Review: Sheraton Kuwait

Filed Under: Hotels, Starwood Preferred Guest

Before returning to the US we had a one night layover in Kuwait — we were arriving at 12:25PM, and departing the following day at 9AM. As someone who tries to stay at Hyatt and Starwood properties whenever possible, the options were fairly limited — the city has no Hyatt properties, though has both a Sheraton and a Four Points by Sheraton.

The Four Points is a Category 5 property, meaning that a free night would cost 12,000 Starpoints. Meanwhile the Sheraton is a Category 6 property, meaning that a free night would cost 20,000 Starpoints. Kuwait clearly isn’t a cheap hotel market.

The price difference in cash wasn’t huge between the hotels — the Sheraton was ~$300, so we decided to stay there, and paid cash, since that seemed better than redeeming 20,000 Starpoints.

There’s something else interesting about the Sheraton Kuwait — it’s marketed as a Luxury Collection property. This is odd, because Sheraton and Luxury Collection are two different brands. It would seem on the surface to be same as a Westin Sheraton… that just doesn’t make any sense. 😉

However, this isn’t the only Sheraton to be branded that way. The Sheraton Addis Ababa is also a Luxury Collection property.

Interestingly the Sheraton Kuwait doesn’t belong to the Starwood Luxury Privileges program, despite the fact that it’s technically a Luxury Collection property, and all Luxury Collection properties are supposed to belong to it.

The Sheraton actually offers a complimentary transfer from the airport to the hotel. They call it a shared shuttle, though in both directions we were the only passengers, and they use an SUV for the transfer. The drive from the airport to the hotel took about 20 minutes with some traffic.

The exterior of the Sheraton is dated. It looks straight out of the 1970s. Entering the hotel required going through a metal detector and having our bags screened, as is the norm in many countries.

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Sheraton Kuwait exterior

Fortunately inside it was a different story. That’s not to say that the inside was modern, but rather that it felt “grand” and was well maintained. The lobby had tons of marble that lined a long hallway.

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Sheraton Kuwait lobby

There was also plenty of seating, with several comfortable couches.

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Sheraton Kuwait lobby

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Sheraton Kuwait lobby

We were escorted up to our room for in-room check-in, by one of the super friendly Filipino front office associates (as is the norm in the region, most of the front office staff were from Southeast Asia).

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Sheraton Kuwait elevators

Our room was located on the sixth floor. The hallways were beautifully maintained, and reminded me of just about any five star hotel out there.

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Sheraton Kuwait hallway

We had been upgraded to an executive suite, #672, due to my SPG Platinum status. The room was located at the far end of the hallway on the right.

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Sheraton Kuwait room exterior

The suite featured a long entryway with a vanity of sorts just inside the entrance on the right.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite entryway

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite entryway

Then on the left was a large half bath, with a sink, toilet, and bidet.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite guest bathroom

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite guest bathroom

Past that was the living room, which had two couches, a desk, as well as a dresser of sorts, with the TV above it.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite living room

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite guest bathroom

There was also a generous welcome amenity. They seem to have connected the dots on my blog, as there was the cutest little airplane cake with clouds that said “One Mile at a Time.” While the last thing I need is more sweets, what a work of art!

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Sheraton Kuwait welcome amenity

The desk even had a fax machine. #TBT

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite desk

The living room had a view out over the city.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite view

The bedroom was connected to the living room by a door. There was a comfortable king size bed with soft sheets.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite bedroom

The bedroom was basically a guest room in and of itself, as it also featured a couch, as well as a desk.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite bedroom

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite bedroom sitting area

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite bedroom desk

On the desk was some bottled water, a kettle, and instant coffee and tea.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite bottled water, kettle, etc.

Below that was the minibar.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite minibar

Past the bedroom was the master bathroom, which had a single sink, a tub, a walk-in shower, and a toilet and bidet.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite master bathroom

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite master bathroom

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite master tub

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite master shower

I was impressed that toiletries were supplied by BVLGARI, which are certainly better than the typical Sheraton brand standard ones.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite toiletries

Overall I was appreciative for the upgrade and how spacious our suite was. Obviously this hotel is a bit past its prime, though at the same time I thought everything was well maintained. Based on the website pictures I thought the hotel would be super dated, but I didn’t find that to be the case.

After checking in I decided to take a look at the club lounge. The hotel has two towers, and the club lounge was located in the other tower. As a result, I had to take the elevator down to the lobby, walk to the other side of the lobby, and then take that elevator up to the sixth floor.

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Sheraton Kuwait club lounge elevators

The lounge is open daily from 6AM until midnight. Breakfast is served from 6AM until 11AM (though we didn’t have a chance to check it out, since we left the hotel at 6AM). Meanwhile there seemed to continuously be food available throughout the day.

The lounge was dated but spacious, with plenty of cozy and semi-private sitting areas.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge

There was also a small business center.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge business center

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge business center

I only visited the lounge once (at around 2PM), as we were sightseeing later on during the evening service. But I was very impressed by the selection, as they seemed to have an actual lunch spread, which you don’t often find in club lounges.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge buffet

I’ll let the pictures of the food speak for themselves.

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge afternoon food selection

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge afternoon food selection

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge afternoon food selection

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge afternoon food selection

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge afternoon food selection

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge afternoon food selection

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Sheraton Kuwait executive suite club lounge coffee machine

We were hungry after our flight, so decided to go to a restaurant for lunch. The Sheraton has several restaurants on the seventh floor, including an Italian restaurant, Iranian restaurant, Lebanese restaurant, Indian restaurant, and international restaurant. What a selection!

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Sheraton Kuwait restaurants

We decided to eat at the Lebanese restaurant, Le Tarbouche. It was such a cute restaurant.

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Sheraton Kuwait Le Tarbouche Lebanese restaurant

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Sheraton Kuwait Le Tarbouche Lebanese restaurant

The food was phenomenal — I love Lebanese food, and the food here was especially good.

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Sheraton Kuwait Le Tarbouche Lebanese restaurant

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Sheraton Kuwait Le Tarbouche Lebanese restaurant

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Sheraton Kuwait Le Tarbouche Lebanese restaurant

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Sheraton Kuwait Le Tarbouche Lebanese restaurant

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Sheraton Kuwait Le Tarbouche Lebanese restaurant

Unfortunately we ordered way too much of it.

In terms of other amenities, the hotel has a gym, located on the second floor. It had a decent selection of equipment.

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Sheraton Kuwait gym

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Sheraton Kuwait gym

There was also an okay-looking pool.

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Sheraton Kuwait pool

In the evening we explored Kuwait for a bit, got a good night of sleep, and at 6AM were driven back to the airport for our flight to New York, via Shannon.

Sheraton Kuwait bottom line

For our purposes, the Sheraton Kuwait was a solid option. While many cities in the region are known for their over the top hotels, best I can tell, Kuwait doesn’t have as many luxury hotels. There are no properties from Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Park Hyatt, etc. There is a Four Seasons opening in the coming months, which looks promising.

Other than that, hotels in Kuwait mostly seem pretty outdated. The Sheraton was well maintained, had friendly staff, a nice lounge, and an excellent Lebanese restaurant. As a Starwood loyalist, it’s a solid option if visiting Kuwait.

  1. The hotel has some interesting history. It is the first managed Sheraton outside of the US. During the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the hotel became the HQ of top Iraqi commanders in Kuwait. The hotel was destroyed and there are pictures of destroyed hotel in the lobby. Contrary to common belief, the hotel was destroyed by a bomb planted by Kuwaiti resistance.

  2. Picked a random date, looks like 4-5 star hotels in the area can be had for $150 all-in.

    $150 is a looooot of money to be a loyalist over breakfast.

    Also, if they twigged your blog, it’s pretty obvious why you got this specific upgrade, huh? 😉 Joe Nobody Platimum reading your blog might not get the same result.

  3. Lucky, Not all hotels in Kuwait are outdated. I live in Kuwait and have gone to some Hotels and I can assure you that all are Modern and not Outdated.
    Also the Sheraton isn’t the only Luxury hotel in Kuwait. The Jumeirah Resort is also a luxury hotel.

  4. Ha, I think I stayed in that same room last year. Funny enough, I had no idea that there was a club lounge / level in the hotel – was never told about it. Not my favorite hotel but it was the best option, by far.

  5. @ eponymous coward — As far as your second point goes, SPG Platinum members are entitled to suite upgrades subject to availability at check-in. The hotel had plenty of them available day of (based on looking at their website). So this is hardly a case of special treatment. It’s like arguing I got special treatment if I’m given lounge access at a Hilton property as a Diamond member.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure sometimes I do get special treatment, often without knowing it. There’s ultimately nothing I can do about that, and I’d prefer I don’t get any sort of special treatment. However, I think it’s the exception rather than the norm. And this is a case where I don’t think that’s what happened (aside from the welcome amenity).

  6. How can you call yourself a credible hotel reviewer when you can’t even do a simple Google search to see that you vastly overpaid for a hotel in the city. This is a consistent problem with all your hotel reviews – they are in a complete vacuum devoid of any research into competitive offers.

    Clearly you just needed an evening where a half decent bed would do. Even an Ibis for $60 would be more than enough to satisfy the bed and wifi requirement. Even other 4 star hotels at half the price.

    Why consistently hawk your inexperience and do a disservice to your readers who might take your advice and vastly overpay also. This reviews bottom line should have been “save your money, stay elsewhere” and nothing else.

  7. Forget about Platinum status for a bit. Your blog would be a bit more interesting if you branched out a bit. There’s a lot out there, not just SPG & Hayatt!

  8. When I had an Ambassador, I often received welcome amenities like this, even at lower scale Starwood properties, so I don’t think Ben received much out of the ordinary given his status. For those that think he could have stayed at a cheaper property, it is a fair point. But he makes it pretty clear, at least to this reader, that Hyatt and Starwood are his preference and the blog is obviously geared toward premium cabin flights and luxury hotels. Loyalty Traveler on Boarding Area does a good job with the downscale market for budget travelers and is an excellent read for that market. But I must admit I do miss the days when Ben would review the Holiday Inn Express at LAX.

  9. There are a ton of blogs and review points for all kinds of hotels, so I don’t understand the Lucky-bashing comments above! The focus of his blog is certainly about points & miles and luxury travel. While I think there are some missed opportunities in terms of nice non-chain properties for Lucky, we certainly appreciate his focus on certain chains. I almost always stay at full service 4+ hotels and a review of a Holiday Inn Express won’t be of much interest to me! If we are talking about Kuwait in particular then based on my knowledge $300 is not out of the ordinary for a 4-5 star hotel in this market. Nor there is a nice non-spg non-Hyatt hotel that he really missed. It is a fairly limited market.

  10. I agree with the last sentence of Carl. It’s great to see Lucky doing well but never would he have paid $300 cash for a room. It was always about the points and trying to maximize them. There are a lot more “cash” rooms these days.

  11. Generalization about Americans that holds true most of the time: we love to tell other people how to live/spend their money when it isn’t our business and frankly doesn’t matter. Ben has always been transparent about how he pays for rooms so I appreciate that he lets us know the points vs. cash breakdown and which he chooses. Why people feel the need to admonish him for making his own spending decisions is beyond me. Readers who wouldn’t want to spend 300/nt for a dated Sheraton are invited to use points or…..go on and find another place to stay. How people spend their money/points is their own decision. Don’t people have better things to do than worry about this?

  12. The furniture in the rooms and club lounge doesn’t match the rather grandiose lobby or halls at all. It all seems very mis-matched and rather down scale. But the F & B look fantastic.

  13. Ben tilts toward Starwood and Hyatt for obvious reasons.
    Maybe someday he will move over to Ritz, and other Marriott brands, and Four Seasons.
    But we are still his fans.

  14. Kuwait does have lots of luxury hotels and properties. They just don’t match up with Lucky’s loyalty program.

    It would have been interesting to see a report on exploring Kuwait, along with Lucky’s views comparing it to some of it’s neighbors like Dubai, Doha, and Abu Dhabi.

  15. This is really a jump the shark moment. You chose to spend $300 instead of 5,000 SPG points at the JW Marriott. For a stay credit? Do you value SPG at 6 cents each? Do you value a stay credit at $190?

  16. I think people are being somewhat too mean here — part of what Lucky does is review hotels, and now there’s a review of the Sheraton Kuwait on the blogosphere — but I do agree with the general sentiment. Even assuming you like to stay in western chains, there’s a JW Marriott for 15k, a Holiday Inn for 20k, a Crowne Plaza for 25k, etc. If your loyalty caused you to spend $300 for 15 hours in a Sheraton, I think your loyalty is hurting you.

  17. can you redeem SPG points for the White House? I’ve got a 4 year stay in Washington in a few years.

  18. Mr B…
    We love reading his blog. If you think you cant afford to spend a night there then close the browser. There are whole herd of us likes to feel and get the real experience of staying in luxury (sort of) hotels. Go back and stay at your fav $60 Inns or stay 1 night get 3 nights free motels

  19. “But he makes it pretty clear, at least to this reader, that Hyatt and Starwood are his preference and the blog is obviously geared toward premium cabin flights and luxury hotels”

    More like “a high preference towards American business-oriented upmarket to luxury chains (Hyatt, Starwood) and an occasional nod to Aman or Intercontinentals in some markets or on special occasions”.

    I don’t see that stay is some kind of amazing value for the Kuwait market that other people should hop on. $300 for a freakin’ transit stay at a Sheraton? And presumably a lot of the point of this blog is all about point redemption value (terrible), so basically the equation is “so, if you’re willing to pay $100 USD over Hotwire in the same star category for a stay credit and a very modest pile of SPG points in Kuwait, this is the place is for you”.

    I would venture to guess that the rack rates here for American chains are for folks on expense accounts (it is the Middle East and the oil industry). That’s generally my experience when I can get 4-5 star on Hotwire in a town for half the price of normal rack rates; the rack rates are a little bit of a soak and the hotels are willing to pick up some revenue on the side through opaque booking channels to add to the margins they are padding on the rack rate.

  20. As far as “premium” goes, Kuwait really has a seafront worth boasting and places its luxury hotels on it. For some reason, Starwood doesn’t seem to make use of it, but Radisson Blu is fantastic (probably my favourite in kuwait so far), Jumeirah, and a bunch of other luxury hotels including a Hilton and a Movenpick really do give that luxury. They also boast bigger pools and so on. Also what used to be Missoni is still a very strong contender.

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