Jerry M's recent, trenchant remarks on the "dumbing down" of perks (Zurich Marriott) raises an important, more general issue which, coincidentally, also surfaces in the article cited by SS on the "new entrants" to the hotel loyalty rewards business. I'm sure that, like Jerry, many of us can cite instances of Lounges that, over the past few years, seem increasingly to have suffered from one or more the following afflictions:
1. Restricted opening hours/days;; 2. Young children sent there by parents who want a free moment or two; 3. Business execs who use the Lounge as a meeting room; 4. "Guests" from multi-occupied rooms on Executive Floors; 5 Employees of airlines with long-term contracts with the hotel in question. And so on.
Irritating though these individual occurencies might well be, however, they are for me symptomatic of a deeper issue: an apparent lack of clarity within Marriott Intl about what it sees as the key rationale for the existence of the Concierge/Executive Lounge within its overall brand strategy.
In an highly competitive context in which individual hotels (probably correctly) exercise increasing autonomy in pursuit of business objectives, the result is a frustrating lack of consistency in the provision, quality and management of Lounges.
Though this is a major issue in itself for those who regard Lounges as an important factor in deciding where, or where not, to stay, the problem is further agravated by the lack of transparency in the advertising details offered by hotels. That, in many cases, it is difficult to determine key details about lounges makes rational decision-making by would-be guests very difficult. And, as night follows day, this will lead to greater levels and expressions of discontent from guests in the market-place.
A first step towards rectifying this concern would be a clear lead from Marriott Intl towards greater transparency and clarity about the Lounge facilities on offer at individual hotels.
Sad. but true!
The CL should be a place to reward the special customer a place of "Peace", not a place of "Stress".
I feel sometimes, like I need to sign in and register for my final meal along with the others in the CL. The CL should not purport a "Last meal" scenario for anyone. Likewise, when I see "High chairs" in CL lounges I have to wonder?
Do other hotel properties offer the same "Atmospheres" in their CL?
You both (Arkwright and Jerry Morgan) make excellent points about the Lounge as both a concept and a reality.
I see the Concierge Lounge as a cost to Marriott that is never fully recouped: the majority of Lounge users do so as upgraded Elite members, not as paying the rate guests. Thus, through their loyalty they use but do not pay at the point of sale for use.
Additionally in those hotels where there is a Lounge food as been less and less stocked and thus the place is less accommodating, We all remember the reversion to "brand standard" in food service in the US a few years back--at the Marquis in NYC this meant going for an elegant breakfast to a less than Denny's one and a very disappointing evening snack. While the crowds still came in droves (another issue of entrance control) the food was so bad that most old-timers left very dissatisfied. There appears to be some variation in the brand standard but nothing to equal what was once a culinary delight morning and evening.
I vote for CLT (Concierge Lounge Transparency) as Arkwright has said:
Let the comments roll in!
I recently stayed at the Renaissance Chicago and found the property to be very nice and the staff very hospitable. I was very surprised that the CL was not open on the weekends despite no notice on the website. When I inquired at the front desk I was told it had not been open on weekends for several years and to the best of his knowledge no properties opened the CL on weekends. is this true?
Agree with everything that has been said. I am to the point I just can't take the CL's other than get some light food and coffee or water to go. They are just not "Relaxing" to me. Likewise, I carry a tray to carry my coffee, pastry, etc. back to my room to really relax.
The main thing the CL does for me is I can enjoy whatever I take back to my room, when I want to enjoy it I can. The financial savings are a major plus for using the CL for me. Zurich prices at the hotel are:
$32 for a hamburger
$5 + for a Coke
$6.50 for a bottle of water.
A US type breakfast will run around $50 each.
You can see the savings are real. I figure for two, the savings are at least $100 per day for two. I love the CL's, for this reason, I just don't want to be in one.
This smells of Elite-ism. Maybe if certain foks call ahead, Marriott can clear all the undeserving clods out of the CL so the Kings and Queens on here can "relax" in total solitude. Are you all so full of yourselves that you truly believe the waters should be parted upon your arrival? Let's kick out those Gold members, let's make sure that people with children understand to leave the little menaces at home!!
The lounges aren't perfect.. consistency is a great idea..posting hours is a great idea...weekend hours, super.
Trying to somehow explain that YOUR feet don't smell... well wake up!!
Thanks for your opinion, and so sorry you feel that way! And I do apologize if I come across as an "Elitist". I pay for my own way, am not on an expense account, and do not work for the government.
When you rack up 100's of nights at Marriott you do want a moment of peace. If you can't look forward to enjoying a trip or experience, why do it?
Pained, again, as a parent, and former Gold Member, I have nothing against anyone. But as long as I am paying and have a choice, I would like the CL to be the respite I think they were intended to be.
It took me many years to finally reach Gold. I think that those that actually reach Plantnum status should be able to enjoy the extra "perk" of using the lounge without having to put up with noisy kids, loud groups and others that veiw the lounge as a personal "right". I have grandkids, but when I am traveling with my wife, I would like to visit a lounge and have peace and quiet. I would control it a little more in that Gold members could use the lounge as long as they are either solo or a couple. I see no reason for children to be in there and then expect them to be quiet.
I am told that the only lounge open on weekends in North America is at the Marriott River Cree in Enoch, Alberta.
I notice overseas lounges being open on weekends. I believe the London Marriott Heathrow is open 6 am to Midnight 7 days a week.
As to those of you who want to restrict it to platinum only, I suggest that first the apply the rules properly and allow only gold and platinum in. 50 + night a year is still a significant contribution to Marriott's bottom line. To the person who compared it to Airlines. Air Canada has three tiers, the top two get lounge access...
And yes, they should be consistent..and better.