I just tried to book two stays at the Athens Ledra for next year, in May and October and both times received the following message:
"The hotels in this location are unavailable for your dates and/or special rates. Try changing your travel dates and/or special rate request. For stays of more than 220 days, please call in the US 1-888-236-2427 or phone number for a reservation agent near you."
I did not try to book a special rate or want to stay more than 220 days. Then just to try and figure out what is going on I plugged in some other dates and got the same. What is going on? This is my favorite (and in my view) the best Marriott in the world as has been very obvious from my posts over the years.
Thanks, artisttraveler -- I just found the link.
To say I am upset is a huge understatement. I wish all of the people who have had wonderful stays there would let Marriott know how they feel.
Fortunately I have saved cards from various associates at the Athens Ledra from the many years I have stayed there (I think 8-9 times). I wrote to several today and hope to hear back. If I do (assuming they are still there which perhaps might be a big assumption), I will pass on their remarks.
But for me this was the straw that broke the camel's back. When you punish hotels that do everything right and reward hotels that do nothing right, something is wrong with the picture. It's why I no longer stay at Marriotts. Most have changed dramatically for the worse in the past few years, whether it be lost breakfasts, additional fees for 'free' stays internationally (which never happened in Athens, but is now regular in Paris), etc.
I love the Insiders group, so I'm not leaving that. But without the Ledra (which if I hear back that the staff is still there I will continue to book), there is nothing Marriott can offer me that others can't do better.
Το Athens Ledra Marriott, που διαχειρίζονταν η MARRIOTT International έως τις 31/12/2013, θα ονομάζεται από 1/1/2014, ATHENS LEDRA HOTEL.
Όπως αναφέρει η σχετική ανακοίνωση, η ιδιοκτήτρια εταιρεία ΑΣΤΥ Α.Ε. θα διαχειρίζεται η ίδια και θα λειτουργεί το 314 δωματίων ξενοδοχείο της λεωφόρου Συγγρού. Η νέα διεύθυνση ανέλαβε να τιμήσει όλες τις υπάρχουσες ατομικές και ομαδικές κρατήσεις από το 2014 και πέρα ενώ δεσμεύεται, να συνεχίσει να προσφέρει το υψηλό επίπεδο υπηρεσιών στους πελάτες της διατηρώντας σύγχρονες εγκαταστάσεις.
Υπό τη νέα διεύθυνση, το ξενοδοχείο θα απευθύνεται τόσο σε ταξιδιώτες αναψυχής, όσο και σε άτομα που ταξιδεύουν για επαγγελματικούς λόγους, προσφέροντας παροχές όπως ευρύχωρα δωμάτια, άρτια εξοπλισμένες συνεδριακές εγκαταστάσεις, πισίνα (στην οροφή του ξενοδοχείου) με πανοραμική θέα του Παρθενώνα, γυμναστήριο και σάουνα.
Επιπλέον το ξενοδοχείο θα συνεχίσει να προσφέρει γαστρονομικές συνθέσεις με μεγάλη ποικιλία γευστικών επιλογών, που περιλαμβάνουν το γνωστό πολυνησιακό εστιατόριο, το εστιατόριο ΖΕΦΥΡΟΣ που προσφέρει το πλούσιο πρωινό μπουφέ, ενώ οι a la carte επιλογές για γεύμα και δείπνο περιλαμβάνουν ελληνικά και διεθνή εδέσματα.
I certainly defer to Marriott for the official answer, but yes, that is what it meant in previous cases (like Eden Roc) - the new operators would honor your reservation and rate, but it does not involve any relationship to Marriott.
Marriott, as most companies, constantly cull their assets and release not only bad performers (they just released Oakbrook Terrace Marriott and Oklahoma City), but also performers where the same amount of effort could generate higher returns elsewhere. Just speculating (if nothing else, my speculation may lead to additional info from Marriott to set the record straight), but no doubt dealing in Greece, at least short term, did not represent the growth opportunity that utilization of resources elsewhere (Africa, Asia) could. Relationships like you built with Athens Ledra will probably be moved more and more into their Ian Schrager Edition type concept, Ritz, or other Marriott brands where they can price it accordingly (meaning, dearly). It's the age of quants (quantitative analysis practitioners) and only the highest ROI's survive.
I believe bpelican wrote earlier this week, that he has made a practice of developing the relationships with the individual management teams and associates (similar to you and Athens). That's probably our best strategy in the near future (especially with Hilton going public) as more and more hotel chains chase the strongest returns. Sorry to hear about the setback, I always enjoyed your write ups on what certainly seemed like a lovely property.
I wonder too if this marks another trend in the development of Marriott's overall business strategy in addition to the two you mention - "culling" and opportunity value asset analysis. Increasingly, it seems that it (Marriott) is working not only to increase the overall profitability of its operations, but also to look to shift its main source. To this end, it is looking less to its own, on-site operational management and relatively more to sweating the asset value of its brand name through a simple, direct charge (12-14%) on rooms let, coupled with a strong, protective QA function.
If this is the case, and with individual establishment managements having greater operational autonomy, it would seem to add further strength to your argument in favour of building closer links with individual teams as opposed to depending on the universal attractiveness once (almost) guaranteed by Marriott's famed standards.
It does seem that way. Blackstone the majority shareholder of Hilton that they just took public, made it clear that they would be aggressively divesting the real estate portion of their portfolio and moving more toward the lucrative management fee model. The market remains underdeveloped from the 2008 recession and everyone is hustling to catch up with supply because it's currently shooting fish in a barrel, therefore all assets are ranked according to highest return, not just positive return. Marriott seems satisfied with its Vacation Club arrangement and does seem to be moving as you suggest, toward more and more being the overall provider of profitable 'systems' and allowing the individual chain operators of their brands to decide at the customer level - so yes, it's vital that we interact with the management teams paying Marriott the royalties.
Wow... NO MARRIOTT PROPERTIES IN GREECE? None!
I missed this at the time... Was looking into an extended family trip there for next summer - would have been five (yup, 5) rooms... I guess Marriott won't be getting any of that business.... Alas...
We felt the same way when Renaissance lost the (exquisite) Chancery Court in London, but, of course, there are plenty of other superb options in London....
I think it's a disgrace that Marriott has no properties in Greece, especially since most of the franchise competition does. I go to Greece (Athens and the islands) 3-4 times a year. I used to always stay at the Ledra, and apparently its ratings have gone UP since it left the Marriott portfolio.
If you want an excellent option that is right in the midst of things, but quiet, with a great restaurant with immediate view of the Acropolis in Plaka, go for the Electra Palace, where I stayed 3 weeks ago. It was fantastic. When it comes to the islands, I can provide numerous suggestions. Frankly, having stayed at these other properties, I am glad I broke away from the Marriott brand. While the Ledra is a first class hotel, it was actually far more expensive to guarantee an Executive Lounge (they've kept it) room than to stay in Plaka.
And I must honestly say (it pains me, really), that I loved Athens for the first time. I walked to everything, I was right near all kinds of great restaurants and museums, etc. Plus there is a wonderful pedestrian shopping area right near the Electra Palace. I won't post photos of the hotel for fear that like with anyone recent case they might be deleted, but you can look up my review on tripadvisor. The EP get tons of reviews and it's now listed as their #12 hotel in Athens. I am amazed at some negative reviews since for me it was spectacular, and most people seem to agree. I am ProfT on tripadvisor.
Let me know when you're going! I can provide lots of ideas since I've now been to Greece 11 times in the past 5 years.
profchiara, thanks, and I may take you up on this... I haven't been to Greece for, yikes, 30+ years... We're contemplating a three-generation trip, which, no doubt, could get complicated... Still in shock that there's no Marriott in the country.... wow....