Thursday, July 24, 2014

Westin Costa Navarino - The Suite

Hotel Details
Hotel: Westin Costa Navarino
Dates: July 23-28, 2014
Rate Paid: 12,800 SPG points/night
Suite Upgrade: Complimentary
Regular Room Rate: $329/night
Regular Suite Rate: $1,083/night
Total $ Benefit: $5,414
Point Redemption Value: 2.6 cents/pt
With Suite Upgrade: 8.5 cents/pt

Both my mother and father actually begged me not to write this post. But why would two reasonably democratic adults censor an adorable 2.5 year old blogger?

Well, because we loved our 5 nights here so much that we don't want our new favorite getaway resort to become too popular. But given how remote the property is, we think Westin CN stands a good shot to be kept a hidden gem among the American traveler crowd. Here's why:

First, you have to get to Greece. With only 1 airline flying direct to Athens from anywhere in the United States, many American travelers will likely opt to go to closer European countries such as England, France, Germany, Spain or Italy. After all, 10.5 hours on a flight is pretty difficult for most families with kids.

Second, you have to pass up on the famous Greek Islands (Santorini, Mykonos, etc) or at the very least, reduce the amount of time you spend overlooking stunning blue Aegean Sea from your cliffside island resort.

Third, you have to drive 3.5 hours (including and hour on some remote country roads) or fly into Kalamata Airport. But even if you fly, you still have about an hour negotiating curves on those small town roads.

But when you arrive to the Navarino Dunes, you'll be rewarded. First, as you pull up, you will notices that all the parking is valet. And it's complimentary (or rather, already included in the base room rate as it should be)!

Then as you walk through the main gate and see the stunning architecture of the resort, you find yourself amazed at how they blended the modern aesthetic and incorporated into the beautiful landscape. You truly feel like the resort is but a natural extension of the region's ecosystem.

Then you enter the large well-staffed Front Desk area. They even had a separate desk for Starwood Gold & Platinum elites. As you read above, my parents had used our beloved SPG points to book 5 nights at the Westin Costa Navarino (Category 5 - peak). Normally, the basic room would go for 16,000 SPG points/night, but we got the 5th night free (a standard SPG award benefit), bringing our average down to 12,800 points/night.

Then, a few weeks before our arrival, my father emailed the hotel informing them how excited my parents were to spend their 5th wedding anniversary at their property and how wonderful it would be if they could be upgraded to a premium family suite (and included his SPG Platinum #). They replied with the same courtesy and said they would do the best they could at the time of our arrival. Couldn't hurt to ask, right?

Our Front Desk representative was just wonderful with kids. With her slight Greek accent, she made me feel truly welcome instead of a nuisance. That was exactly the kind of hospitality we were expecting at a family-oriented resort. My father was thanked for his Starwood loyalty and we were informed that we had been upgraded from a regular Deluxe Garden room to an Infinity Suite with its own private plunge pool!

I was so excited about the suite upgrade that I didn't pay attention to anything she said after that. But luckily, my father paid attention as she went through the expansive resort property features, including all the on-site dining options, child care facilities, beach area, and multiple swimming pool areas.

We were then escorted personally to our room, #3742 located in Gamma South area of the Westin. The lobby was actually on the 5th floor, so we went into an elevator to get to the 3rd floor (ground level). It was quite a bit of walk, down a bunch of exterior open air hallways. We finally made it to our room and I could tell the Front Desk agent was a bit excited to see our faces when we walked into our Infinity Suite.

The suite's massive and well-appointed livingroom included a small dining table that seats 4, a pull out couch that sleeps 2 with a small coffee table, and a flat screen TV. There was even a small bathroom in the front door foyer that had its own stand up shower.

You could see there was an outdoor patio as well, but we first wanted to check out the bedroom area that had a massive king sized bed for my parents and a real crib for me. I was too old for cribs, but I didn't mention anything to the hotel staff given they went out of their way to secure a real crib and prepare it for me. No pack & plays at Costa Navarino!

In a modern twist (similar to the W Hotel layout), the bedroom actually opened right into the master bathroom area with no wall/door separating the two spaces. Instead, they had a see through curtain that comes down from the ceiling if you wanted some pseudo-privacy. My family is super close so we didn't mind, given the bathroom was complete with a full sized bathtub, a massive rain shower (that could easily fit all 3 of us) and dual sinks so my mother didn't have to share with my father. The sliding door closets were across from the sinks with enough space to hold all our things.

Normally, a big bathtub like this would suffice for my own private plunge pool, but we were fortunate enough to have our own real plunge pool. So ran outside to the patio area to see it.

Similar to our plunge pool at the Conrad Koh Samui, we were very impressed with how large this private pool was. We had plenty of room to swim and play.

It seems like the swimming pool is not that private given we could see the nearby pool area, but the rooms are actually elevated from the walkway below and surrounded with a variety of well maintained plant life. In fact, here's a photo of our room and pool from the pedestrian walkway.

We were definitely in for a treat for the next 5 nights!

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