Westin Arlington Gateway (Virginia) - Master Thread

Discussion in 'Starwood | Preferred Guest' started by MSPeconomist, Feb 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    The review is based on more than a half-dozen stays as Plat. Only on the last one in late fall of 2010 did I finally get a suite upgrade, although I always was given a Club room with lounge access (one or two night stays, mid-late afternoon arrival in general, Sunday through Wednesday nights). I had a 4 pm checkout when I occupied the suite but the maid did not respect my do not disturb sign (loudly and insistently knocked on the door not once but three times from 2 to 4 pm because she "didn't know whether I had left".).

    The hotel is located in the DC suburb of Arlington, very close to the Ballston Metro station, in a mixed-use newly-built suburban area with sidewalks, mid-rise residential buildings, offices (including government), shopping, and universities nearby.

    From DCA, this location requires one change of train, usually at Rosslyn, and similarly for travel into the District. Upon exiting the Ballston Metro station, walk two blocks along Stuart Street (past a Hilton and the National Science Foundation building on the left hand side of the street) and then turn right at the Ballston Mall (mid-level large shopping mall with food court and some sit-down restaurants) and walk about a block and a half. A hotel entrance is on the right side of the street, just after the Starbucks which is part of the hotel lobby. Alternatively, you can diagonally cut through a small part between condo buildings. The hotel is just beyond a small wine store and wine bar/bistro.

    I have found the staff generally to be polite, welcoming, and professional. The hotel includes a pleasant lobby bar, Italian-international restaurant, meeting space, health club, and indoor swimming pool. The hotel offers valet parking and an underground garage for a fee. I've enjoyed dinners and snacks in the hotel for reasonable prices (look for coupons/offers in the lounge or in the welcome email), but there is a variety of restaurants--although none are truly upscale--within several blocks.

    Rooms are decorated in the modern Westin style with flat screen TVs, light woods and beige/tan/green colors. King bedded rooms generally feature better views than those with two double beds. The suite I had was a bit small and had a bathroom with a sink (and lots of counter space) in a sort of dressing room/walkthrough hallway area connecting the room's entryway to the bedroom plus a tiny room with toilet and combination shower/bath. Every room that I've seen has had a desk and comfortable soft seating with a good reading light. Internet service seems good.

    The corner Club Lounge on the top floor is pleasant. It offers an extended continental breakfast in the morning with a good variety of snacks in the early evening (good cheese with grapes, dried fruit, and a variety of crackers, cold grilled veggies, cold veggies and dip, several hot choices, usually including some Asian foods). IIRC during the day, water, cookies and whole fruit are available. Evening alcoholic beverages are available for purchase.

    A major problem with this property is that the lounge was closed for a large part of the year in 2010, a couple months in summer and then again from early-mid November through early-mid January. For my most recent stay, there was no obvious warning that the lounge would be closed and, in fact, my Platinum Concierge told me that it would be open. YMMV.

    Overall, I think this is clearly the best hotel in this part of Arlington. It works well for business travel, especially to the Virginia suburbs, with good access to the Metro and DCA. It is probably not a good location for leisure or families, although the shopping mall, indoor pool, and convenient Metro transportation to sightseeing destinations renders it somewhat suitable for families with older children.
     
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  2. monitor
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    monitor Gold Member

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    I think that that this is one of the three or four premier hotels in Northern Virginia. We have stayed there at least half a dozen times since we travel to that area on business every month. In the above post, MSPeconomist has hit all the detail points that concern us other than that the parking fee is $26 although it is in a covered downstairs garage.

    One of the best things about it is its convenience to the Clarendon corridor of good restaurants when we want to stay with American food styles. We can find all the great ethnics that we need out in Falls Church and Merrifield where we work and this is a very nice change of pace. In addition, walking out the backdoor of the property takes you to a lovely wine store cum restaurant called (I think) The Euro Cafe, where you pick your bottle off the shelves after you have decided what you are eating.

    I can recommend it with very few qualifications although I have learned to call ahead before booking to check if the Lounge will be open.
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    I've had mixed experiences with the wine store/bistro. The name Euro Cafe sounds right, but I'm not positive. It's a limited and somewhat eclectic menu (not so much real dinner but more than snacks) and sometimes their wines seem expensive relative to wine store prices elsewhere.

    There's also a large and good grocery store about three blocks away, past the car dealership and the "bottom" end of Ballston Mall and its garage. The have a wine store and pharmacy on the upper level; you can either pay there (credit cards accepted) or with your food purchases. There's a pretty good selection of ready-to-eat food items, disposable silverware and napkins provided.
     
  4. monitor
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    monitor Gold Member

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    You probably have the right one. The food is light but nicely prepared and certainly adequate for a light dinner between nights that we are involved in big ones. The wine may be priced above the local store but there is no corkage and ends up being OK since it is lacking the average restaurant markup. I find the selection to be of my liking.

    I will keep the wine store in the Mall in mind in case we go against our usual practice since we generally prefer not to bring dinner back to the room.
     

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