With all the discussion we've had on this site regarding people being turned away with a guest they brought to the Concierge Lounge and how many can come in to a Lounge and the kids issues and so forth.....I was surprised by my Concierge Lounge visits over the last two weeks.
First, the Marriott Marquis in San Francisco had nobody checking anybody who came into the lounge. I entered the first day I was there about 5PM and a family of five was waiting at the door. Now, it's not my responsibility to check their status as to whether or not they can be there, but I figured for sure someone would ask them when they grabbed the door and walked in behind me. Nope. Not a soul to check who came in or out. What was most bothersome was the kids were just flat out rude. They immediately started running around and yelled at the workers putting out the food, "where's the drinks". They then ripped open the door to the drinks (which was already in disrepair), took out their drinks and left it wide open. The parents? They did nothing. I found this to be the case every day I was there that no one checked anybody who entered. Surprising.
Second, the Marriott hotel in Anaheim. First morning I went, same thing. People standing outside the door and when it opened , they went in. A whole family or two. No one checking anything. That lounge was so packed there were no seats. I patiently waited for a seat by the window to open up at the end of the counter, put down my paper with the coffee and went to get some food. When I returned, a youngster had moved my coffee and paper and made himself at home. This was like being at the circus. I maintained my decorum and went to another counter seat that had opened. I went to get orange juice. Same thing....only this time my food plate moved. It was a mother planting her kids around the end of the counter. I politely asked her if she thought someone had just left hot food for no reason. She left and found another area.
The next day open (Monday), the Lounge door was just propped open. Hmmm..... Not once was there anyone to check who entered the Lounge. There were, it seemed like, 50 'suits' with Marriott name tags in the lobby smiling at everyone. I would think one or two of them could have monitored the Lounge a little bit.
Confusing......are some just open to all, or is some decorum still to be the norm?
It's pretty unbelievable how some kids act. I know kids will be kids, so I guess a better statement would be that it's pretty unbelievable what some kids are allowed to get away with.
Most of my travel is business, but on the rare occasion we do get to go on vacation together I usually bring them into the lounge with me. My 4yr old son knows that if he misbehaves, we leave immediately and he doesn't get to use the pool.
I'm not blaming the kids for actions that are less than proper in this type of setting. I was a kid once too and would have been big-time excited to be in a place like this. They obviously were...a little too much.
Marriott has a 'standard' they say applies to the Concierge Lounges and they have failed to deliver on the expectation in this location (and Anaheim). When there is no 'monitor' to ensure proper behavior, these situations will take place.
I'm just disappointed that at a 'top of the line' hotel it was happening. Yes, the 'parenting' seems to come up short in these instances, especially since they knew they shouldn't have been there to begin with. I would never do something like that. What kind of a teaching moment is this portraying?
Now, the rest of the story: One patron got so agitated in the Marquis that he asked the parents if they were, let's just say, members. When the parents replied in the negative, he asked them to leave before he called management and security. Once again, it's not his (or my, as I posted earlier) responsibility to do a status check. But this was out of control. The kids were pawing thru the food (while the 'parents' said don't eat too much, we're having dinner later) and just discarding it after a few nibbles....without putting it on a plate!
I could go on, but I think this situation was really a shortcoming of management.
Yeah, I completely agree. It's also sad that there is a need for some sort of monitoring in the first place.
My point about the children/parents was intended to be that the kids get a pass in my opinion for being immature. I find it disappointing that there are adults out there with a complete lack of respect for other people.
But ultimately, it's Marriott's reputation that suffers. In a perfect world, they should be able to trust their guests (especially at a higher end property) to behave. In the absence of that, however, they need to find a way to ensure that those few guests don't ruin the experience for the majority.
Alas, honor is disappearing from the Concierge Lounge as well as other places!
The Lounge is a private place available to gold and platinum elite members and those folks who are actually paying concierge level prices. In some case, access is also granted for those staying in suites--but this seems to be a case by case thing and is not in the Terms and Conditions.
In general some guests can accompany a top tier elite member who is eligible for access. As we've seen this is not always applied equally among hotels, and in some cases there are no guests allowed (very few).
With the cutback in staff there is no one to guard the door, thus the rush to tailgate in. People simply feel that they have a right to enter since they are staying at t hotel--and thus the confusion.
Long ago I asked if the Concierge Lounge made sense to a who travel and got overwhelming castigation for mentioning the subject at all!
ah, the cup half full defense.... It's not confusion at all. why not call it what it is??? Clearly marriott is not monitoring the situation. Those folks who are going there illegally know full well it's not a public gathering area, and I cannot blame them for trying to enter the lounge. If Marriott won't police the situation, it surely isn't up to legal guests to do so. I guess it is further dilution to the "elite" program. sad.
Dear Shoeman, yes the lack of monitoring is not good and yes the lounge is not what it once was--given all that it should either return to its glory days or be considered for elimination (IMHO). The task of making the lounges special places has always been on the shoulders of the Concierges themselves.
As you may know in most hotels the Concierge Lounge is nested within the purview and supervision of the Front Desk Manager. In this and every department, the rule is that the operation must run efficiently. In many hotels this means a reduction in the number of staff--most hotels have two persons (morning one and afternoon one) on duty for the time that the Lounge is open. Questions about things can be asked but I have usually then been referred to the actual Concierge in the Lobby!
So my point is that the Lounge functions as a shadow of what it used to be in almost all Marriott hotels where I have stayed. Guest crashing the Lounge is easier than ever, as folks have decided that they are also paying guests and need to have a place to be, regardless of the rules.
Diminution of benefits? Of course, but the benefit of the Lounge has already been diminshed for me with the reduction in services offered.
I've been going to the lounges for about 15 years and I have not seen a significant drop in quality and service. (I have not been for the past 6 months so I cannot comment about any recent deterioration if that has happened) I still regard the CL as my most important Platinum benefit! It is the primary reason that I pay a bit more for FS properties.
understood. However, my vote would still be to keep it open even if the only function it maintained was to be a place where I could grab some water bottles in the evening and a cup of coffee on my way out in the morning. I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water. What do others think about this subject?
I've posted on this before. As a female traveling alone, I use the CL A LOT. It's a good, quiet place to have a drink and feel safe and since my travel is 90% business a good place to eat, work and get out of my room. I will pay more to stay at a full service to have a CL to go to.
The quality varies so much vis a vis food offerings--it's always an adventure (last night at the Augusta Marriott it was literally Pepperidge Farm cookies thrown on a plate; two weeks ago in Indy divine triple layer chocolate mousse, for example). But it does seem that the best run CLs have an attendant and are monitored for access.
I am a mom and often have taken my children into the CL when traveling. But we take it to go, they couldn't get their own food until they were older and they understood it was a privilege to go in there--not their right. After all, it's MY head in the bed 125 nights a year :-). Yes, I was gone from home but the points/free stays are the shared familial earnings from that--the CL is for adults who have earned it.
I know this view doesn't sit well with many others but there you go. I sincerely believe taking away the CLs would make me change loyalty programs; I use them that much. But I heartily agree that some consistency and standards of operation are really needed, and needed yesterday.
I did not complain to the management. I never complain to management on site unless I have been personally affronted by a Marriott associate on the property.
For all the venting I do on this site reporting issues of various goings on, I do my complaints about properties having generic issues (meaning not a personal affront) by not only reporting them here but also with my feet. When I encounter a situation that is egregious enough to anger me, I just don't patronize that property in the future. I also tell others to steer clear and stay away.
These situations in San Francisco and Anaheim have probably been raised to the on property management many times in the past. I know the San Fran Marquis has been posted on this site for its poor CL. It's really not a poor CL, It's just poorly managed.
Marriott, if they are paying attention to these postings, bring these issues to the attention of the on site managers. It's most likely one of the bigger reasons they created this site.
In the case where I reported on the poor experience a couple of weeks ago in Phoenix when I waited for an hour and 20 minutes for a shuttle, I never complained directly to the GM. Yet, after my posting, I received an e-mail from the on site management where they apologized for the issue. My guess is that those monitoring this forum reported the instance to the property. That's what they should be doing.
Hopefully, since this forum issue has touched some points with elites, they will forward these issues also, but even more, they will report back to us the result of the report they give to the property management. If not, so goes I would guess, a lot of customers who don't want that aggravation in a CL and just plain refuse to stay at those properties. I know I won't again.....unless I am assured a change has taken place to restore the CL credibility at these locations.
Hello everyone - this is Michelle again. Concierge Lounge access is - as you have so vividly experienced - a little bit art and a little bit science. Speaking on behalf of the program, we crave consistency, but also want our properties to respond to your unique needs as is situationally appropriate. Speaking on behalf of our hotels, we are attentive to making our guests feel comfortable while in our care, but (as you also have experienced) we can get into hot water when we're perceived as being too strict or too lax around benefit delivery.
Generally, we expect a member to have the discretion to invite a guest to join them for their Concierge Lounge experience. We have admitted in the past that we do have challenges in hotels that have a large amount of meeting / convention business and also in those destinations that attract leisure travel. I do appreciate that you are empowered to 'self police' when you see inappropriate activity in our lounges -- frankly, having a fellow guest comment on errant behavior is much more powerful than having a hotel associate take that role.
Finally, summer is around the corner -- many of you describe it as 'amateur season' -- and we usually see a spike in complaints around children misbehaving while on property. Thank goodness my kids have always been well-behaved... ;-)
TEF - thank you for the explanation, although none was required as you already had convinced me that if I ever go to SF (probably never) I'll stay at a competitor, and when I return to Anaheim I'll stay at the Marriott Suites which I've always enjoyed, and when I return to Phoenix, I'll stay at the airport Marriot or JW . I agree that the best response to bad service to to vote with our feet. Safe travels.
Excellent point Shoeman. Lawyers would have a feast with a comment like this from Marriott.
"I do appreciate that you are empowered to 'self police' when you see inappropriate activity in our lounges -- frankly, having a fellow guest comment on errant behavior is much more powerful than having a hotel associate take that role."
I haven't stayed at that Marriott in Anaheim, but one thing I've noticed is the difference in experience when I stay in a popular tourist place compared to other more business-oriented cities. I often travel to Orlando, and I used to travel to Las Vegas a lot. These cities seemed to have a lot more pleasure travelers than business travelers (although I eventually started staying in the suburbs on my Las Vegas trips, and had a much different experience). Especially in Orlando, I noticed that the hotels didn't care much about the business traveler because (I guess) they assume most of their guests were on a once-in-a-lifetime-trip and wouldn't return, so they didn't have to do anything special to retain them as a customer. They were far less in tune with what a business traveler wants. They were more used to a mass flow of customers and families coming and going through their facilities. I found this to be a general truth of all places, not just Marriott.
The suggestion from Marriott that we "self police" is absurd.
(From across the water),,,,,,a few, small points:
1. Calls for greater consistency in provision and operation of Exec/Con Lounges are understandable, but likely to fall upon polite, but nevertheless deaf, ears, because Marriott Intl appears to grant to its individual sites considerable latitude in what they offer, provided that they deliver "at the bottom line". Individual hotels will take a view as to what their particular markets require and proceed accordingly irrespective of corporate norms (but not rules). This is particularly true of franchise operations which have to deliver both to their owners and to Marriott Intl. If it comes to a choice between an Exec Lounge (a cost) and a bedroom (income) their choice is predictable - if not good for some consumers.
2. I suspect that most contributors here speak as current or ex-business users. While you remain Marriott's key market during week-days, at the week-ends either you don't score so highly, if at all, or you are replaced by the other, diverse markets Marriotts are trying to penetrate - families, leisure, partners, singles, tourists etc. - for whom the provision of a Lounge is much less critical, or so the argument runs. If this is right, the logic is unassailable. If not, then look out for some changes at the GM level.
From a European/Asian perspective, the traditional Exec Lounge remains the "jewel in the crown", but as in many other respects the advent of a less traditional customer base in a rapidly globalising market place means that their existence will probably come increasingly under challenge.
While the majority of my travel is business related, it is often on weekends, plus my family travels a lot. I stay at Marriott for it's consistency of service and environment, i.e. I know the quality of the room appointments, they are safe, and I know that overall just about any employee will bend over backwards to accomodate a reasonable request. The CL is a part of that for me and my expectation is that Marriott Corp would put it in the same category of consistency and corporate expectations. I will stay a bit out of my way and pay more than other brands in the chain for this consistency. If it declines, then so will my nights in the bed.
I'm with EngineerGirl, because I too am a female traveling alone. While I'm used to it and have even gotten to the point of having dinners alone in foreign countries at restaurants outside the hotel (!!!) I love having the Concierge Lounge as my nice safe haven at the end of a long day of work.
We have just had another enjoyable stay at Grosvenor House, London and intersting to note that they are tightening up their CL access. No children after 6pm and equally managing access to ensure only those with access are there. Also no food or beverages to be taken from the lounge. This is actually an area that we find a little abused when we are in USA where it seems to be open season in terms of taking a "packed lunch" courtesy of Marriott and indirectly all of us. Abuse the system rather than seeing it as a priviledge and in the end the "parents" will act !
Greetings from the beautiful vacation spot of Detroit, Michigan! You're right - I used a poor choice of words to convey my intent in my previous post. Please accept my apology. In no way did I mean that a property ever abdicates it's responsibility to monitor Concierge Lounge activity - it is clearly our responsibility. However, members often give each other advice, and I'm happy that you look out for each other -- this is what I mean by empowerment. You also give advice to us, and I'm happy about that too.
We will also be in touch very soon about the idea of weekend hours for the Concierge Lounge... thank you for your ideas and perspectives! ~~ Michelle
Am just poking around the refurbished Insiders site and noticed you mentioned that Marriott would be "in touch very soon about the idea of weekend hours for the Concierge Lounge"....but 'very soon' is long gone and I wonder if I've missed something that happened in the past 10 months?
I have seen people walk in barefoot and in robes, children hpgging the computers in the CL, when I need it to print directions for work. I know Hilton is very diligent in walking around and asking room numbers and name. In fact some of the international CL's do this. Effective and polite why to show you don't belong here!!
Also, policies regarding foot wear and clothing should be posted at the entrance.