The variation in Marriott concierge lounges is HUGE!. The lounge at the Hong Kong Marriott is wonderful! They offer a full bar, beautiful buffet breakfast and gourmet dishes in the evening. Another great one is the Heidelberg Marriott. Most lounges in the US are now overcrowded and offer very poor food choices. Alcohol is usually included outside the US but is never free in the US. What accounts for these extreme differences? Why isn't there any Marriott standard? You never know whether to expect a meal or a few potato chips.
I agree with this completely. The international Marriott's (Frankfurt Marriott, JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai, Beijing Marriott Hotel City, and London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square) were all wonderful - where the dozens of ones I have been to in the USA are quite small and poorly stocked.
phctourist, I am booked at Boston Copley Marriott in May. Any tips for that hotel? Last time I stayed at the Fairmont which is pretty nice. Also have stayed at the Omni Parkerhouse and the Langham. Not sure what to expect at the Marriott. Chose the Marriott this time solely for CL access, so glad to hear it's good.
I enjoyed the Copley Marriott at a difficult time. Two full floors asnd many other rooms were solidly filled by the media since it was two weeks after the Marathon bombing in Copley Square. The hotel handled the crowds quite well and we were mostly pleased. The staff was great and the CL was excellent.
Our room, was spectacular. It was roomy and had a fabulous view, even though we were staying at a minimum (US Govt. rate) There had been a problem with our booking due to errors both by me and Marriott and one of the managers, Ruben, was most helpful in resolving the problem.
The location is fabulous and there is a connection to a sort of mall that extends from Copley Square through the Prudential Center via a network of skyways, with shopping and restaurants. It's close to the subway and there are lots of things to do in the area.
The few problems, were very slow elevator service to the upper floors and no restaurant in the lobby. On the weekend we got a voucher for a reduced cost breakfast at Starbucks, but no real restaurant.
Other than that, I can recommend this hotel, highly.
Even Courtyard Marriott in India have lounges with great food and drinks included. The airline lounges in the US have this figured out pretty well, like Delta. Food is pretty good and alcohol is included (beer, wine, well drinks). I never know if a Marriott will have a lounge or not in the US and yes, when they do, the food isn't great and alcohol is not included.
Sorry for jumping in so late here, but to give you an extra tip, rockthepool:
"I never know if a Marriott will have a lounge or not in the US".
When going through the Marriott booking system, when it's time to select the room you want, check if there is a room rate that includes concierge floor & lounge access. In the room description, it'll state opening hours of the lounge and sometimes a description with what you can expect (breakfast, hors-d'oeuvres, bar, ...)
Then go back and get a regular room, since you'll be upgraded any way as a gold elite.
I have to say that I am always very happy with the Executive Lounge at West India Quay London. Excellent choice of breakfast items; soft drinks, tea, coffee etc, cookies, savoury nibbles, fresh fruit 24/7. Cake in the afternoon. Lovely hot offerings between 5:30-7:30 pm; desserts from 7:30-9:30 pm; complimentary wine/beer from 5:30 - 9:30 pm. Wonderful.
I think Marriott is addressing the inconsistency via the roll-out of M lounges, but it's a slow process and I don't think the aim is to hit the heights lounges reach internationally.
My experience of North American lounges is very limited but none have reached the standards offered in the evenings common in Europe and the Middle East. North American Lounge Breakfasts are better but even so have still failed to meet international standards with the exceptions of the Downtown Philadelphia and Toronto lounge breakfasts, both of which were good. It is worth remembering however my North American lounge experience has been limited to only 5 properties - NYC Marquis, Niagara Fallsview, Ottawa, Downtown Philadelphia and Downtown Toronto. My experience of North American lounges will however massively increase by over 100% this year when I stay at Houston JW, Houston North, Miami Beach, Montreal, Quebec and San Antonio - though it'll still be a microscopic 11 only - still that's double figures!!!
Bob and things have changed over last 5-10 years. I use to stay iften at stamford ct marriott and they not only had free liquor but jumbo shrimp , salads , soups and always another main meal. I went about five years ago and you oay for wine, no shrimp so i think a while ago they were on par with international but no longer . I hope this domestic change doesn't drift over across the pond
I also stay at the Stamford, Ct Marriott. On a weekly basis actually. I am sad to report that the CL has continued it's downward spiral and is borderline trash. I too remember the good old days when shrimp was abundant, real cheese carving was done, soups were offered most evenings, salads and fresg vegetables were aplenty, and drinks were free. Now, the food is inedible, the service is suspect, and the food options make you lose your appetite quickly. Actiually, it's a disgrace...
On a more positive note, other than the CL, I love the property. The people treat me very, very, well, and the room is nice. That said, I was able to take advantage of the Hilton Match program and intend to try out the Stamford Hilton as a Diamond member and see if the grass is any greener.
Relative to the M clubs, as I have mentioned before, I find them a Huge plus and a major upgrade from the CL they replaced.
I don't see this as tripping across the pond jerryl as Marriotts (and Hiltons too) over here are positioned very much in the rareified upper scale of hotel brands.
In most towns and cities across the UK where you find a Hilton or Marriott, they will almost certainly be viewed by the locals as one of the top 2 or 3 hotels in town. For instance in Birmingham it's between the Hyatt, Radisson Blue and Marriott, Manchester sees the Marriott V&A competing with Rocco Forte. Portsmouth is Marriotts as is Leeds, Leicester, Peterborough and Preston. At LHR the seminal hotel (due to its unbeatable runway views) is the Ren, for a long time shabby-chic, but now beautifully refurbed. And County Hall is one of the best known hotels to Londoners of a certain age being the HQ of the defunct GLC that fought a lengthy all-out war with Margaret Thatchers Government across the Thames during the 1980's.
As a result Marriotts are some of the most expensive places to stay outside London and even inside London Marriotts County Hall, St Pancras Ren, and Grosvenor House are viewed as only a step down from Browns, the Savoy and Claridges. Their lounges, access to which UK hotels always sell, are an integral part if that upper scale strategy.
That's it in a nutshell brightlybob. Because the Tommos stay in Marriots here in the UK, several of our friends consider our choice very upmarket.
well I hope you are right Bob. I suspect that individual Marriott's in the us were given the option on free drinks and extent of food so it varies wildly. Your key point is also the competition . I don"t frequent Hilton at all and rarely Hyatt so don't know the comparison with Marriott regarding concierge lounges. it would be interesting to hear from some on this forum who go to other lounges and how they compare to Marriott
brightlybob, my first and only experience as a newly-minted Hilton Diamond got me a bottle of champagne and fancy cookies for my room, and 2 free drinks at the bar or restaurant with no limit on what I could order. I could have ordered a $40 single malt scotch, and they would have honored the coupon (yes, I asked, but decided on a more modestly-priced drink). But no lounge at this particular property, so I can't say what Hilton does with the lounges.
Happy Monday Tommo781
M lounges are the new branding for concierge lounges. I've never been in one but from threads around here and Flyertalk they are usually pretty big and on a lower floor near catering. The free food offerings are more plentiful and food from the hotel kitchen is also available to purchase. The idea seems to be to enlarge, standardise and add a paid menu to these lounges in a rebranding exersise. I think the NYC East Side Marriott was one of the first to get the new concept, but several hotels around North America now offer it and it does seem that as hotels refurbish the large low-floor M lounges are replacing the old high floor smaller concierges.
Here in the EU, I'm not sure the concept will reach us as our offerings whilst very mixed floor-wise (top floor Copenhagen, LHR Ren and Rive Gauche, ground floor Edinburgh, LHR Marriott and Brussels) are much better generally than those found in North America, so I think hotels will simply keep that up.
Put briefly, I think the M lounge is about stopping the rot in North America via a rebranding exercise.
I haven't been to a CL before, later today is my first visit. I'm hoping for a positive experience since I've drastically been changing which Marriotts I use nowadays. I'm quickly moving away from the SHS to the Marriotts and Renaissance. The Rens aren't exactly what I'm looking for in a hotel, but they feel quieter and calmer than SHS and I'm getting tired of eating on Styrofoam plates with plastic cutlery they seem tacky and are a huge environmental waste.
I agree there is no consistency to lounges across the board. Most of them in the US are lacking for sure. However I've had surprisingly great experiences at the Marriott in Budapest, the JW in Hong Kong and, most recently, the Sydney Harbour Marriott Circular Quay. The lounge in Sydney is currently a very large conference room that is on the 2nd floor where the restaurant is also located. They are completely rebuilding a new larger lounge. A guest advised it would be located on this same floor. The breakfast food service was excellent, incorporating hot and cold foods with several fresh fruit and juice selections. If you had to purchase this the cost is $38 AU, so it really saved us money. They also have an afternoon tea with desserts, but that wasn't impressive. The evenings starting at 5:30 offer heavy appetizers, a soup, and several salads. Soft drinks, water, coffee and tea are always available. Champagne, wine, beer and several liquors, as well as a special coctail were also offered from 5:30 to 7:30. We loved this hotel. We were treated like royalty at checkin and were upgraded to a junior suite. We are only lifetime gold, so didn't expect this. The location was beyond perfect to walk 5 minutes to the Opera House.
mycatdixie, thanks for the detailed info on Circular Quay. We are planning a trip there and glad to hear about your experience. We are also planning a separate trip to Hong Kong and trying to decide between the JW and RC. Sounds like you had a great experience at the JW as well.
Clebert don't hesitate to stay at Circular Quay. Most tours will pick you up there and the ferries and hop on/off buses are steps away. Food is exorbitant here, so these lounge options really helped out. We ate a nice lunch out and that was all we purchased each day. There are many options for eating on the walk to the Opera House, including the lower level there also.
My stay at the JW in Hong Kong was several years ago when under British rule, but it hopefully is still as nice. I remember remote controls for the drapes and the best water view. I hope you enjoy your trips as much as I did.
My wife and I recently stayed at the new Marriott Bellevue Seattle. Found the M Lounge to be almost lacking completely in food except for breakfast and the only drinks offered were pop and water. You could order from the main hotel lounge for a fee. Also, the lounge is closed on Saturday and Sunday; no breakfast offered in the restaurant except for a $10 chit which was to cover both of us. Went elsewhere for a wonderful breakfast at a much cheaper price that what Marriott offered. Was in the Marriott Kensington, London a few months back and totally different...complete food offerings all day and evening. Breakfast was outstanding and free wine and beer. Beginning to wonder if being a Gold Elite member is worth it or not?
I would say that even having the OPTION of free breakfast in the lounge is already worth it. This may easily save money on your trips, but even if you don't use it, you don't lose any money over it.
Once in the Delta Quebec I even got breakfast vouchers for in the restaurant, so that I could choose between Club Lounge breakfast and full continental warm breakfast.
About the alcohol: North America usually has disproportional harsh liquor laws which makes it hard to impossible to include free alcohol (even limited). And since these laws are regulated on state/provincial level, experiences can differ a lot between hotels. That being said, we've had lounges concierges that gave the bottom of the bottle for free, which still made a normal glass, stating that patrons serving themselves usually fill their wine glasses until the rim, so to that standard, it's not a full glass, hence it's free.
I would argue that Gold Elite is a status that is worth having. If only for the upgrades and more bonus points.
I agree with much of what you say, but only about half of what you say is accurate! It just is not true that most US CLs are overcrowded. Yes, some are but most are not. I have experienced only one over crowded lounge in the last few years. It depends upon where and when you travel. In the US, alcohol is not usually free, but "never" is not accurate. I received my first glass of wine, free, at Portland Marriott Sable Oaks. Others have reported about hotels that do not charge for wine & beer. Food choices vary but breakfast is usually good and dinner food is good about half the time. Yes, overseas, is much better on the average, but not always.
Yep, CLs in the US vary so much between properties even of the same brand it is getting ridiculous. Hours, size, quantity, quality, service... they are all over the place even on brand new properties like the JW Marriott Austin compared to the JW Marriott Houston Downtown are night and day. The only real consistency is feels like a feeding frenzy as everyone is always in hurry. When you travel internationally it is completely a different experience. More laid back, better choices, better service. The same can be said for International Air Carriers versus domestic. It all comes down to competition lacking in the US. The experiences between hotels is so similar that no one really has to do anything to retain the best of the traveling business professionals.
As for the M lounges. They are nice but all that really has happened is they put them by the lobby so people want to pay more for concierge lounge access. Which is a cool way to make marriott stock go up but again nothing to retain frequent travelers and make money.
Enough complaining. I really do like that the lounges exist. They are fantastic for a decent breakfast of Fruit and Oatmeal (keeps weight down) and good to work from after you burn out being in your room for long. That is one thing I wish CL would do is consistently provide light snacks through out the day for those of us working from the CL.
The CL is probably the single biggest benefit and determinate of hotel chain I stay at. If the property doesn't have a CL I seriously debate if I will stay there. The Autograph Collection hotel I stayed at in San Antonio yesterday was nice but could have benefited from a CL.