I am anxious to hear from our loyal Insiders about your initial stays at Starwood properties. As a platinum or gold rewards member with a status match, did you feel "special" making a SPG stay? How did the hotel treat you? We look forward to hearing all about it.
It doesn't appear that too many of our folks are in a rush to try them out, and this is likely tied to how the initial hybrid program has rolled out. The SPG members seem to have gotten the better end of the arrangement - particularly for golds. However, when all is said and done, it will be about the experiences we have at the newly available properties. Will we feel as special as we do at Marriott?
I haven't made an actual stay yet. I'll report on that in a month or so. But, I don't like the the SPG website and reservation process as much as Marriott.
I don't like that it only shows a nightly rate and you have to click the "Reserve" button to see what the total is going to be. It's worrisome the first time you do that and you are just trying to see the price and you don't know if it is some sort of 1-click reservation or something.
Yes, I completed an 11-night stay at the Klaus K in Helsinki yesterday. I was quite pleased with it. I started my own post here: My first post-merger SPG booking (Helsinki)
I have a few more pics to post of the breakfast and the second room I had that I'll try to post in a week or so.
@7, I loved the write up in your post. As I replied there, I will be anxious to see how this compares to stays in the US. Obviously, they succeeded in making you feel special as a platinum elite, and that was what we were trying to discern. Excellent feedback, and I'm glad you had a great trip!
This is a great thread to start. I have two colleagues who are SPG Platinum and they rave about all the perks that come with it. It will be a couple of months before I can start staying at SPG properties so I am interested in hearing about the experience from Marriott's Status members.
nationwide, I have had excellent service at Westin Orlando Convention Center, Westin downtown Denver, Westin Times Square, Westin River North Chicago, Westin downtown St. Louis, and Westin downtown Minneapolis. All of those are great properties. In Orlando, I was missing the mini-shampoos in my bathroom, so I called the front desk and asked if I could get some, and they had someone up to my door in 5 min. with a bag full of about 5 each of the shampoos, conditioners, soaps, etc. and an apology. Some of my business trips require me to stay in SPG properties, and they have all ended up being Westins and all really nice. I am a big fan of the Westin brand. Westin emphasizes health and fitness and typically has little maps it gives out with jogging routes in the area, gym clothes and shoes you can rent if you forgot yours (haven't tried this myself), "super foods" on the menu that are health-conscious, and generally a clean, modern vibe. Marriott doesn't really have a brand that quite equates to Westin.
clebert - thank you for the excellent report! It sounds like you had several great stays! I would be inclined to try them out based on your recommendation.
I'm curious, were your stays after the acquisition was finalized? Did you have "matched" status? Was it referenced during your stay? Perks and bennies? I'm trying to get a sense for how long-time Marriott folks with newly matched status will be treated during SPG stays.
nationwide, none of my Westin stays were after the merger closed. NY, St. Louis, and Chicago were before the merger was publicized.
Denver, Orlando, and Minneapolis were while the merger was pending.
I've had a corporate account at SPG since 1998, and it has some of the benefits of platinum status but not all of them. Although not exactly the same as gold status, that's closest to the level of benefit the corporate account has, along with discounts not available to the general public.
NY and Chicago were for conferences where I booked directly through the conference webpage at a steep discount, so I didn't get point/credit for those but did get my usual corporate benefits.
St. Louis, Minneapolis, Orlando, and Denver were booked for me by a business colleague who had platinum status, so I got platinum benefits from his membership.
I also tagged along with Spouse to US Grant in San Diego, but I don't think it was an SPG property at that time, and we were on a US Government discounted rate so we got whatever was included in that corporate rate. I think this one only recently became part of the SPG Luxury Collection, or maybe I just wasn't aware of the connection as I was there on Spouse's booking which was done by a third party.
I have a conference in March at the Phoenician (part of the SPG Luxury Collection) and am looking forward to that.
Even though none of my recent SPG property visits were on the Marriott/SPG platinum status, they were all great and service was wonderful at all of these properties.
I have another business commitment that requires me to stay at Loews, Hilton, or Hyatt properties and sometimes iPrefer. So, as with the airlines, I split my business among many of the major players and not necessarily by choice. I also sometimes choose IHG depending on the location, and I have credit cards for Marriott, SPG, Hilton and IHG. Hilton and IHG seem to have properties in places where the others don't. I have a thing in Nov. at the Wigwam in Arizona and in Dec. at the Vanderbilt Condado in Puerto Rico, both of which are iPrefer properties.
So, I guess what I'm saying is that there is more to life than Marriott, although I try to choose Marriott first if possible. So I think SPG will take good care of us.
clebert - These are outstanding examples you've shared, and I appreciate you taking the time to provide the detail. I am anxious to make a stay with matched status, so I can experience this for myself. I started looking at Christmas vacation options in Mexico today.
I am anxious to hear fresh matched-status perspectives on SPG service levels from our fellow insiders too. Anyone make a matched status stay this week or last?
jm1991 - fascinating! Thanks for sharing! Really glad to hear you were treated well. I'm curious, how full was the hotel at the time of your stay?
On Tuesday, 10/4, my wife and I arrived at the Royal Hawaiian (Starwood Luxury Collection) at 1PM for a 1 night stay on our return from 7 days on Kauai. The clerk was effusive in her confirmation of my Platinum status. She said that the "standard" room I had reserved on points would be upgraded to a "garden view" room. She noted that check in was at 3PM and we could wait in the lounge if we wanted. The lounge is a key accessible room on the second floor that has the computers/printers for boarding passes, TV, sofa, chairs, bathroom and shower (in case you want to take a dip in the ocean while you are waiting). Then she noted that my upgraded room was already available and gave me my keys. For my Plat status she offered: 500 SPG point, a bottle of sparkling wine or a third option that I have forgotten. She also offered a local paper delivered to my room in the morning. Our Plat status entitled us to a free continental breakfast in the key accessible Mailani lounge in the morning as well as the afternoon snacks (shorts ribs, pasta salad, kimchee salad, assorted cheeses the afternoon we were there.) with free beer, red/white wines and Champaign. (The short ribs did not last long.) Normal checkout is noon, but we were allowed a 1 PM departure even though the hotel was very busy. Our room was in the original building which was built in 1927. I am not a big fan of old hotels, but it was well done. They have a newer tower building that I am guessing I would have preferred. After we got into the room I noticed the A/C fan was rattling and called down to the front desk. Within 15 minutes maintenance was there and took care of the problem. Very apologetic for the inconvenience. If I go back to Waikiki I will take a look at the Sheraton Waikiki which is right next door to the Royal Hawaiian, but a very new building. Both at Cat 6 properties. Waikiki is quite a change after 7 days in Kauai at the Marriott Beach Club.
I had just checked in to the Le Meridien in Chiang Mai, Thailand the Friday of the merger (Thursday USA time). On Saturday I was able to link my SPG to my MR and became Platinum at SPG. The front desk staff went into their computer, confirmed my new status, welcomed me to SPG Platinum, handed me a letter outlining their benefits, and gave me the room keys to beautiful suite. 20 minutes after checking in, a huge fruit basket was delivered. My experience was on par with what I have been receiving as Platinum throughout my travels to China the past 5 years. I give the whole experience a big thumbs up!!! So appreciative of the instant match.
ssindc, sounds like you had a terrific trip! I haven't made it to Panama, but have it on my list. It's thrilling to hear about how well you were treated, as that was at the heart of my original question. Sounds like we have some real momentum in being welcomed to the bigger family. Thanks so much for linking your experience!
Agreed, nationwide, I think Panama is a legitimate worth-considering tourist destination - and not just for the canal - although I've only been on business (with limited time to play).. It is beautiful.. But I'm not ready to say you should come here BEFORE Costa Rica....
As for the hotel - in terms of the front desk and the executive lounge - I'd put it in the top tier of Marriott experiences. Again, there are some Marriott properties that are even better, but this has been a top tier experience.
Stayed at the Westin Grand Munich for 5 nights on points. As a newly minted platinum with no starwood nights we received
1.. Very early check in (930 AM), -- " No problem Sir we have a room ready for you sorry its not a suite"
2. A Westin Club Floor Room -- approximately a 3 level upgrade of 6 possible levels in my opinion , not a suite but the next lowest room class they had ( approximately 100 euros per night cost over base room booked on points)
3. Excellent and vast Full buffet breakfast in the restaurant daily ( upstairs lounge was being remodeled)
4. Nightly lounge with snacks ( just ok ) but Beer and Wine flowed freely for about 4 hoiurs
My impression compared to a Marriott type property was of a Renaissance hotel with a nicer lounge. For a low price in points 40,000 starpoints for 5 nights this was a great redemption and gave me a very positive outlook towards future stays at Starwood properties
rlswider, Wow!!! This inspires some faith and optimism doesn't it?!!!!?!!! That's awesome! I am very grateful that you circled back to this post and shed some additional light on your experiences. I've still not yet had the pleasure of making that first stay, but you certainly have me looking forward to it!
nationwide, I had and have high hopes for the many travel options available in this merger. When I saw how the match worked I wasn't sure if the treatment of base platinum's at Starwood hotels would match up to what I'm accustomed to at Marriott's. After this first stay I would say that the treatment was at least as good as I'm used to at Marriott branded hotels as a Platinum Premier. After this experience I really want to try some US based Starwood hotels to see if my initial impression holds up. However as many others have stated in this forum and elsewhere the price point for Starwood hotels sometimes makes this type of comparison difficult. Hopefully over time we will all get the chance to try out all 30 brand options, I for one am looking forward to that. ---Happy Travels
Thanks for sharing. Looks like I'll be looking at some Starwood places for coming travels not yet booked in 2017, other than the Sheraton Four Points as not see much good written here regarding them.
My two experiences in Frankfurt and Dijon: SPG impressions: Frankfurt Sheraton and Vertigo in Dijon, France
I was Platinum with SPG a few years ago and remember the experiences to be much more memorable than Marriott has been in my 3 years of being Platinum with them. But, it's really not fair to compare the experiences IMHO because there are so many Marriott properties at various categories than there are SPG properties.
I recently stayed at the Aloft Ontario-Rancho Cucamonga. I like Aloft's for the same reason I like most Courtyards -consistency and geared for business travel, plus the loft style rooms are interesting to me. This visit was really disappointing. Obviously, no upgrade, because all of the rooms are the same, but also, no recognition for being Platinum. I used the mobile check-in with hopes of using the keyless feature but the hotel informed me that doesn't work. When I used the mobile check-in it asked me what I would like for my arrival gift, I think it was points or a local gift. I chose the local gift and did not receive anything and there was no offer of anything.
The room (They are cool for short term stays) unfortunately had some issues. The flat screen had burn-out spots on it and the cable didn't work most of the time. The WIFI was also terrible and I called the front desk 3 times to get this fixed and it never worked right (Luckily we carry WIFI hotspots). All-in-all, an Aloft maybe isn't the right property to judge my first post-merger stay. I do have to say that SPG does such a better job branding things and the use of BLISS products is very nice.
For now, I'm not including any SPG properties in my upcoming travel, I don't care to store any SPG points at the moment and would rather keep building my Marriott points and redeeming them (until they merge the points systems).
boudreausean, thanks so much for sharing your insights. That's a bummer on the absence of the gift and your room experience.
I agree with your take on the SPG branding edge, and look forward to giving Aloft a go sometime in 2017. From your profile I see you are quite the road warrior, so here's hoping you share some more about your travel experiences and preferences going forward. I am anxious to see where I fit best in the SPG brand scheme.
Happy holidays and safe travels!
troytraveler thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for Marriott! Many, dare I say most, of us Insiders share your perspective. This is surely evidenced by the number of platinum, lifetime platinum, platinum premier, gold, and silver members who share insights here often. We'd love to hear your travel experiences too. This question, going back to my original post, is intended to get a comparative assessment when longtime Marriott loyalists try their first SPG property with matched status. Starwood properties are all now a part of the Marriott family post-merger, so we'd like to hear people's initial thoughts. Please do let us know your thoughts when you make your first post-merger stay.
I have had two stays at the Le Meridien in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the first one arrived the day after the merger. That stay and the one I just concluded were upgraded to a suite with lounge access. The staff there is wonderful, from front desk to housekeeping. I feel as equally comfortable and treated as a valued guest in both sets of brands.