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“Nice Location, Horrible Service”

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The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village
Ranked #11 of 15 Hotels in Princeton
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 21 July 2011

I was married and stayed at the Westin this May. This is primarily an event/ business location. I struggled over whether or not to write this review, but in the end I decided I should because I would want to know this myself… especially since I just saw that they were inexplicably voted a “Knot best of weddings 2011 pick”.

1st Pros:
Nice location, pretty fountain, looks nice in pictures, great other vendors conveniently located in the same plaza, and the director of catering is very sweet and accommodating

Cons:
1) The chairs were all very badly soiled to an embarrassing degree. The chairs in
the dining room had dark stains on them which were very noticeable; I don't understand why they were used. We had to open the doors to try and get rid of the musty smell in the room.

2)There was no silverware out at the cocktail hour. My mother said that she had to ask 5 times for silverware to be put out.

3) The meals at the food tasting weren’t at all representative of the food that was served at the wedding. My father asked if the chef who was cooking the food for the tasting would be cooking for the reception. They told us no, but the same chef would oversee the other cooks. The salads were a plate of wilted greens, nothing like the food tasting. Instead of salmon on a soft bed of mashed potatoes, sauce and vegetables----it was an ice cream scoop of hard potatoes along side a dried out piece of salmon with very little sauce. This was not only a disappointment, it was an embarrassment.

4) Meals were taken away within 10 minutes of being served. Everyone made the comment to us that they would leave to use the rest room or dance and when they returned to their seat, their salad or dinner would be gone. My flower girl and ring bearer had nothing to eat at all---their kids meals were there one minute and gone the next.

5)There is no communication between the director of catering and the Banquet Captain. I specifically requested that the doors to the cocktail hour not be opened prior to 6pm, so that we could do a receiving line at the start of the cocktail hour. The director of catering wasn’t there and must have not communicated my requests with the Banquet Captain, because the doors were opened prior to six and we couldn’t do the receiving line.

6)I never made it to the cocktail hour anyway, because it did rain for about 15 mins during my ceremony and me and my bridesmaids had to fix ourselves prior to the cocktail hour. The keys to my suite never worked the entire evening. We told the front desk and it took 35 minutes for someone to come and let us in. We therefore completely missed the cocktail hour and never did the receiving line. The timeline of events for the entire night was totally thrown off because of this (and the continuing issue of getting into the room and not being able to get anyone to help us get in).

7)One of the reasons I selected the Westin was the possibility of having an inside /outside cocktail hour. It rained for about 15mins at 4pm and was beautiful the rest of the entire evening. We decorated the outside area for the cocktail hour very nicely and then when it rained the tables were piled back in the room and never put back out. In the end, when I finally came down and everyone followed me outside they were all commenting on how beautiful it looked and thought the decorations were for another wedding.


8)I sent several emails to the director of catering’s assistant about having stands for the table numbers out on the tables. I was providing the actual numbers, but needed the stands. I even specifically had her adjust my contract to reflect this. We must have gone back and forth about it 5 times, yet when we arrived to the reception, there were no table number stands and the table numbers were laying all over the tables.

9)The Banquet Captain seemed to not know what was going on at all and was not pushing the evening along in an organized way. My husband and I got our dinners long after all the other guests and finally wound up having to eat our dinners separately. i.e. my husband and I could not eat at the same time on our wedding night! One of my bridesmaids pointed out to the banquet captain that it had been a really long time and she yelled at her, saying the groom had a special request. (he asked for it well done?!)

10)The issue with getting into the room was a constant issue the whole night. I missed a lot of my own wedding because of it and so did my brother in-law, who stayed up there for a while with someone trying to fix it.

11) They threw out the top tier of my wedding cake (you are supposed to save it for your first anniversary)

12) The hotel offered promotional rates lower than my room block, which was also embarrassing

One of my bridesmaids works for Hyatt and was totally appalled over the Westin’s handling of my wedding. She was married at a Hyatt a month later, with the same number of guests and same food selection, yet they didn’t have any problems at all. They were really incredibly on top of everything and did everything they could to make sure everything was nice. My mother and I were thinking the Westin was just blowing us off because we had the smaller room, but really this shouldn’t have been.
When the Westin discovered that things went badly they offered to have a meeting with the Banquet Captain. My mother wrote them back and outlined the issues, then said she didn’t know how a meeting could help the situation. The Westin thanked her for her response and told her they respected that she didn’t want to be contacted again.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank speri337
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Princetonwestin, General Manager at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, responded to this reviewResponded 1 August 2011

Hello Speri337,
Thank you for commenting about our hotel. Our Director of Catering made efforts to resolve your concerns, I am sorry that you are still upset. Please contact me personally if you would like to discuss further.
Thank you,
Marc Fournier

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518 - 524 of 647 reviews

Reviewed 19 July 2011

Our family of 3 started a 9 day NE vacation with our first night at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village. Overall, the value was excellent. Because I used Tripadvisor to select all hotels and restaurants - I am adding comments for each of the 9 days! Not one disappointment - all comments on Tripadvisor are very accurate and I appreciated the honesty - which helped in our planning decisions.

At first, we were slightly disappointed that this hotel was NOT within walking distance of Princeton University (also a recommended stop if you are here) - but we "put an 'x' in that box" with a drive to Princeton, a walk around the campus, and returned to the Westin.

The room - 8/10. Nicely decorated, a bit upscale, wi-fi and basically quiet and clean. What more do you need? The pool looked nice, but we did not visit it. Parking is easy and free. Access to the hotel is great. LIttle shops/village around the Westin is a great place to walk. Running around the perimeter is also nice.

I MUST recommend the nearby Tre Piani & Tre Bar for dinner. It was awesome. Friendly service, outside dining, wonderul tomato sauce, and the Calamari appetizer was out of this world and a bit different too.

Breakfast at the Westin was great. The service was really really good. The waiter recommended the quesadilla's. Yes, for breakfast, but he was right - they were wonderful. 2 people can share. It was a bit crazy (there were several girls softball teams there - eating at the same time), but the service was fast and the water glasses always full.

The Smith Family - Alabama

Room Tip: Our room was very clean! Booking via the internet may be all you need to do, unless you have a spec...
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  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank STGClan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FOM_Westin_Princeton, Front Office Manager at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, responded to this reviewResponded 2 August 2011

Hello,

Thank you very much for choosing the Westin Princeton. I’m very glad that we were able to help get your northeast adventure off on the right foot. I was delighted to hear that your stay with us was a renewing one. Be well!

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Reviewed 10 July 2011

I stayed here four nights, having flown cross country for the wedding of a friend's daughter. The rooms were quiet and very comfortable. Breakfasts, some of which were included with the room rate, were very good when ordered a la carte, though the service could be slow and the buffet did not give many choices. The front desk went beyond expectations to serve the guests. When I ran out of stamps, they asked the van driver to take me to the local Post Office and wait while I bought stamps and mailed my cards, an act I'd never experienced at any other hotel. The wedding was held at the hotel and was beautiful, with a lovely reception and delicious dinner. The hotel's van took us to the train station so that those of us who were going to NYC afterwards got there easily.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank KDsMom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FOM_Westin_Princeton, Front Office Manager at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, responded to this reviewResponded 2 August 2011

Hello,

Thank you very much for your kind words regarding your stay with us. I am delighted to hear that our front desk team exceeded your expectations. We look forward to serving you again soon. Be well!

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Reviewed 5 July 2011

We arrived at the Westin late at night (around 1:00am). The gentleman at the front desk was quite friendly, but was unsure of how our rate package worked. When we asked again the next day, the person who helped us was quite knowledgeable and able to clear the matter up quickly.

We were glad to be on the executive floor because a youth soccer/football/other sport tournament was in town, and apparently, all of the hotels were booked solid with families with young children. The lobby level and lower floors seemed to be filled with excited children and exhausted parents, but there was no trace of this on the top floor.

The rooms and service were typical Westin, which we have found to be high-quality and inoffensive.

The hotel’s location is not central. This beingNew Jersey,however, it is reasonable to expect guests to have either their own or a rentalcar (there is free parking). That said, the hotel shuttle took us to downtown Princeton for the wedding we attended (as we did not wantto drive back afterward), and we took a taxi back. The inn at which the wedding was held was charming and ideal for this sort of event (the Westin is a little too corporate), but I suspect that we would have found the accommodations too quaint for our taste.

We had breakfast at the hotel both mornings, and it was very good but.

We would stay at the Westin if we found ourselves needing to go to Princeton again.

  • Stayed: August 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank YOWboys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FOM_Westin_Princeton, Front Office Manager at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2011

Hello, and thank you for choosing the Westin Princeton. I appreciate your loyalty and your feedback. I'm glad that your room provided you with a bit of a respite from the hustle and bustle of that particular weekend. I noticed that your review included a "but" with then trailed off. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any additional feedback you would like to provide. I'm very glad to hear that you would choose to stay with us again, and we hope to see you again soon.

Be well,
Mike

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Reviewed 27 June 2011

Just stayed at this hotel this past weekend. I guess you could call it a "romantic" quick getaway. Room was kind of small for a Westin. No mini frig, most of our channels weren't working (satellite was out or something), no ipod docking station alarm clock and spg lounge isn't open on weekends. The location is kind of remote, which was fine for us. The stores in the village were close before 5pm on a Saturday. The staff was really nice and helpful. There is a free shuttle that will take you anywhere within 5 mile radius, but make sure to call first. I'm a platinum, so water is comp in my room. The room only had one bottle so we called for another and room service brought us up 2 bottle of Voss for $9.95!!! We paid it, but were a bit surprised. We also didn't have robes in our room, which is very strange for a Westin hotel. We had to call 3 times to get some sent to the room. Bartender in the lobby on Saturday evening was extremely cool. Pool is nice and open late. Indoor pool is heated and outdoor pool isn't. Seems kind of backwards, but both were very clean and nice. There were a thousand young girls staying at the hotel for a baseball tournament, and took over the pool and the towels, but staff kept bringing clean ones as soon as they could. I would stay here again. Room was clean, decent location, and nice staff.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Vivaladiva1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FOM_Westin_Princeton, Front Office Manager at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2011

Hello,

Thank you for staying at the Westin Princeton. While I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay for the most part, I'm sorry to hear about the issues you had with your room. Generally, we have fridges and robes on request for in guest rooms. In addition, while our Morning Coffee area on the SPG floor is closed on weekends, we usually provide Platinum guests with a coupon for continental breakfast through our restaurant, Parallel 40. I'm very sorry if this was not the case during your stay with us. In additon, I'm very sorry if you had any issues with our television lineup. I'm very glad to hear that you would stay with us again. We appreciate your loyalty as a Starwood Preferred Guest.

If you have any additional concerns, or if I can be of service to you in any way, please feel free to contact me directly.

Be well,
Mike

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Reviewed 27 June 2011

I am a Starwood Preferred Guest and was looking forward to staying at this Westin location in Princeton's Forrestal Village. My review is a combination of the timing of our stay and misunderstandings on our part but I will maintain that other aspects of our stay could have been improved upon.

First off, upon check in we were warmly greeted and quickly processed so that we could settle into our room as comfortably as possible. While his name escapes me now, the front desk employee was gracious, funny and quite nice. We'd booked a deluxe room (with continental breakfast each morning) but this wasn't discussed at check in. While waiting for the elevator to arrive we witnessed streams of families coming in with sports gear and learned that it was a softball championship weekend and the hotel would be quite busy. Our room was only accessible by swiping your key card in the elevator and seemed to be a bit more secluded so the noise and crowds were not a problem.

The deluxe room had a bit of a stale smell to it and was a bit smaller than expected. Our king size bed was comfortable and we appreciated having a mini fridge to keep our drinks cold. The bathroom is separated into two spaces. One is a vanity area and the other is the toilet and shower. The dual shower head is very nice and there is more than enough space to move around. We decided to take advantage of the "westin green" program and hung the notice outside of our door before leaving for dinner.

Here is where my complaints come in...You have the option of a $5 food and beverage voucher or 500 starpoints for declining clean linens and towels from room service for each day of your stay (except departure day). We were looking forward to the additional starpoints in our account but received the $5 voucher instead- once we returned home we found out that you could have exchanged the voucher at checkout for 500 points credited to your account. We were not aware that if you choose this green option, and hung the notice on your door that you are declining housekeeping all together! It spells this out in the (tiny) terms and conditions and had we known this was a part of the deal we would have declined. Personally, I think if you don't get housekeeping they should offer more points. Anyways, if you leave this notice on your bed- housekeeping will not change your linens or towels but will still clean up and you will not get any voucher or points. Good to know!

Also, we were disappointed to learn that if you book a room with a daily continental breakfast for a weekend stay you won't get breakfast. This offer is only available during the week when the SPG lounge is open. I think this cavaet should be clearly spelled out when you book this rate or perhaps they should offer an alternative. As far as food is concerned at this hotel...you are better off eating outside of the hotel. This Westin is located in a complex with several other great dining options. We ate at the hotel's restaurant one night and were not impressed. The bread that was brought to the table was moldy; when we alerted the waiter he apologized profusely and brought out fresh bread but that was an off putting first impression. My dish (green tea laquered salmon) was watery and tasteless but my boyfriend's meal (steak soffritto) was delicious. I guess its a hit or miss!

The pool seemed to be overrun with families for most of our stay so we didn't get a chance to visit it. We also didn't utilize the internet service or the workout area. Basically for the usual level of comfort and style associated with Westin hotels, we were not impressed or satisfied. Unfortunately it was partially our own fault but this location is not a 4 star hotel.

Room Tip: Choose a deluxe room on the private access 6th fl
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  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank asiae2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FOM_Westin_Princeton, Front Office Manager at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, responded to this reviewResponded 7 July 2011

Hello,

Thank you for choosing the Westin Princeton and for your feedback. I'm glad that your room isolated you from the activity in the rest of the hotel that weekend, but I'm sorry about the stale odor you mentioned. Certainly that isn't what we'd want any of our guests to experience, and certainly not a Starwood Preferred Guest. In addition, I'm sorry to note that there was confusion on the breakfast included with the room. It is true that the sixth floor Morning Coffee area is closed on weekends, however, we are supposed to over guests on that floor on Saturday and Sunday coupons for a continental breakfast in our restaurant, Parallel 40. I'm very sorry if this was not the case. Also, I am very sorry as well for any disappointment you had with our food offerings. We have shared your comments with our executive chef.

That said, I do thank you for your loyalty to Starwood. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any additional concerns, or you are going to be coming back to our area any time soon.

Be well,
Mike

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Reviewed 31 May 2011

We had a pretty good stay at this property. The breakfast in the restaurant was great, the pool area was quite nice, and the lobby was comfortable to sit and relax in. The room was spacious, but smelled a bit musty. The hotel also allowed pets, and one day it appeared an animal had urinated down a great deal of the hall and members of the staff were cleaning it up. This was nasty and smelled pretty bad. The complex is nice, if a bit underused. The location is great - convenient to Princeton but peaceful.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank NYCandworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FOM_Westin_Princeton, Front Office Manager at The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village, responded to this reviewResponded 2 June 2011

Hello,
Thank you for your feedback regarding your stay with us. We're grateful for your kind words. Our Westin is proud to participate in the Love That Dog program, where dogs under forty pounds are welcome in the hotel. Unfortunately, we cannot anticipate all issues that may arise with pets, and while I'm sorry you had to experience the stain in the hallway, I'm glad our staff was working to resolve the issue.

I'm also sorry to hear of musty smell in your room as well. We take great care to make sure that our rooms are clean and fresh, and I'm sorry that this was missed. Do you happen to remember what room number you had been in? I'd like to have our housekeepers double check on that room to ensure that it meets the standards a Westin should have.

Again, thank you for your kind words and your feedback. Feel free to message me if you have any additional concerns.

Be well,
Mike

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Additional Information about The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village

Address: 201 Village Blvd, Princeton, NJ 08540-5737
Phone Number:
Region: United States > New Jersey > Princeton
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Green Hotel in Princeton
#10 Business Hotel in Princeton
Price Range: £90 - £222 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village 4*
Number of rooms: 294
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set in a beautiful suburban setting, The Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village is situated in the picturesque Princeton Forrestal Village shopping center. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Westin Princeton At Forrestal Village Hotel Princeton
Westin Forrestal Village
Westin Princeton
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