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.