Weekend Getaway At The Westin

The family took a short staycation at the Westin Resort in Tumon this weekend. We felt bad that summer vacation was over and we didn’t take the kids anywhere this year. We’ve promised Lorelei a trip for ages now, and it just hasn’t materialized yet, so this was a compromise solution. I had enough points with the Starwood Preferred Guest program for a free night, so why not spend it up in town with the kids?

We checked in Saturday afternoon after Taliea’s book signing event at Navy Exchange, then spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the pool and playing on the beach. The kids loved it, we didn’t have to pack it in and head home at sunset for once. We stayed on the beach until sunset, then went and played in the pool until well after dark.

Dinner Saturday night was at the always tasty Cat Crea Cafe, a quirky cafe located just outside the Westin’s property. We took a short walk down the hill to Paradise Island (do they still call it that?) and through the Plaza, the Outrigger Hotel lobby and into the new Dusit Thani Hotel’s lobby and grounds. The pool looks amazing at night, there are LED lights in the bottom that sparkle and change color slowly.

A couple of adventures later, and we were back at the Westin by 10:00 pm for lights out and a good night’s rest on their famous beds.

Sunday started out early, as we had another surprise for the children. Breakfast at McDonald’s was tasty, they make good pancakes there. Not as good as mine, but certainly a morning highlight. One thing I couldn’t understand was the line wrapped around the building for Eggs ‘N Things, a Hawaii based chain restaurant that specializes in breakfast. Sorry, I am not waiting in the broiling sun for two hours to eat breakfast, no matter how good it tastes.

After breakfast we headed to the big event for Sunday; a surprise trip on Ride the Ducks Guam! The kids have been begging to go on the iconic amphibious vehicle tour for a year now, ever since the Ducks first arrived on Guam. We booked for the first tour of that morning as Taliea thought it would be too hot later in the day. Taliea played it up as a big surprise and wouldn’t tell the kids why we were just hanging out in the lobby of the Sandcastle on a Sunday morning. Just when the kids were about to revolt because of all this boring sitting around stuff, the Duck waddled around the corner of the building and parked outside. The kids absolutely freaked out, Russell was jumping up and down and Lorelei had this huge grin on her face.

The tour started a bit later, and the Duck was fully loaded with Japanese tourists. The overhead audio tour was all in Japanese, but we were provided with headphones and plugged into an audio jack for the English version. I didn’t bother with it after listening for ten seconds to the nonsense, but it was a nice touch. Other languages are available on different channels via the headphones too.

The tour headed south through Tumon and into Tamuning, past GPO and onto Marine Drive. We amused ourselves with the Duck Polka music and the squawking duck noise makers we received back at Sandcastle. After a brief ride the Duck arrived at Apra Harbor, drove past the power plants and commercial port and arrived at the old Cabras seaplane ramp. There the bus driver switched out with a boat captain, who took over and plunged us into the water. The kids loved it, but let’s just say a Duck is not exactly a nimble beast in the ocean. We puttered around the harbor for about a half hour, during which all the kids on board got a chance to drive the Duck around. Lorelei took a turn at the wheel, then Russell too.

After pulling out of the water and switching back to the bus driver, we resumed our tour with a brief loop through Hagåtña, back to Tumon and a swing past the other Baldyga Group property, The Beach. Apparently the Lina’la Cultural Park next to the beach is closed, which is a shame. Taliea said she thought the historical village had been damaged during our recent typhoons. I hope the place reopens soon, that is another place on our bucket list for kid’s activities.

The Duck bus dropped us back at the Sandcastle shortly before 11:00 am, and we headed back to the hotel. A couple more hours of swimming at the pool ensued, followed by a late checkout at 3:00 pm. Lots of fun activities for just 24 hours up ‘in town’ as my boy likes to say.