Several folks asked me about this post from yesterday morning, the sunrise photo I was waking up to, where I was?
It was another great stay at the Westin Diplomat. This isn’t the nicest or most refined property in Starwood, or even of theirs in South Florida. There’s a new W in Ft. Lauderdale that was tempting to check out. But this hotel offers the very best Platinum elite treatment of any property, anywhere.
They have something like 86 suites in the upgrade pool, about three-quarters of which are “corner suites” — a bedroom and separate living room with small dining area and large bathroom. These suites have a wraparound balcony looking straight out at the Atlantic ocean, and to the side the ability to see the Intracoastal Waterway as well.
With this many suites, it’s the ‘default’ room for Platinums. The hotel’s reputation for giving Platinums suites is so strong that they’ve been known to send out emails to Platinums during high demand periods (like the week between Christmas and New Years) just to give them advance warning that they might not get a suite. When you’re that consistent, you do need to set expectations appropriately when you’re likely to deviate.
The other great benefit is the club lounge, which all suite guests and all Platinums have access to. It’s on the 33rd floor and has both indoor and outdoor seating areas, with the outdoor areas overlooking the ocean on one side and the Intracoastal on the other. There’s free wireless in the lounge.
They do an amazing job with breakfast up there, nothing cooked to order but a nice spread complete with lox and a variety pastries. In addition to coffee and tea, and as befitting a South Florida property, the orange juice is quite good.
There’s an evening canape service and also dessert service. I didn’t visit the lounge for either of those during this stay. On my most recent previous two stays this service had slipped. Unlike Asian properties, they don’t continually put food out during evening service times. Rather, they put out a tray or two and when it’s gone for the night it’s gone. And the vultures, they do descend. A shame, because they used to always have the most wonderful tasty desserts before bedtime…
Two other minor gripes about the lounge: cocktails aren’t free, and at breakfast they distribute $0.00 checks for guests to sign, a not-so-subtle mechanism to solicit for tips. But those are really minor complaints, Platinums here get definite value for their money.
Now, I’m not sure I’d love this property without status. It’s very large, there can be competition for pool chairs, and valet parking isn’t cheap at ~ $25/day (not a lot for a big city, but this isn’t even Ft. Lauderdale proper). Internet is $12.95 a day (beginning March 1 that’ll be free for Platinums…).
Still, all in all one of my favorite Starwood properties, my very favorite in North America, and the best anywhere for elite status recognition.