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Tim Foolery

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Westin Peachtree Plaza

I needed to be in Atlanta for a few days in early December and decided staying at the Westin Peachtree Plaza because 1) It was near where my travel companion was staying – he’s a Marriott guy and 2) The Fitness Center had Peloton Bikes. I knew I’d be staying at a Starwood Property as I needed the nights to keep my SPG Platinum Status and the rates for all hotels in the area were basically the same, so the Peloton really sealed the deal.

A couple days before my arrival I received a welcome email from a member of guest services as the hotel asking if I needed anything, so I asked to be assigned to the guest room with the Peloton. I figured if I had a bike in the room, I’d be more likely to work out than if I had to go to the gym.  The response came quickly that they couldn’t confirm me into that room now, but would note my reservation and try to get me into that room upon arrival.

I arrived late in the afternoon on Sunday and after a very long wait at the Platinum check-in desk, I was greeted by a woman working reception.  She had a big, bold and bright smile and was in great spirits.  She, like many Starwood folks working the front desk (at least that I’ve come across) see your Platinum Status and hurry through the check-in process.  I always assume they think that since you stay 50+ nights you don’t really care to hear all the details of the hotel, and in general that is right.  I just want to hear where the Lounge is, how to get to the elevators and hopefully that I’ve been upgraded to a suite.  She told me I was indeed upgraded to the “Westin Fitness Room, with Bike.”  I was ecstatic – with the bike in the room, I would definitely work out!

I hurried to the room.  The Westin Peachtree Plaza is huge.  There are nearly 1,100 rooms across more than 70 floors.  The main elevator bank confused me at first, as the signs to which set of elevators would get you to your room wasn’t clear.  I eventually made it to my room and discovered there was indeed a bike, but it wasn’t the Peloton.  It was just a regular exercise bike – no metrics, no screen, just a bike.  Frustrating.

That’s no Peloton!

The room itself was perfectly acceptable.  There was ample space, even with the bike and the other fitness equipment that I didn’t feel closed in or claustrophobic.  Other than the additional equipment, the room was a pretty standard Westin room with a king bed, an adequately sized desk and adjacent TV.

My room – king bed, Reebok exercise bike and other miscellaneous equipment.

My own little fitness studio in my room.

View from the fitness center.

The bathroom was a bit dated, but the biggest problem was the toilet stopped working on my first night.  I returned from dinner on Sunday and flushed the toilet, the water flushed, but never refilled.  I flushed again.  Nothing.  By this time it was about 23h00 and I figured I’d just deal with it in the morning.  I woke up at 05h00 and headed down to the gym, but first called the front desk to let them know about my toilet issue.  Honestly, I figured I’d be told that maintenance would be by later in the day and to use the public toilets as needed.  No such luck, fortunately.  Maintenance came up immediately and spent about 75 minutes working on my broken bathroom – most of that time I was at the gym, so it was only the most minor of inconveniences.  The guys said that a valve broke on the toilet making it so the tank couldn’t properly fill.

The small, yet adequate bathroom…and a broken toilet.

On my first night, I stopped by the fitness center before heading out to dinner and I found the hotel did indeed have Peloton bikes – two of them in fact. Only one was working.  I stopped by the front desk to let them know that the equipment wasn’t working, and was told that it would be fixed before I return from dinner.  Perfect.

Two Peloton bikes in the hotel gym. Too bad only one worked at any given time.

The morning of the toilet break, I hit the gym and took a live Peloton class.  Only one of the bikes were working and I hopped on it right as another guest walked in and wanted to ride too.  She was frustrated (rightfully so) and surprisingly, asked me if I would use a different exercise bike, so she could take a class.  Ballsy of her for sure, but I told her I’d be done with my class in 45 minutes and she could ride then.  Hmmm.

Before leaving for my meetings that morning, I stopped by the front desk, reminding them of the Peloton issues.  I was assured that they would be fixed.  They never were – each day I visited only one bike would work.  The working bike would actually alternate by day, so I think someone went down to fix the bike, but ended up turning off the subscription to the other bike.  Each morning I managed to JUST beat another rider to the bike.  I was proud that this early bird got the bike.

The hotel was hosting some conference which meant the bars and restaurants were utterly packed with people.  It took forever and a day to get a drink.  The bartenders and servers were very apologetic, but I think they were just understaffed, which was a bit disappointing.  The good news though, I only had a glass of wine each night, no more, because I couldn’t stand the wait!  The Westin and Starwood helped me make more healthy decisions without even knowing it.

The Sundial Restaurant and Bar was really disappointing.  I stopped by the bar on my first night, as dinner wasn’t as filling as I had hoped.  I wanted to grab a beer and some bar snacks.  The servers here was pretty young and seemed either very poorly trained or poorly supervised.  The bar was pretty empty, but it took two visits of my server to actually bring me a menu, then when she handed it to me, she stood there staring until I selected my beer.  10 minutes later she returned with my drink, and I asked about changing some of the toppings on the pizzas they offered.  She said I couldn’t make any changes (not even adding an ingredient from another pizza to the one I wanted).  I decided to stick with the beer and then order room service.  She eventually came back and said that she “had done the chef a favor,” so he’d make my special order pizza.  Uh, gross?  The pizza arrived and it was disgusting – the sauce had so much garlic I could barely eat it..and interestingly enough, there was so little sauce, it was like eating a saltine cracker.  I had a slice then called it a night.

The pizza and service at the Sundial Bar was abysmal.

So, all in all, my stay wasn’t without hiccups. It is a huge hotel – the fourth tallest in the Western Hemisphere – and the issues were all pretty minor and easily fixed.  That being said, there were many little issues that just compounded on each other.  I would return to this hotel, if I needed to be in that general area in the future.  I’d rather have a hotel in walking distance to my ultimate destination.

When was the last time you had a broken toilet at your hotel?  How about the Peloton bikes – are they ever working perfectly at a Westin (remember the issues at the Westin Seattle)?

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