Snowmass ski-out on a points budget: A review of the Westin Snowmass
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To The Point
If you’re able to score a room during peak season, you’ll get great value from your Bonvoy points at the Westin Snowmass. Pros: Amazing ski-in, ski-out location, great complimentary breakfast for Platinums and above. Cons: Some service hiccups, not the swankiest digs around.
There’s one thing that matters more than all the other things when it comes to choosing the best lodging for your family’s ski vacation: location. A nice hot tub is great, a spa is nice, updated decor is lovely, yummy on-site food is a treat, but where you physically stay in relation to the mountain matters so very much on a ski vacation. Especially when little skiers are involved.
With that in mind, on this year’s first family ski trip of the season, we went all-in on location and booked a true ski-in, ski-out hotel using our Marriott Bonvoy points. The Westin Snowmass isn’t the fanciest hotel in the area, but it is unquestionably one of the best points-friendly ski deals in the country for those with some Marriott points. As a Category 5 Marriott property, on many dates you can even use an up to 35,000-point Marriott award certificates from the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card or Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card.
You don’t need to have ever seen snow to know that skiing in the Aspen area is expensive. Add on top of that reality the fact that we were going between Christmas and New Year’s — which is basically the highest peak of the peak ski season in an already expensive area. This could easily be a budget-busting trip, but, it wasn’t. It was actually an incredible bargain.
Related: How to enjoy Aspen on a budget
We locked in our stay at the Westin Snowmass before Marriott introduced peak- and off-peak award prices in mid-2019. This meant that as a Category 5 property, all nights were a flat 35,000 Marriott points per night (now 30,000 to 40,000 points per night). This means we could use a Marriott up to 35,000-point award certificate or 35,000 points per night instead of spending about $1,000+ per night for a standard room. But, we did even better than that.
Not only did we use 35,000 Marriott points per night to avoid the high cash rates, but I applied some expiring Marriott Suite Night Awards that were given from earning Marriott Platinum status — and then crossed my fingers.
To my relative shock, the suite upgrades cleared a few days before we checked in. Our assigned room was a full one-bedroom suite with mountain views. This meant that we were staying in a room that was priced at a cash rate of several thousand dollars for just 35,000 Marriott points and a $30 resort fee per night.
Application link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card 100,000-point bonus after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months.
The Westin Snowmass is in Snowmass Village right on the Snowmass ski mountain. There’s lots of snow in that sentence, and that’s the point. This is a true ski-in and ski-out hotel for the vast majority of skiers. It empties onto a green hill that takes you right to the base of the mountain.
Those brand-new skiers who need to head to ski school before heading down the mountain will take the short gondola from the outside of the hotel down to the base of the mountain — about a five-minute free ride, no lift tickets required.
Snowmass itself is around 10 miles (20-minute drive) from Aspen. If you plan to spend all your time playing and skiing in Aspen (which is not a beginner-friendly mountain), then the W Aspen or St. Regis Aspen are better lodging choices. However, Snowmass is great for beginner to intermediate skiers, so it’s a vastly better choice for most younger families than Aspen itself.
When you stay at the Westin Snowmass, a shuttle to and from the Aspen-Pitkin airport (ASE) is included, which is very handy. Just be aware that during the winter, flights in and out of Aspen are very subject to weather delays and cancellations. This is exactly how we ended up spending a day at the police station in Vail. So, consider yourself warned, or at the very least, informed when it comes to deciding the best way to travel to the Aspen Snowmass area.
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Our flight into Aspen was delayed by several hours, so it was relatively late in the evening before we made it to the Westin Snowmass for check-in. After taking the free hourly shuttle from the airport, we arrived at the hotel. On the outside, the hotel is pretty boxy and not overly inspiring, but as you can see by looking through the open area below, the slopes sit on just the other side.
The lobby itself is bright, airy and lively during many parts of the day — like just before and after normal ski hours.
Thankfully, since it was already pretty late by the time we arrived, our suite was available for immediate check-in. During check-in, we were also able to secure a 1 p.m. late check-out on the final day, though we weren’t able to secure anything later than that — even with status.
My first time having Marriott Suite Night Awards clear was a pretty big win. The space was not a sorta-kinda type of junior suite. It was a legitimate big, full one-bedroom suite with a large dining table, second bathroom with shower and even a somewhat strange but handy kitchen type of room we used for all our luggage.
Honestly, for what we were paying I almost felt bad enjoying this much space right on the mountain. But then, I remembered how much trouble I had with some Marriott reservations over the last year or two and I didn’t feel as bad anymore. But, I still certainly felt grateful that points and status provided the perfect place for our family to stay on the mountain.
The sofa converted into a (not-so-comfortable) pull-out bed.
The small bathroom off the living area was perfect for a family who had more than one person needing to get ready at a time.
The suite’s bedroom area was also a good size, with one king bed and an adorable tent set up for the kids.
I wish I could tell you that she slept in this sweet spot, but that wasn’t totally true. However, it was a cute touch that made everyone smile and was fun for playing.
From either the bedroom or the living room, you could access the suite’s massive balcony. It was a little cold to want to dust off the snow and lay on a lounge chair, but the views were outstanding.
I made sure to come out here every morning and just enjoy the sun coming up over the mountains — for about 30 seconds before retreating indoors.
The bedroom area of the suite had a bathroom with a separate shower and tub, which was great for a family to have options. However, the shower part of this bathroom only had cold water. We tried many times over many days and only cold water came out. Since we had another shower in the suite, I never bothered to involve maintenance, but it was weird.
Food and beverage
Let’s start with the good news on the food and beverage front — Marriott Platinum status goes a long way at the Westin Snowmass. Ski mornings are interesting because they start early and you need a quick, filling meal to get you through to lunch. Thankfully, with Platinum status, the full breakfast buffet for two adults and two children was fully covered each morning. That goes beyond the stated terms of the selected amenity benefit that only has to provide continental breakfast for two guests, but it’s a trend I’ve encountered more and more at various Marriott properties.
The full breakfast buffet was served at the hotel’s Snowmass Kitchen, and it was excellent for the price we paid.
There’s a full assortment of both hot and cold items that were regularly replenished during our visit. This ranged from build-your-own yogurt parfaits to a meat-and-cheese board, omelet station, bacon, sausage, pastries, biscuits and more.
If you were lucky, you could snag a seat with a snow view.
We found ourselves looking forward to breakfast each morning.
But now here’s the bad news. If breakfast hadn’t been free with our status, it would have cost the four of us $188.92 for a buffet breakfast — before tip. It is shockingly strange that coffee and orange juice aren’t included in the buffet price, and that apparently coffee is charged by the cup (or an error was made), but that was the bill we were given. Either way, that’s a lot of money for a buffet breakfast if it isn’t included. Thankfully, by showing the breakfast voucher card from the front desk it was all wiped away.
My advice: Enjoy the heck out of breakfast at Snowmass Kitchen if it’s included with your stay. This would also be a good time to use the annual up to $300 Marriott statement credit available with the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card if you have it. Otherwise, go grab a nearby $6 breakfast burrito in Snowmass Village or head across the street to Starbucks.
During our stay, the other included breakfast option for Marriott Platinum elites and above was a lounge set-up just for that purpose.
Related: How to enjoy free hotel breakfast
What was nice about the lounge breakfast is it was fast and you didn’t have to mess with bills, vouchers, tips and such, but it certainly wasn’t as extensive or good as the breakfast in the restaurant. If you have the option, do the restaurant breakfast and save the breakfast lounge for when you just need a cup of coffee.
On our first evening to the resort, we ordered room service as we were all beyond done with a long, delayed travel day. This turned out not to be a great decision. You expect room service to be expensive, so the $100+ dinner for four wasn’t a shock, but the food just wasn’t very good.
What was perhaps worse is that I had to track the food down when it didn’t arrive anywhere close to the stated time of 30 to 40 minutes. No one was answering the room service line on the phone after multiple attempts, so I had to go downstairs and wait while the front desk tried repeatedly to track down our much-delayed food. They also had trouble reaching a real person.
The food did eventually arrive, well more than an hour after it was ordered, but in the end, I dined solely on expensive Tater Tots as the veggie burger just wasn’t good — even on an empty stomach.
It’s possible they were just super busy that night, but we didn’t give room service a second try.
The best amenity for skiers and boarders at the Westin Snowmass is that it is right on the mountain. As such, there’s an included ski valet on the ground floor of the hotel that takes your boots, boards, skis and poles and keeps them safe under the next day.
The second best amenity at the Westin Snowmass after a long day on the slopes is probably the heated pool and hot tubs. You can see the pool and hot tubs from the slopes as you turn into the hotel. They were never overly busy when I took a look, but your experience may vary as it is common for these sorts of areas to get pretty busy in the late afternoon.
Those with little ones should know that there is an on-site kid’s club for children ages 4–12. Thanks to skiing and ski school, we did not utilize the club on our stay, but I was able to take a peek through the windows when it was closed. There are a few different pricing packages and discounts available, but the base rate is $25 per hour, per child. For reference, a day of ski school or child care at the Aspen Snowmass mountain would run $180 to $250 per child, per day.
Two additional on-site amenities we didn’t have time to try on this stay were the Westin Spa and fitness center. (Trust me, skiing is enough fitness for the day.)
Should you need to wash and re-use some of your ski gear during a longer stay, there are on-site laundry facilities available — bring cash. While our suite was great on the whole, I was somewhat surprised it didn’t have a washer and dryer.
While not a hotel-specific amenity, I highly recommend enjoying some of the complimentary s’mores handed out by Snowmass each afternoon.
There’s a lovely firepit with comfy chairs right in front of the mountainside entrance of the Westin that’s perfect for cooking up the free s’mores.
The Westin Snowmass is not the fanciest hotel in the Aspen-Snowmass area, nor is it the fanciest Westin I’ve visited. There were some service hiccups, one of the showers only supplied cold water and the food wasn’t always great (or budget-friendly). However, I would stay there again in a heartbeat. For the price point (in points, at least), the location simply cannot be beaten for a family ski vacation. Scoring an upgrade to the one-bedroom suite was an obvious huge bonus, but even in a normal room, we would have been plenty happy given the ski-out location and great Marriott Platinum breakfast benefit. During ski season, redeeming Marriott points for a stay at the Westin Snowmass is virtually guaranteed to get you a redemption value well over TPG’s valuation of the points.
Application link: Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card 100,000-point bonus after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first three months.
Read on for more ski-friendly hotel reviews:
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