With the Marriott Properties in San Juan closing their lounges to Elites there is hardly anywhere in Florida or the Caribbean where elites get much recognition for loyalty. I often travel to these destinations for business and surprised by the lack appreciation or benefits provided especially compared to other chains. No Lounges, No Free Internet because everyone pays for it in the "resort fees", no free breakfast on Weekends, No upgrades, etc.
Over the past year I have pushed numerous stays to other chains as a result. I don't get why Marriott is so "cheap" compared to the other chains. It will cost Marriott about 50 of my stays this year as a result of not offering anything special for my loyalty compared to their competition. It works both ways.
I probably won't qualify for Platinum this year as a result, but what does it matter if you don't get anything for it?
I would be really interested to hear Marriotts reply on this one. As far as I'm aware of all the major loyalty programs, (HHonors, SPG, Hyatt and IHG) only Marriott specifically excludes elite benefits at properties designated as resorts.
With the other programs, if you've got the status and are entitled to the benefits, they're good at all properties within the limit of the properties ability to comply, so lounge access is never going to be granted at a property without a lounge, no matter what chain!
Whenever I'm booking a hotel, whether for business or leisure I always look at Marriott first, every hotel booking, every time. And it works well for us both. I get lounge access/free breakfast, free internet and (usually) an upgraded room. As a result of my 80ish nights I stay at hotels each year Marriott gets about 60 of them.
However I took the family to DisneyWorld in Florida a few years ago for a fortnight and as usual my first search was Marriott.com. All the Marriott's I might have stayed at were "resorts" where I'd pay for internet access via the resort fee, pay for breakfast and pay for lounge access. So the benefits were, the arrival gift (just the one, for the fortnight) and the points which I value as worth a 15% rebate. I weighed it all up and decided we'd stay onsite Disney, the price differential wasn't that great, even after taking into account the points, and like all the other chains (where I don't have status) Marriott offered nothing else extra to persuade me to stay offsite.
And, wow... We had a blast.
This year we're taking our (now) teens for the second (and I suspect last) visit, this time for 3 weeks. I didn't even look at Marriott, went straight for Disney onsite. It must gave been the first time I looked for a hotel without checking Marriott in 7/8 years!
That first fortnight and this 3 weeks could well have gone to Marriott, but the restricted resort benefits rule meant the 2 rooms for a total of 35 nights, a final total of 70 room nights, an entire years stay, went elsewhere. I'm assuming it doesn't matter to Marriott and that's why they do it, or rather don't!
They have held that breakfast etc are benefits provided to business travelers. therefore they haven't carried them over to resorts. Honestly, i would like them more at resorts than any place. My employer pays for them on business travel. It wasn't too long ago that WIFI was $9.95/day.
tker, Marriott is terribly mistaken to hold those benefits for business travelers only. Most of those, like brightlybob, have families and will want to take their family on vacation with point or even paid... don't they think those businessmen will react negatively to arrive and find out that all of their benefits have vanished? I agree with you that in terms of businessmen, perhaps the benefits being granted at resorts and not elsewhere are more important as they're there on their own dime.
On Oahu, as you know, there's the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, and there's the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa. To me, the only one that can truly be called a resort is the JW. The Waikiki location has just a small pool... no athletic courts, beach is across the street, spa I hear is crummy. Granted, I've always gotten upgrades there... And the last time I stayed little over a year ago, they granted 2 free breakfast coupons if I paid the $25/night resort fee. Maybe that's worth it for a couple if you're staying 1 night, but not really in any other case.
On the flip side, the JW gives you zilch. Well... I take that back. When I got married there last year, I booked 4 rooms. 3 were upgraded to ocean view, and I was supposed to get a "deluxe ocean view" (read: higher floor) room for myself & wife, and that was it. I had to FIGHT with them to get upgraded to a suite...
I agree the Marriott Waikiki is overblown. It's nice, but it's the LOCATION that gives them cause to call it a "resort". The pool sucks because it's so inadequate & tiny. It definitely should be redone. Breakfast is overpriced, as it is at most FS properties. That's why I stay at the Courtyard Waikiki!
Beware GoldenBoy. In the past when I've price checked both properties, the Marriott can be cheaper than the CY. I like the CY too, but the noise there gets to me. As does the inconvenience of the two towers. I laugh at the fact that they have "beach" in their name, as the beach is a good 10 minute walk away from the property. What it does have going for it is it's central location, and the generally friendly staff.
But, I do prefer the Marriott if it makes sense to stay there. The rooms can be nicer (depends) and the dining options are way better. Sansei Seafood & Sushi is one of my favorite restaurants on the island. Arancino di Mare is also a solid option. There's other great options nearby, and the location it's in is quieter.
Although I had some excellent experience in the early days of Marriott Rewards, recently I have found them to be the worst value for use of points. Many truly don't deserve to be classified as a resort, they have no platinum amenities, require more points, and frequently have exchorbitant 'resort fees' or other charges. I never understood the concept of the resorts who charge the highest prices charging extra for use of the swimming pool, health club, or other hotel facillities. I am fortunate that my Royal Palms timeshare has access to the World Center facilities(and no parking or resort fees), and Canyon Villas has access to the JW facilities at Desert Ridge. Additionally, I have two bedrooms and a full kitchen so my family doesn't go bankrupt eating out.
I stayed at the San Juan Marriott & Stellaris with my wife in April. I was upgraded to a corner room which was awesome and was given CL access with no problem. It was really nice too. The birds were annoying but other than that it was great. I have to agree though that not providing CL access at resorts is dumb. If I am a Gold or Plat, I obviously earned it somehow and when I travel with family I want to enjoy CL access with them just as much as if traveling for business or any other reason. I would really like some clarification on this issue.