Marriot’s Hotel Experiences During Christmas 2017 (Brief)

During our ’17 Christmas trip to Florida, we stayed at two Marriott’s. One was in Atlanta for late night and early breakfast and another was for a few nights while we surveyed the real estate market in Clearwater Beach, FL. To clarify, the Marriott in Clearwater Beach had a better location being minutes from the beach but being a Marriott’s Residence Inn, was a level or so below the Atlanta’s Marriott.

Downtown Marriott Atlanta’s Circular Driveway

Marriott downtown Atlanta has a beautiful circular driveway for loading and unloading and includes the option for valet parking. It’s wide enough to handle most traffic and is covered to address in-climate weather.

However, there’s a huge waterfall in the middle of loading and unloading zone. The problem is noise, you can’t hear very well as the loud sound of moving water drowns out conversation, making it necessary to shout or yell or lean into someone to whom you’re speaking. Part of the noise can be attributed to the half moon design of the drop off area creating an echo sound. Wonder if that was considered by designers during the fountain development? Really, it’s beautiful but perhaps not in that location. Could they redesign the flow of water to reduce the noise, much like white noise to improve the communication between hotel staff and guests?

Parking Option at the Downtown Marriott Atlanta

As of late 2017, this downtown Marriott hotel charges $45 for daily valet parking. With the tip, it’s at least half a Benjamin per day. If you want to avoid the fee, you can park next door for $25 which is literally next door – a five minute walk away. My philosophy, if I have the mental or physical ability to easily save $20, sign me up. Anyway, their parking situation avoids any semblance of flexibility, wonder if the term “guests” is handled loosely.

Hotel Accommodations at the Downtown Marriott Atlanta

Our experience at the Downtown Marriott was fine, we had just driven almost 1000 miles that day and just wanted a drink and chow and the ability to relax. Our family secured two rooms, however, our daughters’ room was not ready, it appeared that housekeeping had not properly cleaned the room in time. Standing on the 23rd floor, time to take the circular elevator down back to check-in. Staff handled the situation well and provided us with coupons to use in the restaurant which was a good touch. I enjoy their sensitivity in the matter and helped supplement the expensive cost of drinks and dinner.

Our room was fine although challenges with the remote. Things could be simpler to quickly take a glance at the TV but I digress. Linen and bathroom was clean although they were absent many hooks in the bathroom to make the morning and evening routine more comfortable. I did notice dirty windows at chest level with many smudges as I looked out over downtown Atlanta the Sunday before Christmas. To see how well the maids do, I look at higher points to see how often things are cleaned. I did notice the phone area was quite dirty. Only two shower towels for two queen beds. Same old sweetener choices. Conservation versus preservation why not reduce plastic and instead of Styrofoam and have paper cups instead.

The breakfast was dynamite. It was a full spread of various cheeses, a chief ready to make omelet’s, plenty of fruit, extensive cereal selection, hard boiled and scrambled eggs, and a nice selection of yogurt. I remind myself of this luxurious breakfast as this isn’t commonplace. I also remind myself that having this type of breakfast too frequent makes it too common so I become spoiled. Not all hotel breakfasts are designed or displayed the same.

Breakfast at the Clearwater Marriott Residence Inn

At the Marriott Residence Inn in Clearwater, I reviewed and sampled unsweetened orange juice, hash browns mixed with sausage, running oatmeal, good tasting scrambled eggs and non ripe strawberries were on the menu. Ripe grapes were on the menu but were battered and had a very limited shelf life. There was a long line for waffles which was baffling to me. Their cereal choices ranged from fruit loops to raisin bran. With that limited choice, I’ll choose raisin bran, especially if I’m travelling but it’s still not a perfect choice. I believe sugar is the second or third ingredient in raisin bran so in my mind of wanting to avoid sugar, it’s still the lesser of two evils.

The breakfast dining area is open from 6 until 9 am. Mind you, it’s a zoo from 7 until 9 and much beyond. Actually not a real zoo but very busy and chaotic. I saw staff except guests until almost 9:30 am. Not sure if that’s typical or the madness only occurs during prime season. Anyway the wait staff drifted by our table and ask me if we found everything which is a nice gesture so I asked in the cereal space, whether they had muesli ever available. She looked at me puzzled and had never heard of it before. At that point, I knew her lack of knowledge indicated they didn’t have that. Should I expect most large hotels to either provide muesli or know what it is?

At the Clearwater Residence Inn, for breakfast, they appear to have biodegradable plates and bowls but all the items appear to land in the trash and sent to the landfill? If it’s biodegradable, will they go through the trash later and separate items? Will some be for the landfill and others will be recycled? If the majority is wasted, it reminds me of many fast food restaurants. Meals where you may spend 10 to 15 minutes together and generate a few small bags of waste. There are some healthier choices with fast food that I’m aligned to patronize but often it’s a tough swallow when so much waste is consumed and it appears this is not reused or recycled.

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