I just completed a three night stay at the Marriott near the Minneapolis Airport. The stay was great, everyone is always so efficient and friendly but I noticed when I went into the Concierge Lounge I was asked my last name, this was in the evening and for breakfast in the morning. I didn't mind at all but I noticed some people seemed quite offended by this. I'm sure like anything else there will always be people who try to take advantage of a situation and either try to gain access to lounge when they really shouldn't or bring in more guests than they should. It seemed to put the host/hostess in the lounge in an awkward position, and I really don't think they should be the ones to police the lounge. If one's key is programmed for them to have access how would someone without key card access get in? I can see where one might try to bring in several friends when only one has access to the lounge and therefore should only bring in one friend. I'm not sure if this is something others have seen and I'd be interested in getting some feedback. Has anyone else seen this? I do feel bad for the host/hostess and from what I observed the last few days it is almost a full time job of monitoring. This morning one guy jokingly (??) called the hostess the "Door Nazi" and I really didn't think it was very funny.
I have not yet seen this.
Most CL's require keyed access, don't they?
Perhaps the abuse is so rampant at this property they have become compelled to utilize additional screening.
I would not be offended to provide my name or room number, though my preference would to not be asked.
I havn't had that happen to me yet but like pluto I wouldn't mind giving my name or room number as confirmation. I have seen some people follow others into concierge lounges at some properties and wondered if the later individuals entering the lounge were actually eligible elite members. Some properties that have a conceirge floor require a key card in the elevator to get to that level.
Like others, I have seen people lurking in the area and they suddenly are ready to enter when I use my key. The same applies to keying the elevator to go to the cl floor. We have been complaining that the CLs are over crowded and this would be a help. I have been asked my name in various locations. They usually have a list of elites and check us off. I like the idea.
I think the people waiting for the key card is even more important than the CL issue, though I never minded giving my name at the CL desk if asked. I DID mind if they asked me to say out loud my room number, since anyone within hearing distance could then use it for other purposes.
But depending on where you are, elevator access to higher levels can be somewhat dangerous. I've rarely had to use an elevator key card in an area or city I think is so safe it would be ridiculous to do so, but in other places, where it's been made clear to me I need to use the key card, it matters. In big cities, I actually prefer lack of access to higher floors beyond conference level without a key card.
This is where I believe the trend of property by property behavior actually succeeds in being the most effective manner of implementing corporate policy. Like you, there have been times where gatekeepers (no doubt due to previous problems, rather than a 'power grab' - it's an additional cost to the property) asked for identification. And like you, it didn't bother or offend me. However, every night, at every property, would become an additional aggravation (to me at least), so I'm pulling for the status quo of policing the room as the property deems necessary (somewhat similar to some Residence Inns managing their breakfast room).
I would like to view this from a different perspective:
First the situation as I see it:
The CL overcrowding and use by those that shouldn't has grown considerably
Policing can be insulting.
The efficiency of policing varies property to property.
In the majority of (domestic especially) CL's the offerings and service have deteriorated. (Due to costs of increased usuage.
NOW - let's assume that a uniform, effective system is implemented system wide to prevent miss use of the CL. Would it not be cost effective to allow covering the cost of the policing? More importantly to all legitimate users, the cost savings of miss use would allow a return of the quality offerings that we used to receive years ago.
I assume there will be opinions on both sides and I look forward to hearing all.
insidenji, Yes I have seen this. I stayed at the San Juan Marriott & Stelaris and they did ask for my room number/name when I went in for breakfast each morning. The CL there is awesome. Lots of indoor seating and even 8-10 tables of outdoor seating which is aweome since its on the penthouse level (21st floor). I did notice that since its a pretty high traffic door that you could certainly piggyback your way if you really wanted to cheat the system. There was a desk when you walked in but the attendant must have been busy....i was in the middle of filling my plate when they came up to me to ask. For a second I was put off but realized it was necessary so it didn't bother me at all. I would much rather be asked since they didn't see me come in, then have the place overrun with non elites and those who didn't pay for CL access in their room rate.
Do not forget that the CL is available to any guest that pays additionally for the CL floor or services.
What has evolved has been families realizing the extra cost is cheaper than taking the kids out for dinner. This has resulted in the crowds of families in tourist areas.
There would have to be a major policy change if this situation was alleviated.
Possibilities - separate lounge for elite members (unlikely) or an "adults only" section at the larger properties.
well, there is some truth in this...
I have known service engineers that paid the extra costs for the lounge access (if they don't already have gotten a gold level due to their constant travelling and long stays at specific locations), because their daily fee for eating/drinking is higher
...so they make some extra money by going into the CL for breakfast and dinner
(however, imho these guys deserve this, but that's another story).
I have seen this at a number of busy, tourist area locations. La Concha Marriott in Puerto Rico had a "guard" right inside the door with a clipboard. Many times even two. I stayed there for an entire year and they still had to check me off the list every single day. I had the same experience at the Mariott Marquis in New York (during New Years week), but not other times that I have stayed at this location.
Personally, I am OK with them checking as long as they check everyone coming in and don't pick out specific people like I have seen happen.
The Marriott Marquis on Time Square is the "poster boy" of what is wrong with the CL system - certain times of the day there are more "bodies" (including more youngsters) in the CL than Grand Central Station (okay an exaggeration).
In my opinion (which means no one takes seriously) the only solution would be dedicate a whole floor for the lounge to include an over 18 year old area.
In anycase, that situation has had it's benefits. As I refuse to stay there anylonger I found two wonderful alternatives on Manhattan. One is the Marriott East Side (49th and Lex) and on the very next block an Autograph collection hotel The Lexington. Both much smaller (and very European style) without the "Disneyland" atmosphere.
In my experience, this is more common outside the US, where the concierge lounges are more generous, but I've also seen it in the US (but, again, infrequently).
Even where keycard entry is required, I've seen both:
Personally, I'm not offended by it, and I think it makes sense... In hotels like the Singapore Marriott, where - in addition to a terrific concierge breakfast - the evening "snacks" are, in fact, a splendid buffet - hot and cold food, salads, desserts, and generous wine service - it seems completely appropriate.
I think a couple of times just this year alone, I've been paused outside the lounge door, juggling stuff in my hands and fidgeting for my key that was not strategically placed, when a family or couple rounded the corner or poured out of an elevator and beat me to opening the door, and I've just piggy backed in on them, and honestly, because of the comments that I've read on here about people lurking or hanging around the door, I actually thought to myself, 'Gosh, I hope these folks don't think I'm a cheater.'
The size of last CL lounge that I visited was not appropriate for the hotel size, in my opinion. There were two executive floors of good size (and sometimes if the exec floors are full - which may speak to a whole different problem - elites might have to be placed on alternative floors), but the lounge was not of appropriate size to accommodate the two floors (maybe 12-14 tables, mostly 2 person tables). I went in early (7am) on a weekend to avoid the crowd and enjoy some quiet time, and it was already full, and remained that way. I could've grabbed something and gone back to the room, but I didn't want to disturb my husband. Anyway, it occurs to me that if all the rooms were occupied on both floors, 3 hours would actually not be enough time to feed the everyone assigned on these floors, considering the size of the lounge and number of tables. The associates were working very hard to keep up.
Also, if a lounge is not offering anything barely any better that what we've all likely seen at some RI/FFI/SHS's (like last weekend's RI - no thanks, I'll do without, and as a result I am now thinking no more RI's), why put up with the hassle?
I know I'm muddying the waters here; there are multiple potential issues surrounding CL's. My message is that perhaps it's not just a cheating problem, maybe some of the lounges are just too small for the hotel (designed for weekday use by business travelers, but now are open on weekends, thus utilized by leisure travelers, often families.)
Muddied water or not, I agree with you and misterchk and many others; often the CL is not large enough for the large numbers of legitimate invitees (between Marriott broadening the eligibility and properties wheeling and dealing with the perk as a deal closer for groups). My concern is if Marriott tries to mandate checking, all we'll have is a situation at the CL like at the front desk during busy times (logjam) and will not resolve the issue of space vs. membership, but add an additional aggravation factor.
Here's an idea that will certainly be ignored:
Take the COURTYARD properties in the direction that they were probably intended: Cater to the business traveler!
1. Every elite member gets a 10% discount from best price available.
2. Arrange 90% of lobby into one CL type lounge serving both the morning and evening offerings that CL's at full service properties do.
The 10% discount would, in effect, be offering the food/drink services to elite members as a perk similar as to CL access at full service properties.
DIGEST THAT MARRIOTT EXECS!!!!
I have been asked on occasion for my room number but not my name. There are CL's where the 'gatekeeper' has a computer screen that displays the room key that just opened the door. I have been asked to verify my room number (probably to make sure I haven't 'borrowed' a key from someone or someone hasn't shared a key with me).
I have no problem with a check when I think about all the disasters and cheaters I have seen in various CL's.
Marriott Anaheim and Marriott Marquis in San Fran are just two that quickly come to mind that were horrific at the time I was there but hopefully they're better now.
I have been asked to sign in; I have been asked to state my room number; I have been asked for nothing at all. I do not mind being asked. A property does what it needs to do in order to ensure profit. My suggestion would be for them to issue a unique key card (visually) to identify guests with authorization to be in the lounge. No card; no service.
I posted about this a few months ago on FlyerTalk. During my most recent stay at the Magnificent Mile Marriott (Chicago) an employee was stationed outside the CL door with a list of who was eligible to enter. You had to stop at her table prior to entering the CL. Unlike previous visits, the CL was not overcrowded. Obviously, the hotel had enough of a problem to justify paying an employee to do this. I can't see why anyone would object to this. She asked for names, just like they do at the front desk, and she checked names off when people entered.
As I wrote above, I agree with the Magnificent Mile approach, property by property. I don't believe we can expect a broad solution to overcrowding because I don't believe Marriott will reduce the eligibility for CLs, it's apparently a worthwhile sales tool (allowing United golds, or closing a deal with a wedding etc), and I certainly don't see in the near future Marriott expanding CL space. I believe in the most cases overcrowding is a result of large eligibility (even if it's only temporarily for the 'buy ups' or deal closers) rather than the cheaters. In the case of the hotels with problems of cheaters, that's when the property (most likely because they know it's the cheaters and not the temps that they sold) makes the effort to solve the situation.
I'm just so concerned that by attempting to solve the issue with a broad based mandate that a new problem will occur, potential logjams at the door with folks arguing over eligibility (ever been behind someone insisting on an upgrade?), that I'm pulling for the property by property approach (which I can adjust accordingly if necessary). The good news, I've got inertia in my corner .
Dear Sir (LOL),
I'm in agreement with you totally - but playing "devil's advocate" (and who is more entitled to do that as I have been accused as being, at time his representative as well) - If the current crowding continues (as well as growing) it will be incumbent on Marriott to do SOMETHING! If they don't they will lose their most important customers - the business traveler!
If I was Marriott ( and the only similarity is that my last name begins with MAR)and I'm not - I would follow what I listed in an earlier note (see below).
It would at least represent to elite members that an "attempt" is being made to alleviate the problem.
Personally, I am still very active in business travel - I am fortunate enough to afford the best Marriott has to offer.....that said I was in an area where a suitable Marriott brand was unavailable and I stayed at a Hyatt - I was very impressed!! (And I'm a lifetime Plat).
Ok, you devil, you, I'll play along. I certainly see and understand your frustration, but this forum is filled with stories of heavy volume business travelers departing Marriott over one legitimate irritation or another, as Marriott continues to march on to higher Revpar and record earnings and stock prices.
Given the current trending momentum, Marriott would probably view losing a Platinum client (replaced by a Silver or lower) as a solution to their CL overcrowding.
Referencing most of these posts:
The obvious first move should be stricter control of who enters the CL. The only group that objects are those that are not entitled to be using the lounges.
If the results of the stricter policing solves the problems at a particular location great! Those that do not experience an improved lounge environment goes to "plan b".
NOW, THE 64,000 DOLLAR QUESTION - How far will Marriott go to devise and implement a "plan b:?
I stayed at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in March of this year, and there was an attendant at a podium outside the CL monitoring things. He didn't ask for my last name or room number, though. I did have to access the CL by key, and they gave me a special CL key that was different than my room key. I imagine the CL attendant was there to ensure that the correct number of people entered the CL (i.e. elite members didn't bring a bunch of extra people). Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina did not have a person at the CL entrance but did have a prominent sign stating that each member could only bring one guest and that extra guests would be charged $16 per person (or something like that). The CL attendant at the Marriott St. Petersburg (Florida) did ask me my last name when I entered, but she was very nice and unobtrusive about it. She made it seem like she was asking just to make conversation rather than acting as a gatekeeper. Personally, I don't mind this a bit. Marriott has every right to monitor access to the CLs, and I find that people are better behaved and more compliant if there are CL staff at the door or at least inside.
I was at a property where the young man who worked the lounge left the door open the whole time I was in there. I guess anyone could have walked in. In your situation she was only doing her job and us travelers that have earned the right to use the lounge should not have to worry about people who don't.
I would rather they ask then not. There does seem to be a number of 'scammers' who piggyback into the lounges. Some properties have a sign in or ask for a room key or name, either way having some security aspect is much appreciated. If it is to be an appreciation aspect for loyal customers, then it needs to be treated as such.
I don't have a problem with them asking name to check it off a list. I'm there legitimately, as are other elites or those who have paid for exec floor.
We've all seen piggybackers who wait for someone else to enter & come into the lounge. One hotel I stayed at the piggybacker was a thief who stole my purse from the table in the exec lounge. We were able to get it back (primarily because he turned the wrong way exiting the lounge), but the thief got away.
I've also stayed at hotels in convention cities that are full, and some decide to bring all their co-workers with them. I'm ok with the +1 or immediate family (parents/kids), but not so big on folk bringing all their friends or colleagues. I've watched folk get calls on their cell phones & go open the lounge door to let their colleagues in. Again, a single colleague I get but when it's multiple people it's ridiculous.
So if asking for a name or room number helps with that I'm all for it.
I have no problem with checking guests into the Concierge Lounge as long as it is done fairly and consistently. I am a leisure traveler and make an effort to stay loyal to Marriott, though at times it may be inconvenient. If the lounge is open to anyone who decides to drop by, there is little reason for me to maintain my loyalty.
I've had this done at a number of properties. Each one was quite busy so I assume they were making sure they were getting qualified folks and numbers into the lounges. They seem to be picked clean 30-40mins after the food starts and don't replenish the food often enough afterwards...which I guess drives the crowds away.
I can think of this happening at a lot of international properties as well as domestic places. I've even had them cracking down big time on the me + 1 getting into the lounges, most recently at the JW Grosvenor House in London. In the end they were ok when I had 2 guests and realized we weren't in there drinking bottle upon bottle of wine and loading plates to the brim with food. There were others that did, in fact one guy was kicked out of the lounge for being a drunken butthead...first time I'd seen that one
I am sometimes asked my name or room number when I enter the CL. I'm not offended and others don't seem to be either. Some CLs are unlocked during breakfast and that my explain this procedure at those hotels. At the Savannah, Marriott, an employee acted as a host and asked our name or room number the first evening and remembered us for the remainder of our stay. She was very friendly and acted as an extra server in the CL when it got busy. She opened the door for everyone and that was helpful when we brought things back to our room.
I have stayed at that same Marriott and had the same experience. A group of kids were wondering the halls and one of the kids poked his head in the door to see what was going on. Once he saw the food, he called his buddies over and in they came. Each piled their plates with more food than anyone could eat. They stuffed cokes and other beverages into their pockets, left a huge mess, and left
I had been to the executive lounge at a non-Marriott property a few years ago. Just getting ready to leave the lounge to go to my room, grab my laptop and go to the client and a bunch of kids slid in behind someone else who had opened the door. They descended upon the buffet like locusts and took all sorts of stuff.
When I made it down to the lobby the kids were down there, with their parents, loading up a picnic cooler. From the conversation I overheard the parents had sent the kids up there to pillage the executive lounge for their outings.
This was a touristy area (Orlando) and the hotel was a bit on the expensive side for a family with kids. I do not know if they were guests. It would not of surprised me if they were not.
That the parents were low enough to send their kids in to steal was disgusting.
I am all in favor of being verified by being asked, a special room card or restricted floors. Plenty of times I have gone up to the CL and found that it was cleaned out.
Searching previous blogs on this subject you will discover this topic discussed.
Simple solution is control of who is allowed entrance to lounges as well as curtailing the opportunity to utilize the CL by those under a certain agel
The best example of a "circus" masquerading as a CL is the Marriott Marquis Time Square. The management of this CL (granted it is more a tourist property rather than designed for business travelers), is an embarrassment to Marriott (based on hundreds of uncontrolled kids and crowing).
Setting up conrolls are simply - Marriott simply is in serious denaial that they are facing possible defections of good customers due to their lack of responsibility
Until they control the families that use the CL to feed their children this problem will not only exist but worsen.
Recently staying at a Renaissance (Indianapolis) I commented to a staff member on the management of their CL. Not only was the food served one or two levels above the norm, but there was waiter service if you would like a drink (compared to "honor bars" that seems to be the norm).
To my surprise he told me that it is a (full service) property franchise and the owners of the property owned two more (both full service Marriotts). They supply their own management team but subcribe to all Marriott policies.
What was significant about the discussion was his willingness to let me know that they feel that, on the whole, Marriott is very "lax" on what is served as well as who can use the CL's. His company felt that it was important to their core business (business travelers) and strengthened their controls and quality of the CL's under their control.