Westminster, Colorado – just off Denver-Boulder Highway 36, 10 miles northwest of Denver
Room Rate: $111.20 AAA on a Friday night May 30, 2009.
Regular low rate for this hotel during the month long search between April 27 and May 30 was $139 for Friday night and $179 for weeknights. The AAA rate at a 20% discount for this hotel is one of the largest AAA discounts I have seen this year.
I felt like I had arrived in Disneyland Denver.
This is Westin Westminster. Walks in the park, frisbee golf, the latest movies showing at a 24 screen megaplex with movies starting at 9:30am on a Saturday morning, a dozen food styles in restaurants on the Westminster Promenade, a hockey ice skating center with three rinks and five-year-old kids that can kick my ass on skates. Pitchers of Molson or Coors for $6.75 at Bender’s bar next to the rink after the kids go to bed make this location family-oriented fun.
Westin Westminster is located in a suburb between Denver and Boulder in a location that could be considered an a-la-carte resort due to the variety of restaurants and entertainment options within walking distance of the hotel.
The hotel is the centerpiece of a conference center, sports, and entertainment complex. Physically adjacent to the west side of the hotel is an entertainment complex with a fountain lake, ice skate rink, bars and brewery, movie theater complex, bowling alley, and restaurants. All of the businesses look relatively new, upscale, and part of a suburban planned community entertainment center in a location that seems resort-like at the foothills of the Rockies just outside of Denver.
Physically adjacent to the eastern side of the 14-floor Westin Westminster hotel is a sports complex and open space park in several acres of paths around a creek, planned ponds, frisbee golf course, baseball park, and sports center.
This is urban planning recreation in the suburbs.
Hotel architecture and multi-colored façade design are visually appealing.
The hotel has 14 floors. There are actually 12 full floors of rooms and the top floor is only a half-hotel-length-floor in the center section of the hotel. There is no floor 13 and floor 12 is the top floor for the north and south end rooms.
We received a basic 12th floor room on the mountain-view side of the hotel in one of the four south end rooms that form the top floor of this end of the hotel. The hotel has some suites, mostly in the center section of floors and mostly on the park side of the hotel facing east.
The bed was the best we have had in the past month. I also made that same comment for the bed at the Sheraton Denver West hotel the night before, but then I slept in the Westin Heavenly bed and I felt the Westin Westminster was even a little bit better. This bed was really firm.
I know Kelley loved the bed. She slept in the bed for 15 of the 20 hours we were at the hotel.
Our room view in 1233 was as good as it gets at this hotel. The snow covered Rocky Mountain peaks towering above two layers of closer mountain peaks was quite a sight to behold in the 6am hour as the sun lighted the western mountains. In the morning we watched birds flying between the rafters along the rooftop.
There are no added amenities as a platinum elite with this hotel.
Parking is free. There is no lounge. Internet and the business center computers are fees. Breakfast is additional. There was a coffee maker in the room and one bottle of Panna water. I was unclear whether the water was complimentary. Usually there is a tag on the water to indicate if complimentary. The fact that it was a Panna water made me hesitate to open it. I looked on the mini-bar list and the water appeared to be $6+ all-in.
Outdoor spa tub on 2nd floor provided a great view over the fountain pond. Indoor pool on the 2nd floor is not as large as the Sheraton Denver West. Fitness room can be accessed via the pool or a hallway corridor entrance.
Large, high-ceiling lobby has several seating areas.
Hotel restaurant O’s on the patio had a Friday 5-9pm Fajitas and margarita special – “Fajitas & Ritas”. There was even live flamenco music outdoors. Unfortunately, just mentioning fajitas to Kelley made her nauseous. The fajitas and ritas patio party looked like a couple could have a fun time for under $50. Rock Bottom Brewery in the Westminster complex about 200 yards away would run about the same price.
Conference Center is east side of hotel. There was a banking and investment conference happening. Lots of suits in the halls and elevators.
The carpet, draperies, furnishings, and walls were in good condition. The desk set-up was the only inferior quality aspect of the room. Room closet has light which is a nice feature seen in upscale hotels.
Lovely views and the location in a sports and entertainment complex is great for easy access to services outside the hotel. I absolutely enjoyed being able to walk around the paths in the small park outside the hotel.
The restaurant patio was open to the Westminster Promenade and had a feeling of inclusiveness with the community. Visitors can walk around the fountain pond outside the hotel and directly into the hotel.
This is as safe a resort environment you can expect to find for a family. There are lots of yuppies, mostly white and educated with enough local teenagers hanging out in the adjacent park and entertainment complex to keep the kids entertained if they are in tow.
Observations and I almost always have something to point out:
– Almost every staff person I interacted with looked to be under 25. I said this felt like Disneyland.
– The air conditioning had a loud, irritating hum all night long. I realize AC is my complaint at every hotel in Denver. I guess living in Pacific Ocean coastal towns for the past 20 years without AC makes the noise more acute. Outside of some of my college years and five years in New England, I have lived along the cool Pacific coast my entire adult life without the need for an air conditioned home. The refrigerator is the loudest thing in my home.
-37-inch LG TV was fine, however, the remote was temperamental and only worked occasionally. Sometimes there was no way to adjust volume with the remote or change channels. Changing channels or volume required repeated trips to the side of the tv to manually adjust the settings. The problem was probably just a dying battery and I could have got off my ass to see the front desk or make a phone call, but I didn’t. The Showtime movie station was the channel with poorest reception and a somewhat snowy picture.
-There was little counter space in the room. We quickly filled all the space.
– The desk chair should have been tossed. I could not sit in the chair and work comfortably. Unfortunately the room only had one upholstered chair and the desk chair, so I ended up spending a couple of hours sitting in the desk chair and each time I stood up I thought the chair’s creaking had signaled a final death.
– Self-park signs sent us to the back side of the hotel with the hotel conference center. Most guests park across the street from the hotel lobby, however, the street signs do not direct guests to that section of the parking lot. I moved the car twice during our 20 hours at the hotel as I realized I could park closer to the hotel lobby entrance.
– Room service menu was quite expensive. The dining bargains of Sheraton Denver West were not present here.
Entertainment and Restaurants on Westminster Promenade:
Bender’s Sports Bar, not affiliated with the hotel, about 100 yards outside the hotel restaurant patio has interior windows which look over an ice skating rink. The bar has daily happy hours and $6.75 pitchers of Coors or Molson beer after 10pm every night. The Westminster Bender’s was connected to the hockey rink and had a family-style atmosphere during afternoon happy hour and a Friday after-work partying clientele.
Rock Bottom Brewery, across the fountain lake from the Westin Westminster is a Colorado microbrewery that I have thought was overpriced for more than 15 years. I still go there because the beer and food are fine.
Microbreweries were my primary interest in the late 80s before I left alcohol for public education and travel. My fermentation science academic advisor at UC Davis introduced his brewing class as a program for students seeking careers in major breweries. Students interested in microbreweries were wasting his course space. He became a microbrewery consultant after I graduated in 1987.
Westminster Promenade link: http://www.thewestminsterpromenade.com/
And check out these special offer deals that I discovered on the Westminster Promenade website as I was writing this article: http://www.thewestminsterpromenade.com/specialoffers.htm