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Westin Princeville

barndweller

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So I was going to write a review but discovered my membership has expired so I don't have access to the review section. I have no desire to pay a fee after years as a member of Timeshare User's Group and having written plenty of reviews in the past so I'm posting here instead.

We are just back from a 3 week stay on Kauai. Our final week was in a 2bdrm at the Westin in Princeville, an exchange through II using a non Starwood 1 bedroom. Pretty good exchange but I was not wowed.

The resort is nice but not anything to sigh over. The official description leads one to think it was designed to reflect the old Hawaiian plantation style but it is in reality just standard 3 story hotel architecture. The grounds and rooms are nicely kept but far from tropical in feel. The grounds are pretty much all lawn. The rooms are typical Westin, decorated in a dark wood, modern style and dark granite kitchens. There are a few prints of tropical plants on the walls. If the prints were desert scenes you could put this resort in Arizona. There are very nice BBQ stations around the resort. It's a good thing because the rooms, like at the Westin Kierland have no real ovens. Instead they have that annoying convection microwave that does a piss poor job of baking anything. I don't think that one is expected to actually cook. The cookware is cheap crap from Walmart. I was really astounded to discover the lovely EMPTY salt & pepper shakers. One pre-packaged coffee packet is provided to use in the standard Mr Coffee coffee maker but there are no filters for subsequent days. There are 3 packets of dishwasher soap and one partially used roll of paper towels. If you need more, you must purchase them. I have never before stayed at a timeshare resort where they did not provide salt & pepper, more dishwasher soap & paper towels if needed and a few coffee filters. It just seems so chintzy to not provide salt & pepper or a few coffee filters. Of course these items can be purchased at the convenience store on site (salt & pepper $1.99 each and about 10 filters for $2.50.) Milk is $6.50 for a 1/2 gallon. I don't begrudge the convenience store prices. I do, however, think that these small things make this resort appear chintzy.

There are plenty of lounge chairs at the main pool and a few cabanas which require a fee to reserve. We never had a problem finding a spot there or at one of the 2 smaller pools although there were always a few chairs that had the requisite flipflop or baseball cap holding the spot for the chairhogs that ignore the rules. But the pool lounges were perhaps the most uncomfortable I have ever encountered. For the kind of money paid to stay or buy here, they should supply cushions. A rolled up towel didn't help much to alleviate the discomfort of the metal bar in the middle of the back.

Valet parking is available for a fee and self parking is free. Check-in was easy and front desk was very pleasant. Wi Fi is free and from what others told me is fast & reliable. However, for those of us who are still living in the dark ages & don't have laptops, there is a business center with 3 computers. The downside?...$5.95 for 15 minutes. Free courtesy computers are offered almost everywhere we have been in the last few years including the smallest most mom & pop operations in which we have stayed. To Starwoods credit printing boarding passes is offered free.

Our room in building 7 2nd floor had a nice partial view of the ocean looking toward the lighthouse in Kilauea. The sunrises were awesome. The beds are the Heavenly beds and as always very comfy. Housekeeping?...chintzy. Midweek is a change of linens and trash removal. Period. Marriott doesn't even do that so I guess Starwood is a little less chintzy than Marriott.

Westin Princeville is on a cliff not a beach. Many rooms do not have an ocean view and in fact face a parking lot and dumpsters. There is not much within walking distance. It cost upwards of $55K to buy here and the MF are over $2300 per year. If it wasn't for the palm trees and the rainbows, I could have been at any Westin hotel anywhere in the world. There wasn't anything about this resort that felt Hawaiian. And, although certainly nice and perfectly comfortable, it just had a penny pinching feel about it compared to other less expensive and older timeshares in the area. I guess my overall impression is......meh. I won't bother going here again.
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OKPACIFIC

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Hello Barndweller,

Sorry that WPORV was not to your liking. Did you get a chance to to check out the beach at the St. Regis?

Regards,

John
 

DeniseM

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The rooms are typical Westin, decorated in a dark wood, modern style and dark granite kitchens. There are a few prints of tropical plants on the walls. If the prints were desert scenes you could put this resort in Arizona.

Believe it or not, Starwood published an article stating that they know that their loyal guests like the consistency of the Starwood "look" so they intentionally make all their resorts look alike! :rolleyes:

Just think what they save buying everything in bulk! :D
 
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barndweller

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Did you get a chance to to check out the beach at the St. Regis?

I didn't bother because we have been there many times while staying at other timeshares in the area. The beach isn't very good. WPOVR has an hourly shuttle to the St Regis but we drove our car since valet parking is free there. We wanted to check out the remodel and I must say it is beautiful. The beach is public, as are all beaches in Hawaii, so St. Regis isn't giving timeshare people anything they aren't entitled to anyway.
 

barndweller

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Believe it or not, Starwood published an article stating that they know that their loyal guests like the consistency of the Starwood "look" so they intentionally make all their resorts look alike!

What a shame. There is no sense of place when you stay at a Westin. It is sorta the same philosophy as McDonalds or Walmart....the same no matter where you go.

I just don't understand why anyone would purchase a timeshare and then stay in what is essentially a very large hotel room with none of the hotel services. At least in a hotel you get fresh towels every day and a new packet of coffee.

I stay in timeshares to have a FULL kitchen. I don't expect daily maid service but I do expect an oven. I want to make garlic bread to have with my steak. And how much are they cost cutting by not providing salt & pepper?? And those lounge chairs were a joke. The cheap plastic strap kind found at Cosco are more comfortable.
 

MuranoJo

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We had stayed next door at Ka'Eo Kai back in '04 (hard to believe it's been that long!), and hardly recognized the area when checking out the "new" Westin next door just last month. Never did see the steep path down to the little beach, but I know it's still there, as I've read of people currently using it.

I think I'm one of those who is going to focus exclusively on the more humble, smaller, older resorts in the future. But I sure love those Heavenly Beds!! :D
 

glypnirsgirl

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Westin Princeville is on a cliff not a beach. Many rooms do not have an ocean view and in fact face a parking lot and dumpsters. There is not much within walking distance. It cost upwards of $55K to buy here and the MF are over $2300 per year. If it wasn't for the palm trees and the rainbows, I could have been at any Westin hotel anywhere in the world. There wasn't anything about this resort that felt Hawaiian. And, although certainly nice and perfectly comfortable, it just had a penny pinching feel about it compared to other less expensive and older timeshares in the area. I guess my overall impression is......meh. I won't bother going here again.
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Kauai has been my favorite island since I was a teenager and I had the same feeling - not special, no beach access (my husband took the long, steep trail to the beach and did not repeat the experience) - no need to return.

When I attended a presentation at WKORV on WPORV, I was told that all of the units are considered ocean view - malarkey!

elaine
 

eal

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Thanks for posting this review - now I will cancel my Westin Princeville exchange request with SFX. I think it is better to stick with the "homier" resorts like Lawai Beach.
 

MommaBear

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I on the other hand really love WPOVR and found myself longing for it when I was at WKORVN. As much as I like the direct access to the ocean at WKORV, the constant noise and parade of people is not restful to me. I like the peace and the spaciousness of the grounds as well as the quiet and the serenity at WPORV. I certainly have never noticed the lounge chairs to be uncomfortable. I understand about the need for the oven if you like to cook on vacation. We are more grill and salad people. If you want a bar, WKOVRV(N) would definiltely be more for you. There are a few rooms that face the parking lots at WPORV but I am not sure I could even find the dumpster there. Maybe behind the walled off area at building 2? I have yet to find a timeshare that does supply good kitchen knives, so I just bought a travel set complete with sheaths. I just wish my own home were as nicely appointed as the Westins. I know the maid (oh yeah, that's me) cleans less often at home.

Each to their own! I am delighted to be able to spend 2 weeks a year on Hawaii- just did 2 on Maui, Kauai will be in May for 2 weeks. Now if I could just train the whales to be there when it was convenient for me life would be perfect. :)
 

Twinkstarr

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We stayed at WPORV last summer, we really liked it. If we lived in the West , DH would be looking to buy there.

And yes we used the "goat trail" down to the beach, wasn't that bad for this 48 yr old.
 

LisaRex

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I love Westin's interiors, but I'm a minimalist when it comes to decorating. I think the idea of making a cream and beige interior is perfect offset against a gorgeous exterior, such as what Maui, Kauai, Arizona, St. John, and Colorado have to offer.

You couldn't possibly come up with a decor that could adequately compete with the Pacific and Caribbean Oceans or the Rocky Mountains. So why try? Just build units with tons of windows and let nature be the backdrop.

I share the OPer's beef regarding the skimpy offerings in the timeshares. For $2400 in MFs, these places should be well stocked with basics, such as dish detergent and coffee.
 

tfalk

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I on the other hand really love WPOVR and found myself longing for it when I was at WKORVN. As much as I like the direct access to the ocean at WKORV, the constant noise and parade of people is not restful to me. I like the peace and the spaciousness of the grounds as well as the quiet and the serenity at WPORV.

I couldn't have said it better, thanks MommaBear! :)

We stayed at WKORV for 5 nights and WPORV for a week this past July/August. I'll take WPORV anytime but that's why we used to own a condo in Princeville, it's just much quieter than anywhere else. If you guys think the 'goat path' from WPORV down to Anini is bad, you should have seen it 10 years ago. Then again, if my 65 year old father could make it down and back up after having surgery on his back 7 times.... We usually eat breakfast and lunch in the condo, then go out for dinner so the 'cook' gets a vacation.
 

JeffW

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I stayed in a 2br unit (exchanged with an SVO owner) Oct 2009. While I can see some of your points, overall my family (wife & I, and my parents) thought it was a phenominal resort. Is is authentic Hawaiian, I'd agree that it's not. But it's a NICE resort. If I had paid $40K+ to purchase, and $2K+/yr for it, maybe I'd expect more. But there are definitely a lot worse places to stay on Kauai than the Westin.

Jeff
 

DeniseM

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I think it's a beautiful resort, too - and Kauai is our favorite island. I was just explaining why the interior decor of many Starwood resorts is very similar.

I would never buy there, but I'd stay there on a trade in a heart beat!
 

JeffW

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Just to add on to my previous post, it's one of the few resorts I've stayed at that I'd have NO problems staying in the lockout / efficiency portion. While that portion didn't have an oven, it did have a full size refridgerator, may have had a dishwasher (don't quote me on that), and pretty sure it had it's own washer & driver (stacked model, same as in the 1br). It had a nice bathroom (jacuzzi tub), good bed, separate couch, and worktable and chair.

Jeff

Edited to add - also believe it has it's own balcony. Unlike a lot of lockoffs, where it's 1br "front", studio "back" (ie. no view), both 1br&eff at the Princeville face "front", and have a view.
 
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DeniseM

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Jeff - you are correct on all points.
 
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