When they are run right, hotel frequent guest programs attract more customers . Benefits of elite status like free breakfast, lounge access, late checkout/early check in, additional points, and room/suite upgrades often result in selecting a hotel in the program even when other hotels of equal or greater quality or convenience are cheaper.
Conversely, when hotel frequent guest programs are mismanaged, they can drive customers away. For example, before 2015, I rarely stayed at Hyatt properties. In 2015, I became a Hyatt Diamond through a status match. I enjoyed the benefits so much that the following year I went out of my way to complete enough stays to qualify at that level.
In 2017, however, when Hyatt implemented the World of Hyatt (World of Hurt) program with requirements for top-tier status (now called Globalist) that were nearly impossible for me to meet, it was then total adios amigo to WOH. My Hyatt stays this year were limited to taking advantage of the suite upgrades earned in 2016 and the credit card free night.
Travelling to France in late summer 2017, the benefits of Starwood’s SPG frequent guest program enticed me to stay at the Westin Vendome in central Paris. The Starwood frequent guest program is unusual in that the top tier, Platinum has four distinct levels. As a Lifetime Platinum, I needed no nights or stays to make basic Platinum with suite upgrades at check in if avaiable, free wifi, late checkout, Platinum 50 (50 night threshold) with its choice of benefits including Suite Night Awards, and the Platinum SPG75 (75 night threshold) with a fourth Starpoint per eligible dollar of hotel spend and the Your24 benefit that allows selecting a check-in time at any hour of the day or night. For 2017, the only remaining goal was to achieve Platinum Ambassador (100 night threshold) with an assigned “ambassador” to handle hotel reservations and any other travel-related requests.
A four night stay at a Starwood property in Paris would help reach that goal, but in Paris hotels can be tres expensive. The Westin Vendome provided the best combination of rate and location. The rate was just over $300/night. That is way more than I normally spend on a Starwood hotel, but the price was lessened by using my Citi Prestige card and getting the fourth night free.
The hotel is located in the First Arrondissement on the Rue de Rivoli next to the Jardin des Tuileries, a lovely park on the banks of the Seine near the Louvre. All of the major attractions of central Paris are in walking distance.
This hotel has a little over 400 guest rooms and 80 suites. It looked like a decent opportunity to get a suite upgrade with Suite Night Awards (SNA). I requested using four SNAs and also an early check-in at 11:00 using the Your24 benefit. The SNAs could not be confirmed in advance. The Your24 request was confirmed. That meant I would have a room upon arrival.
Getting to the Westin from CDG
There are several ways to get to the hotel from CGG including taxi, private car, bus, and train. I took the train from CDG to the Gare du Nord station in Paris. The train took 25 minutes and cost 9.50 euro. From Gare du Nord it was a 10 minute taxi ride to the hotel. The taxi was about 15 euro. It is also possible to take the metro from Gare du Nord to the Concorde or Tuileries station near the hotel.
Westin Paris Vendome
The hotel doesn’t have much of a lobby. Much of the first floor is taken up by a restaurant that is immediately ahead as one enters. The small check-in area is to the right.
I checked in at about 11:30. A room was ready, but it was not a suite. A suite is nice but unnecessary when I travel alone. The room I was assigned was nice but small.
The staff had placed in the room a gift of marmalade, preserves and tea from Fauchon – Paris and a welcome from the general manager.
The room was on the top floor of the five-story hotel. The room had two large windows. Unfortunately, this room faced an interior court and had no Paris view. Regulating the room temperature was easier with the windows than with the heating and a/c system.
The marble bathroom was elegant but small.
The hotel has a very helpful concierge desk that is open 24 hours. I choose SPG points over continental breakfast so I never ate in the hotel restaurants. I ordered room service once and it was good and delivered on time.
Europe is no longer my preferred area for travel. That is due in part to the high cost of hotels, small rooms and the limited benefits offered there by various hotel programs. The stay at the Westin Paris Vendome was an example. While at the Westin I could have had a limited continental breakfast or SPG points, in many other parts of the world a hotel stay like this would come with points, a full breakfast buffet, and a lounge with evening snacks and beverages. But if one is in Paris, the Westin Vendome offers a great location.
Other posts about this Paris trip: