I guess I am a little surprised that others are suprised at diminished services. The closing of the concierge lounge on weekends and holidays, and now days surrounding holidays, has been encroaching for several years at Marriott. I had just returned from a stay at the Renaissance in Las Vegas when I saw a flurry of postings re the weekend closing of the Concierge Lounge there. When I went to Envy, the well known steak house, for breakfast, I asked about the Lounge being closed on what was a weekend morning. Not even the hostess in the restaurant seemed to know whether alternative arrangements had been made for gold and platinum members. She referred me to the front desk where I learned what Stepping described well in another post as the new mantra, "We used to do that, and now we don't."
I think part of the problem is people's expectations: Marriott has used the Lounge as a perk to secure and maintain the loyalty of the frequent traveler. Now it is being cut way back, and we don't like it...big surprise. In fact, I like it even less when I find the Lounge closed at "resort" properties, many of which actually do more business on the weekend.
But I should mention a weekend experience I had very recently at the brand new Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. This is a big-deal hotel opening because this property is the first Waldorf built from scratch since the original one opened in New York. It was very nice, and I had a beautiful suite, but I could not get any newspapers, nevermind having one delivered to my door, as many Marriotts still do. I was kind of annoyed, but I went to the gift shop, and, when I didn't see any newspapers, I asked the staff associate where they were. Her reply was, "You'll have to go down the block to the Hilton to buy a newspaper; this is a more upscale shop." I couldn't believe my ears! I started to laugh, and went to find one of the cast of thouands of associates whose primary function seemed to be walking around. I told one of them that they may want to reconsider making guests who are paying these rates walk to another hotel if they want a newspaper. I hypothesized to him that Waldorf might hear this same comment from other guests! So, the moral of this story is that one has to look at everything in perspective. I still favor Marriott over any other hotel brand, or I guess I wouldn't be writing this.
Dear Diogenes: A very excellent post and worth rereading. I am hoping that this is part of a pendulum-like swing, where services are being cut as demand and REVPAR shrinks, while their return (hopefully better than ever) will occur when both demand and revenue increase.
My cynical side (Sorry Diogenes, couldn''t resist that classical inside joke) tells me that countering my hope is the experience with the airlines: services are being stripped and fees added regardless of either demand or average per seat revenue. Seems like any enhancement to the bottom line, it is easier to go forward with one than to reinstate it.
If enough folks see the bottom line improving (as I hope it is) I would hope that the good folks at Marriott realize that we liked, no loved, the old stuff and would like it back!
I think its funny that their website still sells "club level" rooms, even on weekends that there is no service. I spent last weekend in a Renaissance on a BOGO. I went down to the front desk and asked for breakfast vouchers. The lady responded that they don't issue vouchers on weekends because the club level was typically closed.
I told her that I had come to the same hotel a few weeks earlier and that the club level was open that weekend. I also said that I was under the impression that Gold Elite members would get vouchers in the case that the club level waws closed. She checked my account and then handed me a breakfast buffet voucher. Oh well.
Dio, it's amazing, but surprising, how much the MR program has changed over the years (originally labeled "Marriott Marquis"). I joined the program in 1985, and have been platinum since November that year (over 1,300 nights to date). I remember burning 110,000 points in '87 for: a week in Hawaii PLUS a certificate for roundtrip air on Continental PLUS a certificate for a week's car rental from Hertz. My 3 nights in New York last month cost me 120,000 points - with no plusses. We used to get 100 bonus points for each night. BUT, the concierge lounges (at least at corporately owned properties) have always closed Friday night and re-opened Sunday night. Also, the only brands that participated were Marriott named brands (no RI, FI, etc.). In fact, Courtyard had its own frequent stay program - at a cost of $10 per year to belong! Some things change for the better, others don't. It all comes down to someone's idea of what's good for the shareholders.