March 22, 2017
Hotel Review: Westin Punta Cana and Booking a Free Suite
Last week I spent four nights at the Westin Punta Cana Resort in the Dominican Republic. Since I was there during spring break, the price of a standard room was elevated and came to about $460 including resort fee and taxes. Alternatively, rooms can be booked for 10,000 SPG starpoints a night, giving you a value of 4.6 cents per point-pretty good! Since I didn’t want to spend $460 per night, I used Starpoints to lower the cost of my vacation 🙂 Now, the caveat here is that I also have SPG platinum status. Platinum members are eligible for free room upgrades on check-in, as long as there’s a room available. So, I ended up getting my free room upgraded to a suite!
The suite itself was massive. It came with a king size bedroom, a living room, a bathroom with two sinks, bathtub, and shower, as well as a balcony with a pretty spectacular view.
My only issue with the room was that there wasn’t any power outlets next to the bed. Hotels should really get rid of those old bedside alarm clocks and substitute clocks with built in outlets.
Beach & Pool
The whole point of staying at a caribbean resort is the ocean, and the Westin is right on a beautiful strip of ocean. There’s beach chairs by the ocean along with waiters who periodically walk by to take your drink orders.
The weather was in the 80s every day I was there and the water was fantastic-crystal clear and warm! If you get tired of the ocean, you can just hope in the pool. The pool seemed to be a huge hit with kids staying at the resort while they didn’t seem to like the ocean as much.
One very important thing to note here is that the Westin Punta Cana is NOT an all-inclusive resort. You pay separately for everything you eat and drink. There are two two main restaurants at the hotel with very similar food offerings-a combination of standard American food as well as Dominican food. The main deciding factor is-do you want to eat at the indoor restaurant or the outdoor restaurant today?
The food itself was good, but it’s a hit or miss with the service. Some waiters did a great job while some were very inattentive, especially during the breakfast rush.
There’s also a third pop-up grill by the pool from 12:00 PM-4:00 PM. This was my favorite place to eat at the resort. Everything is cooked on an open grill, made to order, tastes great (can’t go wrong with a charcoal grill), and prepared fast! Finally, the room service here was excellent. I ordered food in my room twice and on both occasions it arrived within 20 minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever had service that fast before.
Gym & Wifi
The gym at the hotel was pretty bad. This is literally the entire gym. Hotel gyms in general are pretty bad, but the Westin markets itself as a supposedly ‘fit’ hotel brand that advocates health and exercise. The heaviest dumbbells are 50 lbs and there’s no squat rack. I mean, this is just about the bare minimum setup you can have to call this room a gym.
I also had periodic issues with the wi-fi throughout the hotel. Sometimes it would work fine, and sometimes nothing would load. I ended up using my cellular data about half the time I was there.
Overall the stay was a net positive. Yes there were some issues with the hotel as there are with nearly every property, but the warm weather, the crystal clear ocean, and the giant suite more than made up for any inconveniences.