HI. Platinum and lifetime Gold Rewards here. 130+ nights in Marriott properties last year. I am staying in a Courtyard in Washington State tonight and realized something. I hate the food at Courtyard Properties! I would LOVE to stay-in tonight, but the "new" Courtyard food offerings seem to rely primarily on a TurboChef Oven- a combo microwave / convection oven that seems to produce entrees as good as your neighborhood 7-Eleven. I have tried the breakfast egg white sandwiches and found them to be fast- but overly hot and "wet" since the microwave heating process forces water out of the egg white puck. I've tried the burger at night and found it to be dry and flavorless. Ever since then, I bolt out to CYs for breakfast and Dinner.
At the end of 2015, I stayed in a Hilton Garden Inn near the Minneapolis Airport and was shocked to find a REAL KITCHEN. I had chicken Salimbocca and it was excellent! I even called the chef over to see if the food was cooked onsite and it was. HGI food blew Courtyard away. It was enough for me to take the bait and match my status with HGI.
So the question is- have you had any memorable food at a courtyard since the "Bistro" concept was introduced? Or should Marriott rethink its food offerings for the CY brand?
I can understand the frustration of not getting great food, especially for dinner. Courtyard has an interest mid-range dinner. I think for the price, it's reasonable. In fact the other night, I was at a Sharaton and walked over next door to have dinner at the CY because the Sharaton offerings (not my choice to stay there) were a huge steak in a dark restaurant or snack food. I got a sandwich at CY which was not inspired, nor felt loved, but it was better than the fast food choices nearby without having to pay for a dinner (and I got Marriott points)
I'm guessing it costs too much to keep a cook on staff for dinner times or around the clock.
The breakfasts, in my experience have been nicer. I really enjoy the breakfast at the CY in San Diego by the airport. It's a lovely way to start the day before catching a flight or setting out for the day. They do have a fresh omelet bar there with fun cooks that make the experience personal. More like that would be nice rather than the typical buffet lines. I just want to know my eggs are real and bacon was recently cooked.
But I do think if Marriott doesn't up there breakfast game at more places places, they are going to lose out, as Marriottbiztravelerfan suggests.
I wonder what SPG does for their breakfasts. I should check it out because we may or may not have that for our future.
I've been staying in CY a lot for the last four months because it's the only Marriott property in the town where I've been working. Don't care for the bistro dinner, and the $4 wine was absolutely unpalatable. But I have enjoyed their breakfasts. I like the breakfast croissant they serve. The bread is flaky, and it comes with a small dish of fresh fruit. It's been easier for me to stock up on yogurt and smoked salmon at the grocery store and keep it in the fridge in the room. That works for my breakfast just fine. But a dozen or so times I've had their breakfast sandwich and enjoyed it.
I, uh, remember eating at the Bistro, maybe twice. Was the food memorable? No way!
I did try a sandwich (was it a French Dip?) that was okay. The price was even okay. I just prefer to have better than okay.
Also had their pizza. Put it this way, for less than half the price, I can hit up Little Caesar's and get something twice as good. Not saying Little Caesar's pizza is good, just saying the Bistro pizza is worse. Nothing on the breakfast menu impresses me.
Here are my rules for eating while staying at CY
1. Go out to eat. Always!
2. If you have to break rule #1, it better be for a good reason (i.e. so tired that eating at the Bistro actually seems like a good idea).
3. Refer to rule #1 again before actually making a Bistro purchase.
Yet somehow I still ended up at the Bistro twice. I must have been exhausted.
To add insult to injury, the food options at Courtyards are expensive and for the most part pre-prepared and microwaved. I previously always ate breakfast at Courtyards when the buffet was offered. The Bistro has ruined breakfast by being slow, expensive, and basically microwaved food. Hilton Garden Inn is a far superior option and breakfasts are free for Gold or higher levels. I will never stay in a Courtyard again if a HGI is available nearby for a competitive price.
The only benefit of the Bistro is that it does offer lunch or dinner if I am desperate (blizzard or ice storm). Some Courtyards also have independent restaurants on site (Portland City Center) and these can have very good food.
Of the Marriot Hotels I avoid Courtyard most, probably, because of the lack of free b fast. but I came into Ottawa east one night at 1045 I was starving. The bistro was cleaning up but I went in and asked. They had salmon on the menu. I asked them can you poach it? It was one of the nicest meals I ever had, My point is courtyard is what it is, it does not advertise culinary delights. But at 9 to 11 pm after a long day and flight the bistro provides sustenance. Any other time a nice walk or a short cab ride gets me to a good restaurant.
I'm going to add a rule 4th rule to bejacob's list, which is to stay at a Hyatt Place instead. It might be a little bit more, but their Gallery dining is 24/7. It isn't room service, but a order & pickup service that offers a nice variety of food and beverage options. I just experienced my first Hyatt Place as I mentioned here: Waikiki for (almost) Half the Week, and was pleasantly surprised by the quality and value of the food options there from the 24/7 Gallery to the free, hot breakfast buffet.