01. Introduction: Chasing the Thanksgiving 747 (and other rare birds)
02. American Airlines 737-800 premium economy (Main Cabin Extra) San Diego to Chicago
03. American Airlines MD-83 economy class Chicago to Detroit
04. Westin DTW (standard room)
05. Delta Airlines 747-400 business class (Delta One) Detroit to Atlanta
06. Delta Airlines 747-400 business class (Delta One) Atlanta to…nowhere
07. Delta Airlines A330-300 business class (Delta One) Atlanta to Seattle
08. Delta Connection ERJ-170 first class Seattle to San Diego
It was maybe half way through the ORD-DTW segment on that AA MD-83 when I realized that I was about to do something I’ve never done before as a traveler: I was going stay in a hotel I’ve stayed at before. It never occurred to me that in all my years of travel, I’ve never once stayed at the same hotel twice. I really couldn’t believe it at first, but I racked my brain for a good 10 minutes trying to think of at least one time that I’ve done it and nothing came up. There might be a chance that I did way back in the spring of 1997 – I was just out of college in my first real job and I was doing a lot of business travel at the time. We flew to Dallas to meet with the same client three times in two months, and to be honest I can’t recall where we stayed for each trip. It’s conceivable that it was the same hotel every time but since I can’t remember, it doesn’t count!
My first stay at the Westin DTW was back in January of 2014, and if you recall my review of that stay, you’ll know that it is a hotel that I like quite a bit (mostly because it’s connected directly to the terminal). It’s in a very convenient location, it’s modern and up to date, and generally quiet. It is a bit expensive though, and I’ve found nightly rates to be nearly 3 times as much compared to other hotels that surround the airport perimeter. The convenience is worth it though, at least in my mind, and I don’t mind paying a little extra to be able to roll out of bed and not have to go very far to catch my flight.
I was debating whether or not I was going to write another review of this Westin since I’ve already did one two years ago, but I booked a standard room this time in order to save a few dollars and I thought it might be good to compare it to the deluxe room I had last time. The preview pictures of the standard room on hotels.com looked very similar to the deluxe room, so it wasn’t exactly clear to me what the difference was at the time. Let me show you what I found:
As you can see, this standard room is basically the same as the deluxe, with the only difference being the view. Not that the view was very good in the deluxe room, but it was a higher floor with a view of the airport terminals.
I’d also like to point out that something felt different about this stay compared to the last time I was here: The entire place smelled like a cheap Comfort Inn (or equivalent) roadside hotel. You know…kind of a musty smell, mixed with the scent of bleach and cheap perfumy cleaning products. The place just smelled cheap. That really killed the experience for me, and I wasn’t so impressed with this stay as I was the last time. I’m not sure if my expectations have risen over the years, or if this place is just getting stale and old, but it felt like a different experience.
Something that was the same, however, was the cost of a meal in the restaurant on the main floor. I’m highly embarrassed to admit that I spent $70 on a bowl of soup, a piece of salmon, and a piece of chocolate cake for dessert. Completely ridiculous, and I’m ashamed with myself for doing that. The food was good but it wasn’t worth anywhere near that price. Next time, I’m going to take advantage of the fact that Westin hotel guests are allowed access into the main terminal via a dedicated security lane for shopping and dining options – doing that will definitely save a few dollars on dinner!
One more thing about that dedicated security lane: while I admit that it’s very convenient having the option to enter the terminal directly from the hotel lobby, it doesn’t open early enough in the morning to be able to take advantage of it (it is open for flight crew though).
I assume most travelers stay at this Westin because they have an early flight the next morning, but this security lane doesn’t open until after 7am making it useless for those early-bird travelers. I’ve stayed at this hotel twice now, and both times my departing flights were early enough that I couldn’t take advantage of this little perk.