I travel a ton on business (about 60%) and there's no better feeling then to get off of a plane, deal with the rental car hassle and check into a relaxing hotel with great customer service.
So I am creating this post to here from you all on what Marriott properties gave you that warm and fuzzy feeling.
My favorites to date are as follows:
Camel Back Inn, Scottsdale, AZ - The attention to detail in this property is exquisite! The villa style rooms give you that sense of privacy, the poolside bar and cafe is phenomenal and the live music throughout the week is a great added touch. Free washing machines and dryers with free detergent and fabric softeners is ultra convenient when you've been on the road for a while. I give this property big props on covering all of the bases.
Marquis, Atlanta, GA - This MEGA hotel is wonderful and covers all of the bases. Great bar, Sports bar, Steak House, Starbucks, and mini grocery store all in the main lobby area. The hotel is massive and boasts 50 floors with 6 concierge levels. As a platinum member I have always gotten upgraded to a suite. The location is great for doing business as it is right downtown and only 5 minutes from the famous Atlanta Aquarium. They have a great gym that is open 24 hours. The only draw back to this hotel is the $28 a day valet parking fee but I guess that is to be expected in a full service downtown hotel in a major metropolitan city. Overall, I have always had a wonderful stay at this hotel.
Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands - This place is breathtaking! Great food, sand between your toes five steps outside your door, private beach, a very nice and accomodating staff and you're in the Virgin Islands where the water is 80 degrees. What more can I say?
So, those are a few of the hotels that I've really enjoyed. Please add to the list to steer us frequent travelers somewhere where they'll treat us right.
Great question! Here are my favorites.
Ghent Marriott, Belgium. This beautiful, totally modernized property lies behind the medieval facade on a canal near the castle and directly across from an equally charming other side. While there is no executive lounge, they more than make up for it with a great breakfast in the restaurant (which itself is wonderful, with great food at canal level) and coupons for a choice of appetizers (expect the equivalent of a whole meal) and a drink for each day. Besides that, the associates from top down are incredibly special, doing everything in their power to make your stay a fantastic one.
Grand Flora, Rome. Although some call it aging, the Grand Flora still has all the charm, splendor and dolce vita that Fellini made famous. Its wonderful location at the top of the Via Veneto, special rooftop breakfasts, and wonderful treatment by staff -- who usually remember your name even after a long absence -- make it a special favorite.
Renaissance Polat, Istanbul. My most recent of my favorites, for all the reasons I detailed in my emails.
I have a few favorites in Asia. The Ren in KL has an unbelieveable breakfast spread in the lounge while the JW in Hong Kong has a view of the harbour that is second to none on the island. Chinese New Year celebration fireworks over the Harbour in unforgetable. For everyday value and a great stay, the JW in BKK in unsurpased.
I've stayed in a lot of Marriott's properties over the years.
The one I would have to say is my favourite would be the Marriott Vancouver Pinnacle Downtown. I do like the harbour view and I do like the location, but the number one thing I like about this hotel is the people. Right from the doormen to the delightful front desk staff (who run out to grab a cab even when it is cold out), the wonderful girl in the concierge lounge (who was terribly overworked due to it being busy but kept up and was polite to everyone) and the nice people who bring room service when I'm in a morning teleconference. I've stayed at this hotel three times in the last couple of years, so it is not my "most frequent" Marriott, but certainly my favourite one. If I had my choice, I'd certainly go there a lot more often.
I suppose the second most favourite would be the London Marriott County Hall. I didn't have a lot of interaction with them, but they did things right, fixed a billing error promptly, and i had a pleasant stay. Their location and view is great.
Wow! Who can resist a question like this? I'm always making lists of my favorite properties when I'm thinking about a vacation, but you have made the question much harder by combining city hotels and resorts. I have found that I have to separate the two because my lists are getting so long! But, with that caveat, here goes.
These are in no particular order, but I have a great interest in history, and historic architecture, so I'm going to answer your super-interesting question by focusing on these kind of Marriott properties.
First, I have to say that I totally agree with your choice of Camelback Inn. Did you know that this was the first Marriott resort in the chain, and it's now a J.W.? My parents first took me there as a kid, and I have always loved that place. I've been back many times, and really like the new BLT steakhouse.
The Renaissance Stanford Court in San Francisco is also one of my favorites: the two glass domes from railroad magnate Leland Standford's mansion are breathtaking. The hotel's location on top of Nob Hill is the best in San Francisco, and I used to live in the city, so I know lots about it.
I recently stayed at the Battle House in Mobile AL. It was wonderful: a great downtown location, totally remodeled, a friendly staff, and great bar, a nice pool and spa, and a beautiful dining room.
Last summer I stayed at the Mayflower in D.C. for the first time. This is another historic property that has been totally remodeled without destroying the historic flavor of the hotel: love the row of chandeliers that runs through the block-long lobby, even though the pic I tried to take of them didn't turn out. Additionally, for business or sight-seeing, you could not find a better location in the capitol.
These are just of few of the historic properties which are my favorites and which I recommend highly. I haven't had a chance to get to the Blackstone in Chicago to see what's been done to save that historic property, but it's on my list, as are others!
I would have to say I have two. One for business and one for pleasure. For pleasure the JW Marriott Desert Ridge is just a great place. Plenty for the kids to do and plenty of activities for the adults. The staff pays attention to detail and service is good 95% of the time. Also near resturants and many attractions. For business I like the San Diego Marriott. The area is just so beautiful that when you need to take a break just look outside your window or walk out back.
My favorites include the Marriott Orlando World Center Resort and Conference Center, Marriott's Wentworth by the Sea Hotel and Spa on the Portsmouth, New Hampshire Seacoast, the Mayflower Renaissance in Washington DC, the Mystic Marriott Hotel and Spa in Groton, Connecticut, the Renaissance Vinoy in St. Petersburg, Florida, Marriott's Residence Inn Treasure Island, Florida, Marriott's Residence Inn on Tudor Wharf, Boston, the Courtyard by Marriott Ocean City Boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland and last but not least, Marriott's Custom House overlooking Boston Harbor, Fanueil Hall and Quincy Market in Boston.
Why? The reasons are varied, but common themes focus on historic and/or iconic architecture, spacious and comfortable suites, spectacular views, proximity to popular destinations for business and leisure as well as impeccable service.
I ALWAYS feel very comfortable at Marriott properties; don't know exactly why, it's one of those types of things that can be so complicated that it's almost impossible to objectively figure it all out. All I can say is that somehow Marriott just always seems to "get it right." They have a property type for just about everybody regardless of one's tastes and preferences.
Having said that, *I* happen to like flashy, big-city hotels in metropolitan areas.
And having said *that*, I'd have to say that the New York Marriott Marquis is hands-down the VERY best of the best, at least for me. I LOVE Manhattan, and the Marquis is LITERALLY right in the middle of it all right in Times Square, all Broadway theaters (and restaurants) are within blocks, and even Rockefeller Center is just a 15 minute walk away (unless the city's totally JAMMED, like it was this past weekend when I was there most recently). The hotel is enormous (skyscraper-style), has very comfortable rooms (NO BEDBUGS!), 3 or 4 tremendous restaurants, its own Starbucks, stores bars and lounges... heck, it even has its own fabulous Broadway theater (the Marquis, of course)! It's uppermost level REVOLVING restaurant (The View, with 360-degree views of the cityscape that are truly amazing) is among the best in the city. Customer service is top notch. It IS one of the most EXPENSIVE hotels in NYC, but deservedly so - the hotel has a world-wide reputation, and so staying there is truly an incredible experience not just because of the hotel itself, its location and amenities, but also because of the unbelievable level of *activity* within it (if you just want a "quiet escape" do NOT go to *this* hotel LOL - its liveliness is simply indescribable) and its international and cosmopolitan ambiance.
It's not cheap by any means, and there are plenty of other very fine and less expensive hotels in Manhattan. But having a room as many as 48 or so floors up with your room's windows overlooking Times Square and in a hotel of this level of quality is worth it. If you'd like to plan either a once-in-a-lifetime New York City extravaganza weekend in peak season, or a MUCH more affordable off-season weekday stay in "the city that never sleeps," this is THE place to stay. PERIOD.
Grande Lakes, Orlando!
The Lazy River is so fun, refreshing and relaxing. A number of hot tubs are tucked away.
The hotel and grounds are kept clean and up to date.
The staff was very accommodating and all were friendly. (It seems that in many hotels that once you leave the front desk, none of the other staff are freindly.)
GREAT question to pose...
#1 - The Grand Hotel in Fairhope, Alabama on the Gulf Coast. Historic hotel with fantastic activities for the whole family, especially on the 3-day holiday weekends during the summer.
#2 - The Cosmopolitan (Autograph Collection) in Las Vegas, Nevada on the Strip. This brand new boutique-style (but plenty large) hotel just opened after Christmas 2010 and is the most modern design I've ever experienced. The balcony room was incredible and the casino staff were very nice.
An honorable mention would be the Atlanta Marriott Downtown... I just returned from a weekend at this hotel (and already booked another in April) and have never met a more friendly group of bellmen in my time of staying in hotels.
TOUGH, TOUGH, TOUGH... But, seven (arbitrary, alphabetical) favorites:
Boston Custom House - the Eagle Suite is one of the most memorable hotel rooms ever. Killer views of Boston Harbor; nice living/dining area; being on the balcony between the Eagles makes you part of a Boston landmark.
Budapest Marriott - stunning Danube river views, but my all time favorite concierge lounge - outrageous roof deck, plentiful/tasty/diverse food, great location.
Guam Marriott - sure, the place is a tad dated and it could use a renovation, but the corner balcony, overlooking Tumon Bay - uninterrupted view in both directions - takes the cake. Wonderful staff, tasty fruit waters (changed daily), and good snorkeling right outside.
[Apparently Marriott let this one go early in 2014 - that's a shame!]
Renaissance Il Ciocco in Barga, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy - officially my family's favorite vacation experience. [I figured I could add this - long after my initial post - since I had to delete two old favorites....]
Marriott Plaza in Buenos Aires - location,location, location...
Niagra Falls - the Fallsview Family Suite is just plain stunning. I'm no fan of the region, but the Falls are awesome (and the Maid of the Mist rocks), but the VIEW from that suite! We sat in the window for HOURS (day and night)!!!
Renaissance Chancery Court, London - what an amazing building (and sublime service); larger-than-Euro-style rooms. I do like London's Grosvenor Square (for location), but the Chancery Court is really something.
I recently learned that the Chancery Court is no longer a Renaissance property. What a shame!
Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong - killer views. The Renaissance on the Kowloon side is also quite good, but the location is better on the Hong Kong side.
Message was edited by: ssindc
ssindc, I am booked at Renaissance Harbour View Hong Kong using MVCI destination points in Oct/Nov this fall. I've got a conference at the adjacent Hyatt. Any advice on what to see/do? I was thinking of skipping out on the conference one day and doing a 1/2 day tour and/or possibly doing a nighttime walking tour. I'm by myself this time but doing reconnaissance for a family trip to HK we're planning in 2018 (yes, we plan vacations that far in advance as we use points/airline miles, etc.).
First time, clebert? Not sure you're going back any time soon?
Great hotel - ask for a high floor/view - wow!!! Also, I STRONGLY recommend taking the high speed rail to/from the airport at least one way. (It's quite an experience.)
Short answer (from my perspective) is, YES, go for a 1/2 day (or longer) tour. Ask the Renaissance concierge/tour folks what they recommend. EASY, convenient, no thinking, and reasonably priced. I was there once with my dad (his only visit) and we only had one day to burn. We took one of the Grey Line tours - this might be it - Premium Hong Kong Island Tour (with Dinner), and it was perfect for us/him. Among other things, it includes:
But lemme be clear, Hong Kong is VERY easy - if you're motivated (and not terribly jet lagged), you don't need the tour to do this (but ... on the other hand ... it's just easier)... Star Ferry rides are cheap and easy, and the buses are easy/convenient too.... But... again, with only 1 day, I'd just do the tour.
ssindc, thank you. Yes, first time for me. HK looks easy to navigate, and I'm pretty adventurous. Family wants to go there in 2018 (we are doing South Pacific in 2017), so I thought I'd do this conference to scope things out before loading up the crew and heading over there. Will buy the MTR 3-day pass with airport transfers - glad to hear that's the way to go.
On the waitlist for a biz class upgrade on UA. Thought about going on China Eastern, Hainan or Air China as first class on those was pretty reasonable, but thought I'd stick with UA as I'm trying to renew elite status and had the miles for a possible upgrade. Plus, schedule was better - I can go direct from ORD and no stop at LAX. Suppose I could have gotten UA miles on Air China, but still a better route on UA. Would love to try Cathay Pacific, but too pricey for me and I'm saving my AA miles for a family trip. My company will pay for coach but not first class
Do you find HK safe? Any reason I should not be walking around at night? Thought it would be fun to do Kowloon markets at night time. They are open late, right?
No worries Clebert, Hong Kong is safe.....it just gets really crowded on weekend nights in those "night markets". Hardly any space to move....beware of pickpockets though. Much of petty crime committed in HK is by foreign visitors. Quite an irony. Note also that entertain in Wan Chai area is way overpriced. Renaissance HK is in the heart of Wan Chai.
FYI, I fly to HK once bimonthly.
DannyGoh, Thank you for your help. I appreciate the warning about pickpockets. I'm not surprised to hear it's the visitors who are the culprit! I have worked on many business transactions with clients and businesses in Hong Kong, and I have had only good experiences. It will be fun to visit and meet some of my business contacts in person.
p.s. if you end up at the Renaissance pool (which is quite nice), in addition to the typical (stunning) views, don't hesitate to look UP.... If you're patient (and lucky) you may see one (or more) of the big birds ride the thermals up ... and up ... and .... up before embarking on its/their next open water quest. (We watched some go up for the better part of half and hour.....)
DannyGoh, thank you. I might skip this time and do Big Buddha when I return on vacation with the family. Also might do Macau and visit mainland China on that trip, too, assuming we can get visas.
Long Beach (CA) Marriott - stayed here several times - great service, free buffet breakfast for elites on weekends, concierge lounge is open on weekends. Free parking. We've stayed here several times, and it's definitely a "home away from home" for us.
Lancaster (PA) Marriott - stayed here twice on business - a gorgeous newer hotel, right in the middle of downtown Lancaster. They've done a great job of incorporating the local historical architecture into the design. Walking distance to several great restaurants, and it has a phenomenal concierge lounge. Plus, they give you the option of free buffet breakfast any day in the restaurant OR eating at the concierge lounge.
Mystic (CT) Marriott Hotel and Spa - I've only stayed here once on business, but, wow, what a memorable place. An absolutely gorgeous property, with very luxurious rooms - felt more like a JW or Ritz Carlton. Close to Mohegan Sun Casino as well.
Honorable mentions: Kaua'i Marriott Resort, Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa & Marriott Fallsview Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Also, thanks for sharing your favorites, everyone. I'll have to give them a try!
Like many here, I've been to a lot of Marriott's around the world but the one place that holds a special place in my heart is definitely the Camelback Inn. The location is great and the casita we were given was divine. I am not one for buffet dinners, but the one I had at the Inn had to have been the best I've ever experienced - hands down.
Other locations that I speak highly of is, of course, the Champs Elysee, Grosvenor Square and St. Kitts. The Mayflower in Washington DC was one great stay as well.
I'm still undecided about the Marquis in Times Square. Lots of pluses and minuses with that one.
In NYC, I agree that the Marquis in Times Square is a mixed bag. The elevators are fun (and unique), the location is extraordinary, and the one suite we stayed in was terrific.
We've really enjoyed, over the years - in addition the:
We've not been as happy with the Courtyard New York Manhattan/Fifth Avenue....
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