This is the big weekend in Indianapolis. The 500 race. I've been coming for 32 years this year and I don't even come close to the number of times a lot more have been attending. Marriott has the new complex downtown with the JW Marriott, Fairfield Inn, Spring Hill Suites and Courtyard all together in a big 'block' type setting. Now, many of us have had good and bad experiences when checking in at various hotels during our travels, but not many compare to this:
You drive up in front of the JW and a herd of valets, bellman and staff greet you before you can even exit your car. They greet you warmly and handle everything there is to do. You are escorted in the front door where about six or so (associates) are offering you champagne, hors d'oeurves, and welcome treats. You are then taken to a check-in counter where there is an associate at the computer and an associate on the front right of the check in area to greet you with smiles and offers of 'what can we do' to make your stay more enjoyable. Your status is immediately recognized. You never see your luggage until it is in your room (before you get there) and you are apprised of the everything we have here for you in the hotel from bars to restaurants to everything imaginable.
All hands are on deck for this big weekend and it shows! Very well done and incredibly professional and welcoming!
Nice tef.... nothing like a team exceeding your expectations. The GM is to be commended. It would be interesting to know from the other Marriott property guests. If you see some around town or at the race festivities, maybe you can inquire as to their reception? AND, enjoy the race!
Thanks, pained.......It has always been a fun time at the race (except when it rains). I actually talked with another person staying at another Marriott property and her party did not receive the same treatment. After our chat, I think they will be going to the JW next year!
Very glad to hear the Indiana folks recognize the value the race fans bring to the state. I am also proud they have taken such pride in their service and this is why I love Marriott (and Indiana) and am disappointed I am often forced to stay elsewhere in travels. They recognize the value of repeat, loyal customers and understand you can go anywhere and spend your money. We had a great experience at the JW in Orlando and I suggest you stay there if you visit Disney even though a bit out of the way, the service is incredible! I am still a Hoosier at heart and thanks for keeping the Indy 500 a premier event with your attendance. My hoosier friends need some economic asistance. Enjoy!
Thanks for the post and welcome to MR Insiders! Yes, they certainly know how to take care of their guests here! Always have had a great time coming here......and yes, we drop some bucks too. Had a superb dinner tonight at St. Elmo's Steakhouse which has been a fixture here since 1901 as you probably know! Food and service was awesome! Everywhere we go people are friendly and looking forward to the race......
Glad to hear its no longer the one long queue of platinum members waiting to see if a room will free up.
I remember being 20+ on waiting lists of platinum members for a room!
The staff is probably glad too as I don't think it was any more pleasant for them to have all of us platinum members pestering constantly about our upcoming reservations and our position in the queue was.
Spent almost a year there doing that.
Was tempted never to check out so I would not have to check in again.
Very good day for Indianapolis! A historic race at a historic place! I only hope the tradition lives on! It amazes me how Management of a property can make such a difference, but as I tell my Managers who work in a different discipline 1 person does make a difference!. I still love the race and the hoosier state! I am going back next month to see my Indiana Bretheren! The Midwest is full of great people and glad you feel good about your visit! Hope the race was enjoyable and you all had a great time!
It was a fantastic race! 35 lead changes (most in the history of the race) and almost all of them coming where my seats are so we saw all the excitement. Came down to the last lap and any of four drivers could have won on that last lap but the driver in second place tried to dive bomb the first turn on that last lap and couldn't make the turn. Foolish. Took some of the wall with him. Unbelievably close racing that makes the day just so exciting. Thankfully, there were not too many incidents (3 crashes, all in front of us) and nobody hurt, but I really can't believe the sound those little cars make when they hit that wall. Sounds like a bomb going off and the stands actually shake even though they're not attached to the wall. Hard to believe they can walk away after that. It was HOT! Hottest race day in the history of the race. But, a great time in a great hotel setting and a fun city!
I'll see if I can post some pics....
Can't wait until next year!
Fortunately, my seats are at the top of the short chute in the middle of turns 1 and 2. We had a nice breeze coming through the fencing behind us and there is a one row grandstand overhang (photogs and cameras) that blocks some of the sun. Otherwise, it would have been brutal. This was the first race I have been able to get my wife to come to in years. When I was working, I used to be invited by a couple of different teams and we sat in their suites, got pampered and got the limo ride to and from the track. I gave away my regular tickets to friends or family when that happened. So, the wife didn't really want to go and sit in the 'cheap seats' any more. This year, she said OK. Enjoyed it, too since the race was so exciting! We'll see about next year...........
Glad all went well! By the way, how do you get rooms for this event?
Sounds like a great experience and the race just seems like "Icing on the cake"!
Am putting a plan together to make a long week-end trip to the Indy JW, and dine at St. Elmo's.
Will look forward to seeing the pictures.
Rooms were actually available right up until race day. Don't think they were completely sold out. But I always do mine through marriott.com. They're not cheap though!
St. Elmo's is an easy walk from the JW. Don't forget Harry and Izzy's, too! We also dined at the Skyline Club at the top of the America One building. What a view of the city!
I had no idea you could get rooms that easy, I knew they would be expensive. I may just come for the atmosphere, as I have never been to an auto race, and don't think I could take the heat or crowd.
Appreciate the dining tips, have never been to any of these place except St. Elmo's!
You wouldn't want to miss the race if you came! Actually, it's rarely hot like this year. The temps were unusually warm this year. And as for the crowd.....one of the things you learn when you go 32 times is how to avoid the 'crush'. I have it figured out now that there is a coach service from downtown by the hotel that has reserved parking just across the street from where my seats are. When the race ends, I walk across the street (literally), get in the coach (waiting for me) and am usually back at the hotel witin 45 minutes after the race has ended. Now, when I first started going, it used to take me almost three hours to get back because I didn't know how to 'work' the flow. Now, I ride air conditioned, walk across the street, walk up to my seat and I am one of the first out at the end (because of where my seats are) without any crowd at all. And the seats are some of the best in the house......(other than the suites).
How tough is it to get tickets? We agree that "Knowing the ropes" really makes an event a lot more fun and relaxing. I wouldn't know where to begin, but you have made three key ingredients of the Indy trip figured out. One, "Where" to stay", two, "Where to dine", and of course three, how to get to/from the race.
I would think good tickets are available?
Thanks for all of your information! This might be just the thing to do next Memorial Day.
I think tickets are available. Those who have tickets can renew for their regular seats by June 10. After that, tickets are opened up to the public. Best place for race viewing and in/out access is the Southwest Vista. It's where I sit. In between turn 1 and 2. If you get tix, get the 'Highest' in the stand you can. Rows start at 'A' and go to 'RR' or something like that. Double letter rows are the highest is what I'm trying to say.
Tickets can be done online at WWW.IMSTIX.COM
Let me know if at some point you decide to do it!
One my friends at work is from Indiana and she said the tough part about going to the track itself is you can only see one piece of the track from where you are sitting, so everyone has radios so they can listen to what is going on where they can not see. I suspect she hasn't been in a few years as we all live on the east coast now, so I am wondering if they have large flat screen TVs displays now.
They have large flat screen billboards (TV'S) all around the track now. Fortunately, after 32 years of attending the race, I figured out what the best seating position is to see the best of the race.....and they allowed me to re-position my seating for the following year until I was happy when I renewed my seating arrangements.
Almost all of the action in the race takes place at the end of the front straightaway and into the first corner, the short chute (the small straight between the first and second turn) and through the second turn. Almost all the lead changes and all the accidents (as a former racer of this type car accidents are an unwelcome part of the racing but the 'fans' like the danger they bring) took place where we could see it from our seats. My seats are at the top of the stands in the middle of the short chute at the Southwest Vista. If you are in a seat that is too close to the track you can't keep up with the speed that the cars go. TV coverage does not do justice to the speed that the cars are going at. If you are too close, the cars are a blur. The only better seats are in the Suites that I have been in quite a few times (with sponsors) but an individual can't buy seats in the suites. Come to the race, it's a great take!
Just read your 2013 review also (we can't comment on reviews) and to paraphrase the crook in Dirty Harry, "I got's to go!". I've been eyeballing this property ever since you wrote above in 2012, but airfares always killed the deal, but now with points (earned by shifting my non-Marriott charges over to United credit card) it's viable. Booked a long weekend room in September, so I'll be hitting you up for the usual tips on restaurants and activities (minus the 500 of course). Just cabbing from the airport, so will hang near the hotel.
This is why the good folks at Marriott don't mind our moaning, this forum sells rooms.