Five restaurants on-site, from fast food to fine dining
Very clean rooms and property
10-minute walk from the High-Rise shopping complex
Palm Beach Casino with 300 slot machines, Caribbean Poker, and Players Club
All-inclusive and inclusive-light dining options available
No party scene (a pro for some)
A clean, modern beachside hotel with prompt service, excellent restaurants, a clean pool, and supremely comfortable beds. The Westin lacks the glitzy decor and elaborate frills found at other Aruban resorts, but for most of its guests, that's a good thing. To party, the upscale High-Rise shopping/drinking/dancing complex is only a 10-minute walk away.
A heavily American crowd kicks back for relatively mellow fun.
The Westin has the polished, quiet feel of a business hotel. The lobby has buffed marble floors and tall wood paneling. Rooms come with two flavors of Starbucks coffee. The business center is small but has three brand-new Apple desktop computers. The atmosphere is quiet, throughout the property; they don't play music in the fitness center.
Though the Westin feels like a business hotel, most guests are certainly here for a vacation. The beach, pool, and fitness center draw more traffic than the business center, and older American couples and young families make up the bulk of the guests.
The beach is the major draw, like anywhere in Aruba. The hot, silky sand has plenty of seats for folks to nap, their earbuds firmly in place. Caged cockatoos and parrots line the walkways -- the birds even spoke a little English ("hello," mainly). Some guests, particularly those with kids, prefer lounging by the pool. Whether at the beach, the pool, or the five on-site restaurants, the theme is undisturbed relaxation. Even in the casino, which recently underwent a $1.5 million restoration (as of April 2012), guests relish the subdued quiet of an efficient, service-oriented hotel.
Walking distance from the bustling High-Rise shopping complex
The Westin is about 20 to 25 minutes from the airport, depending on downtown traffic. The hotel is next to the Riu resort, and is one of a series of mega-resorts along the beach. One of Aruba's few major roads travels directly past the Westin.
The High-Rise complex, a large downtown strip that ends at the Holiday Inn SunSpree, is a 10-minute walk in the opposite direction from downtown (and about a two-minute cab ride along the bus and palm-lined road). The High-Rise has many restaurants, including the fabulous Hostaria da Vittoria, as well as a number of nightlife haunts, such as a movie theater and a samba club misleadingly named Mr. Jazz.
The location feels very safe. Between foot traffic from the High-Rise and tourists from a number of neighboring hotels -- including the Holiday Inn SunSpree, Occidental, and Radisson -- the area is well populated at night. For added security, hotel personnel frequent the street outside the hotel.
Though the Westin shares a strip of beach with the Riu, its beach area is about 30 feet from the end of the Terrace Deck restaurant to the water. Most of the space is occupied by beach chairs and cabanas. Not counting the Riu property, the Westin's beach is about 100 feet long.
Westin's rooms are excellent, especially for the weary traveler (they are all quiet and immaculate). The white bedspread and pillows were perfectly in order. With the balcony door open on the ocean view rooms, all you can hear are the rushing fountains by the pool.
Standard rooms (all a fairly spacious 380 square feet) differ by view -- Island View, Partial Ocean View (on the side of the hotel), Ocean View (facing the pool and the beach), and Premier (an Ocean View on a higher floor) -- and come with either one king- or two queen-size beds.
The Islandview and Oceanfront Junior Suites (both 472 square feet) offer a bit of living space in addition to the king-size bed.
The One-Bedroom Suites (729 square feet) come with either an Ocean View (overlooking the beach and pool) or Ocean Front (overlooking just the beach); both have a private bedroom with a king-size bed as well as a full-size pull-out sofa bed in the living room, an extra 50-inch flat-screen TV in the living room, and a much larger bathroom that includes a separate Jacuzzi and shower stall.
The Presidential Suite (1,229 square feet) also includes extra space for entertaining guests.
The Westin Aruba is chock full of kids' activities. At check-in children 3 through 12 receive a nylon bag filled with such goodies as a world map with travel games, a Make-Your-Own Postcard kit, colored pencils and stencils, and a Westin Kids Club hat. Guests taveling with infants can also request that rooms be childproofed and stocked with first aid kit essentials. Kids under 3 also receive a check-in gift, featuring a rubber duck, three antiseptic wipes, ointment packs and Band-Aids, socket covers, and a nightlight (most of these seem more for mom and dad than the kiddies, but it's a nice touch). There is also a Kids' Club and a wide variety of activites kids can participate in, such as the Westin Little Chefs program, Diaper Dance Class, Movie Night, Stargazing, and Sing-A-Long Movie nights in the summer.
The Westin Kids' Club offers supervised daily activities for kids ages four to 12, such as scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, local food tasting, and movie screenings: three-hour half-day sessions; full day with lunch; evening sessions with dinner.
Other kids' activities include the Little Chefs program, at which kids work with a member of the kitchen staff to help prepare a three-course meal for parents (for a fee).
Older kids can participate in their own activities, including Name That Tune games, Bobbing for Sodas, and Ice Cream Eating Contests.
Cribs and rollaway beds available in all room types.
Plenty of options from swanky to hearty, both indoors and out.
The Westin has a number of indoor and outdoor dining options, ranging in price and décor -- from fast food to fine dining. The food and service is as good as, if not better than, the local restaurants and the nearby High-Rise shopping center. The hotel also added in 2012 all-inclusive and inclusive-light dining plan options.
Blossoms, an upscale Asian restaurant with a luminescent water cascade, offers Japanese and Chinese cuisine for lunch and dinner.
An array of packages and options, but take into consideration all the tacked-on fees
Wedding Size: Up to 1,000 people; up to two weddings per day
Extra Fees: The additional costs can really add up here: hiring a wedding coordinator (if you don't opt for a package), an officiant, setting up the ceremony location, the bar and a bartender (for three hours), plus location fees.
Wedding Packages: Include a minister, a wedding arch, a bouquet and boutonniere, one bottle of champagne, a one-tier wedding cake, and a wedding coordinator
Ceremony Location: Indoors in the Gallery (70 people max) or the Ballroom (1,000 people max), or outside on the beach, the Beach Terrace, the beach plaza, the Seabreeze Terrace, the Sirocco Terrace, or poolside
Photographers and Videographers: Photo packages are available; you can choose from just 36 prints to full event coverage and 250 prints; video packages include two hours of coverage and one raw and one edited DVD.
Music: You can choose from either three hours of steel drums or a five-piece band.
Food: Buffets or three-course plated dinner menus are available; kids', kosher, gluten-free, and vegetarian menus available upon request.
Drinks: Open bar rates vary based on liquor selection.
Cakes: One-tier cakes start and three-tier cakes start available.
Spa Treatments: The spa offers facials, massage, body wraps, mani/pedis, and hair and makeup services. Bridal hair and makeup package includes one hair trial.
Honeymoon Suite: Newlyweds usually stay in an Oceanfront Suite room with a private balcony.
Airport Transportation: The resort provides a free shuttle for the bride and groom; everyone else will have to take a 20- to 25-minute taxi.
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