I have stayed 75+ nights at Marriott this year and hope that qualifies me as platinum elite member.
I was reading through the rewards for platinum members and it mentions - "executive lounge access" for platinum members with light snacks. Since I have never been to any executive lounge, please help me understand what exactly comprises of an executive lounge in Marriott hotels and what benefits a platinum member gets once he/she in inside executive lounge
you've had executive lounge access since you hit 50 nights, just a heads up.
most (but not all) full service hotels (Marriott, jw Marriott, renaissance, and autograph collection) have executive/concierge lounges. (there's a listing of all the hotels on flyertalk (Google "flyertalk Marriott lounge" and you'll find the thread)). these lounges offer free breakfast, midday snacks, and evening offerings (some can replace dinner, some really aren't too great). when you walk into a hotel with a lounge, you're guaranteed access to it. a front desk associate should recognize your status and explain the lounge to you, and then you go in whenever you want.
Marriott Rewards has 4 membership levels depending upon the number of nights you spend at Marriott brands, including Marriott Hotels, Renaissance, Fairfield Inn, Courtyard, Ritz-Carlton, Autograph, JW, Residence Inn, AC, Springhill Suites, etc, etc, each year. Those levels are:
1. 1-9 nights, Blue, giving 10 points per $ spent (5 only at Residence Inn & Townplace Suites) and member phone lines
2. 10-49 nights, Silver, everything for blue plus 20% extra points and priority late checkout
3. 50-74 nights, Gold, everything silver plus 5% extra points (25% over blue), room upgrades (subject to availability at checkin) and, where the property has a concierge/exec lounge, guaranteed lounge access.
4. 75 or more, Platinum, everything Gold plus a further 25% points (50% over blue), welcome amenity at checkin and guaranteed 48-hour availability.
Once you make a level in a year you are guaranteed that level for the rest of the year and all of the next year, plus Jan and Feb the year after, so if you stay 75 nights or more during 2015 you get Plat to end Feb 2017.
Concierge/Exec lounges are almost only to be found at Marriotts full service locations, thats most Marriott Hotels, though by no means all, many Renaissance hotels, a few Autographs and almost all JW's. Note that although most Ritz-Carltons have these lounges they are excluded from the benefit, you only get into Ritz lounges by paying, or carrying the right credit card. Likewise lounges at "resort" properties are excluded from the benefit.
The lounge itself is typically located on the top floor of the hotel and entered by swiping your room key. Smaller lounges may only be the size of a couple of hotel rooms, with a sofa, TV screen and a few tables and chairs, seating for maybe 20. Larger ones can have several TVs, sofas and seating for 70+. Most lounges are open all day but you'll find them practically deserted, people simply go in to grab a free water/soda out of the fridge. The attraction of the lounge is when the hotel mans it at breakfast and evenings. For breakfast the lounges set up a bar in the lounge, with, at minimum, a choice of a couple of cereals, breads, spreads, jams, continental meats and fruit. Likewise in the evening, between 5pm to 7pm food is set up with canapés, crisps, and nuts, all free of charge, grab a plate and help yourself. Many places however go much further than these minimum standards, with some hot breakfast and evening options and an evening honesty bar. Outside North America many hotels go further still, for instance several of the British properties serve up afternoon tea with finger sandwiches, scones and cakes. Others, and here I look at Budapest Marriott, London St Pancras Renaissance and (as I hear) many Asian exec lounges serve an almost constant revolving smorgasbord of free delicious top-quality food from 6am to 10pm. Further, outside North America almost all the lounges serve free alcohol during a "happy hour" that can last anything from 2 to 12 hours a day. Mostly the choice is beers and wines, some do serve free spirits too, again I look at the Renaissance St Pancras and some Asian hotels.
I'm afraid in North America it can be a pretty "hohum" benefit at the places that do only the bare minimum, but outside North America, since that bare minimum almost always includes free beer and wine for a couple of hours, it's certainly worthwhile and whether North American or not, some thst go the extra mile can be quite spectacularly good.