It’s been a personally strenuous last few weeks and months, but it’s time to get back to regular postings! To brighten our collective spirits, let me share my time at the Westin Philadelphia, which may just be the best hotel stay and experience that I have ever had.

To provide the appropriate context, I had stayed at the Westin Phila at the beginning of July, right before both the Fourth of July AND the Democratic National Convention later that week. I was in town with friends for a wedding, and got upgraded to a standard suite, and had complementary drinks and breakfast for my entire party (4 people). As I was still SPG Gold, this over the top service was greatly appreciated. I came back in late July for a personal trip, using this previous experience as my “baseline” for level of service.

If you’ve read any of my other posts on Art of the Ask, you know that I am a big advocate of leveraging both hotel loyalty programs and relationships forged with those in customer service. This post will speak about using those tips, the benefits derived, and my overall experience at the Westin Philadelphia.

Westin: Putting activities into action!

Westin Phila Living Room, Courtesy of Starwood Hotels

Westin Phila Presidential Suite Living Room and Dining Area, Courtesy of Starwood Hotels

In previous posts, I reference specific actions and tips that guests can take to facilitate upgrade requests. Below is a list of actions that I took on this second stay (late July) before, during, and after my time at the hotel.

Before the hotel:

  • My previous July stay concluded with awarding SPG certificates to Anthony, the extremely helpful front desk manager, and thanking him by name in an email to Mike, the interim general manager.
  • I emailed Anthony telling him I would be in town again for my lady’s birthday (which was true) and looked forward to another wonderful stay.

During my stay:

  • Asked for Anthony – reintroduced myself and the lady to him, and thanked him again for the hospitality in the last stay.

Upon leaving:

  • Thanked him again – left gratuity for him at the front desk.
  • Emailed interim general manager again – recognizing Anthony’s excellent hospitality and reiterating my desire to stay there in the future
  • Emailed Anthony the remainder of my SPG Thank You Certificates.

What’s the result?

Beyond anything I could have expected:

  • Presidential Suite Upgrade – upon coming right in, Anthony, the manager, said: “Guess who got upgraded to the presidential suite?” This most likely ran at or over a thousand dollars a night, for the price of a Free Night Award.
  • Welcome Chocolates – a nice touch and amenity the lady especially enjoyed.
  • SPG Gold Drinks – for the both of us. Typically it is one drink per reservation.
  • Breakfast For Two – typically reserved for SPG Platinum guests. A pro tip – if you miss the breakfast window (as we did, the first stay) a courteous request of the hostess or manager allowed us to use it on a lunch instead. I personally prefer the lunch option – order anything and everything you like (sans alcohol) and both the food and service was top-notch.
  • Late Checkout – there were four weddings the next day and a form slipped under the door saying leave by noon, but we can stay late.
  • Points for my stay – either points or *a* drink, but not both, typically.
  • Free Valet Parking – Best of all, they offered, and I accepted, free valet parking. This was most appreciated because it wasn’t expected, and it is hosted by an third-party company separate from the hotel. They offered to comp the parking, about $50, which was hugely appreciated.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


How was it?

My lady and I had an amazing time. The presidential suite is both suited for large groups (spacious, maybe 800 square feet, with two bathrooms, large expansive dining table and living room) yet functions well for small parties (only one King bed, and perhaps a queen sofa bed). It felt much too large for just two people, but the experience was unforgettable and we were sure to use every room and part of the suite.

One of my fondest memories is sitting on the nice couch and enjoying the SPG channel on the television. Learning more about Starwood’s many beautiful amenities, locations, and their SPG Moments program, was certainly enjoyable. It felt amazing just to sit, relax, lean back, hands locked behind my head, and take in the ambiance.

SPG Channel!

SPG Channel!

SPG Channel!

SPG Channel!








Additionally, the bar and lounge area of the Westin was very comfortable, with a grand piano available for guest use. Both of my stays involved many hours at the grand piano, with good company, drinks, and various songs sung and played.


Lobby to the Westin Phila Bar! Courtesy of Starwood Hotels

Lobby to the Westin Phila Bar! Previously the back corner housed the grand piano available for guests, since moved into another room next to the bar. Courtesy of Starwood Hotels


Westin Phila Bar! Great food, drinks, and service. Courtesy of Starwood Hotels

Westin Phila Bar! Great food, drinks, and service. Courtesy of Starwood Hotels



I somewhat-seriously joked that my lady should have more work events in Philly, so we could come back to the Westin Phila and be able to enjoy their hospitality once again. Its convenient location in downtown, attached to a decent mall, combined with its impeccable level of service, outmatches any hotel in the area or any that I have experienced. Using my natural proclivity to test the waters works well, but when I was surprised beyond my (admittedly high) expectations – that’s a feeling I just could not compare to anything else.


Featured Image from Starwood Hotel Website.

Have you had an epic travelling experience before? Let me know what it is! Post below in the comments, or reach me directly at! Like my posts? See more here, on TravelUpdate! Follow me on Facebook (The Hotelion) or on Twitter and Instagram@TheHotelion