I stayed at the JW Desert Ridge in Phoenix this weekend for a brief weekend of relaxation. Although the property was superb, the service level was more on the scale of a Motel 6 than a Marriott property, and specifically, as a Gold member I was extremely disappointed.
At check-in I inquired about the status of an upgrade and received a blank stare. I referred to Gold benefits including upgrades and I was told that this property did not participate in that program. This gave me pause. To hear that a JW resort did not "particiapte" in Elite benefits was suprising. Heretofore I was unaware that properties could pick and choose which Elite benefits they offered. At check-out I also had to ask that the internet charges be removed, since this too was a gold benefit.
After consulting with the manager on duty I was told I could be offered a recently renovated room as my upgrade...and a superior view of the swimming pool. As I was there to relax, and not here kids splash in the pool I stated that a pool view was really not an upgrade for me. Ultimately I was offered a quieter view in a standard room with a balcony that provided no privacy, since I could see my neighbors, my neighbor's neighbors and on and on. I went back to the front desk and let them know that I was unhappy and that I was not being made to feel like a guest, let alone a loyal guest and was finally given a standard room with a wall instead of trellace on the balcony that looked directly at the balconies of the adjacent building. Tired and overcome with resignation, I accepted it.
It's unfortunate because while the property was beautiful and offered a number of appealing benefits, the lack of service will not compel me to return. It was summer in Phoenix and I booked the day before and found plenty of rooms and specials still available, so I know it was not an issue of availability. In fact I was told I could pay to upgrade if I wanted to. I thought that my years of loyalty to this brand would have been payment enough. Apparently, I was wrong.
This stay came on the heels of a recent trip to Albuquerque wherein no mention was made of my even being a Marriott rewards member. And overall I have experienced similar treatment at a number of properties and have read countless similar experiences on this site.
Hotels used to treat their customers as "guests" and their loyal guests received an even higher level of service. In fact that is how Marriott bills their rewards program. But recently it seems that the reality is far from the marketing. I travel entirely on leisure and to achieve Gold status, and to be nearing Platinum on my own dollar...not reimbursed through a corporation and not directed to stay at Marriot through corporate rates...has been my choice because of service. My recent experiences have begun to lead me to question my decisions.
Is there anyone at a higher level who cares? I will give credit to the Courtyard brand which over the past several years has truly stepped up its service level. I only wish that the full-service brands, and flagship properties, could do the same.
What kind of room upgrade were you looking for? Sounds like they did offer generally better rooms but those didn't meet your wants/needs so they put you back in a regular room.
I know we all want to be upgraded to a suite but that's not a benefit of the program.
I agree with your statement unaware that properties could pick and choose which Elite benefits they offered.
I have to agree...it seems over the past 5 years we are less recognized and just another check in. And actually, one of the benefits USED to be a free upgrade "if available", and I have never, ever been offered an upgrade, even when I was platinum for several years in a row. I have never remembered to ask them to take the internet off my bill usually because I am in too much of a hurry.
Once, back in '05 or '06, one of the awesome ladies at Marriott called and made special arrangements for me while taking a mini weekend vacay in Northern Michigan since I spent about $150k a year booking rooms for my road teams. She had the hotel put me in the penthouse as a suprise, which was my first time in a penthouse suite and I was blown away. I haven't ever forgotten that gesture, and it is one of the things that keeps me around as a Marriott customer.
Every great once in a while, or perhaps upon making platinum again, it would be nice to recognize folks out there spending their dollars at Marriott, but with all of the "entitlement" push going on these days, I'm just happy to have a consistently clean and comfortable place to lay my head. Humbly.
It is a shame you had such a bad stay at the JW Desert Ridge. We have stayed there three times and have been upgraded once, but all three times it was peak spring break season. They have changed there policies over the years but the hotel overall is one worth giving a second chance.