March 17-19, 2017
Room Rate: $119 USD
A few years ago, a couple of good friends of mine moved to Richmond for work and decided to settle down there. For years, Brian and I had been meaning to visit, and finally, we were able to find a weekend that worked for all of us! There are a few hotels in the Richmond area, but the Westin was the closest to where they lived, so it made the most sense to stay there (the SPG points didn’t hurt either).
The Westin Richmond
Make a Green Choice: Yes
Bar and Restaurant On-Property: Yes, Restaurant in Lobby
Room Rate Range: $150-300 USD
We arrived in Richmond late Friday night, and got to the hotel close to 11pm. The lobby was fairly empty when we arrived, though shortly after, several other hotel guests arrived (and quite a few with dogs).
The lobby felt warm and modern – basically like every other Westin. It’s not a bad thing, in fact, it’s always a good thing a hotel aligns with its brand. It was fairly small – this Westin clearly gets mostly business visitors, though this weekend, it was jam packed with families.
The front desk associates were pleasantly lively despite how late in the evening it was and chatted us up, giving us all the information about where to find what we might need. When asked about my platinum check in gift, I asked what the local gift was – she suggested I go with the points (not that I ever choose the local gift, but the info was appreciated). She also let us know about their Gear Lending program with New Balance – for $5 rent an outfit (including shoes!). A pretty fantastic deal, although I’m not sure how I feel about wearing stuff someone else has worn (okay, I don’t love it). Even so, this is a great option if the airline loses your luggage and you’re desperate for a change of clothes.
Arriving so late at night, I was ready to sink into bed. Our room was on the club floor, which was also the top floor. The elevator bank was small and neat, though aptly decorated with a console table with a phone to call the lobby.
The room was darkly colored, laced with dark wood and grays (much like the lobby and hallways) throughout. Without the lamps on (all of which had to be switched on individually – they were not wired to one light switch), the room felt dark and impersonal, though warmed up nicely with the lighting. The only lights controlled by light switch were located in the entryway and the bathroom – both of which used harsh, white lighting.
The king sized bed was of course the centerpiece of the room. Large and comfortable, zero complaints here. It was your standard Westin Heavenly bed that you find at every Westin, which came decked with thick, perfectly firm pillows and a fluffy comforter.
On the disappointing side, not a ton of outlets by the bed to plug in my phone to charge at night – is anyone more responsible than I am and charges their phone before bed?!
The room was nicely sized, with the standard pieces you’d expect from a Westin – desk, large flat-screen TV, and overstuffed chair.
The desk had some electric outlets, plus some TV ports accessible right in the front, which is convenient to have so easily accessible.
Next to the TV sat a small coffee maker which came with some complimentary Starbucks coffee. The media console on which the TV sat also held the safe and
mini bar mini refrigerator, which was empty.
The bathroom was fairly large and had tons of space in the middle of it. The sink, in a standard brown marble top, held the standard Westin offerings – magnified mirror (my favorite), mouthwash and White Tea lotion and hand soap. There was no shortage of towels (fortunately), as plenty were folded into neat stacks both on the counter and underneath the sink.
The shower stall came with a rainforest-style shower head, which also had a handheld attachment that offered great water pressure. The shower space was nicely sized, and didn’t fog up too much thanks to the open space at the top of the door.
As expected, the toiletries were the Westin Tea shampoo, conditioner, body wash and soap. While I love the way the toiletries smell, I find the conditioner and lotion to be lacking in moisture and so I always bring my own when I stay at Westins.
While there was no shortage of space, there was however, just not enough hooks. Hooks (or towel bars, I guess) are a big thing for Brian and I when we travel – we hang out toiletry bags on them, and well, our towels. For whatever reason, despite the fact that there was plenty of wall space, they only had one towel bar and one hook. So though the space was easily large enough for two people to share, in practice, there was annoyingly not enough space to hang used towels for two people. But they hook and towel rack were presented nicely when we got there, holding a robe and hand towels. There was an extra side table type piece in the bathroom, which was great for storing a hair dryer, but not helpful in the hanging department.
This hotel kind of felt like your standard Westin-in-the-suburbs-targeted-at-business-travelers type. I would know, I basically lived in one in Cherry Hill, NJ for three months of the year for a couple years. It has that warm, relaxed feeling straight out of a Westin catalogue, offers the basic, standard amenities you’d expect (no frills though), and really hits at the “as expected” mark for Westins – nothing more, nothing less.
The one thing I did appreciate about this one was that there seemed to be tons of common space for people to gather – plenty of sitting areas in the lobby, plus a small outdoor patio area in the back (which had a fire pit – surely frequently use in the summer). During our entire visit, all common areas were busy and well-used by other guests (looked like tons of families, since it was the weekend).
The main dining option at the hotel was Crossings, the restaurant right off the lobby. We thought about grabbing a quick bite there when we arrived, but though the hotel was dog-friendly (we had our dog Marshall with us), the restaurant was understandably not. They did offer to serve us wine in the lobby if we wanted to sit with Marshall, but at that point we realized we were too tired to be up and just wanted to crawl into bed.
Though I didn’t select the breakfast as my Platinum amenity (since I had access to the Club Lounge), they did serve the breakfast buffet at the restaurant, which appeared to be a standard warm breakfast with eggs, bacon, sausage, plus bread, cereal, and pastries.
The lobby also had a small store with tons of snacks (and plenty of Westin-branded products – hats, shirts, and dog bends) and sodas. As expected, the prices were marked up, but we got a couple drinks which came out to about $5 per bottle – should have come as no surprise, but it was more than I was expecting, given the location.
The 7th floor was the Club Floor, and the lounge was located at the end of the hallway, by the elevator bank. Other than the lounge signage, when closed, the door looked pretty unassuming – just a plain gray door.
The lounge was open from 6 am to 10 PM daily, and was busy all the time. I’m not sure if it’s because so many plats and tons of people were staying on the Club Floor, or if it was because the space was so small, but it was so packed it felt less serene and more stressful being in the lounge.
Breakfast was served buffet style, with fruit, bread, pastries, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, cereal, and bacon. Because the lounge was so busy, the food was regularly re-stocked, but the buffet table regularly looked a bit messy.
The first morning I popped in, I didn’t think twice about having to “prove” I could be in there, since I had to use my key card to access the floor (but perhaps using any active card could grant guests access to any floor). However, as I approached one of the attendants asking if I could grab a to go container, she cut in before I could finish my sentence asking if I had my “club pass” to show I was given access to the lounge. I was thrown off by this, since I wasn’t given any passes at check in, but fortunately, before I had the chance to stumble on an answer, the other attendant asked if I was staying at 727, since she thought she saw me walk into my room earlier. The first attendant backed down and I didn’t have to show any passes on subsequent visits, but it was definitely an odd incident.
For those looking to visit Richmond to see the downtown area, this hotel will be located a bit out of the way and would definitely require driving (about 20 minutes or so) to get into the heart of the city. For us, it was perfect, since it was conveniently located near our friends’ home.
Nearby, you’ll find plenty of offices, and there is no shortage of restaurants nearby, but all would require a car to get around. As I mentioned, it looks like the majority of business they get during the week is business travelers, and the location certainly speaks to that.
Overall, we had a decent stay. This property was by no means the best Westin I’ve stayed at, but it was good for what it was, given the price. If I were visiting friends who lived in this part of Richmond, I would stay at this property without a doubt, though if I was in town to see the city, I’d probably try to stay a little closer to the center. The property is nice enough, though I wish the lounge was a bit larger to fit the demand. There was a bit of a lack of amenities, which, again, made sense considering it’s location, though I would have loved to see a few more amenities that did align with their average guest to make up for those they were not offering.
Check In: 9/10 – Easy enough, quick and informative.
Elite Recognition: 7/10 – Was given access to the lounge, plus the standard bonus points at check in, though no welcome note or gift upon arrival.
Room: 8/10 – Standard Westin room – perfectly comfortable.
In-Room Technology & Entertainment: 8/10 – Though the TV had accessible ports built into the desk (plus a nice wide screen TV), points off for the lack of outlets by the bed.
Staff: 8/10 – Very friendly and cheerful (minus my odd encounter at the lounge).
Location: 7/10 – For the average person in town to see Richmond, this is a bit out of the way (though perfect for our trip).
On-Site Dining: 7/10 – Quite a few options, so you won’t starve, but it’s on the pricier side of things.
On-Site Amenities: 5/10 – Nothing exceptional here – given it’s geared more towards business travelers, there’s no spa on site, though they do offer New Balance work out clothes for $5.
Hospitality Services: 5/10 – Again, nothing exceptional here – they offered valet parking for a fee. Again, given the expected clientele and location, this is as expected.
Hotel Appearance: 8/10 – Nice and looked recently renovated. The lobby felt airy and was flooded with natural light during the day.
Overall Rating: 72/100 (72%) ★★★★★