Westin Memphis is a very nice hotel. Clean and in the heart of Memphis’ night life. The Suite is definitely the room to get as it has a large sitting area with a washroom and the main bedroom has an expansive en suite. Thumbs up for this Starwood property.
The St. Regis Monarch Beach
7/18 - 7/20
The St. Regis Monarch Beach was a pretty big property and the hotel was quite large as well. The staff was not as friendly as they should have been for what it costs to stay there. It also took quite a while to check-in even when I arrived quite a while after the starting check-in time.
It was, however, extremely clean and the room had a very nice view with a balcony looking out over the pool area. It isn’t on the beach but rather overlooks the golf course running along the PCH and then you may catch a hint of the water.
The outside bar area had good food but the service was very very slow so don’t plan on being in a rush. Overall the property was very nice but unless one plans on playing golf and then hitting the spa, I wouldn’t consider this a hot vacation spot.
Le Meridien King Edward, Toronto
6/27 - 6/28
Spacious yet old hotel. Lobby is very open and check-in is always easy. The rooms vary in size but every time I have stayed here it has been a quite stay except for the 3 am false fire alarm one morning. Located in a pretty nice area of downtown Toronto, I recommend staying here if you need to be walking distance to downtown attractions, dinners, and/or meetings.
The Westin Ottawa
6/28 - 6/29
There is always a wait to check-in at this hotel for what seems like no reason. Rarely is there an upgrade and they are always full. It is also rare that I have ever gotten the room(s) I requested at booking (i.e. booked double beds but only have a king with no pull out).
Though the interior of the hotel does maintain the typical Westin look and white tea smell, the staff are usually a bit rude. The past few years, construction has been going on next door of the convention center which also caused a bit of a headache with lots of noise; however, the construction is now complete so it should be a bit quieter.
8/30 - 9/02
I typically try to stay at the W Westwood not only because it is close to some of my L.A. meetings but because I consider it my favorite of W hotels because of it’s quasi-residential locale, quite setting, and the room layout.
At the W Hollywood though, it was very spacious room yet with a horrible view of an auto parts store. I made an attempt to leave a bit after dark to walk the area and decided it best to go back and watch Law & Order after seeing 4 security guards and a number of homeless people loitering around the Hollywood and Vine sub stop.
Don’t get me wrong, the hotel is awesome, the lobby is super impressive and the room was very nice but unless I have a car waiting to drive me off the property when I’m ready to go out, I wouldn’t stay here. I’m sure that during the weekends tourists come out of the woodworks to see the sidewalk stars which may boost the comfort level of safety but can also be another reason you may want to lodge elsewhere if you don’t like crowds.
he Westin South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa
7/20 - 7/22
This hotel was surrounded by what appeared to be new buildings for various arts and may be a very lively place on certain nights. The lobby was very large, the staff was very friendly, and check-in was a breeze.
The upgrade was extremely nice (& CLEAN) with a suite connecting two rooms linking a king bed to a dining/living space area. It did not seem to have any quick eating areas within an easy walking distance but the in-room dining was standard Westin and was timely. It was also very close to SNA but far enough away that you weren’t listening to take-offs and landings all day.
If you are in OC, this is a nice hotel for business.
SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
726 - 7/28
I can definitely see the swanky look they were going for. This particular setup did not appeal to me but the layout of the room was interesting. The bed was in the middle of the room with a desk behind it also acting as a headboard.
The setting around the hotel didn’t impress me and I imagine it was intended to be a “drive up and see me with all the fancy people” setting versus just walking the streets. I ventured out for a meal and didn’t see much in terms of a descent yet quick bite.
The Westin Washington National Harbor
10/25 - 10/27
This particular hotel is about a 40 dollar cab ride into downtown D.C. but can be a much cheaper alternative to the Westin City Center and W if it isn’t imperative that one be downtown all day and night.
It is located at the National Harbor where there is a few other hotels, including an Aloft, and a number of restaurants to choose from due to the Gaylord Convention Center.
I have stayed here a number of times, especially when I don’t need to be downtown D.C., and the staff has always been extremely friendly and eager to make your visit pleasant. As Westin indeeds it to be, it has always had the branded smell of white tea upon entering the lobby.
The room has typically been a descent sized room with a nice view of the Potomac. It is a very quite hotel with quick access to shops and food. The in-room dining is based on the typical Westin menu. My particular order was filling in proportion and arrived timely.
W New York - Union Square
10/18 - 10/21
The hotel is in a nice area that is close to the High Line (www.thehighline.org) and a number of shops that appear to be undergoing a neighborhood renaissance. To date, I think it is the most unique W lobby I have been to and found the bar to be very lively with a 30-something crowd.
The staff was very friendly and I checked in super fast. This particular trip I had a few dinner meetings and was unable to do my typical “bunker down in the room and order room service” but I did enjoy a descent sushi dinner at the place across the street.
The room wasn’t the largest of rooms but was spacious for NYC and didn’t resemble a Hilton type closet room. The only issue I encountered was in the bathroom where it contained someone’s long black hair on the floor and shower. All in all, I give it a thumbs up and a 7 out of 10; however, it was way too expensive of a room to have encountered any issues.
The Manhattan at Times Square Hotel
I would normally not stay at this hotel but because of room availability and vicinity of my obligations, I decided to roll the dice. Upon entering this hotel I was reminded why I try to avoid places like this: the ambiance and smell was that of a nursing home, the doorman was inside joshing around with the security guard, and the reception area had three people waiting to rush towards the back office as soon as they saw my roller-bag.
At reception, the greeting was cold and it was very obvious she was just as happy to be working at this place as was I occupying a room. Onward to the room where it appears no renovation was done to the hotel other than changing the name from Sheraton to the extremely long name of The Manhattan At Times Square Hotel. Thankfully, they placed me on a mid range floor that has Times Square shining in through the pull curtains that don’t fit the length of the window and I can hear the conversation in the room beside me.
Luckily, I’m not here for long (and don’t need Wi-Fi because there isn’t any!) and advise others to look elsewhere in the city.