Concierge: "a French caretaker of apartments or a hotel; lives on the premises and oversees people entering and leaving and handles mail and acts as janitor."
I have been at various times a Marriott Marquis, Honored Guest and Marriott Rewards member since the program began over two decades ago.
As someone who watched (but could not enter) the development of the locked Concierge Lounges in their infancy, then finally made it with enough points and status, I was amazed at the quietness of the place, but underwhelmed with the food selection: cold cereal was the norm at first in the am and party trays of cold cuts in the evening.
An honor bar that undercut alcohol prices in the hotel's bars was the main draw. Each lounge was staffed with three persons am and three pm.
One Concierge was permanently at the desk eyeing those entering and leaving, ensuring that the honor bar was honorably observed by patrons, and keeping order. None were janitors as the definiton suggests. The Concierges frequently were former flight attendants or at times chefs, each began to know the names and likes of frequent guests: photos of family members exhanged as we caught up on the elapsed time between visits.
At one Lounge a large black lab was living in the hotel (Barney was his name) but could come to the edge of the place for petting and for treats. He was as much a Life Platinum as was his owner, who lived in the hotel over 200 nights a year).
Once a month some of the Lounges hosted a "manager's reception" that included hot food, a free bar, and a chance to mingle with the senior Marriott associates. Nicely done. At it's zenith of service I was able to have the chef buy Soft Shell Crabs (on the west coast from the east coast) as a special treat for my wife at one of these receptions.
Consider the current Conciege Lounge state of play:
So, is the Concierge Lounge Concept an idea who time has come and gone? I might say yes, but want to hear from those who see it as a must-have. Reasons for no and yes on this suggestion would also be appreciated.
"Lounges are now packed"
Hooray for Concierge Lounges! Given the global downturn, a very sobering 1st Qtr financially and shifts in customer preferences towards socially active lounges*, a 'packed' lounge is a harbinger of better times that Marriott deserves kudos for. A "packed" lounge says Marriott is doing something right.
Well said and thanks. Most people have no frame of reference on the used to be of all this. I also stay most frequently at a select few full-service Marriotts and know the staff well. They tell me that things are changing, and not for the better.
I hope that the things we took for granted come back but wonder how long Marriott will continue the Lounges in a tough climate for business? Hope I am wrong?
"but they are not"
If they're not Gold and Platinum members or guests of, then the Front Desk, the Concierge along with members of the Executive Office of the property are not doing their jobs. My recent experiences of Concierge Lounges is like NUHusker's. Over the past month, the 3 lounges I visited had more people than months prior. The increased number is seasonal reflecting the fact that the hotels were lucky enough to capture business and cater the wedding receptions of 2, 3 and more parties along with offsite corporate budget planning meetings. At the Marriott Melville Long Island, one wedding party had 60 rooms and the remainder of their party were accomodated at the nearby Hilton.
As summer moves into high gear for the July 4th holiday, I expect Concierge Lounges to be active and filled with business travelers and families on leisure. I am quite confident that Marriott properties welcome the uptick.
SS wrote: ...but wonder how long Marriott will continue the Lounges in a tough climate for business? Hope I am wrong?
And I hope (is that a strategy I've heard before) you're wrong also. I think it's imperative that we compliment or criticize when appropriate. Like y'all, I've found that Marriott loves to get our kudos, and reacts swiftly when they get our negative feedback. I actually make it a point to give personal, direct, constructive, feedback to c-lounge staff at every hotel I stay. And if it's above and beyond, I email Marriott Customer Care (thanks TJC for turning me on to them). My feedback then goes straight to the GM by way of corporate. Same thing if unpleasant experience. I'd like to think that in addition to the "bottom line" marriott also gives weight to our opinions when determining the next direction or business decision.
Orchid and onion letters are my specialty--good stuff gets good reviews, bad stuff gets constructive reviews. Most, if not all Associates want to do the right thing but are pressured or feel pressure and react negatively.
Only once in 35 years have I encountered a surly, abrasive Associate. I spoke with her, then her manager, then the GM. I wrote corporate. I got a horribly ungrammatical letter of apology from the intermediate manager and a virtual copy from the GM. I passed the text of both letters to corporate. I would hope that, in the absence of further information, all three have found new careers that do not involve customer service or hospitality.
Associates, be they Concierge or not, need to be gentle enforcers of rules for the Lounges or the entire concept has little value or meaning for me.