Our family did a 6 week trip through Europe in 2010 and primarily stayed in Marriotts. We learned a few things along the way...not all Marriotts are created equal. I'm listing the hotels we stayed in and how we generally ranking them based on room size, location, cleanliness and family friendliness. The ranking is 1-5 with 5 being high.
1. Courtyard Stockholm-5
2. Renaissance Malmo-4
3. Hamburg Marriott-4
4. Courtyard Berlin-3.5
5. Berlin Marriott-4.5
6. Dresdin Westin-1.5 (huge disappointment)
6. Prague Marriott-4.5
7. The Imperial Riding School Renaissance Vienna-2.5
8. Salzburg Renaissance-3 (I believe it's changed ownership)
9. Renaissance Munich-3.5
10. Zurich Marriott-5
11. Paris Marriott Rive Gouche-4.5
Most of our family trips had been to Asia so I'm sure our expectations were skewed. Other than Malmo, I lost confidence in the Renaissance brand in Europe. The Marriott brand hotels were all nice in very good locations. The Stockholm Courtyard is under rated. We have stayed in 50+ Marriott properties around the world and will eventually have a review for all of them based on the family travelers perspective. So far we have only reviewed the Berlin Marriott and Courtyard Stockholm...more to follow. in the process of writing up hotel reviews for the hotels we've stayed at on our blog: www.worldfamilytravellers.blogspot.com.
I'd be curious to hear what European Marriott hotels others would recommend when traveling with a family....
Great report! Agree with you on The Berlin and Zurich Marriott. Would also say that The Ren. AdT in Paris is very good as well. If your family goes to London, please consider the Marriott County Hall. Tough to beat for a family for a prime location. Great CL and staff!
Thanks Jerry. London is on the list, so I appreciate the tip.
I was hoping for more replies as I'm always more interested to see what others that tend to stay in Marriotts have to say than what you find on Tripadvisor. Other than the Renaissance in Malmo, I think we'll try to avoid Renaissance hotels in Europe in the future. I'm putting some detailed reports on our blog for other families that travel, but I wonder if we're the only crazy ones that pile 4 of us in a room and try to see as much as possible.
Well I have a bit to offer:
Marriott County Hall - highly recommended, but I did note that it says on Tripadvisor that the fire alarms go off a lot, and it happened twice during a week. Beautiful view. Well located. Decent bathroom.
Marriott Marble Arch - very small rooms, so not great for a family. Interesting middle eastern type of area, close to Oxford Street. Took lots of walks. Great Turkish-Iranian restaurant kitty corner from hotel, nice hosts.
Marriott Kensington - the room I was in was big, but I don't know how many others were. No view. Bathroom nice. Laundromat and real supermarket across the street. Tube a few blocks away either direction.
Marriott Windsor (near airport) - not bad, not great, pretty average. Near Legoland, so lots of kids. Need car or bus to get around.
Marriott Heathrow Airport - much better since under new management. Food is hit and miss. Air conditioning pretty useless in the summer, internet recently upgraded. Free local bus service, tube connection to London takes an hour after a short bus ride.
Out of London but in the UK:
Marriott Breadsall Priory - 10 minutes out of the city, beautiful scenery, two golf courses. Maybe not best for a family. Oldest building that is a Marriott in the world.
Marriott Tudor Park - low ceiling hallways, but you get used to it. Rooms are not that big, but bigger than Marriott Marble Arch. Food service "really bad". So-called fancy restaurant makes a "fancy" chicken dinner that is not as good as lunch at Sainsbury's. Waitress was good though. Breakfast is good, don't eat other meals there.
Marriott Amsterdam - reasonably well location. Pathetically slow internet when I was there and very expensive. Refused to pay for it. Rooms normal sized. Ate breakfast there only once, it was okay, not nearly as good as say the Pulitzer.
Courtyard downtown Munich - well located as far as getting around, but in the sort of red light district, but not bad in Germany. Near main rail station. Excellent breakfasts. Comfortable rooms.
Courtyard Colombes (near La Defense, Paris) - a bit out of the way to get to, but you can do it with a bus out of the La Defense metro station. I also walked. Supermarket nearby. Very "French oriented" breakfast (i.e. raw bacon). Rooms not bad.
Last time I was at the County Hall (where I will be again later this week), I had the same problem with the fire alarm and it was actually quite scary because I was in the hall and the hall doors automatically closed around me and I could not get out. Fortunately it only lasted five minutes or so, but it seems counterintuitive if this is based on fire safety.
I really hope that it is recitifed. Trapping you is not a good solution when an alarm goes off.
I do notice in many UK properties that doors close at night, every night. I haven't had any trouble opening them, I'm surprised by your findings. Maybe something got overlooked.
Have a nice time in the UK.
Staying at the Marriott Tudor Park and Marriott Heathrow Airport I lost considerable weight due to the food being unappetizing. Perhaps they should market themselves as a weight loss clinic.
Thanks so much, Jerry! I'll report back. My one problem with the County Hall has always been getting a room early (or even at the check-in time). I've alerted them that my flight arrives at 6:35 tomorrow morning, but they said the hotel is full the night before, so we shall see...
Thank you for the details, particularly about the hotels in London. We haven't been there yet but it sounds like Marriott is well represented with lots of great options. I've heard from others that the Amsterdam Marriott is quite nice. We staye in the Marriott Hotel in Paris and actually enjoyed the fact that it was a little ways from all the action and felt a little bit more like being in a neighborhood. We found ourselves getting up and walking down side streets to find our favorite bakery and not surounded by other American tourists.
We do plan to go to London soon and I appreciate the tips.
You're welcome. Thank you for your posts and information.
One thing to check out in London is the "London Pass". You can get it with or without travel added. Another thing to consider is the Oyster card, which works on the underground, busses, etc. It costs a 5 pound deposit, but you pay a lot less for transportation than if you used cash.
Hotel breakfasts are very expensive. Unless you can get them free or included, it is a decent idea to seek them out elsewhere.
Hope you have a great time in London.
Great post! We, too, are a family that loves to travel. However, we have never been to any of the hotels you reviewed! But, I must say, that we had great luck with the Renaissances in Brussels and Cologne. They upgraded us at both, the CL in Brussels was great, and they both had pools, which was so nice for the kids. Also stayed out in the Courtyard in Frankfort, and the room was a bit worn, there was no air conditioning(and we needed it), and yet, it was connected to a really nice, big spa that we were allowed to use for free...a waterside for the kids, big pools, steam rooms, etc...fantastic! And the hotel was connected to a big outdoor mall as well, which was nice. We would stay at all of these again, and hope that the Courtyard has had a refurbish:)
Thanks again for the post!
We traveled through Europe during summer of 2010 when they had a massive heat wave. Needless to say, hotels that had fans and things for the kids to do close by got a little better ranking. Sounds like Frankfurt would be a great stay with kids. I'm also happy to see the Renaissance brand was represented well in Brussels and Cologne. The brand was so hit and miss for us on our vacation. The Renaissance in Malmo was one of our favorites yet the Renaissance in Vienna was one of our least favorites. We're typically loyal to Marriott, so most of our stays are there and sometimes we took whatever property was available. I ranked them here, but am in the process of writing more detailed reports on our blog along with some of the things we did in each city on our blog. You should check it out. I hope it becomes a place that families that enjoy traveling (besides going to Orlando) will come to and see the world. Eventually we'll put up posts/reviews on trips to Costa Rica, Mexico and Asia. Please check it out: www.worldfamilytravellers.blogspot.com. Please feel free to leave comments on other recommended locations, properties and activities.
Great idea and wonderful pictures!
If you have a MAC, you can take those pictures and stories and make a series of "Books" for around $30 per book. I have done that and given them to people as gifts and they are "Stunned" at how nice they turned out.
You point about the train trip from Zurich to Paris was expensive, is an "Understatement" for prices in Switzerland. I have a formula that equates to things being about 4 times more expensive in Switzerland than in the US (On average).
Thanks again for sharing this information with us.
Funny you say that Jerry because we took this vacation after having lived in Hawaii. We assumed living in Hawaii would prepare us for anything. I had even lived in Sweden for 2 years which is known to be quite expensive. It is beautiful but we were caught off guard. One tip is if there is anything you think you'll need like toiletries, or in our case diapers, be sure to buy it before you cross the border. That said, wow it was beautiful.