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Four Star Hotel

December 29, 2009

Of all the hotels we’ve stayed during the last US Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas to New Year vacationing, we’ve stayed in

  • Crowne Plaza Suite at Gaithersburg-Rockville (3 and a half star)
  • Howard Johnson Markham (2-star),
  • Howard Johnson Don Valley Park (1 half-star),
  • Wnydam Yorkland (3-star),
  • Four Point at Sheraton (3-half star),
  • Howard Johnson New Stanton (1 star or less); and
  • The Westin @ Tysons Corner (4 star)

There were days we felt more tired when in the one-and-a-half star Ho-Jo and so we moved to a 3-star WNYDAM.  But our experience in the 4-star WESTIN was not what I would expect.  One would think moving up in the star level would be raising one’s standard of comfort and luxury, but it wasn’t me.  From now on, my ceiling is three-and-a-half star.  Sometime, when I think back, a two-star hotel actually fit me better than a four-star.

When we arrived at WESTIN on our latest trip to DC, it was not until we’ve gone through some of the worst traffic I’ve ever experience on highway I-495 near to Washington D.C.  Later, I discovered we were just unlucky.  Folks there were making up lost days for Christmas shopping after a bad winter storm, 6 days before Christmas.  When we finally arrived and checked into the hotel, I was shocked by the $3.50 sign for a bottled water and a list of little things we have to pay which were all free in the ealier 3-star 4-pt@ Sheraton.  Like in-room internet would cost $10.95 per day.  Simple bread-and-toast room service food cost $19.  It has a swimming pool but the hot tub water was not whirling.  It doesn’t have a sauna.  The pool toilet was small and has only one bath.

The reception didn’t know where the nearest AAA is.  Instead they printed a Googled-AAA page which contains everything but the nearest AAA less than a mile away.  In the end, I have to find most of the things ourselves.  We were so disgusted by the charges for internet that we actually drove to the nearest Borders Book store to browse for nearby restaurant, organic food store, pharmacy despite our travel after hours of travelling.


In the end, if not for the accidental discovery of the biggest Vietnamese town 6 miles away called Eden Center the size of a few footbal fields, I’ll say the four-star Westin is one of my worst experience in all the hotels.

There are a few other things that I don’t see in a 3-star but is in The WESTIN.

  1. the soap smells good and is leaf-shaped.
  2. The toilet sink is a big black designer’s table
  3. Their king sized bed has a down comforter with a duvet
  4. The in-room coffee maker has STARBUCK decaf coffee and TAZO tea

But all those luxuries are (I quote Confucius) "remote as clouds in the sky".  It’s far from me, but I don’t need it.

    When I checked out, I cringed when I suddenly remembered I requested for extra pillow.  Good thing there was no charge on that.  After that, we drove to New Jersey and checked into Crowne Plaza Hotel in Clark.  I was so relieved to learn that here the in-room internet is free.  And they gave us more than enough pillow, with coffee served in the lobby.  And there is fridge and microwave for me to store char kway teow and leftover beehoon for breakfast!  And they are only 3-star!


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