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Hey Insiders,

Natasha Ghatak has gone full circle with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) — from student to sponsor. What’s more, she has a thriving career as an assistant controller at Marriott. Her inspiring story is the second in our holiday series about great causes you can support by donating points.

Natasha’s story: As a high school student in Gaithersburg, MD, Natasha had no career plans. She joined NAF’s local Academy of Finance program to be with friends who, like her, were interested in finance. Her first academy course was the turning point — she loved gaining knowledge she could apply in the real world.


How NAF made a difference: After introducing Natasha to the financial profession, NAF helped her turn her interest into a career. Natasha took a community college business course and interned in the accounting department at Comcast Cable. Seeing finance executives in action, she thought, “This could be me in 10 years.”

Following graduation from the Gaithersburg High School Academy of Finance in Gaithersburg, MD, Natasha attended the University of Maryland in College Park. After she graduated in 2006 with a degree in Finance and Economics, she visited her former academy teacher. Knowing Natasha wanted to give back to the program, her teacher suggested that she serve as a volunteer for NAF.

Today, Natasha is chairperson of the Montgomery County Academies of Finance (AOF) Advisory Board. Moreover, she has donated a month’s pay to fund a scholarship for an AOF student, naming it the M. J. Ghatak scholarship in honor of her parents.

Want to make a difference this holiday season? Donate Marriott Rewards points to help a student like Natasha »

About NAF: The National Academy Foundation fosters partnerships between business and education to help students with limited opportunities prepare for college and careers. For over 30 years, NAF has refined a proven model blending industry-focused curricula, work-based learning experiences and business expertise in Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences. 

Marriott employees volunteer in classrooms, act as mentors, offer paid internships and serve on NAF advisory boards. Our long-standing partnership has helped many students launch hospitality careers.


Here are some exciting facts about the NAF:

  • NAF serves over 70,000 students in 565 academies
  • 96% of seniors graduated in 2013
  • 92% of graduates who provided post-grad intentions plan to go to college



Hey Insiders,


We know that no one has better travel tips than you. We’d like your input on some of your go-to trip planning tools when it comes to the holidays. After all, the season is just around the corner – better get planning now!


Below are a few questions we have about how you plan for travel around the holidays. Please answer as many of the questions as you’d like. Your response may be used in our marketing efforts later this year. If selected, we’ll award you 10,000 rewards points as an added bonus!


What is your go-to ‘recipe’ for booking holiday travel while maximizing your points (i.e. air travel, car rental, hotel stays, merchandise for gifts)? How far in advance do you book? Do you use the Travel Services/ Travel Assistance to get airport lounge passes, etc.?
What are your favorite trip planning tools for holiday travel (Insiders, TripAdvisor, etc.)?
Does the way you use MR points during the holiday season differ than the rest of the year? Do you use MR points for more merchandise for gifts as opposed to hotel stays? Or both? Do you ever gift points?
Tell us about the best holiday travel deal you’ve scored through points.
What are your tips for taking the best holiday photos? (i.e. Tips on taking the best family photo, new apps you’re using, etc.)
Tell us your secrets to surviving holiday air travel delays (everything from how you kill time at the airport to scouting the best food to making the most of a layover).


We’ll be collecting your feedback starting now through Friday, October 24th. I’m looking forward to reading your best holiday travel hacks!


Yorkshire has an abundance of magical Christmas spirit waiting to be discovered. So this coming festive season get wrapped up warm and come sample some of the great Yorkshire Christmas hospitality. Here are our top 5 picks for an amazing and memorable visit to Yorkshire this Christmas, all within a one hour drive of our location at Hollins Hall, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club:

  1. Christkindlmarkt, Leeds. One of the most established German Christmas Markets in the UK, with traditional wooden stalls, festive greenery, Christmas carousel rides and twinkling colorful lights all creating a unique continental style festive atmosphere in the heart of Leeds city center.
  2. Skipton Yuletide Festival & Christmas Market, 7th & 14th December 2014. The gateway town to the Yorkshire Dales, here in Skipton you will find more than 150 decorated holiday stalls, jam packed with all kinds of interesting, desirable and original gifts offered by traders in seasonal attire  -- together with locally produced food, hot roasted chestnuts, and Mulled Wine.
  3. Grassington Dickensian Christmas Festival, 29th November, 6th and 13th December 2014. For three Saturdays, Grassington travels back in time for the annual Dickensian festival. Step back in time to an era when Dickens was alive. You’ll find street entertainment, buskers, shoe-shine boys, chestnut sellers, Santa's grotto, pickpockets, living statues, traditional Christmas outdoor market, indoor craft fair, plus lots more.
  4. Harrogate Christmas Market, 27th – 30th November 2014. This four-day holiday market will be filled with high quality Yorkshire and Harrogate products selling everything from Yorkshire cheeses and chutneys to handmade gifts and Christmas decorations.
  5. Join the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Santa specials at Oxenhope, Haworth or Keighley Stations for a ten-mile return journey on our steam train, lasting around an hour. Experience nostalgia and the magic of Christmas in our specially decorated coaches, with seasonal music to get you in the mood. Santa and his pixies visit each child during the journey and deliver presents, while the grown-ups are served a mince pie and seasonal drink – it’s the perfect way for you and your family to start the Christmas season!


Beverley O.

Hollins Hall, A Marriott Hotel & Country Club



Hey Insiders,

If you’ve been considering buying the Marriott Bed, now is a great time to do so!


From now through November 7th, when you purchase a bed on ShopMarriott, we'll be donating a bed to someone in need of a place to sleep. ShopMarriott has partnered with Good360 to distribute these beds to charities that address problems related to housing and homelessness all around the country.


Browse ShopMarriott Now >>

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Hey Insiders,


Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas is now an Autograph Collection Hotel. I know many of you have been anxious to hear when Atlantis will be available to book on Marriott.com. I’m happy to tell you the wait is over and you’re the first to hear about it! Beginning tomorrow, Thursday, October 16, 2014, you will be able to book and earn points through Marriott.com for Atlantis. If you plan on using points to book your stay, call 877-829-2429 for a redemption stay. Experience aquatic adventures, award-winning dining, casino gaming and much more!


Limited Time Special Offer: Rates from $99 + Kids Eat Free


For a limited time, stay in Atlantis’ Beach Tower starting from only $99 per night when you book by November 18, 2014 and stay by December 17, 2014. Oh, and Kids eat breakfast and dinner free! Plan your legendary vacation today.


Questions? Check out the FAQ doc >>


Who will be booking a Bahamas vacation tomorrow?


*Update: the Atlantis website is now live: www.marriott.com/atlantis

ENTRY.jpgEnjoy a delectable cuisine from the era of the royals from the kitchen of our Indian specialty restaurant Nawab Saheb at the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center Hotel. Nawab Saheb is an elegant, family style restaurant serving sumptuous Indian al a carte and set menus. It is known for its vast repertoire of signature kebabs and curries recreated by Head Chef Yunus Khan. The décor of the restaurant is classy, redish maroon in color, and has individual private dining areas. Nawab Saheb is a restaurant that recreates and revives the unique dishes once cooked in the royal home of India. Over the years the restaurant has hosted various food festivals such as the Hyderabadi festival showcasing the food once relished by the Nizams, the Lucknowi festival that gave our patrons a chance to enjoy the delicate and succulent Nawabi kebabs, to the fiery Chettinad cuisine prepared in the kitchens of kings that ruled southern India. Our guests can savor age old recipes/dishes like Gilawat, ulta tava (melt-in-your mouth lamb kebab), Nalli ka khasa (lamb stew slow cooked with a special blend of spices, saffron, mint & yoghurt), Ghost Biryani Oudhi (lamb & basmati rice cooked on charcoals) and Dal Nawabi (slow cooked lentils) that are sure to take you back in time. Nawab Saheb is a culinary treat famous for slow cooked preparations, tenderized meats and a balance of spices.


ENTRY Colaba Causeway.jpgAfter relishing the food fit for kings, we hope you will take time to explore the other hidden gems of our city. We recommend you make a visit to the ‘Culture Square of Mumbai’ – Colaba Causeway. The Colaba stretch is a hub to various cafes, art galleries, and street shopping of all kinds - antiques, books, jewelry – this place has it all. The architecture of the area is reminiscent of the old Bombay (now Mumbai), highlighted by buildings like the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Regal Cinema, Prince of Wales Museum (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum) and Cusrow Baug, a Parsi residential colony built in 1934 which houses over 500 families. Colaba Causeway is lively and buzzing with young college students, office goers and tourist alike. Just a walk down the pavement is an intriguing experience alluring all senses; aromas from the cafes, musical notes from the pubs, colorful patterns that adorn the street shops of clothes, bags and more. You are sure to find something you like at the Colaba Causeway.


Anthony A.

Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel

Hey Insiders,


I just created and made the first post for the Group titled Member Exclusive Offers.




I created this Group so that we'll have a dedicated space within the community for these offers. I recommend joining/following the Group so that you are notified when new posts are made! Every other week I'll be posting a few Member Exclusive Offers that are soon to be published; meaning that you'll get to see them before anyone else.


I hope you like this plan and be sure to let us know if you take advantage of any of the offers!


Hey Insiders,

We've got a new Sweepstakes opportunity for you from TownePlace Suites!

TownePlace Suites® is the place to be your suite self. Enter for your chance to win $500 by showing us how you relax at TownePlace Suites. Tell us (or show us!) about your “Suite Break” moment on the TownePlace Suites Facebook page. One contest winner will be selected in October and one in November.  You know TownePlace Suites is all about giving you space to work and time to play. Our  friendly staff is right there to help your stay match your personal style. Learn more >>

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of 50 US States & DC & Canada (excl. QC), 18+ or age of majority. Sweepstakes ends 11/30/2014. Official Rules.

Good Luck!


Hey Insiders,

Thinking about donating points for a great cause? Then I invite you to consider Youth Career Initiative (YCI), an employability program created by the hotel industry to help at-risk youth. You’ll see the story of Aparecida Hitomi, a young person who transformed her life with YCI’s help, below.


This post is the first of a series I’ll be sharing on the work of Marriott’s featured charity partners. YCI is the perfect organization to begin the series—Marriott International has championed, funded and run the program for nearly 20 years in nine countries around the world. A different organization or charity will be featured here on Insiders every other week as we approach the Holiday season.


Aparecida’s story: Aparecida Hitomi was a teenager in São Paulo, Brazil, whose mother had recently died and whose entire family was unemployed. Her family had journeyed to their ancestral country, Japan, hoping to secure a stable income, only to return to São Paulo with no prospects. She herself had applied for many jobs but was turned down due to lack of skills.



How YCI helped Aparecida: Chosen out of 400 applicants, Aparecida was thrilled to go through the training program at the Renaissance São Paulo Hotel. “I worked on my attitude, my behavior, my interactions with co-workers, and I adapted to company rules … it all contributed to my professional development,” she says.


After Aparecida graduated, the hotel hired her as an apprentice. From there, she broadened her skills to other areas. Today she works as a hospital receptionist for the Association of Mutual Assistance Health Care (SBC), a program serving São Paulo’s large Japanese community. She says, “I learned that I like to take care of people, to be useful to mankind. I want to dedicate myself to contributing to society in some way.”


About YCI: Created by the hotel industry, YCI is a training program using hotels as a unique learning platform. During each 24-week session, hotel managers provide life and career skills training to young people considered vulnerable.

Here's your chance to be part of the work. Donate Marriott Rewards points to help YCI students around the world >>


ENTRY 2.jpgNew chef — discovery of indigenous cuisine. Anton Turchin, who has become the new chef of the Restaurant “Canvas” in the Renaissance St. Petersburg Baltic Hotel, is not a novice in cooking. Our master has enormous experience in various restaurants of the most outstanding hotels, and not just in Russia, where for 22 years he has implemented unique culinary ideas. Anton amazes with new ideas and unexpected impromptus every day, even after many years in the kitchen. He serves dishes that make an amazing first impression as well as an exclusive and unforgettable taste. He emphasizes that it’s important to cook with love and put sincere emotions into all dishes.

For many years the Renaissance St. Petersburg Baltic has provoked its guests to make their own discoveries every day and to be ready for surprises. In this way Anton Turchin also keeps astonishing guests with his creative view of the world even when starting with an ordinary set of products. Our new chef’s menu mixes clients’ favorite dishes with fabulous culinary delights inspired by the autumn mood. In his new autumn 2014 menu as well as in all his recipes, Anton tries to represent the national flavor of Russian cuisine - especially the St. Petersburg spirit. Apples, berries, and mushrooms become the basic ingredients of his autumn meals. This season, specialties of the house will be based on savory St. Petersburg vegetables such as tomatoes, pumpkins, cauliflower, aubergine and other vegetables of the region. Scrumptious sauces and berry decorations with cherries, plums, shadberry, cowberry and many other sorts of appetizing berries will plunge into the atmosphere of magnificent autumn miracles. Such indigenous dishes as pine cone jam will be unforgettable to our guests.

ENTRY.jpgAnton Turchin also amazes guests with unpredictable combinations and compositions uniting delicacy in clearance dishes with new trends in the restaurant business. Our new master cookery is a sphere of art, so it changes every day, and above all preserves the best traditions of bygone epochs. It’s easy for Anton to masterly combine his own secrets with long-lived Renaissance traditions. And so our restaurant “Canvas” is a unique example of a restaurant which offers the highest level of service in a respectable hotel, and yet reflects its independent way at the same time. A delicious meal in “Canvas” is really a piece of art for the soul and will help our guests enjoy the real taste of life. One visit to “Canvas” in St. Petersburg will intrigue you and encourage you to explore Russia more!

Sergey T.

Renaissance St. Petersburg Baltic


Hi Insiders,

Before we give you the exclusive sneak peek at the final week of the Marriott Rewards FlashPerks offers, we just want to thank you for making FlashPerks such a huge success. Dozens of our associates and partners have worked hard to bring you 12 weeks of some of the best deals we’ve ever shared, and we all appreciate the enthusiasm and suggestions that you’ve shared with us.


We’d also like to thank our friends at Autograph Collection Hotels for helping us finish strong with a dozen unique hotel and merchandise offers that are exactly like nothing else. Here’s a taste of what you’ll see when the offers go live on www.marriottrewardsflashperks.com tomorrow, October 2, at 12PM Central Time.


  • A 30% discount to the Surf ‘n Turf at the Epicurean Package at Epicurean Tampa, Autograph Collection, which includes a one-night stay in a Classic King room, a gourmet picnic for two, rental of two bicycles and a two-hour cruise in a Tampa e-boat (available dates: September 19-21, October 9-12, 23-26, October 30-November 2, November 27-30)
  • Half off of the regular Marriott Rewards points redemption cost for the Algonquin Resort St Andrews by-the-Sea, Autograph Collection, with a 25% discount to spa services and complimentary room or suite upgrade, pending availability (available dates: October 23 - 26, November 10 - 15, December 10 – 13)
  • Half off of the regular Marriott Rewards points redemption cost for Union Station Hotel, Autograph Collection in Nashville, with a room upgrade (pending availability), a pair of tickets to the Frist Center for Visual Arts and complimentary welcome amenity (available dates: November 13 - 16, 20 - 23, 27 - 30; December 11 – 14)
  • Nearly half off the regular Marriott Rewards points redemption cost for a Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity and Sleep Wristband (17,500 points, regularly 30,000 points)


Remember, these special offers will only be live for 24 hours, or until the inventory is depleted, and only available on the FlashPerks website. Quantities and stay dates are limited, and all of the terms and conditions for each offer can be found on the individual offer pages when they go live tomorrow on www.marriottrewardsflashperks.com.

ENTRY Christmas.jpgThe holiday season will soon be upon us, and the Christmas Village on the Champs-Elysées will be the essential festive event of the Parisian Winter. Originating in Germany and the Alsace region of France, Christmas markets have spread throughout Europe since the 1990's. Little by little they have become a highlight of the Christmas season to the delight of all. The festive wooden cabins invite you to discover their decorations, seasonal items, regional products and handmade pastries. This is a great place to find decorations for your Christmas tree, ideas for unusual gifts or delicious treats.


Find below our advice to enjoy these magical year end celebrations:

  • Walk on the most beautiful Avenue in the world, combining the spirit of Village Cottages with the entertainment of artists and artisans. The place reserved for craftsmen has doubled this year. There are now twenty exhibitors showing locally manufactured items: tanners, jewelers, and more. This is the largest Christmas market within Paris's city limits, stretching from the Champs-Elysées roundabout (Subway Champs Elysées-Clémenceau) to the Place de la Concorde (Subway Concorde).
  • Discover different styles of artisans. By introducing you to the tradition of their region, they will show you specialties for very inspired gifts such as fatty livers, sweets, Christmas decorations, mulled wine with cinnamon and gingerbread. Villages and Christmas markets are installed in other famous places in Paris: Trocadero, Saint Germain des Prés, Montparnasse, Saint Sulpice, and Nation.
  • Enjoy the Christmas lights of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, both located on the Boulevard Haussmann, where showcases are decorated and animated with the Christmas Spirit. Visitors young and old will be impressed by the Witches Spectacle and fantastic colors given to the streets of Paris. The most beautiful Avenue of the Capital is a must-see, adorned with attractive garlands shapes.
  • Visit the Maison de l'Alsace (39 Avenue des Champs-Elysees), a temporary boutique offering traditional Subway Christmas goodies (Subway Champs Elysées-Clémenceau). Daily openings are from 10:00am to 11:00pm; Fridays and Saturdays until midnight.


More than ever, the "City of Light" is aptly named! We hope this year you will experience the Christmas lights that give Paris a breathtaking charm.


Balthazar A.

Paris Marriott Hotel Champs Elysées



Hi Insiders,

It’s time once again for an exclusive sneak peek at this week’s Marriott Rewards FlashPerks offers, which go live on www.marriottrewardsflashperks.com tomorrow, September 25, at 12PM Central Time.

This week, JW Marriott invites you to experience the extraordinary firsthand, with a selection of exclusive luxury hotels, travel experiences and merchandise, including:

  • A 30% discount to the Afternoon Tea Experience Package at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House, which includes complimentary breakfast for two and Champagne Afternoon Tea in the Park Room (available dates: October 9 – December 15)
  • Half off of the regular Marriott Rewards points redemption cost for the JW Marriott Hotel, Washington, DC, plus a pair of tickets to a Hamilton Live music event or $50 food and beverage credit (20,000 points per night, regularly 40,000 points; available dates: October 10-12, 17-19; October 31 – November 2; November 6-9)
  • Half off of the regular Marriott Rewards points redemption cost for the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, with a guaranteed upgrade to a Lake Front View Room and two complimentary Starbucks beverages of your choice (17,500 points per night, regularly 35,000 points; available dates: October 10, 11, 17, 18, 31; November 1, 7, 8, 21, 22, 28, 29; December 5, 6)
  • Half off the regular Marriott Rewards points redemption cost for a Nachtmann Aspen Whiskey Decanter Set (12,500 points, regularly 25,000 points)


Remember, these special offers will only be live for 24 hours, or until the inventory is depleted, and only available on the FlashPerks website. Quantities and stay dates are limited, and all of the terms and conditions for each offer can be found on the individual offer pages when they go live tomorrow on www.marriottrewardsflashperks.com.


As a reminder, this is the second-to-last week of FlashPerks. We hope you’ve enjoyed the offers so far, and we hope you’ve found a few that have made your Marriott Rewards membership even more rewarding!

Hey Insiders,


Say hello to your new Featured Insider: Frogs!


Joined Insiders on January 8, 2014




Status: Platinum


About Me: I have been married to the love of my life for over 26 years! I have had the privilege of traveling the world for work and being on the road weekly for years - all with the support of my husband. I am truly blessed to be able to do what I love! I am currently working in the NYC area and looks like I will be here for a bit longer.


Travel Interests: Some of my personal travels have included mission trips to Kyrgyzstan. Future trips for pleasure will include going back to Kyrgyzstan, Brazil to see my sister and her family, and who knows where with my missionary mom and her husband. I also want to visit places with my husband that I think will interest him - one of the first will be Athens, Greece.


Three Things I Collect When Traveling: A frog of some sort to add to my childhood collection, a gold charm for my bracelet that represents my travels, and piece of artwork or the like that represents the culture.

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The speed of our lifestyle is becoming faster and smoother due to quickly developing technology. The Copenhagen Marriott Hotel is keeping pace by taking their meeting spaces to a whole new level, where technology, service and design are mixed with style to make the work environment even more attractive and comfortable. Here at the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel we are shifting our approach from the traditional individual workspace to an ecosystem of space where our guests can be the managers of their time and can choose where and how to work.


2014 is the year that this Copenhagen hotel is introducing spaces that promote collaborative work environments for more productive meeting and conference outcomes. The new meeting areas are very flexible in order to meet the objectives of the meeting and its participants, rather than having the space dictated by room lay-out or furniture. Features such as video conferencing, smart whiteboards, projection walls, docking stations and touch screen controls allow us to make the meeting experience at this hotel even more attractive and hustle free. All the technology is app and web enabled, providing a platform for future technological innovation as well. Reimagined meeting spaces are just one of a palette of concepts being introduced at the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel. Earlier this year, the hotel successfully introduced the Red Coat Direct - an app that enables meeting organizers to adjust and edit their meeting requests and preferences with the touch of a button. The new app was a first step to a whole new level of wireless technology. Our new meeting spaces will be completed by October 2014, so we hope you will plan your next event or meeting here to experience all of these exciting enhancements. You can also find specific tools, tips and inspiration for your events and meetings at http://www.meetingsimagined.com.


Loiuse V.

Copenhagen Marriott Hotel

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