After having worked several times in their conference rooms, having taken advantage of their bar and restaurant a few times (both flying out myself and seeing out/greeting other travellers), it was my first time renting a room here.
I originally had some pictures than presented here, but upon boarding my flight the next day, my Android decided by itself to upgrade the operating system and I can't find some of the pictures (they were possibly in my internal storage, which was cleared completely).
We arrived by car and decided to come up the ramp to the front door to unload our luggage, check in at the front desk and see how the parking is to be arranged. We've booked a package deal of one night in the hotel, but with 8 nights of parking. Only self parking is included, so no valet.
It was around 4 PM when we arrived. First of all: no valet personnel to greed us or offer us to take care of the luggage. I know that they need to move between a lot of floors and it makes them understaffed. However, this time, during my entire stay I've never seen the valet desk being manned.
Going up to the front desk, we've found three employees and no clients, so we decided to simply walk to the closest employee (Elite line was the furthest one). The woman was overall friendly, but didn't mention my Elite status (as the scripts normally dictate), which is normally my cue to ask for any additional benefits, such as a possible complimentary upgrade (so far I've been upgraded to a slightly bigger room at every stay this year, despite only being Silver Elite). Our access cards were the standard cards in stead of elite cards, same for the little paper sleeve for the cards. Not that I care that much though. I've seen other patrons walking with elite-themed cards, so I'd like to assume they only placed them at the elite front desk rather than thinking the employee ignored my elite status.
On top of that, the 8 night parking "deal" uses a promo code to get booked, so it can't be combined with any real promotions. Upon calling the Elite Reservations line, I asked if they could throw in some other perks to make up for it, which the lady added to the notes in my reservation, but couldn't make any promises as the local hotel as the last word in this. It seems that we didn't get any perks at all: no upgrade, no lounge access, no restaurant credit.... nothing.
The room was very tasteful and clean. We were positioned on the front side of the hotel, so very little sound from airplanes taking off. During the day the view may not be that spectacular, but the night-time view makes up for it.
Impression from Marriott's own photo album:
The desk features a connection panel to hook-up your own equipment (laptop, portable DVD player...) to the television. This is becoming a new standard and I absolutely love this feature! I often use it to watch downloaded tv series on the room's television in stead of on my small laptop screen and crappy speakers. I haven't used it on this stay though.
The bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a frosted window, making daylight come into the bathroom. It's a nice touch, but if ever you need to use the bathroom during the night, you might wake up your partner when you turn on the light. Furthermore, the shower doesn't have a door and we've found out that there is quite an amount of water that can poor down the wrong side of the threshold. Make sure to sacrifice an extra towel to absorb the water!
The only weird thing: no hair blow dryer in the room? (We didn't need it, so we didn't ask questions.)
The closet in the room is humongous! Definitely plenty of storage place for the mrs. to hang all of her wardrobe.
The Concierge Lounge
Unfortunately we weren't given complimentary access, so can't review the lounge.
This is definitely one of the big perks of this hotel! It's not one of the biggest pools (don't think about doing crawl or butterfly laps), but there's hardly anyone using it, the salt water is a nice touch and the hot tub is great. And more so: an amazing view!
N.B. For the physically challenged: although there isn't a pool lift, there is a wheelchair lift to get to up the few steps to pool level.
It's open daily until 11 PM.
Here's a panoramic picture that I shot around 10 PM:
There is also a 24h work-out gym and a spa (AltiSpa) on site.
The bar / restaurant
The lobby features the Bijou resto | bar. Opens every day at 6:30 AM and they serve meals until 10 PM, while the bar stays open until midnight. A little weird they don't serve lunch on weekends (according to their website). Having an early flight? Room service can bring your breakfast up for 6 AM if you pre-order it (see the menu in the room).
The big secret for the locals that want to waive off their family and friends is that the Marriott gives you 4 hours of valet parking or indoor self parking for free when you have a drink and/or a bite at Bijou. Not only is this resto-bar a lot more quiet than the bars in the public departures hall, but they have a nice menu including microbrews and it saves paying 37$ parking fees. Especially if valet agrees leaving your car parked at the front door, you don't have to be too precise on the 4 hours.
As expected from any resto-bar at such a prime location, prices are above average. Going for à la carte dining including wine/beer and sharing a dessert will easily make a starting figure of 100$ plus taxes on your restaurant check.
Any other thoughts?
We had a 7:40 AM flight, so we wanted to check in our luggage around 06 AM, then go back for breakfast at Bijou and check out of the hotel.
Air Canada allows printing boarding passes and luggage tags at self-serve kiosks 12 hours before departure. Since the hotel is directly sticked to the US departures terminal (no need to go outside), we printed our passes and luggage tags by ourselves in the as-good-as-empty US departures terminal right after dinner and brought them to our room to save precious time at the luggage drop-off counters the next morning.
I must admit that I was slightly disappointed that my Elite status wasn't recognized, nor that it seemed that nobody at the hotel acknowledged the request from Marriott Elite Reservations to give me some perks to make up for the missing option to combine the parking "promo" with some actual promo (not even a "Members' only rate" available for the parking combo). Also, it seemed that the hotel wasn't busy at all, so it wouldn't have costed the hotel anything extra to give us a slightly bigger room.
However, the hotel offers a great amount of perks being an "in-terminal" hotel and especially for one night we had everything we needed.
We will definitely consider staying here if we need to fly out this early again in the future.