I don't get to log in as much as I used to so if this topic has been raised before, I do apologize.
I'm currently sitting in the Marriott Marquis and Marina Concierge Lounge watching the beautiful sunset. While that should be enough to make the lounge experience well worth it, I remember my last visit here some three years ago. Back then, the quality of the food served in the lounge during the evening was not only more substantive, but healthier. I spoke to one of the attendants and was told that about three or four months ago a directive came down from corporate basically dictating that the hot food offered was to be changed to more of a "snack" sort of thing (my description of it). The desserts are now limited to cookies and brownies. (Three years ago they actually had on one day of the week a make your own ice cream sundae.)
So, my question is, fellow Insiders, have you also experienced this in your travels? Is this really an across the board situation or just here in San Diego?
I realize that the concierge lounge costs Marriott money, but heck, as Gold and Platinum's are the only ones here, we're the one's spending the most money during the year at Marriott.
I look forward to hearing of the experiences the rest of you have been having recently and hearing what your reactions to this is. I realize that Marriott doesn't have to do anything for us, but my expectations have been sorely shattered.
I was at this hotel in August. We came there to watch the cubs play I also read all the reviews and was a little concerned, so I called the hotel and they said the lounge has changed for the better. Granted the dinner food could have been better, but the breakfast offered everything from eggs, bacon, bagels, juice, coffee, donuts, etc... We ate at the exchange for lunch. I really enjoyed the hotel, especially the fireworks on the weekend . Hope you have a great time!!!
My experience is that it varies widely by hotel. Breakfast seems to be more uniform than the evening offering. As for deserts, yes, some are only cookies. I think it was Quincy MA Marriott in May that had a really nice desert selection. If I remember correctly, the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest offered a nice salad as well as several hot items in the evening. Then later, a chocolate desert.
It must vary widely. I had a great experience and an even better meal in the Concierge Lounge at the Portsmouth VA Renaissance. There was a great selection of heavy hors d'oeuvres, and the dessert was even assorted cheesecakes. Free flowing drinks (beer, wine, liquor) capped it off.
I've had very nice evening experiences in CL, but they have been prior to your 3-4 month corporate message you referred to having hear about from the attendant. I can attest to the Portland City Center Marriott still having their usual breakfast of eggs, sausage, cereals, fruit, pastry, and oatmeal which is fairly common at most places I've stayed.
One thing not be lulled into thinking is the Gold/Platinums are spending the most money as with the wonderful UA/Marriott partnership program now you will have some folks from UA in the CL who have never spent a night in a Marriott property having CL access, funny that program announcement seems to have come out close to your 3-4 month timeline........hmmmmm!!!
I do recall our stay at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York & being a bit disappointed with the dessert in the CL. It was just three types of cookies that looked like it had come out of a store bought package. I went back again the next evening to see if they offered something better but it was the cookies again. I felt that for such a nice, upscale hotel, that the CL would offer better desserts, such as cheesecake, mini eclairs, etc. The breakfast, however, was plentiful & many choices. The CL was super crowded but it was a holiday week.
I have heard that (in the US) Marriott allocates funds to properties for Concierge/Club/Executive Lounges based on the average room rate. I imagine some properties do more and some do less. My experiences have varied. Breakfast for the most part is decent/satisfying enough at most locations (the quality of the bacon varies a lot; eggs are soupier in some spots and might be powdered eggs at some properties). Desserts are pretty much the same everywhere (grocery store bakery-esque cookies, brownies and dessert bars). Nightly appetizers vary and a lot of it is really frozen food-esque. I have not had good luck with Concierge Lounges near airports.
Some bright spots:
--JW Marriott LA LIVE: true good cocktail party bites like smoked salmon with creme fraiche and dill and fancy mini desserts--individual carrot cakes
--JW Marriott Indianapolis: Their nightly appetizers are not that great, but they feature a great variety of seating (from a private dining room to lounge areas with their own TVs); they also offer decent desserts (chocolate mousse cake, chocolate layer cake); open 7 days a week
--JW Marriott Denver at Cherry Creek: Also open 7 days a week and complimentary alcohol
--JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead: Full and better-than-average entrees--salmon, chicken breast
--SF Marriott Union Square: good breakfast pastries like pain au chocolat and nice view of Union Square Plaza
--Milwaukee Marriott Downtown: brand new with a great Renaissance-esque lounge/study area and decent nightly appetizers with true cured meats
--Philadelphia Marriott Downtown: a lot of just okay stuff but great variety including 2 salads and good lavash instead of the standard crackers with cheese
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile is very accommodating to children and even feature family friendly-items like assorted pizzas. Minneapolis Marriott CityCenter offers alternatives to patrons looking for healthier options or if they have dietary restrictions (like egg white frittatas and hot vegetarian appetizers). Cincinnati Marriott RiverCenter, which is open 7 days a week, showcases cuisine popular in the local area (like Saratoga chips with BBQ sauce at night and maple sausage links at breakfast). Most Marriott brand Concierge Lounges offer Pepsi products, but the Renaissance Las Vegas offers Coca-Cola products (in nice aluminum bottles). The San Jose Marriott features more than the standard scrambled eggs and 1 breakfast meat hot options offered at most Concierge Lounges--this Marriott also showcases a potato dish, an egg scramble and a waffle bar.
The SD Marquis lounge food was terrible, basically cheese and crackers. Very disappointing. Offerings are diminishing in general at all hotels. What I liked was the fact that they actually had staff checking guest status at the door. If this was standard, I think preferred members would all get a better CL. It's a cost trade off.
I like when we toss up older threads, it gives us Insiders a perspective of how things are going. Let's take a look:
9/16/13 - nhtraveler writes about the decline of the Concierge Lounge, specifically the one he was writing from, the San Diego Marriott Marquis
9/16 - 9/19/13 - Insiders comment about how some lounges remain excellent and several others have slipped, tightening their belts in offerings
9/19/13 - merb makes her usual prompt and sincere comment about listening and passing info along
9/19/13 - gadfly erc makes his signature wisecrack about the efficacy of 'pass alongs' to The Greater Team
flash forward to today for the exciting conclusion
9/1/14 - tpress writes from the same San Diego Marriott Marquis lounge, the food is terrible, but the good news; Marriott is guarding the doors allowing less people to have it
The Greater Team listens, the system works . Happy back to school days, drive safely.
ps- and as an added bonus, we're seeing our ol' pal Hotel Reviews raise their ugly head once more on the Big Board - yeah baby
I recently stayed on points at a full service Marriott (Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, TN). My daughter had to stay with her team at an Embassy Suites. I just received gold status with Hilton, and I am platinum with Marriott and have been for several years. It was news to me that Marriott now closes C Lounges on the weekends, and offers a free "continental" breakfast instead. I quickly turned down the continental breakfast and was offered points as a substitution. I turned down the continental breakfast as "continental" breakfast could really mean anything. We've all been to many different levels of "continental" breakfasts through the years of travel. In short, it typically means no hot food, and not very appealing. I didn't think much else about it. However, the next day, my daughter came up to me and thanked me for the wonderful free breakfast she had at the Embassy Suites. I was shocked at how well she was treated as a gold member (on my status) compared to how I was treated as a platinum at Marriott. I did call on 3/17/14 the Marriott customer care line and explained how my daughter is now a walking advertisement for the other brand, and how I was treated in comparison. The customer care girl was extremely nice, and even talked to the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs about my stay. I learned I could have paid extra for a full breakfast for $3/person. I know my daughter didn't have to pay for her "wonderful" breakfast. I was told I would hear from a manager from that hotel, but no call yet. Questioning my loyalty to Marriott.......
zman I stayed at the Renaissance in downtown OKC New Years Eve and was given the certificates to use at the restaurant downstairs if the lounge was not open when we wanted to go. The certificates stated "Continental Breakfast". The lounge had already closed when we were ready for breakfast the next morning (New Years Day-who eats before 9????), so we went downstairs. Even though the certificates implied it was Continental, we were told that the full buffet was open to us. It was an awesome breakfast feast.
I think is does vary property by property but over last few years the amount has dropped from in essence a full meal to more small plates. The Marriott in Stamford use to have jumbo shrimp, salads and many other things and free wine and beer . they have cut back a lot. Those that have meals tend to be tacos and less expensive food. I can imagine with United and others it has been costing them a lot
If you've "been Platinum status for years" how on earth did you miss Marriott closing its exec lounges on weekends?
They did that a few years ago when the economy tanked, which is one reason I keep the sticky in the Marriott forum on Flyertalk on which properties are open/closed on the weekend & what they do if closed.
In June 2013 Marriott announced that cont'l brekkie would be available daily (matching some other chains), either in the lounge or restaurant, with the exception of a few properties where points only were offered. If one chose not to take the cont'l brekkie, one would get 750 points.
Some properties chose to open up the lounge for brekkie only, some chose to offer it in the restaurant, some who offered it in the restaurant offered cont'l with upgrade charge to full brekkie, some offered full brekkie in the restaurant. I've updated the sticky to reflect what properties do.
As mentioned by joosos your daughter getting brekkie at the Embassy Suites literally had nothing to do with your gold status. Anyone who stays at an Embassy Suites gets free breakfast regardless if they're a member of the HHonor program or not.
I travel a lot, all of over the country. The lounges certainly vary from place to place. My most recent stay was at the Northwest St. Louis Marriott, the lounge was about as cheapest and slipshod as possible. Snacks like Chex-Mex and the breakfast options (everyday) were oatmeal and eggs -- no meat. When asked they said if I wanted something other than Eggs (which I am allergic) or oatmeal than I needed to go to the restaurant -- no deals for elites there.
I have consistently had outstanding results at anything Renaissance or JW, however Marriott's are a craps shoot. It is frustrating to not know what level service there will be each week. However, It is better than a CourtYard which I don't understand at all why that brand completely ignores the most loyal -- I consistently have horrible service at Courtyards (with the exception of Salem-Winston) it is the one thing I can count-on, a complete lack of service and a who gives a **** about people who spend 80 plus nights a year at the Hotel chain.
I Can't say I've noticed any change in CL offerings here in the EU. Probably the major change over the last year is that almost all EU CLs are OPEN 7 days week.
The quality of the offerings vary, as do the hours and the number of services. The top is the the St Pancras Renaissance Which is spectacularly good, though only Plats get access, the (in London) bottom was West India Quay, mainly because of its lack of an afternoon offering and it's scanty evening offerings which didn't include beer/wine, (However now reformed, see below) although the lounge does have great views. Leeds (UK) is particularly strong, as are the Rive Gauche (Paris), Royal Aurora (Moscow), the Marriotts in Budapest, Copenhagen and Brussels. In the UK, where I mostly stay, I'd say the bottom ones are in Leicester and Manchester Airport, though all UK lounges do free beer and wine so even the bottom ones are by no means bad!
The lounge breakfasts are pretty consistent across all the exec lounges I've visited in the EU.
Certainly automatic exec lounge access is a perk of the MR scheme I really value!
EDIT: Things seem to have changed at the Exec lounge since I last stayed at West India Quay. Later posts confirm it's strengthened it's offering including afternoon tea and alcohol in the evenings Which is good news, as it's a nicely positioned lounge and the hotel restaurant is very good...
May I just query something about West India Quay, Brightlybob. It is one of my favourite hotels, and I was there in December. My experience of the Executive Lounge was entirely different to what you are saying. Every afternoon there were cakes and a few other things (albeit not a great variety) put out. And I thought the evening offering, which was the same as previous visits, to be acceptable. There was always a large plate of cold meats, a selection of various salad items, two hot dishes (one vegetarian), bread, cheese and biscuits, fruit, and then a selection of small desserts a little later. They also served wine and beer between 17:30 and 21:30. Has it changed since December do you know?
Really! What a shame. When did it change? I ask cos I have a reservation later this year, and the description of the lounge offerings are the same as they have always been on the website.
I take your point about franchises, but I don't think WIQ is a franchise, although I could be wrong.
Just to clarify about the lounge at West India Quay. I have checked with the hotel, as I have a reservation there later this year, and they assure me nothing has changed from when we have been there in the past. Just for the record, they state:-
"Monday to Friday we would like you to enjoy:
- Full buffet breakfast with Hot & Cold items from 06:15am until 10:30am
- Afternoon Treats from 02:30pm until 05:30pm
- Evening hot & cold appetizers from 05:30pm until 07:30pm and desserts from 07:30pm until 09:30pm
Weekends and Bank Holidays you can enjoy your complimentary breakfast in our Manhattan Grill from 7:00am until 11:00am on Saturdays and 7:00am until 11:30am on Sundays. The serving hours for evening appetizers, desserts and afternoon treats will remain the same
Every evening we do serve unlimited complimentary Beers & Wines.
I can assure you that the service provided is still five star quality and more and we look forward to welcoming you back to the hotel."
I thought that was a lovely reply to my EMail questioning if the EL had changed.
Yup, it is a lovely place. At least, we think so. I know you prefer County Hall, as we prefer West India Quay, but they are totally different, and we all have our personal preferences don't we. Just like you are looked after at CH, we are at WIQ. One of us Tommos used to work in London Docklands when it was just starting to be developed. In fact worked there when the Docklands bomb went off and destroyed the office block where Tommo2 should have been at the time, but fortunately, an appointment had been changed! So it is always interesting to us to see the constant changes at Docklands.
Have never been to "The Docklands", and always wanted to go!
How about we meet up at WIQ when I come back in September and I'll buy a nice meal and a few refreshments in The Docklands!
I'll bring "Lady Coin", and we can make it available to any MRI in the area. You can bring anyone you like. I just would like to see the WIQ and docklands! BTW, Professor has written very favorable comments about WIQ, as well!
This is three and a half month delayed response, but I loved the West India Quay when I was there a year and a half ago. The whole Canary Wharf area is fantastic and was beautiful in winter. The hotel staff was great and everything tommo said was true. Here are some photos I dug up of the hotel, the view and the CL. I stayed at the County Hall the first few times I spent serious time in London and it's great for sightseeing, but crowded, and transportation, while seeming so close, can be complicated. The WIQ had light rail running right practically adjacent. I also got tired of waiting till 3-4pm to get into rooms at the LCH when my flights would get in at 5-6am. At the WIQ I got into my room around 7am, as soon as I arrived. I would definitely stay here again.
The Marriott Marquis in NYC is horrible, but the nearby Brooklyn Bridge and Downtown are both fabulous. It's like a different world. The MM had horrible, cold, and scanty snacks, but the BB had a full Nathans mini hot dog bar with all the toppings and about 6 dessert options. At the MM you get the same three cookies. Every. Single. Night.
It varies by hotel. Some do a great job; some do the minimum. Int'l properties tend to do better than domestic properties. Sometimes hotels will really beef up the breakfast offerings & scale back on the evening offerings so that people don't decide to make their dinner the evening offerings & not spend it in the restaurant, bar or on room service.
The irony of course is that Marriott scaled back when the economy was poor (ie, that's when the CL's closed on weekends), but now occupancy & room rates are higher yet not all are re-opening on weekends. But at least the change in 06/13 means breakfast is 7 days/week.
To those that mentioned that the CL lounges were better then when the recession hit they took away items in a cost saving move you are probably right. I agree now that things are much improved and profits are great, they should return those items. However in my life experience, once its gone, its gone for good.
My last post dissing the Marriott West India Quay lounge provoked a howl of protest, though in my defence I said it was at the bottom of the London properties, not the UKs worst, which I awarded to Leicester and Manchester airport, both of which don't bother with an afternoon offering, severely restrict alcohol times and offer the most scanty of evening food...
I was recently reminded how good the worst are when I met with my sister who was in the Leicester area and staying at the Marriott coincidentally the same day as me. She was absolutely AMAZED that this wondrous facility existed that gave away free beer, spring rolls and cake in unlimited quantities for 2 hours every day! I have now planned a meetup in Leeds where she can sample the wonders of a top exec lounge experience! Nonetheless, on reflection, as long as they serve a bit of hot food, beer and something sweet for a couple of hours each day, that's not so bad!
Travels over the past year have led me to enjoy good exec lounge offerings at:
Paris Rive Gauche
Marriott London Grosvenor Square
JW Marriott Grosvenor House
Moscow Royal Aurora
And of course the outstandingly excellent St Pancras Renaissance (Plats only I'm afraid)
Right now I'm typing this at the Heathrow Marriott enjoying its small but uncrowded and nicely stocked lounge where sandwiches, Lamb 'n Mash, onion bhajis and spring rolls have been followed by walnut cake and strawberry flan all wrapped up in a 4 hour open beer and wine "happy hour". And on my, um, er, yes, something'ish Stella...
Happy Daysh... Hic
Sobering thought... I'm spending my first night at a US Marriott (the NY Marquis) at the beginning of November. From what I've read the lounge may be a VERY sobering experience!
Oh dear brightlybob. I was one of the howls of protest about WIQ executive lounge. I have to say I still love that hotel, and in fact I have 2 bookings coming up later this year. If I find the EL has gone downhill, I will certainly report back.
My experience with the lounges has been somewhat inconsistent. It ranges from pretty good to awesome, and often, lounges are much better or worse than on my previous visit to the same hotel.
The availability of the concierge lounger is one of the main reasons I try to stay at Marriott hotels, whenever possible.
The best lounge I have been to was the Amsterdam Marriott, back in February. They provided a complete dinner that was better than many restaurants serve. It is certainly the primary benefit of Elite status!
Some other excellent lounges that we have visited included, Paris Rive Gauche, Baltimore Harborplace Renaissance, Vienna Renaissance, Budapest, and Portland Maine.
My worst experience was New Orleans French Quarter Marriott, but that was almost 5 years ago and I cannot comment on how they may have changed over time.
I'm skeptical of the attendant's statement about direction from corporate to cut down on dinner offerings. My experience about Marriott, is that most negative changes at any hotel are attributed to corporate decisions, even when other hotels are not instituting similar changes.
I Think you are right it is not a corporate wide edict to serve less but hotel by hotel. Some it is more like a snack and others one could make a full meal . Also some still give complementary wine and beer and some now charge . Best is just roll with the punches as like many the concierge is the reason as a lifetime plat that i still go to full service hotels
Going back to the WIQ in London, I can only say (even though it was 2 yrs ago) that I got checked into the hotel around 7am, was offered a free breakfast then in the CL, and was treated wonderfully by the staff. Jerry regularly invites people into his pictures, and I say kudos. I'm pretty shy generally, but at the WIQ, I asked the CL people to pose for a photo with me with Christmas decorations in the background.
I've always had complimentary wine and beer in Marriotts in Europe -- never the US, and usually not the UK.
I also have always had complimentary wine and beer in Marriotts in Europe. My only experience in the UK is the Kennsington Marriott and they were offering free wine 3 years ago. Portland Maine offers 1 free glass of wine per person and then you are expected to pay for subsequent glasses..
That sounds like that was a lot of fun!
I am also extending an invitation to MRI again to stop by The County Hall Marriott, in London on October 1, 5 PM to 7 PM. No big plans other that having a chance to see "Old and New", MRI friends! Everyone, is welcome to bring someone.
Will have more later on details!
jerrycoin. Sorry, but won't be able to make it in October. Health appointments I am afraid. But - off topic - while you are in London, whatever you do DO NOT MISS the poppies installation at the Tower of London commemorating the dead of 1914-18 war, on this 100th anniversary year. It is truly spectacular and moving.
See the images here:-
And the story here
I travel a lot for work, I stay at many properties not just all over the USA but the world. The concierge Lounges in the US are just horrible especially where they sell access to the lounge. It has become a romper room of chucky cheese.
They have become so sad and so overcrowded that the one attendant cannot even keep food out. The last 4 in Southern Florida I have stayed at this year (2015) are all the same. Families of Mom, Dad and 3-4 kids constantly treating it as they were in their own home. Loud, running up and down bouncing balls, playing with toys, make home forts with tables and chairs that one cannot even navigate thru the lounge.
Families have come in here with bags fill the bags and leave. I have seen a mother make multiple trips fill two plates with food at time leave only to return and repeat the process.
This is no longer a earn privilege but a source of revenue. Which is sad.....
I actually look at booking my next stay at brand X, ha... When I logged onto my account with them they had wiped out all my points I had accumulated and showed my last stay was in 2008. I guess it has been a while since I gave barnd X to ear my business..... Not so much any more
I noticed this on my last stay at the JW Essex House. At one point I went in for breakfast and was told by a staff member (holding an ipad to take names) "Oh there's a wait, what's your name and we'll call you when we have room" as if I walked into a restaurant with no reservation. All that was in there was 25 families each with 999999999 children. It was loud and chaotic, so I just grabbed a water bottle and left.
Same with my last stay….breakfast area was so crowded we skipped the food & just opted for a coffee in the lobby area. From there we watched a couple of loaded vehicles park, enter and enthusiastically greet folks in the breakfast area. Briefly wondered if they were actual guests or just visiting family/friends that were staying there. Same went for the pool area. No reasonable way for hotel management to determine really, but as Jsucool76 says, it was loud & chaotic and extremely uninviting.
The lounge at the Essex House is on the lobby level, and I think that played a large role. It also appeared that when the hotel sold a "Stay for breakfast" rate, the breakfast they received was in the lounge,not the restaurant, as well as selling lounge access as an add on for like $100.
Thank you for sharing your experience with the community, westof30. These are the kinds of constructive conversations that help improve Marriott's programs in the future. I've passed your feedback on to the greater team.
I don't think the problem is with the CL lounges, it is with parents who don't teach children to be conscientious and respectful. I've noticed this trend in general with adults as well as families. More people today display inconsiderate and selfish behavior, and I think the travel industry has contributed to this by making the travel experience 'every person for themself'.
I have noticed a reluctance of hotel and resort employees to challenge families when posted rules are clearly being violated. This is not just a problem in the CL, but also at MVC timeshare resorts. We have limited our summer stays in our MVC Mountainside timeshare due to the children running wild without parent supervision, and the employees do nothing about it. I've observed several young children in the fitness facility playing on the machines with no adult in sight. Employees walk by and ignore them even though signs are clearly posted prohibiting anyone under 14 without an adult. Someone can really get hurt, and their parents are likely the first people to sue the resort.
Very interesting, superchief1. I'd love to pass this feedback on to the specific properties. Could you DM me with the specific properties that you've experienced this at? And additional information is always welcome, of course.
I've observed several young children in the fitness facility playing on the machines with no adult in sight.
I have seen and experienced the same with the health club at many during my stays. I have gone to the front desk and reported the issue. Sometimes the kids are still there and others they are not.
In either case I would not want to be the enforcing these rules, since I do not believe the parents will support Marriott
Over the past 15 months we've stayed about 20 nights in hotels with a CS. They have ranged from poor to outstanding. Three (Paris rive Gauche, Amsterdam, and Baltimore Harbor Renaissance) were exceptional and one (Charleston FS Marriott) was really bad. On the whole, I have not seen any improvement or deterioration in the CS at Marriott. I normally try to travel at slow times and I have never experienced an overcrowded CS.
Certainly the international lounges do both free alcohol and have less overcrowding, the latter being due to the fact that outside the U.S. Gold is a tough get, with our comparative lack of travel and total absence of night-earning credit cards, not to mention the compatibly low number of high ranking UA members.