Submitted on 24-05-2016
My girlfriend and I stayed at this property for a long weekend on May 20‚??23, 2016. Situated on the western shore of Key West, next to Mallory Square and within a stone's throw from Duval street and the Truman Little White house, the Westin Key West Resort & Marina enjoys a prime location within walking distance of literally every single place that we visited during our stay. This SPG Category 6 resort features nicely-appointed rooms, helpful and friendly staff, a fitness room, limited spa serv...
My girlfriend and I stayed at this property for a long weekend on May 20‚??23, 2016. Situated on the western shore of Key West, next to Mallory Square and within a stone's throw from Duval street and the Truman Little White house, the Westin Key West Resort & Marina enjoys a prime location within walking distance of literally every single place that we visited during our stay. This SPG Category 6 resort features nicely-appointed rooms, helpful and friendly staff, a fitness room, limited spa services, a pool, and multiple bars & restaurants on site.
With these niceties out of the way, there are a few things that I wish I knew before booking or arriving. I will outline these below; some are more personal gripes than indictments of the resort, but they create our experience as a whole so it is hard to isolate the gripes from the shortcomings.
1. The hotel is split into 2 buildings. This would have been helpful to know prior to informing the bell hop that we didn't need help with our two roll-aboard bags. After checkin, we suddenly found ourselves rolling our bags outside, down a few steps, and a hundred yards over bumpy brick pavers in the blistering heat to the neighboring building where we would find our third-floor Ocean Front room.
2. Upon entering our Ocean Front room and looking outside, we were surprised to find ourselves facing south towards the neighboring harbor, a full 90¬ļ off from the shore. I called the front desk to inquire about this, and the attendant explained that it was considered "Ocean Front" because we could see the water from our room without having to step out onto our balcony, and that some people actually prefer the view of the harbor. Clearly they have a problem with distinguishing between the two, which could be easily achieved by calling them "Ocean Front" when they face the ocean and "Harbor Front" when they face the harbor. This would eliminate the avoidable surprise of the room not matching the expectation. Don't get we wrong ‚??¬†the view was very nice but when you spend $550 per night thinking that you will be able to see the sunset from your room, this is a big disappointment.
3. There is no beach on site; the resort provides a boat launch to Sunset Key, the neighboring Westin island. The daily fee of $20pp gets you access to the launch to/from Sunset Key plus the use of the small beach facility which includes towels, chairs, and palapas. The beach did not appear to have been recently groomed; the waterline was lined with seaweed, rocks, and shells. We waded in the water but did not go in. Access to the bar is not convenient (nor is it encouraged in swimwear), but they do have wait staff who will shuttle you drinks and a food from a limited menu.
4. Sunset Key also features Latitudes restaurant, where I am told that the view of the sunset is spectacular and makes for a romantic dinner. Unfortunately, we were not able to secure a reservation at Latitudes on any night despite my being an SPG Gold member visiting on my birthday. I tried going through American Express Platinum Concierge services, who were actually able to talk them into an 8:30pm seating on Sunday, but with the sunset at 8:05pm there was not much point in sitting down 25 minutes later for what seems to be the frontrunner for the most expensive dinner in all of Key West.
5. We settled on eating dinner at Bistro 245 back at the main resort, thinking that we would have a similar view of the sunset that we might have had at Latitudes. To our delight, they were not busy at all and they immediately seated us in one of their many empty outdoor tables on the pier. To our dismay, there were so many people standing on the boardwalk between us and the water that it was pointless to try and enjoy the view. The Westin was also hosting a wedding reception on the pier, so our romantic dinner was interlaced with dance beats from local DJ talent. The remainder of our experience at Bistro 245 probably deserves its own review, but in summary: the food was bland, the mahi was as overcooked as it was overpriced, and we never saw our waiter from the moment he delivered our food until we had finished eating it.
6. The Sunset Deck rooftop bar above Bistro 245 was, as the name implies, a nice place to grab a couple of drinks and watch the sunset. However, you will miss the most dramatic part ‚??where the sun meets the water on the horizon‚?? because Sunset Key is actually in the way. So instead of the "golden hour" before sunset you get more of a golden 45 minutes and have to imagine that last 15. Yes, you might call this a first-world problem, but this the final installment of my series of sunset disappointments at a resort that seems to center a lot attention on sunsets, so I'm keeping it in.
7. Last but not least, checkout was confusing and took more time than it should have. I had a pre-paid rate that, as it turns out, did not end up getting 100% pre-paid even though I authorized the full amount on the phone when booking the resort. Therefore, my final statement was showing a balance of one unpaid night while I was under the impression that I had already paid for all three. The attendants assured me that the statement was correct, but just a few days prior at check-in, an attendant had confirmed that the room was fully prepaid, so I wanted to resolve this discrepancy prior to authorizing any new charges. Much to their dismay, I stood there and reviewed my credit card statement from my smartphone ‚??¬†a process which was even further complicated because the charges on their statement were not issued in the same dollar amounts as were billed to my card. Ultimately, I did verify that the balance was correct, and I suppose that it even ended up in my favor by their not billing the third night in advance, but it created unnecessary confusion, wasted time, and frustration for everyone. I was also disappointed that nobody asked me how I enjoyed my stay, which is normally a standard checkout question at any hotel. (For the record, the sink's hot water spigot leaked, and there was a large yet seemingly unrelated wet spot around the corner in the carpet that ended up drying out after our second night.)
In spite of all the above, we had a great time in Key West, but then again it's hard to have a bad time in Key West. For my money, the ultimate measure of any resort is whether I could see myself going back. The location is great, but there are other nearby hotels too, so based on this experience I think I would rather try somewhere else next time.