Tag Archives: sheraton

Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel & Towers Review

I decided to stay at the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel & Towers because it was closer to the Zona Rosa neighborhood which is a touristy destination packed with restaurants, bars, and nightlife. It’s considered the gay area of Mexico City, but there are plenty of straight things to do. I took a regular cab from the W Mexico City to the Sheraton Maria Isabel hotel which was 70 pesos and a 10 minute ride through the famous Avenida Paseo de La Reforma. Beware of taking the hotel cab because the fares are usually 2-3 times more than the regular taxis. I scored an awesome rate of $88+ tax using Starwood’s Best Rate Guarantee and I will have an upcoming post on how to search for those great BRG rates.

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From the exterior, the hotel looks like any standard Sheraton in North America. Once you step inside the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel and Towers, it feels very ornate and historic. I checked my SPG app prior to checking in and saw that there were many suites available at this hotel. There is a regular room section with suites and also a towers section which also includes suite availability. I booked a standard room and inquired at check-in about the possibility of a suite upgrade. The agent said there is a junior suite available, but it has two queen beds. I asked him to check the towers, but he said the tower suites are off limits to the hotel in terms of upgrades. He claimed that the towers section is a whole different part of the hotel and acted like another company ran it. I was happy to have been upgraded to something better than a standard room, so I accepted the junior suite. As a Platinum member, I chose the 500 Starpoints since this hotel has a lounge for evening hors d’oeurves and breakfast in the morning. Ironically, the lounge is located in the towers section of the hotel.

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As I entered the room, I was ecstatic on how spacious the junior suite was. I checked on spg.com and saw that the junior suite with two queen beds is actually larger than the tower suite rooms! There was so much space that you can literally put a dry wall in between the living room and the bedroom TV area and call it a 1 bedroom suite.

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There is also a breakfast bar area with two chairs.

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There were a ton of standard Sheraton amenities that can be found in the bathroom area.

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As I settled into the room, I received a phone call from the butler offering me a welcome drink. I opted for a mimosa and he brought up fresh fruits, water, champagne, and orange juice. He also asked if I needed anything items of clothing pressed, which I politely declined. I didn’t know I had a butler included in my rate, but that is usually reserved for the towers section of the Sheraton Maria Isabel.

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I was advised the hotel lounge for the evening hors d’oeuvers was closed but was moved to the Lobby Bar. The lobby bar area of the Sheraton is very exquisite. It feels like a W Living Room, but with standard Sheraton furniture.

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There was a small selection of small bites to choose from including dessert.

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As I sat down, I was approached by a waiter who asked what I would like to drink and I chose a coca-cola.

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After finishing my light meal, I was handed a bill which was the cost of the small coke. I inquired about this charge and he said it was complimentary, but that I needed to sign for it any way. Needless to say, the charges never ended up on the final bill and I guess they need to take inventory of everything consumed.

There is so much to do around the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel & Towers! First of all, I always try to avoid taxis if there is nearby public transportation. In this case, there is a close by subway metro stop called Insurgentes. Within walking distance, there are a ton of shopping and restaurants. Across the street and a 4 minute walk from the hotel, you can find the famous Zona Rosa neighborhood where you can find cheap Mexican food and do plenty of shopping. Within a 10 minute walk from the hotel, you can reach a large shopping mall which also has dining called Reforma 222. I felt really safe walking around Mexico City at all times, even during the seedy midnight hours.

I decided to have breakfast at the lounge which was open on Monday morning. The lounge has an extensive hot and cold breakfast buffet option.

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I was super hungry, so I decided to try to have a big breakfast and I selected the following:

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Overall, I delighted with my stay at the Sheraton Maria Isabel. The platinum recognition was excellent and I was constantly greeted by the gracious staff at the Sheraton Maria Isabel. I would definitely make this hotel my first choice the next time I stay in Mexico City since I hardly literally spent more than a quarter on public transportation. The close by metro also makes the Sheraton Maria Isabel a great choice if you like to sight see.

Four Points by Sheraton Ventura Harbor Resort Hotel Review

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.

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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.

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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.

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There were two complimentary bottles of water along with a coffee maker and tea.

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In the bathroom, there are various amenities such as mouthwash, bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, shower cap, cotton balls, and a nail filer.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!