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The Westin Indianapolis

 

I was lucky enough to spend five nights at The Westin Indianapolis last week while attending an event hosted by Purdue University at the nearby JW Marriott Indianapolis. As this was my third year attending this event, I opted to stay a few blocks away in the Westin to get away from the crowds; this was no concern in Indianapolis, as the hotels are connected to the Indianapolis Skywalk. The Skywalk links other hotels, restaurants, a shopping mall, Lucas Oil Stadium and many other downtown Indianapolis buildings, meaning I rarely had to step out in the weather.

 

Skywalk

 

I first stayed at The Westin Indianapolis in 2014; in fact, it’s where I first signed up with SPG. The hotel largely looked the way I remembered it, so I don’t believe it’s been refreshed since then; however, it didn’t look rundown or shabby and still came off as relaxed and polished. My room was upgraded from a standard Traditional Guest Room to a King Plaza Suite on the 10th floor. This was partly why I opted to stay at the Westin; in the past two years of staying at the JW Marriott, I’ve only been upgraded from a standard room on a lower floor to one on a higher floor, never to a larger room or a suite, probably due to them being at capacity hosting the conference. Too, I’ve found that former SPG properties still upgrade elites into suites more often than not, as that was something they were doing before the Marriott merger.

 

Living Room

 

Desk

 

The suite I received was clean and spacious with comfortable furnishings. The living room featured a small sofa bed, armchair, ottoman, and end tables; a credenza housing a large television, coffee maker, mini fridge, and drawers for storage; and a work desk and task chair.

 

Bedroom

 

Bedroom

 

The bedroom had a dresser with drawers for storage, two nightstands, an upholstered bench at the foot of the bed, and a television mounted on a swing-arm. I loved having two windows in the room, as they let in a lot of light. Traffic wasn't too loud at night, but I did notice it.

 

Bathroom

 

Foyer

 

The suite featured two closets, one in the bathroom and another in the foyer. It had quite a lot of storage space, more than I needed for my trip, but something I appreciate in a room.

 

I dined in their restaurant on site, Nourish, on the second floor of the restaurant. Years ago it had been Shula’s Steak House, but somewhere along the way it changed. The space is large and overlooks Indiana’s capitol building across the street. Their food was very good and the service was excellent; I ate there more than once, trying different menu items. I tried their steak sandwich (very tender, thinly sliced steak) and vegetarian pasta (extremely flavorful!), and I loved their hamburger (with buttery, toasted bun).

 

Executive Lounge

 

The hotel was quiet during my stay, probably due to the coronavirus pandemic. I’m sure I was one of the last conference attendees last week, as most of the rest have now been cancelled or postponed. During my stay, one of the hotel staff told me the property was only at 9% capacity! I noticed their Executive Lounge (the State Room on their first floor, pictured above) was often empty, so I knew the hotel wasn’t crowded. Even so, operations appeared normal and the staff I encountered were polite and professional.

 

I know from my experiences at this hotel and with its staff that I would be taken care of and looked out for. I would gladly stay at The Westin Indianapolis again in the future.

My partner and I spent three nights at the Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel in Manhattan, New York City, at the end of February. We celebrated my birthday by shopping, sightseeing and eating good food! This was our second stay at this particular property, the first being two years ago. The hotel is located along Canal Street in the Tribeca area and is quite easy to get to, as there are four subway stations within a three block radius of the hotel: the 1 & 2 lines at Canal Street two blocks west of the hotel; the A, C & E lines at Canal Street on the same block as the hotel; the N, Q, R & W lines at Canal Street two blocks east of the hotel; and the 4 & 6 lines at Canal St three blocks east of the hotel. We arrived and departed using the A, C & E lines at the subway station on the same block as the hotel, so walking with our luggage was no issue at all as the hotel is simply around the corner when exiting the station at W Broadway and Lispenard St.

 

We were upgraded from a standard king room to a Club level king room on the 21st floor, the same floor as their Sheraton Club. Our room featured views of eastern Manhattan with Brooklyn beyond.

 

Bedroom

 

Bedroom

 

Bedroom

 

The room had a comfortable armchair, small closet, and plenty of lighting. There was also a small desk, internet-connected TV, and coffee maker.

 

Bathroom

 

The bathroom, while small, was tidy and modern with a walk-in glass shower.

 

The Club is open seven days a week for breakfast in the mornings and hors d’oeuvres and complimentary beer and wine in the evenings. The best part of it, however, is its rooftop terrace with its expansive views: New Jersey and the Hudson River to the west, Manhattan to the north and Canal Street and Brooklyn to the east.

 

Western view

 

Northern view

 

Eastern view

 

At night, the city lights are amazing!

 

Night lights

 

We dined at the hotel’s restaurant, Antica Ristorante, one evening. There were plenty of people seated at the lobby bar, but we had the dining room all to ourselves. The food was delicious and the service was good; I enjoyed their Rigatoni Bolognese.

 

The area around the hotel is very walkable with many, many restaurants and shops nearby in TriBeCa, SoHo, Little Italy and Chinatown. The only downside is that the Canal Street area feels more neglected and downtrodden since our first stay two years ago: we both noticed much more litter in the gutters, more graffiti and more homelessness. At no time did we feel threatened or unsafe; however, we remained watchful and aware of our surroundings. One block north in SoHo, however, seemed totally different, with far less of the aforementioned issues; the same could be said by walking a block or two further south into TriBeCa. So for whatever reason, Canal Street itself was just less pleasant than it had been a few years ago.

 

New York street

 

New York street

 

That being said, I would stay at the Sheraton Tribeca New York Hotel again in the future. The staff is polite, the property is clean and modern, and the surrounding area has a lot to offer.

According to The Buffalo News, Four Points by Sheraton Niagara Falls Fallsview is leaving Marriott and joining Best Western.

 

Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Niagara Falls gets a new brand

Sheraton Midwest City Hotel at the Reed Conference Center will be converting to Delta Hotels by Marriott sometime in 2020. This hotel is located in Midwest City, one of the cities making up Oklahoma City's metropolitan area. As a resident of OKC, I like to keep up with the local news; however, I missed this headline, learning about it instead from TripAdvisor while reading reviews of the property, where I had considered a "staycation" one weekend. (I ultimately passed on the property, due to said reviews!) The property's General Manager responded to a guest's review on November 11, 2019, stating that the hotel would undergo a renovation and conversion beginning in the middle of 2020, noting that such things as a mobile key would be available afterward. I did a quick search on Google and found that the Midwest City council had discussed the matter on May 28, 2019, and the Mustang Paper ran a local story on it August 29, 2019.

 

This will be the first Delta-branded property in the OKC market, and likely will be the first one in Okahoma. At the moment, there are only 39 Delta Hotels properties in the United States, according to Marriott's site. The closest one to me is in the Dallas area, and I've not had a reason to stay at it yet, so I'll be interested to see how the one in Midwest City progresses and look forward to checking it out when the property is full renovated.

This past weekend, my partner and I stayed two nights at the Dallas/Fort Worth Marriott Hotel & Golf Club at Champions Circle north of Fort Worth near the Texas Motor Speedway. This was our first stay at this particular property. The reason for our visit was to attend a ballet in downtown Fort Worth, a 25 minute drive away. Full-service hotels in the center of Fort Worth, while nice, are typically too expensive for what you get, in my opinion; staying 10 or 20 miles north or east of it results in much better prices. The property is undergoing a complete renovation that will last most of the rest of 2020, from what I was told at the front desk. Construction work was ongoing during the day; their website states from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on the weekends, but the front desk associate at check-in told us it was from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. In any case, hammers and saws could be heard in use beginning at 8:00 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday mornings and didn’t stop until sometime around 5:00 p.m. Saturday. This may be an issue for some guests; we were on the fourth floor and it sounded like workers were hammering away only one floor above us, even though it only appeared floors 8 through 10 were under renovation at the time.

 

Rear hotel view

 

I had reserved a basic king room and emailed the front desk manager ahead of time to inquire about the property, amenities, and the possibility of an upgrade. I learned parking was complimentary (always a plus), the concierge lounge was closed on the weekends but breakfast for elites was provided in the restaurant (via a voucher for two), and I was told I would receive a newly renovated room (though not a suite, as they were unavailable). The front desk manager was polite and professional, and I appreciated her insight and hospitality.

 

Rear entrance

 

When we checked in Friday night, it was around 9:00 p.m. The front desk associate had great energy and a very customer-service oriented attitude. She thanked me for my elite status and got the keys to our room ready (for the renovated room, I presume). However, she checked inventory and noticed that a suite was available and gave us the option of staying in it; my partner immediately said yes and so did I. She keyed new cards, told us about the renovation, breakfast, and all the other details and sent us up to the fourth floor with a small gift bag of bottled waters.

 

Foyer

 

Living Room

 

The suite we were given was large and clean. I could see why the hotel is renovating, but overall the furnishings and room was in good condition. Our suite featured a powder room off the foyer and a living and dining area beyond that. The sofa featured a pull-out bed and the room had a refrigerator and microwave. A large separate bedroom had ample seating, a dresser and desk unit, a closet and dressing area, and a large bathroom with a soaking tub and separate shower. It was actually a very nice suite and one we enjoyed.

 

Bedroom

 

Bedroom

 

Bathroom

 

Breakfast in the restaurant was buffet style with an omelet station. The omelet chef was very friendly and engaging with the guests. The buffet featured scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon and pork sausage, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal with toppings, pastries and croissants, breads for toasting and topping with butter, fresh fruit and cereals with milk. It was a very nice buffet. Service in the restaurant was a little slow our first morning, but better the second day. As we weren’t in any hurry, we didn’t mind, and since it was the weekend a leisurely breakfast wasn’t going to put a dent in our plans. Afterward, we walked around the lobby and stepped outside.

 

Lobby seating

 

The hotel features extensive grounds and must look great in the summer when the trees have their leaves. I can imagine their pool gets busy when the Texas heat starts up!

 

Outdoor chess

 

I would stay at this property again in the future, though probably after their renovation is through. However, if the price is right, I wouldn’t mind hearing a few hammers in the morning and taking advantage of their breakfast buffet and free parking.

My partner and I stayed at the Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown – Bricktown hotel this past New Year’s Eve for a single night. We live in Oklahoma City and decided to splurge a little for a night out on the town. I made a reservation for one of their corner suites featuring a king bed, separate living/dining area (with sofa bed), whirlpool tub and balcony. The Aloft is relatively new, still, having been finished in 2014, and has not been renovated since then. I put my parents up in the same type of suite for their 40th wedding anniversary a few years ago and they raved about the choice. My partner and I have also frequented the W XYZ bar on past occasions, so we were familiar with the property. Its location straddles Deep Deuce and Bricktown, two hip areas just east of Oklahoma City’s downtown featuring many restaurants, bars, and expensive townhomes. We had reservations at a restaurant within walking distance from the hotel, and I hoped to see the New Year’s fireworks from our balcony later in the evening. Note that parking is in an onsite structure and costs $17.00 per night; there is no valet option.

 

I did not call ahead or email the hotel in advance of my stay; I knew that by reserving a suite I was already guaranteeing that I’d get the “upgrade” I wished for. I didn’t want to chance anything with it being NYE, and I figured the hotel would be busy with revelers due to its hip vibe and location. However, I was really blown away when I saw I had been upgraded to their bi-level suite, a room labelled the “Celebrity Suite” when the hotel opened as part of SPG. It’s a 1,900 square foot, two-story space that features an attached room for bodyguards (the room was originally envisioned to house celebrities from the worlds of country music and professional basketball along with their entourages). I remember reading about it in the Oklahoman (our local newspaper) when the hotel opened, as the single-piece curving stairway had to be installed through the roof by crane! The room used to go for $1,000+ nightly, so to be upgraded into it without any expectation was a huge surprise for me.

 

Staircase

 

Foyer

 

Night foyer

 

The room featured sweeping views of downtown Oklahoma City to the west and north and had a long balcony accessible from the bedroom. The bedroom was on the first floor of the suite (the fifth floor of the hotel) and featured typical minimal Aloft styling with a lot of black-out curtains on the windows. The bed was very comfortable, though the bedding was a little lightweight (I prefer the heavier duvets found in Sheratons, Westins and Marriotts).

 

Bedroom

 

Bedroom

 

Night balcony

 

Oklahoma City

 

The bathroom was open to the first floor living and dining areas, a choice I found to be odd but in keeping with Aloft’s funky design. There was a large vanity with two sinks, a refrigerator, the usual Aloft cubbyholes and closet area, room safe, and a sliding barn-door separating the whirlpool tub, walk-in shower and toilet. The shower area was dark, as there were no windows, and the lighting inside it was dim (or maybe moody?). The whirlpool tub and toilet area had a frosted window to the bedroom, which let in light but allowed privacy.

 

Bathroom entrance

 

Tub

 

The first floor dining and living areas were functional and decorated well; an attached room was located off the living area, but it was closed and locked. The second floor spaces offered terrific views and were even nicer. Up the curving staircase was a large dining table and sofa sectional with additional seating. The glass walls let in a lot of light and made the space seem even larger. Both the sofa downstairs and the one upstairs featured pull-out beds.

 

First floor living

 

Second floor living

 

Second floor living

 

The roof-top bar and lounge on the 6th floor of the hotel was open for NYE and music could easily be heard through the wall in the suite’s foyer/first floor dining area. However, from the bedroom the noise was muted and did not disturb us. I don’t know if the roof-top bar and lounge is always open (it is separate from the W XYZ bar on the hotel’s first floor), but if you’re a light sleeper it may be an issue to watch out for.

 

Oklahoma City

 

If you’re ever in Oklahoma City for a night or two, I wouldn’t hesitate recommending the Aloft Oklahoma City Downtown – Bricktown. And if you happen to stay in their two-story suite, make sure to enjoy it!

As usual, I booked my room using Marriott.com with a feeling of comfort knowing that Marriott would meet or beat other website's rates for their own rooms.  Soon that comfort became a feeling of irritation as I looked for fun at Expedia.com.  Amazingly, they had a lower rate.  No worries, I simply completed a claim.  The claim came back as 'denied' because one of the nights I had was lower than the rate from Expedia, but the other nights were not.  On average, I was paying significantly more on my stay by using Marriott's website.  I called the Elite line hoping that this matter would be quickly resolved.  I spoke with a representative that connected me with her supervisor that stated she was a "Corporate Supervisor."  I felt that my matter would be resolved; however, she stated she didn't know much about the program/claim process, couldn't help me, and then hung up on me.  It was a very interesting response and performance from a supervisor.  Therefore, as one would guess, the Best Rate Guarantee is truly a marketing ploy to have customers fall into a false sense of security.  Buyer Beware--check all of the other websites to make sure you are getting a fair price.  Most importantly, please avoid that helpful supervisor in your future interactions with Marriott.

j512cla

Disputing TIER NIGHTS

Posted by j512cla Dec 19, 2019

I have attempted to reach out through phone and social media to file a dispute. This concern pertains to a two night stay at Cosmopolitan Marriott Las Vegas. With as much as I stay at Cosmopolitan and with as much I paid to enjoy Wicked Spoon, STK and the Juice Bar, and as much as I gamble I earned either complimentary stays or discounted room rates, in order to earn you must also sign up as a Cosmopolitan Identity Member. Being both Marriott and Identity Member. Oh by the way, you are allowed to transfer your marriott points over to Identity to gamble! I have been told because I’m a Platinum member which I get recognized for at Marriott Cosmopolitan I’m given bottles of water, Wi-Fi is a given. Now that you’ve been brief.  

. I totally understand I am not earning points for Comp Stays but I was informed by the staff at Cosmo at Checkin and upon checking out,  I would only earn my Tier night stays. I was reading your section: A “Stay” is a stay of one or more consecutive nights at the same Participating Property by a Member who: (A) provides his/her Membership Number at the time of reservation or at check-in; (B) pays a Qualifying Rate or redeems a Points redemption Award or a “PROMOTIONAL Award”for the stay; and (C) stays in one of the reserved guest rooms. If a Member checks out of a guest room and then checks back in to a guest room at the same Participating Property within 24 hours, it will count as a single stay for purposes of calculating Stays and issuing Member benefits. 
On ( B)a promotional stay, isn’t my nights of Oct 30-Nov 1st consider the meaning of promotional stays? 

I presented my credit card, along with my Marriott Rewards number as stated in section A and definitely abide to section C as well. On Monday I spoke to Brandon and Delorea in Guest Services and stated they would look into it as well. Delorea, stated this happens a lot with Marriott Bonvoy members and their identity members. For future and to clarify if I earned comp nights they be useless if I can’t earn my Tier nights and not earn any benefits by staying at Cosmopolitan, is that correct?  Did this change upon the merger with SPG

Once again, A “Stay” is a stay of one or more consecutive nights at the same Participating Property by a Member who: (A) provides his/her Membership Number at the time of reservation or at check-in; (B) pays a Qualifying Rate or redeems a Points redemption Award or a “PROMOTIONAL Award” for the stay; and (C) stays in one of the reserved guest rooms.

Prior to booking and reserving the room I contacted Marriott Elite Platinum Guest Care Supervisor Tawanda  to confirm if I would earn TIER NIGHT STAYS, she 110% assured me. So then I contacted directly Cosmopolitan and booked my room, at that time I asked again.  Was told I would not earn points but I should earn nights stays. My reply was if I had known after all these years I could be earning TIER nights stays, I would definitely make it a point to be in Vegas every two-three months and never had a clue I could use my comp nights and still earn at least TIER Nights to go towards my elite status. Now for sure I would make it a point to do so. Upon, my arrival on Oct 30 through Nov 1, 2019 my nightmare would start.  When checking in the gentleman at guest services made sure my marriott rewards number was on my room, and so I can earn TIER night stays, no points, no bonus points just TIER nights to go towards my rewards. He assured me!!!!’  Upon, checking out the front desk lady once again assured me. So from a Supervisor at Guest care to the hotel every single person stated the same thing, 6 yes 6 people all told me the same!!!! Then upon my return I noticed I NEVER got my Tier nights. 

Please review and comply to my Tier nights stays to be earned so I can renew my Platinum Status. Much appreciated and consideration 

Sincerely 

JoAnn L

Texas 

286151222

Receipt Frustration!

Posted by 286151222 Dec 10, 2019

Extremely frustrated that I cannot pull a receipt on this website.  The hotel was supposed to email the receipt to me and failed to do so and when I called them this morning, their systems were down.  Instead of asking for my information, they advised me to try to call back later.  I then go to my Bonvoy account and cannot locate my receipt.  If Bonvoy can get all this other content on their website, why can they not get the basics done for their loyal customers?

bajcpa

Still nobody home at Marriott

Posted by bajcpa Sep 18, 2019

Re: yesterday’s post about my broken window - still no response from Marriott. The claims department has my phone number...hey! I’ll bet their phones are out of order!  Surely, any company which cares about it’s customers would respond timely to a legitimate complaint, right? Right?  

bajcpa

Marriott, where are you?

Posted by bajcpa Sep 17, 2019

 On August 22, my wife and I stayed at the Courtyard in Goodlettsville, TN. At 2:30 AM we were awakened by a loud 

pounding on our door. It was the Goodlettsville Police Department, informing us that our car window had been broken, along with 7 or 8 others. After talking with Detective Baker, we understand that this is not an uncommon occurrence and that the hotel has declined to provide security. The assistant GM, Michael Norris, has been very accommodating, and has referred the matter to the claims department, but in the intervening three weeks, the claims people refuse to call me back.  Now, you know that the common defense is,”There is a sign posted that states we have no liability...” .  There are many court decisions which hold that liability cannot be disclaimed by such a sign, and that this position is a violation of public policy. What Marriott needs to understand is that I am not going to go away. I have a bill for $345 for window replacement, and I insist that I be reimbursed. My final remedy, of course, is simply to never stay with Marriott again. As a long-time Gold member, I really expected better treatment.  I may need to turn this matter over to my attorney son, who is the meanest, nastiest junkyard lawyer you have ever seen. If I do take that step, someone at Marriott is going to have a very bad experience.

j512cla

Tokyo Reservations

Posted by j512cla Aug 12, 2019

The schedule is now open for Tokyo Olympics but not allowing us to search for our hotel. I contacted reservation and they have no clue why no hotels are showing availability. I also have been saving all my points to book my rooms. Is this going to be an option? I was able to do so for Río’s Olympics. 

kenluk5

Mitsubishi Thermostat

Posted by kenluk5 Aug 11, 2019

Spring Hill Suites - Mitsubishi Thermostat 

This darn thing is miserable.  It is set to heat on Aug 10th.  Seriously...  can’t make the room get any cooler b/c it will not switch from Heat to AC.  Hope you enjoy your room at 74/75 degrees.  We tried to set it at 68.  No dice.  Has not been below 73 and since you are unable to turn the AC on, it is a warm 73.  Ugh...

cajunprince

Riley Family Travels

Posted by cajunprince Jul 11, 2019

My family and I love to travel. I have been traveling all over since I was two years old growing up in Louisiana. My father worked for Texaco at that time one of the Biggest Oil Filed Companies. He had us traveling all over this beautiful country at the age of two years. Now I find myself traveling with my family like my father did for my brother and sister and mother. I think traveling all over is very good for kids it makes them well rounded and cultured meeting new people and seeing new places. Also give them the experience in traveling they can always say I have been there and seen this place or that place. In our travels we always stayed at a Marriott maybe Holiday Inn Nine times out of ten we were in Marriott Hotels. So I love Marriott Brands. Now my wife loves Marriott and she is always looking to see where to travel to next. In this blog I will share a few places.

#rileyfamilytravel

On July 4th, we officially celebrate the birth of our nation (United States of America) and what better way to celebrate than heading over to our nation's capitol and experiencing it for yourself.  Take in the museums, monuments, and explore our diverse and rich culture. Lounge on the national mall and see the fireworks display over the city.  Its a great experience.  I have been fortunate enough to do this several times.

 

Its a real shame that for some unknown reason the latest issue of Marriott Bonvoy Traveler: https://traveler.marriott.com/tips-and-trends/where-to-celebrate-fourth-of-july-weekend-getaway/ titled "Where to Celebrate the Red, White and Blue on a July 4th Weekend Getaway" did not even mention our nation's capitol?  That was very disappointing.

 

There are plenty of great Marriott Hotels to stay in Washington D.C.  I have much enjoyed staying here:

 

  1. The JW Marriott Washington Hotel Near White House - National Mall | JW Marriott Washington, DC
  2. The historic Mayflower Boutique Hotel Washington, D.C. | The Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection
  3. The downtown Weston Downtown Washington, D.C. Hotels | The Westin Washington, D.C. City Center 

 

If you cant make it for the July 4th celebration, Washington D.C. is still a great place to visit anytime to learn about our nation and how it works today.