A common thread in Marriott Insiders is the concierge
lounges. The biggest complaints that I seem to recall are: Unsupervised kids
running around, limited hours, poor selection of appetizers and drinks, limited
What would you think about a concierge lounge that was open
7 days a week from 6:30 AM to 11PM, hosted bar with wine, beer and spirits from
4 PM to 11PM, no one under 21 allowed, full breakfast buffet (with omelet bar) from
6:30AM to 10:30AM, lunch from 12:30 PM to 2PM, hors d’oeuvres from 5PM to 7PM,
interactive chef experience (daily specials) from 5:30PM to 6:30PM and desert
sampling from 8PM to 10PM. All of the above with exceptional staffing and
spread over the equivalent of 6 rooms? (There is more, but you get the idea.)
This is the Griffin Club at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in
Phoenix, AZ and has been open for about a year. It is not limited to elites,
just those willing to pay $65/person/day.
When I first heard about it last December I thought it was outrageous.
However, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary at JWDR last night and I
decided to give it a shot. We had lunch for 2, 3 drinks each during the
day/evening, dinner for 2 (hors d’oeuvres + chef made crab cakes), desert for 2,
and breakfast for 2. The staff was unbelievably attentive. (I was told most had
been there for at least 6 years including previous CL experience) They even
prepared a special desert just for our anniversary! Assuming you stayed on
property for all your meals, not a bad deal for $130 + taxes (Oh, I love those
resort tax rates!).
I am guessing this is test by Marriott to see how to handle
CLs. What are your thoughts?
Does this JW property only have the one concierge lounge that charges $65 a day to use it or is there another smaller lounge available for free to Elite members? I would be very dissapointed as an Elite member if I was told that I could only access the concierge lounge for a $65 a day fee.
The JW Desert Ridge is a resort and therefore has no real concierge lounge. This lounge enjoyed by curiousone is private for those who wish to pay for access. For me, it's not worth it, but then I enjoy my six pack of Michelob Ultra on ice in the sink along with a bag of fritos.
the six pack sounds great!
Regarding this pay for play concept, I'm sure that Marriott borrowed this idea from the Ritz Carlton CLUB ROOM concept. Same idea, several food servings a day, both hot and cold options, free drinks, and a warm setting. I also agree with vaboywnder, I would not be happy if tis pay as you go idea became the replacement idea to CL's.
I think this would be a nice option if it was offered at resorts, which don't have CLs in the first place, and if the option to pay was by day (i.e. a five night stay and you could opt for a one day club fee). That would provide the traveler with the option of a) celebrating a big event with an overnight at a resort or b) vegging out at the resort for one of the days and just relaxing (it is a resort afterall).
But why do I share the suspicion that this will not be the outcome; but rather a test for whether it can be utilized at all properties, replacing the current lounge concept - advancing the ongoing trend of death by a thousand cuts of eroding benefits .
So, you're saying that in my five night stay example above, it would be $130 per night extra or $650 for the stay on top of the 'resort' rate? Ouch, no thank you.
I would only do the offer for one night and stay at another Marriott the other nights. Or book two reservations - a four day, and a one day with the club, otherwise I'm getting clobbered by the fee (or held hostage at the property in order to get my money's worth, but then probably have to check in at the Betty Ford or Richard Simmons clinics!).
I agree that it is a worthwhile consideration (if the nightly rate is reasonable) for a one day/night special event like your anniversary. Thanks for pointing it out.
Ok, the ability to pick a day or two makes it a nice additional option. Another area where this would be an added benefit (to me at least) would be a tropical, somewhat isolated resort where hanging out at the resort (versus taking in all the sights and activities in Scottsdale, Phoenix) is actually part of the purpose of the trip, then on non-excursion days, this would be nice to have as a choice. I guess the Griffin Club is somewhat similar to Club 91 in NY and Cancun.
Of course now the issue will be the demand oriented pricing of the program should interest grow (notice current increasing lodging rates or decreasing elite offers, we're down to five, three which are months old) and/or the creepage of some variation of this concept into the current CLs being offered up as an enhancement of rewards benefits (aka the infamous points-cash program).
Once again, thanks for highlighting the program, I have often found that utilizing the newer service offerings right at the beginning is the most opportune time to benefit (because they are actually deals) before the 'tweaking' begins. I'm going to Phoenix over the holidays and if I hadn't already locked in airfare, I would have tacked on a day and tried this out. I'll be on the watch for other properties with similar programs. Thanks for the heads up.
Without trying to branch off (excellent post curious), these of course were from the old Club Marquis (which followed the original Honored Guests).
I think you had to stay 10 or a dozen times in order to be admitted and get these. Back in the day, the benefits were a 800#, check cashing (before atm - a real benefit), gift shop discount (meaning a 10% discount on items marked up 20%, I used to buy Hathaway shirts here as a young pup), a paper and express check in/out which was cutting edge. So even tho, I often whine about the beancounters putting the squeeze on bennies, we've come a long way!
When we go to a resort, I go to save money. I realize that some resorts might be more of a spa experience than the save money by cooking yourself for some meals, but those aren't the reasons we bought timeshares. We eat out some, stay and cook some. $65 X 3 people would buy some tremendous meals, IMHO. That seems like RC, which I've always considered outside my budget. No thanks.
I'm of like-mind with you EB. We have just had a week at the Manor Club at Ford Colony in Williamsburg. We tend to have a fairly light breakfast in the apartment, eat lunch wherever we end up at that time and find a different restaurant each evening. Only two of our dinner bills exceeded $65 a head. I use CLs when they are available but I wouldn't pay $65 or anything near that amount!
I remember the Club Marquis very well.When I stayed at the Marriott on Marco Island they greeted me with a box of chocolates on my pillow.Companies can become too successful and hence too large and unable to provide such things.Sometimes extra benefits are welcome such as a newspaper by your door or in the lobby,and sometimes they detract from the eliteness of earning the elite level.If everyone is special then noone is.I believe everyone should be treated as important but it makes sense that people who go the exttra mile for you should be singled out with special signs of appreciation.Perhaps a lower charge than $65 would be fitting for elite members.Recently I stayed at the Fairfield Inn at New Stanton.They had reserved parking spaces for gold and platinum members.A nice and welcoming gesture.
$65 a day sounds like a bargain compared to what I just encountered at the Kessler Canyon Resort (part of the Autograph Collection). They want $175 per person/per day and 20% gratuity. I'd be hard pressed even at Austin's best establishments, many with James Beard award winning chefs and/or contenders at the helm, to spend $350 for the two of us especially considering this is a sample of the resort's daily menu:
daily featured hot egg dish
whole wheat and sour dough toast, thomas english muffins, morning glory muffins, jellies, jams and peanut butter
assorted cereals, house made muesli & yogurts fresh fruit and berries
illy coffee, teas, juices, milk
MIXED GREEN SALAD
fresh garden greens with balsamic house dressing
bread crusted german pan fried pork cutlet, house made european dumplings, grilled lemon, peas and carrots
crisp iceberg lettuce, applewood bacon, blue cheese, tomatoes, caramelized walnuts and jalapeno ranch dressing
BONE-IN RIB EYE STEAK
oven-roasted yukon potatoes, braised greens, chef lenny’s steak sauce
buttery pound cake, fresh strawberries, vanilla whipped cream