Trip Reports

The Milelion’s RTW Trip Report: Westin Westminster and a bit of rental cars

Renting a car in Denver with National and checking out the Westin Westminster.

Introduction: It’s the most wonderful time of the year
A Tale of Two Lounges: SATS Premier T2 and the Qantas SIN Lounge
Malaysia Airlines B737 Business Class SIN-KUL
Malaysia Airlines Business Class Golden Lounge KUL
Malaysia Airlines A330  Business Class KUL-NRT
Japan Airlines Business Class Sakura Lounge NRT
Japan Airlines B77W Business Class NRT-LAX
The Westin LAX
The Westin Westminster
Aloft Boston Seaport
The Consolidated AA Domestic First Class Experience
American Airlines Flagship Lounge JFK
American Airlines B772 Business Class JFK-LHR
American Airlines Arrivals Lounge LHR
The Great Northern Hotel, London
Sheraton Grand Park Lane, London
Westin Paris Vendome
Courtyard by Marriott Madrid Princesa
Four Points by Sheraton Barcelona Diagonal
The Consolidated Intra-Europe Business Class Experience
Sheraton Casablanca
Royal Air Maroc Business Class Lounge CMN
Royal Air Maroc B737 Business Class CMN-ACC
Ethiopian Airlines B787 Business Class ACC-ADD
Ethiopian Airlines Cloud 9 Business Class Lounge ADD
Ethiopian Airlines Q400 Business Class ADD-DAR
Protea Hotel by Marriott Dar Es Salaam Courtyard
Qatar Airways A320 Business Class DAR-DOH
Qatar Airways Al Safwa First Class Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways A330 “First” Class DOH-MCT
Oman Air Business Class Lounge, MCT
Oman Air E175 Business Class MCT-DXB
The Grosvenor House Dubai
W Doha
Qatar Airways Business Class Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways B772 Business Class DOH-BLR
The Ritz Carlton Bangalore
Vistara A320 Business Class BLR-DEL
Cathay Pacific A330 Business Class DEL-HKG
Cathay Pacific Arrivals Lounge HKG
W Hong Kong
Touring Cathay Pacific’s HKG Lounges
Cathay Pacific A350 Business Class HKG-SIN


Our domestic flight from LAX to DEN landed on time, and after we collected our bags we headed off to the buses that would take us to the rental car facilities. The way DEN is structured is that all rental car companies are offsite, requiring a 7-8 minute bus ride to reach.

I’ve written before about the concept of the National Car Executive Aisle, which I really like. All you need to do is book a mid-sized car, and you can go and pick whatever vehicle you want off the lane. Note that there are two different aisles- the Emerald Aisle and the Executive Aisle. I could access the executive aisle by virtue of my Executive membership, which any Visa Infinite holder can get for free.

The selection on the Executive Aisle, as you’d expect, tends to be better. Indeed I saw a whole range of SUVs, full sized sedans and even trucks on the executive aisle. Book a mid-sized car and pick your own upgrade, basically.

I had an SUV in mind until I saw this beauty lurking…

No, not the truck. The Audi. I need to work on my composition skills. But I was giddily excited.

Oh she was a beaut, with less than 3K miles on the odometer. And her registration says she was registered on Valentine’s Day, 2017. I’m not making this up.

The way the aisle works is it’s first come first serve. The keys are in the car, all you need to do is chope one and drive it to the exit. You then present your credit card and drivers license and you’re on your way.

We took her places. She was a delight to drive and although National didn’t spring for the GPS/Satellite radio features, was still head and shoulders above anything else on the aisle.

How much did we pay? US$40 a day. Yup. So the next time you’re thinking about settling for a run-of-the-mill Toyota, remember that a little research can go a long way.

The Westin Westminster was about a 30 minute drive from the airport.

Westminster is a city that’s technically outside of Denver. But we needed to pay a visit to Boulder, and Westminster was at a nice midway point between both cities. Plus, they had free parking. Downtown Denver hotels wanted upwards of US$40 a night for parking.

The lobby was certainly a lot nicer than the Westin LAX. The stone walls and roaring fireplace much reminded me of a hunting lodge.

The staffed checked us in and gave me an option of 500 points or a breakfast credit.

I noted there was a Starbucks in the lobby too.

No suite upgrades were offered, and I couldn’t be bothered to ask for one. The standard room was nice enough, if not the very definition of standard.

I’ve always thought that hotels could save a lot by taking these sofas out of the room. Who really uses them? Squabbling couples?

There was a combination desk/TV ledge that had power plugs and USB outlets built into it.

There were also 2 free bottles of water for being an SPG member, although in practice you can call down and get as many as you need. The front desk also has a minifridge where you can load up.

The bathroom was nothing exciting- large marble countertop, plenty of counter pace.

It had a shower/tub combination

With the addition of a non-standard Westin item to the mix- a makeup remover. That’s great, because by this point in time my mascara was starting to run.

One small feature that really won me over was the power plugs they had put into the side of the bedhead. It’s such a simple thing in retrospect you wonder why more hotels don’t do it.

Having this allows you to charge your devices as you sleep. I can’t think of how many hotels I’ve stayed at which have put the plugs in inconvenient locations. Say what you will, but I’m the kind of man who sleeps with his phone under his pillow, so I value having it at close reach when I wake up. Y’know, to find out how the world has changed while I was asleep.

Breakfast is served at Kachina restaurant in the lobby.

Here’s the menu

I was surprised by how high quality the offerings were. I mean yes, the dish below doesn’t take much skill to assemble, but the quality was really good.

On the second day I tried eggs benedict, with the heart attack sauce on the side

I certainly enjoyed this Westin much more than the one in LAX. It’s probably not the best place for you if you need to access Denver frequently, but its located near enough to the freeway to give you a straight shot into Denver in just over 20 minutes.

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