This monthly magazine, to which I subscribe, annually surveys employees of Washington DC-area companies to compile a list of the 50 best places to work. This time, for the first time in my memory at least, Marriott International was not on the list. It is however mentioned in the article as being on the Forbes list for that honor.
Like all popularity contests, this is a snapshot and not a truly scientific survey.
But in Canada Marriott made the list
They had a couple of write ups (and perhaps even mentioned in the article somewhere, I forget where all I read it) about how Marriott didn't want to pester their employees constantly filling out surveys for best place to work - which makes sense. They won (as you say, often a popularity contest of who can send in most votes) several of the big boys, Fortune, being one of them, and if an employee is in their stock purchase plan (and still employed) they're probably thinking it's a pretty fine place (I.T. alumni might think differently - but perhaps that's the key, if you're still there - it's A-ok )
I just saw on CNBC Robert Hohman, former CEO of Hotwire and co-founder of Glassdoor Companies & Reviews | Glassdoor which is somewhat like a TripAdvisor for workplace environments. Marriott comes out pretty strong Marriott Reviews | Glassdoor
It's an interesting site, and folks might want to look up their company.