Two weeks ago, it was my cousin’s birthday and he wanted to visit Santa Barbara since he has never been. It was a last minute trip, so I fired up spg.com and found out that there are no Starwood properties in Santa Barbara, but there was the Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort which is located 25 minutes away. The standard rate was showing $159 + taxes or 4,000 Starpoints. I value 4,000 Starpoints at $120 minimum, so this was a no brainer for a Starwood redemption.
I’ve stayed at this property five years ago and since then, it has gone under a huge renovation. It has recently earned its right to be called a Resort in the Starwood portfolio. It’s so weird having the words Four Points and Resort in the same sentence, since Four Points is the red headed stepchild of the Sheraton brand.
As I approached the Four Points Ventura, I noticed that the parking lot is now secured and gated with a moveable arm. Five years ago, the parking lot was openly free to park and I guess free parking is rare nowadays. The weird thing about this gated moveable arm mechanism is that there is no “Ticket” to grab. As your car approaches the moveable arm, the sensors raise the arm automatically. I thought it was weird since this is suppose to be a secured lot.
As I checked in, I was greeted by a cheery front desk agent named Barbara. I asked if there were any rooms available at this time since I arrived at noon. Barbara said that as a Platinum member, I was entitled to the best room available. I was pleased to hear this, but I know there wasn’t any suites available since I checked on the SPG iPhone app. Even though I knew there weren’t any suites available, I asked Barbara if there were any suites available anyway. She responded with “The hotel is completely sold out of suites and nearly at capacity due to a huge convention in town.” I booked a standard two queen bed and was upgraded to an oversized two queen bed with an oversized balcony overlooking the Ventura Harbor. Barbara was overjoyed and rest assured that I will like the room and can invite my friends over for a party, which she kidded.
i inquired about the possibility of having breakfast as a Platinum amenity and she said that it was a continental breakfast which consisted of pastries, fruit, juice, and coffee. I value breakfast for two much better than 250 points as a Platinum amenity at a Four Points property. Barbara handed me a colored ribboned goodie bag for Platinum members, which consisted of a granola bar, 2 bottles of water, 2 apples, and various candies.
I asked Barbara about the possibility of a late checkout, but she said she could only do 1 or 2pm. I didn’t press the issue further because I didn’t need it. I believe as a Platinum member, a 4pm guaranteed late checkout is granted except for Resorts and Conference hotels. There is also free wifi available throughout the property regardless of your Starwood hotel elite status. I was curious and asked about the parking gate arm and why there wasn’t a ticket mechanism. She said that the hotel was working on it and asked if I parked my car. (Doh, I should not have mentioned it). I replied with yes and she responded with “There is a $10 overnight parking charge” and she noted it on my account. I should have shut my mouth so be aware if you are staying at this property to not mention that you parked your car or else you will be hit with a $10 parking charge. I don’t know how else you can arrive to this property without a car!
As I approached my room, I was greeted with a large room equivalent of a junior suite. There was definitely a lot of space to move around even placing the two queen beds in the room. There was a large 32″ TV, oversized executive desk, and a blue fabric chair.
There were two complimentary bottles of water along with a coffee maker and tea.
In the bathroom, there are various amenities such as mouthwash, bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower cap, cotton balls, and a nail filer.
The best part about the room was the balcony and its fantastic view of the Ventura Harbor. This balcony reminded me of the Cosmopolitan Wrap-around Suite Balcony where you can fit a large party of 20 comfortably.
The balcony also consisted of a large wooden table with four chairs. I don’t know what the party policies are for the Four Points Ventura, but you can really throw a serious party and even fire up a BBQ since it’s outdoors. With all jokes aside, I’m sure there is a no party policy and definitely a no lighted fire ordinance in a hotel room balcony even if you bring your own BBQ.
The Platinum continental breakfast included hot pastries and fresh fruit for up to two guests. There is no buy-up to have the full breakfast buffet, but it was located at the lobby lounge outside the hotel’s main restaurant which was kind of odd.
Overall, I would definitely stay at this hotel if I needed to be around the Santa Barbara, Ventura, Oxnard, or Camarillo area since it’s basically the only Starwood in the California Central Coast community. The Platinum recognition was awesome, but the parking charge downright stinks. In the end, I received 10 Starpoints for the parking charge, so I don’t’ know how the Four Points codes it since you don’t normally earn Starpoints for parking. Hmm….. seems a little fishy!