Wednesday, December 8, 2010

REVIEW - Westin Resort Cabo San Lucas - B

Westin Resort Cabo San Lucas - B
(Room # 1726, 1219)
Trip Date – 7/3-7/6/2010
Original Room Booked – Standard King Size
Upgrade – Yes, Royal Beach Club and Junior Suite
-          3rd night free
-          $200 resort food/beverage credit
-          room rates starts $189/night
The Westin Cabo San Lucas is a decent property that has seen better days.  There is a beautiful view of the Sea of Cortez but the water is so rough it is almost always closed to swimmers.  If you can get a platinum upgrade or if you purchase the Royal Beach Club then the Westin can be a great value for a nice weekend trip.

-Location - B
The resort is located closer to San Jose Del Cabo than to Cabot San Lucas and runs daily shuttles to both for around $10-25 round trip.  Make sure that you check to see what they are trying to charge you since the shuttle service is run by a 3rd party and they tried to charge us more than what was posted.   In addition major tourist attractions, the Arch and Lover’s Beach are both 13 miles from the Resort.

For golfers the location is in the middle of prime Los Cabos golf with Jack Nicklaus’s Cabo del Sol and Palmilla Golf Club within 10 miles from the resort and El Dorado is right next door.  

-Room - C+
Room #1726 – Our first room upon check in was an upgrade from our original reservation of a deluxe king room.  The room had a great view and was situated in the middle of the archway on the main building with a balcony that had two chairs.  The room featured the Westin Heavenly Bed which is always nice.  It also featured a 32 inch LCD television that featured some English speaking channels as well as an iHome alarm clock for iPods and iPhones.  The bathroom featured a separate shower and bath tub with 2 dual sinks.  The rest of the room was clean but the whole room had a worn feel to it, it seemed as if its best day were in the early part of the 2000s.   While the bed and some of the electronics were updated the rooms could really use an overhaul to make it a legitimate Category 5 Westin.
Room #1219 – After our first day we were able to upgrade to a junior suite.  If you are staying at an SPG property for a few days, I would recommend always checking to see if a suite upgrade is available.   We were upgraded to a suite on the 2nd floor that overlooked the ocean and the pools.  The suite was one large room with an elevated bedroom area.  As with 1726, the room furniture was worn but the junior suite was big, almost 1,100 sq/ft of space with marble floors, and featured a larger outdoor patio.  The patio had a large queen/king size daybed (not sure exactly the size) and also an outdoor jacuzzi.  The bed was a king-size heavenly bed and in the middle of the room was a 32-inch television that swiveled.  The bathroom featured the twin sinks but just a shower as the outdoor Jacuzzi took the place of the tub.  

All in all the rooms were a good size but the worn furniture made the rooms feel tired and slightly dirty.  

-Gym - B
I criticized the Westin Napa for their disappointing gym, but the Westin in Cabo did not disappoint.  The machines showed some age but the room was a good size and also had view of the property and a little bit of the ocean.   The gym had 5 tread mills, 3 bikes and a stairclimber.  The weights featured the requisite nautilus equipment as well as a bench for dumbbells, all pretty standard.   There was a small outdoor room with an elliptical machine just off to the side but it was too hot to use it after 11am.   That’s the one criticism that I have is that the gym does heat up.  Some TripAdvisor reviews claim that it was a sauna in the gym but I found that if you worked out before 1pm in general the temperature was fine.  

-Spa - B
During our trip the spa had a deal for 50% off all spa treatments on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with no current expiration date.  I’m not sure if the special is still on but we took advantage of it.   In total we spent $128 on a 50 minute couples massage including tip.   It was a nice massage not the best but it was a great deal.  I’m marking the spa down as the facilities were not the best but this falls in line with the general observation that the property is ready for an update.

-Service - B+
In general I find the service in Mexico underwhelming especially when you compare it to the US or some other well-traveled areas.   However, the staff promptly responded to our requests and they followed up with us about our upgrade to a suite after our first night.  The staff at the pool and the Royal Beach Club Lounge was great, friendly and accommodating.  I know that many TripAdvisor reviews are very critical of the service but we found the service to be prompt and pleasant. 
-Pool - A-

-Restaurant - B
Since we were during the low season not all the restaurants were open.  We ate a 4th of July buffet dinner at La Cascada and enjoyed a Mexican take on a 4th of July bbq.  They grilled the meat/fish on an outdoor grill and the results were pretty good.  The rest of the buffet was standard stuff and I will agree with most reviewers in that it is over-priced for what you get.   However we had resort credit so we felt less guilty about spending a meal there.   On average it looked like the buffet was about $25-40/person depending on the meal.  It was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

La Playa Restaurant is where we spend most of our lunches.  It was a nice casual outdoor restaurant next to the pool that featured good sandwiches and ceviche.  Dishes were pricey but fairly normal for high-end resorts.   However, I think the main reason people don’t like the Westin Los Cabo is that it charges like a 4-5 star resort and in reality its closer to 3 stars since it is so old.  

The Royal Beach Club Lounge really helped make this an easy vacation.  This was a nice perk for platinum members but if you are not a platinum member you can also purchase for a daily fee.   The Lounge featured a continental breakfast that featured cheese, cold cuts, an egg dish and 2 other hot items and fruit every morning.   The selections changed daily but it provided a nice and easy breakfast every morning while overlooking the pool and Sea.   In the afternoon the Lounge put out a happy hour spread that featured 2-3 hot items, mostly fried, chips, salsa, guacamole and some nuts.  There was a self-service bar that featured tequila, gin, vodka, and beer.  The happy hour was a nice way to unwind from the day and enjoy what would have been a very pricey snack for free.  

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