Review: Westin Beaver Creek Resort and Spa Part 2 (2013)

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

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.

20130127-162633.jpgCima 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

20130127-162649.jpg

20130127-162705.jpgI really enjoy this restaurant and would absolutely return there in the future.

20130127-162718.jpgIn-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!

20130127-162737.jpgWe 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.

20130127-162748.jpg

20130127-162807.jpgCima 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.

20130127-162817.jpg

20130127-162829.jpgThe tall stools were a bit of a hazard for C as she almost fell off, but otherwise this was a great way to have a decently priced dinner in the hotel.

20130127-162842.jpgSki Valet:

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. 

Overall Impressions:

I continue to love this resort.  It is beautiful, quite affordable on points, the amenities are great, and the service is very good.

20130127-203443.jpg

20130127-203518.jpg

20130127-203545.jpg

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.

 

Disclosure: I do receive a commission if you are approved for a credit card using one of my affiliate links.  As always, thanks for your support!

Comments

  1. Your story concerning the ski valet is quite interesting. It brings up a question- Does one tip the ski valet when 1. You are paying a resort fee and 2. Skis are not allowed in rooms ( so they must be put in a secured storage place that is manned by hotel staff).
    I don’t know what time you retrieved you skis at, but all I did was give them the name the equipment was under and one person hands you your boots while another person places you skis on the racks outside. Call me cheap but I don’t tip in this case.

  2. Apple, we got them at different times and always had to interact with two people. The tipping did really add up for us with the ski valet situation.

  3. I stayed at the Villas in the off-season this past November for a great rate of $100/night. I did a 90-min timeshare presentation to earn 8,000 SPG points as well…worth it in my book. Not much do to in the area when there’s no snow on the mountains, but it is a beautiful place to relax for a few days.

  4. Interesting review. My partner and I are taking our toddlers to Westin Whistler in a couple of weeks. Okay, we are taking ourselves and the kids are going to Whistler daycare. 😉 Look forward to visiting Westin Beaver Creek as well. Thanks for the review.

  5. @ Mommy Points

    So, did you make it down the Golden Eagle (Birds of Prey) run? It’s too bad you missed the snow, 5 inches to wake up to on Sunday and more today! Smiles all around!

    @ Jon

    How hard did they press to get you to “buy” during the presentation? The wife and I stayed at the Sheraton Mountain Villas on Saturday and they told me that they would give me 10,000 SPG points to go to the presentation. We didn’t have time yesterday, but are considering it when we return for the weekend late Feb. The only thing I am weary about is a hard sell. I might leave the wife at home to make it easier for me to say “NO”. Although, after such a marvelous day at Beaver Creek yesterday, I’d absolutely LOVE to have a place up there…I just guarantee you that I can’t afford it! lol

  6. Jon, we did that presentation last year for 10K points. Didn’t go this year as my husband always gets too tempted to buy and then I have to battle both him and the salesperson!
    Cindy, sounds great! Let me know how you like Whistler. It’s on my “to do” list. 😉
    Gabriel, I know – the snow was coming just after our trip. Still, the snow wasn’t too bad for how we ski. Our experience last year is it is a moderate hard sell. You have to say no to about three people and it took longer than 90 minutes – more like 2 hours, so plan accordingly. My husband really wanted to buy, so we didn’t do it again this year as to not be tempted.

  7. @ Cindy, You will absolutely love Whistler. Largest ski area in North America. If you can, do the Fresh Tracks, skiing in the morning before anyone else hits the slopes is very cool. The restaurants are quite expensive but we found a few cheap ones. There are two grocery stores and a liquor store within walking distance in the Village. The Eagle Zipline Tour is Amazing.

  8. @Apple – thanks. Don’t think we are going to make fresh tracks bc we can’t drop the kids off at daycare until 8 or so. Would love any suggestions for cheap eats. This is shaping up to be a pricey trip so I am looking for ways to save a few bucks.

  9. @Cindy.We stayed at the Hilton and had a full kitchen so I’m not sure what your situation will be. Down by the ice rink/Olympic rings is an IGA Market that has a deli with very good prepared foods- soups, breads, sandwiches. Also in that area is Opa Soulvaki, which has Gyros and very good fries. Crepe Montagne has pretty good sweet crepes, but the savory crepes are on the expensive side for what you get. Splitz Grill has good burgers and very good onion rings. 7-11 has $1.00 hot chocolate and coffee on Weds any size. Mongolie Grill was my favorite but beware- it is a mongolian bbq where they give you a big bowl and you fill it with veggies and meats that they grill up. The pricing is by weight. We had a $70 dinner for two. Zogs, which is by the Carleton Lodge, cash only, has poutines, hot dogs, and yummy Beaver Tails. Hope this helps.

  10. @ Cindy, The Old Spaghetti Factory also. I remember filling up on bread and having the leftover pasta for lunch the next day.

  11. @Apple – thanks so much for the suggestions. The Greek place sounds like it’s worth checking out for sure. I’m confused about Zogs, though. Cash only? What is cash? 😉

  12. Woah!! FYI, if anybody else books the Westin Riverfront…they actually CHARGE your credit card for the balance right away instead of waiting until checkin. I just checked my SPG Amex and found that my reservation for DECEMBER 14th has already been charged!! (I did a cash and points booking).

    Sneaky bastards…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *