The food in most lounges dinner as well as dessert has taken on the theme as cheap leftovers. It's not that I will not eat dinner in the Marriot Restaurants however it would be nice to have a nice snack or dessert that's not what I would consider less than the quality they would serve in the Marriot restaurants. Quite frankly if I ordered some of this stuff for an appetizer it would have been sent back.
Unfortunately this appears to be a trend from east to west. Cheese and fruit is about the only thing they still have that is reasonably good.
Unfortunately I believe you are correct with a few exceptions. The PHL Airport Marriott has had a long standing practice of having a wide variety of dinner foods to include salad fixins, that may be due in part to the excellent CL Associate Nathan H., and the restaurant Chef who are allowed to prepare actual edible offerings.
My last stay was in the Portland City Center Marriott last month and while we didn't make it for dinner due to the excellent dining selections in downtown Portland, the dessert was the selection of cookies so we passed and grabbed some wine and water for the room. Have an upcoming stay in Chicago and will check out the CL dinner to see if it is any different than what you've found.
Absolutely agree with IAHFLYR as I personally met with Nathan at PHL Marriott and those guys go above and beyond to make sure that you get treated like an "Elite". There was no shortage of food, drinks, milk, fruits etc. and Nathan would keep asking if there is anything needed and would make sure that you got it. Also, I noticed that at PHL Airport Marriott the staff would swing by in the evening (around 6'ish p.m.) and ask if anything was needed and moreover would give you extra chocolate mints (:-)... must add though that I had bad food experienced when I ordered room service so I gave example of concierge lounge and asked the folks to learn from Nathan
Other properties like the one in NJ and CO (EWR Liberty Marriott, Denver Marriott South) were pathetic in terms of their food/snacks at concierge lounge (first of all there is hardly anything there, secondly they start closing out/removing what little things they had about 40 minutes before the scheduled closing time). When I was staying there I had to grab some water (and some fruits after my gym) but was surprised to find nothing in the concierge lounge.
Nathan is certainly a huge asset to Marriott and I wish someone in his hotel would see that and give him a Spirit To Serve Award. I've submitted him a couple of times, yet have not heard he was even acknowledged for his outstanding personality, close eye on the CL, talking with the customers, providing everything you could ever ask for and those wonderful 1 CALORIE desserts he promotes. I sure hope laurac will put Nathan H., up again and maybe this time his management at PHL Airport Marriott will wake up and realize what they have with him at this property.
I can't count the number of stays I've had at PHL, and each time the place was incredible, all around the hotel.
Greetings, LAHFLYR, Thank you again for your enthusiastic nomination of Nathan at the Philadelphia Airport Marriott! We will forward your message along with a reminder of your specific previous nominations for Nathan, and try to obtain some feedback for you regarding the award. Please keep in mind that the nomination and award process can take up to several months.
I have had some luck at the local franchise level getting CL Associates and others, who go beyond our expectations, recognition/rewards. Actually it's my wife that takes the time to fill out comment cards that we assume the local GM reviews and acts accordingly. I'm glad others such as yourself are also trying to recognize excellence.y
Most of the CLs I frequent have good to excellent food (BF & Evening). Marriott Ann Arbor even had lamb chops in the Cl one evening. Jacksonville Marriott CL has an excellent menu they vary every night and on Tuesday evenings serve some kind of roast hand sliced by one of their restaurant chefs. The CLs in the Raleigh Durham area have excellent menus every evening. Ditto for the CLs in the Pittsburgh Marriotts. I guess I'm just lucky.
We were at the New York Marriott Marquis last year & the breakfast in the CL was plentiful & good variety, but it was also super crowded, but it was the holidays. Late snack offerings were just ok but I was very dissapointed with the desserts. I thought at this wonderful hotel with great location would offer a wonderful array of desserts but it was mostly cookies that look like they were packaged from the supermarket. I tried the following night thinking they might change up the desserts but it was the same thing: cookies. I would have liked to see mini cheesecakes, eclairs, bars, etc.
I agree with the Marriott Marquis assessment. Now, on the other hand The Mayflower (Renaissance, Washington DC), deeelicious.
Some terrific November/December rates for Mayflower, and on the expensive nights (like Wednesdays $400) the property is offering points saver - 22,500, can't beat that (add $50 and you get the Executive Suite).
yes I agree with you aaronplatinum4life. All of the international lounges I have frequented definitely treat the elites well and have great offerings from food to breakfast to liquor if that is your bag. Most of the ones in the US are sparsely filled (except for breakfast options... still fairly good on those if you can get in) and most don't even have an early evening presence at all.
The CL at the Berlin Marriott was SPOTLESS! Breakfast there was excellent, though at night they only offers cheese and drinks, no desserts. But even at that, they had a beer tap of sorts, wines, and soft drinks. The only thing I didn't care for was the fact that they wouldn't let you take anything out of the lounge.
Coming off of another great CL experience at the Mayflower (really, my relatives don't work there) and then one where the carrots and celery offering was like buying a bag at the grocery store, I'll tell you what I think a trend is - the wild west when it comes to standards. Are properties low on occupancy due to cutting costs or cutting costs due to low on occupancy? A vicious cycle spiraling downward can come about pretty easily once heading that way.
There's something to be said about 'cookie cutter' standardization when that standarization is performed at the highest level (say for example, Ritz). As the relatively sound business strategy of pushing decision making down to its lowest effective level becomes an excuse to 'release the kraken' on customer service, I am seeing a much wider range of quality than I have ever experienced in over forty years of staying at Marriotts (and is no longer at the effective level of decision making).
I've been retired now for almost ten years so I don't travel as extensively as I did for business purposes. Recreation travel finds me staying at more FIs than FS Marriott's simply because they aren't where I'm going. The CLs I do frequent are all over the map when it comes to quality and consistency as you suggest. I've known some of the CL associates for many years and they claim they have very little autonomy in deciding what is being served, especially in the evening. The restaurant Manager calls the shots (no real decisions at the lowest level where they should be). They also say that "Management" allows too many non elite patrons access to the CL which certainly results in a degradation of service. Don't know how much control Marriott has over these franchise operations, but consistency and quality (home away from home) have been the major reasons why I frequented Marriotts during my career. It is unfortunate that we may be losing that and I am too old to change my habits where hotels are concerned. I do enjoy your posts.
Had a great experience at the "Executive Lounge" on the 4th floor of the JW Marriott LA LIVE. There were 4 separate "events" on weekdays including "Breakfast", "Hors D-Ouerves", "Dessert" and "Late Night Snacks". Drinks were always well-stocked, with several choices including bottled juices.
Not a Marriott property, but if you find yourself stranded in Pittsburgh across the river, try the Sheraton Station Square over there. They are right next to this thing called the "incline", which is like a James Bond style ski-lift that goes up the hill and a killer view from the top, and also a boat out front that takes you directly to the Steelers game. But I digress.
Food. Concierge lounge. This is one of the better ones, albeit smaller, that I have been to. They have three distinct service times: breakfast, hors-doeuvres, and dessert hour. The breakfast won't fill you up like the full one downstairs but it is hot and fresh and well maintained with more options than you can think to put in such a small room... including a Starbucks espresso/cappuccino machine!!! The dessert hour offers fruits and sweets including warm cookies and cakes or pies depending on the day.
But the true treat, is the hors-doeuvres period in the evening. The attendant, Michelle, greets every single guest and some by name if you have been there before. You are offered three types of complimentary wine as well as free pop, milk, bottled water, energy drinks, coffee, and fruit juices. There is always the standard cheese tray and fruit trays and cracker tray. And the hors-doeuvres themselves rotate. My last visit there was a non-stop procession of hot freshly-prepared food coming upstairs from the kitchen. Admitedly, it looks like a lot of it was fresh from the freezer, but it was also not leftovers. Pigs in a blanket, spanikopita, coconut shrimp, and pot stickers were the main items on my last visit... basically cocktail party appetizers that they probably offer on their catering menu and keep in stock. Not cheap, but not difficult either.
As other guests have noted above, the idea is not to have a complete meal, but enough of a snack to fill you up and tide you over until it is dinner time. Compare this location to my last big-city Marriott concierge experience (lukewarm pea soup, old cheese with no crackers, tightly controlled drink area, rude attendant) and the differences are starkly clear.
Of course, not all are bad, but enough are not as good as they used to be to be noticeable. I wish The Cleveland Renaissance concierge levels (yes plural) had been open last weekend when I visited as I have heard it is just beautiful inside there. But, as they say... "you take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and there you have..."
In addition to the comments about the degradation of food in the CL, I've had to modify my eating and sleeping habits over the years. The CLs haven't. Don't understand why they insist on waiting until 7:30 or 8 to bring out the desserts instead of having everything available when we would like it.
These days, I can't eat within 4 hours of going to bed. And I need to go to bed earlier than I used to. Hard to believe that I'm the only one.....