Lodging Review: Westin Snowmass (and part 1 of the luggage saga)

You know that saying “Man Plans, God Laughs”? Yeah, that kinda described the first couple of days of my recent ski trip, the first night of which was at the Westin Snowmass.

I had a Saturday-Saturday ski trip planned with my ski club at Snowmass, one of the four Aspen-area resorts that can all be skied using a single lift ticket. It was time to replace my skis so I wanted to demo a few different pair while finding the ones that worked best for me. As I planned this trip I decided I didn’t want to miss a day skiing with my friends, so I’d go a day early and demo several pair before they arrived.

So it was on a Friday in February I left Memphis, enjoyed my leisurely 3-hour connection in Houston and landed on-time at the Vail/Eagle County Airport (EGE). [I had decided against flying in to the more convenient Aspen Airport (ASE) based on my experience last year.] And I had no bags. Neither one of them. The helpful baggage agent found that the bags had made it to Houston and were in the process of being rerouted (and I could see the same info on the app). Since mine was the only Houston-Vail flight of the day, we both assumed they were going to Denver, which had a couple more flights into Vail later that day. She said they’d deliver them to me that evening. So I hopped in my rental car and headed to Snowmass.

As a side note, I had planned to use the Colorado Mountain Express shuttle to/from the airport but my flight out of EGE was around 7:30 AM and CME didn’t have a shuttle leaving the Aspen area that early. An Uber or taxi would have been around $200 so when I found a rental car for $280 that price was as cheap or only a little more expensive than the CME shuttle + Uber combined and I’d have the Independence of having a car if I needed it so it seemed the better option.

It was sunny on my drive to Aspen and it was late afternoon by the time I arrived at the Westin Snowmass. The valet greeted me promptly and I decided to just let him handle the car since I’d only be there one night. Of course since I had no luggage, all he had to deal with was the car.

Westin Snowmass Main Entrance (on the day I checked out)

The front desk is just inside the door and to the right. The lobby is fairly large as there’s a lounging area with après-ski hot beverages available to guests and the bar is off to the right beyond the front desk.

Westin Snowmass Front Desk

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The associate who checked me in was efficient and friendly. She recognized my SPG Gold status and asked if I’d prefer 500 points or a coupon for an adult beverage. Naturally, I took the points. I said I only needed one key but she said she’d give me two as the room had a slot where the card needed to be entered for the power to work. I appreciated that since it meant I wouldn’t have to use a card of my own for that purpose. I was given the keys to room 598 and pointed to the elevator which were not far away.

Arriving at the fifth floor lobby I noticed it was fairly large, which would be nice if there were a number of people waiting for the elevator, especially if they were all decked out in ski gear. Later during my visit I noticed that there was music playing on the overhead speaker and it was loud enough that I wondered if the first few rooms along the hall could hear it behind their doors.

Westin Snowmass 5th Floor Elevator Lobby

I proceeded down this hallway to the end, where it jagged to the right

Starting Down the Hallway

Before continuing on down this hallway

Wait, there’s more hallway

Up and across the atrium

Across the atrium

Until that hallway ended and turned right

Aren’t we there yet?!

Down another hall before turning left where my goal was in sight

The end is in sight!

At last! At this point my hope was if they were sticking me this far away from the elevators that I hoped I was getting some sort of an upgrade but that turned out not to be the case. I had redeemed points for this stay as rooms can be quite expensive since this hotel is slopeside and is perhaps the most convenient location of any type of lodging in Snowmass. But now I was wondering if using points had banished me to the dark side of the moon. I also wondered if my profile said I liked rooms “on a high floor, away from the elevator” and the computer took me quite literally. I never asked about it but it did cross my mind.

Home for the night

Alpine Guestroom (Standard King Room)

Since I had no bags to get settled I could immediately get down to business documenting the room. Like most hotel rooms there was an entry hall with the bathroom on one side and then it opened into the actual room.

Westin Snowmass Entry Hall

The king bed was quite comfortable and came with an array of pillows.

Westin Snowmass King Bed

The night stands were attached to the wall but I liked that on each side there was an easy-to-access outlet with two ports. That meant I could have both my phone and my tablet charging next to me, yay!

Hooray for easily accessible outlets!

In the far corner was a chair with an ottoman and a reading light. It, too, was comfortable.

Westin Snowmass Chair and Ottoman

Across from the bed was a long shelf that doubled as both the TV stand and the desk. A mirror on the wall behind it meant it served as a vanity as well. The coffee station was at the far end next to the lamp. Not being a coffee drinker I didn’t try it out.

TV Stand/Desk Combo

On the near end of the shelf there was a luggage stand waiting.

Westin Snowmass Luggage Stand

Instead of being in the entry hall I really liked the closet backing up to the bathroom wall. This allowed much easier access which would be terrific if I’d been staying a week to ski. The closet itself was actually kind of small but the other half had shelves and drawers which was good since there were no other drawers elsewhere in the room.

Good location for the closet

Though it was actually kind of small

Next to the closet was another door with shelves and housed the safe, tea service, complimentary (!) bottled water and the fridge.

Safe, Water and Mini-Fridge

The bathroom was fairly large. The sink and toilet were on the left side with the shower on the right. I liked the amount of counter space around the sink and underneath was a shelf with extra bath linens that could also be used for storage. There was a small waste bin next to the sink then an oddly-sized gap to the toilet, which meant the toilet was really too close to the wall. The toilet paper holder was positioned such that it was easy to hit it with your knee while seated. Just moving it forward a few inches would make a big difference.

Westin Snowmass Bathroom

The walk-in shower had both a rainfall showerhead and a hand-held wand. I wish I could tell you about water pressure, etc. but as I had no clean clothes to change into, I did not get to enjoy the shower.

Westin Snowmass Shower

The toiletries were White Tea Aloe made by Heavenly for Westin. I only got to use the hand soap but it worked fine. I did like its leaf shape.

Westin Snowmass Toiletries

Leaf-shaped Soap

The only real complaint I had with the room was the temperature. When I arrived, it turned out I didn’t need the second key to keep the lights on because a prior guest used some sort of badge from a convention to serve that purpose. It was a little stuffy in the room but I checked the thermostat and it was on 65 so I figured the room would cool off soon enough.

Despite being on the fifth floor, the hotel is on the side of the mountain so my room was partially underground as the hotel was built into the side of the hill. I don’t know if that played a part in its temperature or not but in the wee hours I had to get up and crack open the window because it was so warm and stuffy. And the room wasn’t freezing when I awoke, despite the falling snow. I’m not sure the heat ever came on even while hanging out in the room after breakfast with the window open. I like a very cool room while I sleep and this factor hit a sour note for me.

Snowmass Kitchen

I had both dinner and breakfast in the Snowmass Kitchen restaurant, which is downstairs from the front desk and can be accessed either by open-air stairs or by the elevators. As you’d expect, it’s not cheap as it’s in a slopeside hotel that offers views of the snow. But I’d never eaten there and wanted to give it a try. The food was good and the service was wonderful though part of that was likely because I dined early and for much of the meal I was the only table occupied in my waiter’s section.

Snowmass Kitchen Restaurant

Since I’m only SPG Gold, I did not get a free breakfast. The altitude had hit me hard overnight and I had a major, major headache. I needed food to keep down the Tylenol but had been sick to my stomach overnight and didn’t feel like eating though I knew I had to. I imagine some people who saw me thought I was extremely hung over because I was moving so slowly and looked so puny – plus, I was still in yesterday’s clothes since my luggage had not arrived. I decided just to have the cold buffet and found some cereal and fruit that I could eat. This portion of the buffet alone was nearly $25 so I didn’t get a good bang for my buck but then I didn’t have to go down to the Mountain Mall and try to find a restaurant. The hot buffet was a bit more but I would have liked to have sampled some of the offerings had I felt better.

Gym

The entrance to the gym is just off the side of the restaurant, on the same wall as the elevators. The room is L-shaped, though the two legs of the L are a bit more equal. Along one side were the towels and a small fridge with bottles of water.

Water and Towels

On the other side were cardio machines, mostly elliptical trainers but there were a couple of bikes too.

Ellipticals and Bikes

Across the far end of the room, looking out over the mall, were the treadmills

Treadmills with a view (during the daylight hours)

Turning left down the other leg of the L were sets of dumbbells and benches.

Hand weights and benches

At the far end was a universal machine along with balance balls and mats for stretching or yoga.

Weight machine and balance balls

Pool and Hot Tubs

I’d seen the pool enclosure from the slopes but this was the first time seeing it from the pool deck and I was surprised at how small it was.

Westin Snowmass Pool

I also only saw one hot tub but I would assume there were others around. At this point it was snowing so hard that I just wanted to get back inside.

Westin Snowmass Hot Tub

The snow had started overnight and continued all. day. long. Compare these two shots from my room’s window – one on Friday afternoon and the other mid-morning on Saturday!

The Tylenol was finally starting to kick in as I returned to my room after breakfast so I decided to check on my bag again. Since the app still showed them arriving in Houston and being rerouted after that (with no detailed info) I decided to call the 800 number. The automated recording basically reiterated what the app said so I punched 0 until connected to a person. She gave me the flight number and indicated the bags should be on the next Houston-Vail flight and should be there that afternoon. Whew! That was a relief – or was it? More in my review of The Crestwood condos, where our group was staying for the week.

But back to the Westin. I must say in some respects I was a little disappointed. I expected more luxury for the price and I didn’t expect to be put in a room that couldn’t be any further from the front desk. On the other hand the room was quiet and large though the temperature regulation needs some work.

Would I stay here again? Last year I stayed at the Stonebridge Inn for a night. The rooms and location at the Westin are no doubt better and you can pay with points, though at 16,000 points/night it’s not an exceptional value. So yeah, I probably would stay here and save my cash for another trip. But I might try to eat elsewhere to save some money.

Advertisements
Categories: Hotel, Lodging Review, Starwood | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: