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On our second trip to the Avon/Beaver Creek area in as many years we returned to the Westin Beaver Creek Resort and Spa for the first few days of our ski trip. We knew the hotel wasn’t located perfectly for things like ski school, but we loved the suites and service (and points availability) so much that we returned anyway. In Part 1 of the report I covered both our one- and two-bedroom suites (and I had a strong preference for one over the other).
In this post I want to cover the treatment of Platinum SPG guests, food options, the ski valet, and skiing convenience in general. I also covered some different amenities the hotel has to offer in last year’s post.
SPG Elite Benefit Recognition:
This was one of our first big trips where we had the chance to put my husbands SPG Platinum status to good use. He earned it last year via a Platinum challenge (mostly with business stays), but hasn’t traveled too much since then. We had confirmed a paid suite upgrade in advance, so we weren’t banking on any complimentary upgrade, but I did still ask at check-in how Platinum upgrades are handled at this property. I was told that the highest upgrade is to a one-bedroom suite, but that it primarily happens during the off-season (after April and before Thanksgiving). It does happen from time to time during ski season, but it isn’t common. In other words, if you need the extra space during ski season then secure it in advance. However, this would be a killer free upgrade during the off-season since the one-bedroom suites are pretty nice.
Everyone is hit with the $20 resort fee, and they didn’t budge on it. We opted for daily continental breakfast for two instead of the 500 SPG point Welcome Amenity and were told that we can either have that breakfast from Lift Cafe or in the Market. We were told there is an actual continental breakfast in the Lift Cafe or the breakfast was worth $15 in that restaurant.
We never actually made it to Lift Cafe, but instead got to-go items from the Market. We never got a straight answer as to what the certificate covered there, but for two people it seemed to cover two hot items (breakfast sandwich and/or breakfast burrito), one juice, and one coffee. When we tried to each get a coffee instead of juice we had to pay for one. When we tried to each get juice we had to pay for one. It was a little weird, but it made breakfast pretty cheap when we just had to pay for a little overage each day. We also got a whooping 100 SPG points per day.
I wouldn’t say that our Platinum status was a game changer at this hotel during ski season, but bringing the cost of breakfast down to roughly the cost of a cup of coffee each day wasn’t terrible…it just wasn’t near as nice as our breakfast benefit at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek a few days later!
On-site food options:
We never made it to Lift Cafe, but it is a small cafe that is located right before you head out of the door to the gondola or ski valet. It is open for breakfast and dinner, but not lunch.
Cima is a full-service restaurant within the hotel that we visited last year for Sunday Brunch, and returned again this year. My daughter’s illness cut our brunch very short this year, but it was still delicious and with a great view. I believe the brunch was $24 for adults and I think children under 5 were free. They have many different hot and cold options and that price includes juice and coffee. This restaurant was covered in more depth in last year’s review.
In-room dining was a huge hit for us on this trip both since we had a table to eat on in the suite and because our kiddo was really too sick to leave the room for a couple days. The portions were large enough for a meal and a snack/small meal the next day, so we actually felt like we got our money’s worth. Of course, room service isn’t cheap, and this meal for three came to about $100 all-in. It was good though!
We also made a trip to Wings grocery store that is located within a (long) walking distance to the hotel. I would not recommend walking if you plan to buy very much, but we purchased some milk, juice, snacks, fruit, and enough food to cook a meal in our suite. The store had a fair selection of groceries and pre-made food. Eating a couple of meals in the room can save you some real cash considering how much a meal can run you at the resort.
Cima also had a happy hour in the hotel lobby from 3:30 – 6:00PM where you can turn some small plates into a dinner if you wish. It’s not the healthiest food, but after a day of skiing you probably burned off enough calories anyway.
This was the first time in my life i have used anything like a ski valet and I have to say it has its advantages and disadvantages. First, it isn’t really optional. There are signs everywhere saying not to bring your ski gear into the hotel. It makes sense as there is no question that skis, ski boots, and snowboards would damage the hotel, but don’t think you can just easily ski using the ski valet service. It is pretty convenient having your gear stored for you right when you walk in the building, but it is also a little bit of a PITA when you have to wait to get your gear in the morning. I guess the part I liked the least was that the boots are kept separately from the skis/boards, so you have to wait and tip twice when all you want is your gear. If there were a way to combine the process from two steps to one it would be better for me – especially when the three year old is with us.
The guys working there are all really nice, and there are free waters and granola bars for the taking. It isn’t a horrible process by any stretch, but it isn’t 100% seamless either.
Skiing from Westin Beaver Creek:
Once you get your skis or snowboard the logical next step is to hit the mountain. There is a gondola steps from the ski valet, but it isn’t a gondola that takes you up on the mountain. Rather, it is a gondola that takes you to a lift that will take you up the mountain. I have to admit I didn’t have time to ski that part of the mountain, so I really can’t comment first-hand on that process. I can tell you that if you need to get to ski school that it is not the gondola and lift for you. To get to ski school you need to take the bus that comes about every 15 minutes during the peak times. The bus then takes anywhere from 10-25 minutes depending on the route it takes. Sometimes I got lucky and it went directly to the base of the mountain and sometimes it went all through the town of Avon before heading up the mountain. Here is a map where I circled Beaver Creek Village and ski school as well as the location of the Westin Resort.
I took the shuttle bus a few times with Little C and all our gear and it is absolutely doable, but it does add a chunk of time to the beginning of your day – which can be tough when you are trying to get to ski school on time. If you have older children, or are doing an adults-only trip, then I really don’t think the bus is a big deal at all. Also, if your children are five years and up then you do have the option of the Westin Kid’s Club getting them to ski school for a fee.
Westin Kid’s Club:
While we are on the topic of the Kid’s Club, here are a few details. They are licensed for children ages 5-12, and are open 7 days a week with varying hours each day. You can purchase a full day, half day, by the hour, for three hours, for ski school transport, etc. Basically there are a ton of options. It’s not cheap, but honestly pretty much nothing that has to do with skiing or resorts is cheap (except the rooms on points).
I was seriously bummed to learn that Colorado licensing regulations meant that kiddos had to be at least five to attend the Kid’s Club. As you can see, Little C was bummed too. She really wanted to go in and play.
You Can Do It Too:
This hotel is an incredible points value at just 12,000 points per night for most nights. The neighboring Westin Villas are 20,000 points per night, so don’t confuse the two properties. If I were doing a ski vacation based out of this hotel I would try to do five nights for the price of four at 48,000 points. That brings your nightly points rate down to 9,600 points per night for a beautiful resort during ski season, which is pretty incredible. Rates can easily run close to $350 per night on peak ski days, so using 9,600 points per night for a five night stay means you are getting around 3.5 cents per point – which is good. In order to earn as many SPG points as possible make sure to register for their current “Power Up” promotion, Audience Rewards, and consider the SPG Personal Amex and/or the SPG Business Amex, if you don’t already have them. I like them both for the sign-up bonuses, and to use on purchases to build up valuable SPG points that make ski trips like this one possible.. As a reminder, the terms indicate that the welcome bonuses for those cards are not available to applicants who have had the products within the last 12 months so plan accordingly.
I continue to love this resort. It is beautiful, quite affordable on points, the amenities are great, and the service is very good.
However, now that we are actively skiing with a young child the location is a bit tougher than some other options in the area. The rooms and suites are beautiful, so for us it will be a close call between nicer rooms at this hotel and a better location and another resort. Even if we turn to another resort in the area for the short run, I have no doubt we will be drawn back to this resort as our daughter gets a little older.
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