I've had no problems conversing with staff in French during my Paris Marriott stays this year (Marriott Opera Ambassador and Paris Boulogne Courtyard). Whenever I spoke French, they would reply in French. They were patient and obliging In that way, as well as in many other ways. More so now even than in the past (maybe because my French has improved?) Curious.
Hey aflondon! Our team looked into this, and we learned that there isn't a policy in place stating the employees outside the US must speak English. If you'd like, we can certainly pass this on to the hotel you're referring to. Just send me a private message with the name of the property, and I can let them know!
This surprises me. Years ago, I stayed at a Holiday in a French speaking location. I choose the Holiday Inn because it was the only American chain. I got there and they did not speak English. I found out that the La Meridan spoke English. My choice was a mistake. Who would have guessed!
I do think that Marriott should make it a policy in hiring that the people do speak English.
I can only speak to experience at European Marriott properties, but I think that there must certainly be some sort of "unofficial" policy where by most if not all public facing employees are hired with a highly sought after "requirement" of being able to converse fluently in English (It's tantamount to good business). Honestly, I would be shocked to waltz into a Marriott property in Europe (or quite honestly anywhere else where English wasn't the official native language) where the forward facing employees didn't speak fluent English, as conversely, I would be equally shocked if they didn't oblige my preference to converse in their native language, if I so desired. The order of the day is hospitality, something which seems to me that many places outside of the U.S. are much more accomplished at than we are.
What does the Holiday Inn brand compare to in the Marriott stable? At my Courtyard in Boulogne, they were so great about language exchange. I really enjoyed conversing with them, and we helped each other a little bit with some vocabulary and grammar nuances, they helping me more than the other way around, so good was their English. But then it was Paris, though a suburb, though I will say that outside the hotel in that neighborhood, very few else spoke any English (which I, as a francophile, adored. )
This was a while back and to a Caribbean island (Guadeloupe) where they spoke no English. The front desk had no patience with me. A man came to my rescue and translated. While on a tour, I meet a woman who was staying at the La Meridian who told me that they spoke fluent English there. I could have stayed there. I assumed and learned you can never assume. One needs to check before booking.