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10 Marriott properties I want to visit

Discussion in 'Marriott' started by italdesign, Oct 5, 2017.

  1. italdesign

    italdesign Level 2 Member

    Of all mainstream hotel programs, Marriott has most consistently raised categories of sweet spots every year. That means sweet spots are evaporating at a faster rate than other programs. Yet, because they had so many sweet spots in the lower categories, there remain great deals today after years of brutal devaluation. As with my list for SPG, I would like to share 10 Marriott hotels that are high value, low redemption, and with interesting location (to me). All but tw0 are cat1-2. As a low-end deal-seeker, this is probably my favorite hotel program overall.

    1. Protea Kruger Gate
    Learned this from Nick @ Frequent Miler from his epic South Africa trip. Can't believe this is a cat1 - incredible deal. Still, I plan to stay mostly in the park when I visit, because of the early morning and night drive opportunities that are only available when staying inside the park boundary.

    2. JW Marriott Baku
    Might be the best value in the system. This is a very expensive five star hotel and it's only a cat2. Baku looks mildly interesting, with more interesting stuff farther out (e.g. Yanar Dag).

    3. Mulu Marriott Resort
    Surrounded by Borneo rainforest inside Mulu National Park, home of the largest cave chamber in the world. Area seems quite touristy but offers incredible adventure caving and hiking opportunities. Bonus: this resort offers free breakfast to Gold.

    4. Courtyard Hangzhou Wulin
    Might not seem particularly interesting - except it had what I consider to be the BEST service I ever received in a hotel. EVERYONE went above and beyond for me, a mere Silver at the time. I stayed in the much better located Hyatt Regency before this, and the service here ABSOLUTELY blows away the five star HR. I'd stay here in a heartbeat whenever I'm in town (despite the mediocre location for sightseeing), and Hangzhou is a very nice town.

    5. SpringHill Suites Kalispell
    Brand new, suites-only hotel near Glacier National Park, which everyone raves about. A bit far from the heart of the park, but closer to other sights like Flathead Lake and Whitefish. The area just seems incredible.

    6. Towneplace Suites Detroit Commerce
    I stay here whenever I'm in the Detroit/Ann Arbor area. It used to be a cat1, now cat2 (only 2.5k more per night, no biggie). It's brand new and VERY comfortable all around. Rooms facing highway has a view of Long Park, a nice place to see migratory birds. Love the Iranian food in nearby Farmington [Hills].

    7. Courtyard Bremen
    Nice looking cat2 in historic, little-visited German town.

    8. TownePlace Suites Las Cruces
    I love Las Cruces. Between Organ Mountains, White Sands National Monument, and the lack crowd, it's one of my favorite parts of the country. People are slowly taking notice, and hotels are adjusting (moved from cat1 to cat2).

    9. Courtyard Sha Tin
    HK is expensive, and this is a cat3 in HK. Nuff said. Between the large-scale breakfast (free for Gold. I love Asia) and admiring marvelous man-made architecture amid splendid mountain ranges, I really enjoyed my 1 night stay in the New Territories. It went up to cat4, then back down to cat3.

    10. JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay
    And now, we come to perhaps my #1 want-to-visit hotel, for relaxation anyway. It's higher @ cat5, but it seems so unique and luxurious that even a cheapskate like me is willing to shell out a little more for the experience. Plus, you can cover it with either a CC anniversary free night or travel package nights. HT again to Nick @ Frequent Miler, where I first heard about it. Bonus: this resort gives free breakfast to Gold.

    Do you have another cat1-2 gem you'd like to share?
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  2. GettingReady

    GettingReady Level 2 Member

    There’s even a few on your list that I might make it to!
     
  3. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    I stayed here just two weeks ago! 4 nights total. However, award availability was only there for our last night, and the cash price was all over the place. Expedia offered the hotel much cheaper than Marriott online (don't recall the price diff) but even then it was expensive - $300 a night. That included their elaborate outdoor buffet dinner and apparently their early-morning boxed safari breakfast kits for 2.

    I also was influenced by Nick @ FM's post. With the confusing array of offerings available (I thought so, at least) it seemed so safe to pick a relatively snotty Marriott. You can't beat a thorough trip report! My wife was happy. And it was honestly a 3 minute drive to the entrance gate and another 1 minute or so to the registration office. We also shoved plastic bags in the crack at the bottom of the door as, per his observation, the crack was significant. We didn't see any bugs in the room.

    The award night price was unbelievable at 2500 SPG -> 7500 Marriott. Note that I kept checking back for awards to become available for any of our paid nights. Instead of this happening, ALL availability disappeared and never came back. Even close in, I looked to see about options to modify one day but there was nothing. Every night we were there a new group tour came in and took most of the rooms. Apparently for 1 night each, but the flow seemed endless.

    This place isn't huge. It's like 2 floors, with the bottom floor not having as many rooms as the top. We were at the end of one of 2 rows on the top floor in 218. So, perhaps 50-60 rooms? Their web page probably says.

    If we did it again (and we might) we might opt to stay in the park, now that we know what this is about. However, if award nights were available at that time, the PKG Protea would see us again. The real benefit of being inside the park is skipping the entrance registration line. We waited 30 minutes one (weekend) day to pay the fee and get our pass. However, once inside the park we never had to drive far to see animals. They are everywhere! If you are in a camp inside the park, you just wait for their gate to open and the whole line exists in order ... probably in 3-4 minutes tops even if you were last in line. Plus, you are deeper inside the park. HOWEVER, I didn't really feel disadvantaged by staying at this hotel. We saw so much.

    There was also a line to exit the park, where they needed to look in your trunk and scan you out. Not sure how this works entering an internal camp. I assume there is none of this. Anybody?

    Tip: if you are staying at this hotel for more than one night (or arriving daytime the day before entering the park), go to the registration office and get enough forms for each day. They ask for tons of info and it saved us time on a couple of days (but not all) to have them pre-filled when we got there.

    We had a small batch of laundry done there and it came out perfectly and was super cheap.

    I'll have a trip report shortly. Almost done. Perhaps end of this weekend.

    We were in that area in Sept 2015 but stayed in the Holiday Inn first and last nights. Nothing to write home about, but it functioned as a gateway in and out of the park. The park was one of our favorites ... many bears and beautiful landscapes. In fact, we recommended this park as THE park to go to for grizzly bears to a SA couple we met on one of our Safari side-trips. The Canadian park right over the border and butting up against Glacier is also worth considering for a short visit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2017
  4. italdesign

    italdesign Level 2 Member

    Pls pls pls tell me you didn't pay out of pocket.

    Other than that, great info! Sounds like a great time.
     
  5. knick1959

    knick1959 Level 2 Member

    Ya, I did. I do points where ever I can, but the trip and the destination are the key. Now, we did score 2 Arrival+ cards for this trip, so I did pay for all of the extra expenses with the travel credits from those. I can't say specific which charges without looking. However, I AM guilty of paying the price for 3 nights one way or another.
     

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