The Westin Diplomat’s Views Are Just as Magnificent But It Isn’t As Great as a Gold Than it is as a Platinum

I first wrote about the Westin Diplomat outside of Ft. Lauderdale as far back as the fall of 2005. My blog has been through a couple of moves since then and I don’t have the photos from that stay, but it’s been a property I’ve stayed at many many times since then. Here’s a comprehensive review, with photos.

Long before Starwood introduced a free breakfast benefit for Platinums at hotels without an available club lounge and ‘Suite Night Awards’ for Platinum members who stay at least 50 nights in a year, allowing those members to express preference for when they’ll receive an upgrade, I recommended this hotel as probably offering the best Platinum treatment anywhere.

That’s because the Westin Diplomat has a lovely club lounge space on the 33rd floor overlooking both the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal waterway, and because breakfast has always been generous (though in recent years they’ve been asking guests to sign $0 checks as a way of soliciting for tips, and have gotten a ton less generous with evening appetizers). And it’s because the hotel has more than 80 suites in its upgrade pool — most of the year, generally outside of the week between Christmas and New Years, a complimentary suite for a Platinum was as close to a gimme as any hotel could be.

And it’s hard to go wrong with a beautiful, lit pool and with sunrise over the Atlantic.

But it is a big, busy hotel. Lines at the check-in desk can be long. Carpets in rooms are getting worn. The pool is busy and getting a well-positioned chair at peak times can be tough. It’s also not really near very much, and traffic in the area is bad, so it’s not a great base for travel elsewhere in the area.

I recently returned not as a Starwood Platinum so my experience was different than what it used to be there — no suite upgrade, no club lounge access. I did know I at least wanted a balcony with a view, so I booked that room using a cash and points award. Starwood now has cash and points for multiple room types and not just a base room. And the hotel does still treat elites well, as a Gold member they gave me a pretty good room within the basic category I booked.

I was assigned to room 1931, a corner room in the South tower — there are two towers, I prefer the South one because many rooms look out at both the ocean and the intracoastal — with a wraparound balcony.

There was a good-sized bedroom, with coach and workdesk.

It had a spacious bathroom, with glass-enclosed shower, tub, and separate toilet cabin.

The balcony as furnished and perfect for a meal from room service.

The carpet was well-worn and bubbling, though.

And the coffee cups had lipstick on them from a previous guest.

This is a busy, giant hotel, that remains fantastic for Platinum members. They treat elites well and have the resources to do so. It’s not a refined experience, and the location isn’t central and nearby traffic can be bad. But the views are, indeed, magnificent.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary ┬╗

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Comments

  1. Just a note that I was able to get this resort on Hotwire back in 2010. I haven’t used Hotwire in a while, but I used a opaque site helper website = betterbidding.com. The Westin Diplomat has a sister property one mile away (the “Golf” location). I won that location and I knew it, but I played dumb and went to the this hotel (The “Beach” location). I was SPG Gold at the time and they were nice enough to give me a partial ocean view here. The hotel even boasts about the fragrance they use in the lobby area which smells very rich and stays with you ­čśë (“Our sensory welcome greets you with warm lighting, beautiful botanical arrangements, signature music, and our calming white tea scent. ” )

  2. I’m hoping there are Diplomat lurkers here so that I can get the note to management, yet again, that if a hotel is smoke-free then its poolside areas should be too. Not only do the smoking areas near the pool (which again, should not exist in a smoke-free hotel if the pool is considered part of the hotel) lead to a cancer cloud passing over many of the other non-smoking areas, but the hotel does nothing to police the many smokers who smoke all over the pool deck. It’s really frustrating. Our experiences as Golds there has been hit or miss – I’d say we get the wraparound balcony 1/3 of the time.

  3. This hotel is a tourist factory, I would rather just pay extra to stay at the St Regis up the road. That is of course if i wanted to be in Florida in the first place.

  4. This is a large and weak hotel. While they have plenty of suites and indeed you can see the water from them, there are so many nearby properties which are materially nicer. I’d take a regular room away versus a suite here any day.

  5. A bad bad hotel: check in takes unusually long, not because lines are long, but because staff (for some reason) are slow, even for elite lines. Beach has jelly fish. Pool is super crowded, especially on weekends. We got an ocean-facing room, which has nice views. But that’s just about all you can say about the Westin Diplomat.

  6. Gary: Did you giveup platinum status with SPG? I’m somewhat shocked, as I assumed you maintained Hyatt & SPG. How come?

  7. @avi – not currently an SPG Platinum. I could have it without too much difficulty since they award it based on meeting spend, but most of my stays recently haven’t been with SPG and I didn’t make an effort to keep it. SPG is great with the Amex, not very rewarding for in-hotel spend, and I like guaranteed upgrades so I prefer Hyatt. That said, SPG is a good program and I’ve been thinking about going back and squeezing out 50 nights next year (with 10 coming from the amex cards)

  8. Gary I find comments like yours interesting, “and I like guaranteed upgrades so I prefer Hyatt” how much time do you spend in your hotel room? I’ usually out of my hotel room by 730am, and return roughly 7pm that evening from work. As long as the hotel room has a nice large desk for me to work at I’m happy, I rather get the upgrades on Vacation.

  9. I have noticed I seem to get things like “lipstick on the coffee mug” less at Marriott’s than other chains I frequent namely Hilton and Starwood. Maybe it’s just coincidence. It does make me question the rest of the cleaning regimen though.

  10. Nice hotel- The front desk and check in is painful, slow and always busy . I have stayed here a few times for conventions. The rooms are nice, I usually get upgraded as a platinum member, The front desk is the problem for me here.

  11. “There was a good-sized bedroom, with coach and workdesk.”

    Ok, they give you a coach but where do you stable your horse(s)??

    ­čśë

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