the time we got to the room I thought we were going to stay at a hotel that would blow away that resort.
Getting to the door I noticed scratched and chipped paint on the door as we opened it. The master suite we stayed in was very large, but poorly decorated which I understand is getting renovated very soon.
Entering in, there was a bathroom on the left which was large and a bar in the living room had a cooler (no not a fridge) in the cabinet. The room was old and worn, but had some nice little features.
One thing I noticed was the very old school thermostat in each room which I instantly turned to the lowest setting.
After getting unpacked, we decided to explore and go have a cocktail and appetizer. Plus we had a entire sheet of little coupons and it was time to use one of them :) We walked over to the lobby and into the restaurant below walking up the stairs before having a seat in the lounge. The lounge was nice, but a little worn - everything had little wrinkles and just felt a little old. All things being equal though, the setting was fantastic.
After being given the menu, I was blown away at how much things cost - actually more than we paid for food and drinks at the Ritz. Undeterred we ordered 3 tapas and drinks. My girlfriend had a strawberry Margareta and our 3 tapas arrived.
The cheese and meat plate was decent, maybe poorly described as 3 meats and cheeses when it was only 2 meats and 1 cheese but it was very good with ample amounts of meat and fantastic pickled veggies that made a nice contrast to the spicy meats.
The BBQ sliders were also fantastic - loved the crunch on them.
Sadly this is where the good food stopped. The Hummus was possibly some of the worst we had ever had, and while we planned on sending it back, our server was no where to be seen. We ended up just eating the bread and leaving the Hummus.
The Margareta was also poor, we each tried one drink and could not bring ourselves to have anymore of this $10 drink.
Again, our server was lacking in the empty restaurant so I went to find her to pay the bill.
Once paid, we walked over to the reception desk to ask about other restaurants we could dine at during our stay because of our poor experience. They explained that that all the other restaurants were currently closed.and my only other option was to go to the clubhouse and sit outside as the inside is members only. Again very friendly but terrible news.
Things continued to go downhill as we walked back to our room. About 1 out of every 6 lights were out and there were huge sections of the walkways that were just pitch dark. We managed to find our way back to the room and decided that we would order some room service desert and watch a movie. After seeing our options included a bowl of icecream that would cost us $20 after tip, delivery fees and taxes we decided to get a ride to the car and go find some snacks. With no mini bar to raid, we really had no choice.
Before we left we asked for some dog beds be sent up, and a fridge after learning that our fridge was in fact a cooler. The staff member who took us back to our car was so friendly and excited about the renovations he actually made us want to come back right then and there.
After stocking up on snacks and drinks we came back to find wonderful fluffy dog beds my pets just loved and a fridge that looked like it had been rolled down to the room.
LARGE - tons of space.
Clean - not a spec of dirt.
No light unless you open the windows and flash the world.
Towels were old and not fluffy
Robes were TERRIBLE - completely unacceptable
A family of elephants were staying above us.
The pool was actually really nice, and we spent most of our trip laying in the sun and swimming.
First off, the prices are insane - $10-12 per drink is just too high to enjoy more than a couple. Lowering the price to $7-8 we would have easily spent a few hundred dollars - but having a round of drinks lead to a near $30 bill after tip and tax just makes you not want to buy drinks.
When we got back to our room the second day we found a fantastic treat - the front desk had sent us a bottle of wine and a fruit and cheese platter and a personal card wishing my girlfriend a happy birthday. THIS is the kind of wow we expected at a resort and they sure got a number of oohs and awes as we started eating the fruit as we were starving.
The problem is... we noticed the fruit was COMPLETELY covered with mold. I took a picture of the strawberrys but the grapes and other fruit was even worse. Grossed out we just could not touch the plate. This is the kind of detail that were just disappointing.
All in all:
To Starwood -
You're staff is easily that of a Cat 6-7 resort - keep it up and treat them right!
Your resort is old, and tired with cracked sidewalks everywhere, your renovations sound like its going to fix this. That being said, fix the lights, there is just no excuse for lights to be out and certainly not like that.
Clean up the pool - there are tools out everywhere that need to be hidden away and you need a bathroom out there.
Watch the details - eating moldy food was by far the worst thing that has ever happened to me at a resort there is just no excuse for that.
Check the prices, your in Tuscon not San Fran.
Love the fact you don't charge for pets.
Will we be back? Maybe, its hard to say right now.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Experience the newest level of luxury in the Southwest at Tucson's iconic Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa. This AAA Four-Diamond resort, beautifully situated in the lush foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, has undergone a $305 million resort-wide rejuvenation. The result is a more contemporary, personalized flare to the resort's renowned elegance that exceeds expectations and fulfills every guests needs. Each of the 487 spacious guest rooms (including 25 expansive suites) have been meticulously reappointed, with attention to the smallest details, to provide the most relaxing and convenient space to unwind. A perfect getaway for couples, families or corporate retreats, The Westin La Paloma Resort offers world-class amenities including five re-imagined resort swimming pools and the 177a€™ Sidewinder water-slide; 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature golf; the full-service, restorative Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa; WestinWORKOUT Fitness Center; Kids Club; and 8 exceptional dining options. Just 25 minutes from the Tucson International Airport, The Westin La Paloma Resort is conveniently located near art galleries, shopping, and a wide variety of signature destination attractions and dining. Courtesy transportation is provided for guests via new Mercedes Sprinters to the upscale La Encantada shopping center. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
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