The Westin Diplomat – and its Limitless Ocean View Suites – Becoming a Hilton

The Westin Diplomat outside of Fort Lauderdale has been sold and it is leaving Starwood and will apparently become a Hilton.


Leaving Starwood At 11:59 PM On October 29, 2014
The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood, FL will be leaving the Starwood system at 11:59pm on October 29, 2014. Reservations for dates on or after October 29, 2014 will not be eligible for Starwood Preferred Guest membership benefits, award redemption or accrual.

Starwood may have to re-accommodate guests that have booked award stays past October 30 elsewhere, they haven’t made any announcements about how such stays will be handled yet that I can find.

For awhile I was a semi-regular guest at the Diplomat dating back to 2005. This was one of the great hotels for elite benefits in the Starwood system.

The hotel had something like 86 suites in the upgrade pool. From 2005 through 2009 I only failed to receive a complimentary upgrade to a suite once, and that was during the week between Christmas and New Years. Every suite I ever had there included a balcony which faced the ocean (and sometimes was in the tower where I’d get a view of the intracoastal as well).

The property has a lovely club lounge, up on the 33rd floor with both indoor and outdoor seating — facing both the intracoastal waterway and the ocean.

There’s no question that the quality of the club’s offerings declined over the years. They used to have three separate services daily — there was a separate dessert service late in the evening. The dessert service got merged into evening appetizers, and both the desserts and the appetizers got cut back. If you snoozed and came late, you’d miss out, once the night’s food was gone it was gone. And the vultures descended early!

Continental breakfast was always lovely, but they adopted a practice of bringing out $0 checks for guests to sign — a way to solicit tips for the self-service buffet.

There are spectacular views, of course. The pool was always busy and the beach too, but it’s a very very large hotel and to be expected.

Since Starwood Platinums would always get suites if available, and the suites were almost always available, this was a very useful property indeed.

It will be interesting to see how practices shake out with Hilton, where suites are permitted as an upgrade but absolutely never an entitlement.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I just stayed at the Diplomat for a week earlier this month. After reading review after review of how spg plats got upgraded to suites, I was bitterly disappointed in getting what I actually paid for, a non-balcony room. They were sold out for a weekend in August.

    That said, we loved this property. Service is outstanding and the facility is just awesome. It’s a great place to bring the family.

    It will be interesting to see how Hilton prices this and what award category it will be. I would definitely go back!

  2. Thank you for the update. I am excited to hear it will be a Hilton. Any idea what category it will be? Are they going to keep the lounge for HH Diamonds? 80+ suites, that’s amazing odds of landing an upgrade! Bentley, 10 miles south, has always been great for upgrades, hopefully they will keep it up here as well.



  3. Gary – based on your experiences there, any gut feel as to likely “level” in HH? Comparables?

  4. @colleen – Hilton’s category rankings don’t exactly correspond to daily room rates, say, the way they do with starwood (and mostly with hyatt) so i’m not certain. it will cost too many points.

  5. Bummer. Do quite a few shows at the Diplomat each year and was getting accustomed to the frequent upgrades. At least I have some status with Hilton at this point thanks to the Surpass Card. Not back until early next year so it will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

  6. The “sale” news is over a week old. The $0 checks you referred to: it was an accounting issue, not a way to “solicit tips”. How well do you really know the travel industry?

  7. @CT even if $0 checks were anaccou ring issue, there was no need to have guests sign them unless it was to solicit tips

  8. @CT the sale news wasn’t new, the decision to move to Hilton was what prompted the post. And the $0 checks were certainly not required, they are non-standard, they weren’t always used — and they were presented by the person you would tip with an opportunity to tip. They were incredibly cheeky.

  9. I’ve stayed at this property three times–all on Priceline name your own price rates–best deal was $72 a night. The only other hotel you would get using Priceline is the Crowne just a short way from this property (I actually stayed at this hotel Crowne in May 2014)It looks like Hilton is going to include this property in the Curio collection. I’m not sure what the redemption rate using Hilton Honors rewards will be however I have 300,000 points that I can’t wait to redeem. Gary I’m trying to get a direct e-mail to you and haven’t been able to contact you–please help. Thanks very much and best of luck to all.

  10. I stayed at the Diplomat 3 nights over Labor Day Weekend. Having stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach several times since 2010, I am glad I was able to try the Diplomat while it was still a Westin. Tip of the cap to Gary as (based upon reading prior Diplomat posts) I knew to request a South Tower room and enjoyed spectacular ocean views.

    The sale and upcoming flag change was a source of confusion for several of the hotel staff I talked with.

    I enjoyed the property (having stayed at the Crowne Plaza several times) but the evening spread at the Executive Lounge was very light, and the walls were paper-thin as I overheard several loud conversations in adjoining rooms during evening hours.

    On the positive side, with only one exception, the valet service pulled my rental car up within 5-10 minutes of my request, the hotel staff was very professional and the bartenders at Bar Su made me feel welcome.

    I chatted up several members of the Lufthansa A380 flight crew at the Diplomat during my stay. Prior to the trip, a friend of mine told me they stayed at the Diplomat and I got a kick out of this. Those folks are attractive, happy and speak great English! Will be interesting to see if they continue to stay there after the hotel becomes a Hilton.

  11. I had a points reservation 11/29/2014 – no they are not honoring that reservation. No they are not doing a thing about it either. Starwoods position is that they will assist you in finding another property- which equates to use your points at another hotel. I booked the Diplomat to be near to the port for a cruise – What was starwoods suggestion? The Sheraton Airport. Seriously? So what should have been a luxurious night prior to my cruise has now turned in to a frantic search for where to stay as it is Thanksgiving weekend- seriously – I was loyal to Starwood – too bad they were not loyal to me.

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