I'm often asked for suggestions of where to stay and so I thought I'd write some posts about the various hotels we stay in around the world.
I was staying in the Westin Tokyo only last week and am staying in the Westin Grand Central NYC this week and so the difference between these two hotels was more obvious. They are both SPG hotels but not only are they geographically very far apart but they are in terms of product and service too.
Both are in major cities and both are category 5 in the SPG rating. So you would think they should be similar in standard...think again.
In terms of service this is obvious from the moment you arrive. At the Westin Tokyo there are always bell boys to help with bags and to open doors and it's common to be greeted at least once before you get to the elevator.
At the Westin GC you get to lift your own bags out of the taxi and the door guys/security are usually far more interested in their own conversions than any customers. No one opens the door and you struggle with your luggage through a revolving door whilst they watch on.
The Rooms are very similar as you can see below. The Westin CG is on the left and Westin Tokyo is on the right.
Having stayed at both hotels several times there is the same chance of receiving an upgrade to the Best Available Room in both... Not often.
This 'should' be a perk of being a Platinum SPG member. We have been Platinum members for 9 years now and this happens about 50% of the time. We currently have a corner room in the Westin GC and it really only gives us a view of office buildings from two windows instead of one...
Both hotels have great standards in how the rooms are cleaned.
The Westin Tokyo offers the option to get 500 SPG points per night in lieu of having the room cleaned. You hang a card on the room door at night. This means no clean towels for that day, but that's not the end of the world, I don't change my towels at home daily so I don't need to when I am away.
The Westin GC say in their hotel guide book that you have to contact Service express to ask if they have this option, there is no card to hang on the door. There are no recycling ruccish/trash bins in the rooms at the Westin GC either (there are in the Westin Tokyo) so maybe the environment isn't their priority...
The toiletries in the room at the Westin Tokyo are by far superior to the Westin GC. The Westin GC on the left and the Westin Tokyo on the right.
At the Westin GC you are only provided with shower gel if you call 'service express' and of course then you are obliged to tip the person who brings it.
As we were staying two weeks we just decided to go and buy our own shower gel in the nearby pharmacy to save the effort of calling everyday. Should this be the case in a hotel of this standard ?
You also have to call to request slippers, shower caps and disposable razors. Items which are all replenished daily at the Westin Tokyo.
The hotel does however supply other items on request too. See the list opposite, which is very useful if you forget to bring something. I have no idea if the Westin Tokyo does this as everything we needed was already in the room.
One of the big differences between these two hotels is the availability of an SPG Club lounge.
At The Westin Tokyo there is a lounge on the 17th floor with amazing views over the city. The lounge is open to SPG guests and Club level rooms from 6am until 10pm. You can have buffet style breakfast here and in the evening they offer canapes and a complimentary bar. Photos below.
During the rest of the day there is complimentary tea, coffee and soft drinks as well as a small selection of biscuits.
At The Westin GC (as in Many SPG Hotels in the USA) there isn't a Club Lounge.
The other major difference is the breakfast offer. I the Westin Tokyo there is a huge breakfast buffet on the ground floor. This is very popular with locals too and that does mean that there is often a queue for a table. T
he wait is worth is though as there is a huge selection available. There is an egg station, fruit smoothies, Japanese specialties, breads and pastries. The let down here is the selection of cold cuts and cheeses, which aren't as good as in some other SPG hotels, but there is enough other stuff that you don't really mind too much.
In direct comparison the breakfast in the Westin GC is miserable. As a platinum SPG member the hotels offers a breakfast voucher which covers some of the cost of a cooked breakfast or all of the cost of the cold/takeaway breakfast. We did the hot option on our first stay here and it arrived at the table cold. (no buffet you order from the menu) I complained and it was replaced by another plate of cold eggs and bacon.... we didn't bother going back.
So we now take the breakfast as a take away from the LCL where you can get a tub of granola and yoghurt or fruit, a pastry or bagel, a banana and a tea or coffee.
Its not bad and the plus side is you can take away and eat it in bed at the weekend whilst reading the newspapers, but it is a world away from the breakfast buffet offered in the Westin Tokyo and in many of the other SPG hotels around the world.
The last difference is a small one but a significant one. Its water. Bottled water.
In the Westin Tokyo both my husband and I received a complimentary bottle of water daily. When I left on my sightseeing trip in the morning I had a bottle of water to take with me.
The first time we stayed in the Westin GC when I asked if there was complimentary bottled water I was told by a surly receptionist that the tap water is complimentary.
This one answer sums up the difference between both hotels.
We love the SPG group hotels and stay in them wherever we can. We have been platinum members several years and have stayed in their hotels for 460 nights over the last 9 years. We've stayed with them in Tokyo, New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Singapore, London and Berlin this year alone. (more reviews to come !)
We have had many nice upgrades over those years and are generally treated very well. Often receiving a welcome plate with fruit, chocolate and even wine. As such loyal customers this should of course be the case, but the one thing I feel really lets them down is the consistency of the brand.
The Sheraton, Westin or Le Meridian hotels are simply not the same standard around the world, which is something we have really noticed, and what prompted this post.
Have you stayed in either of these hotels? or do you stay in SPG hotels around the world too? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this post.
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