While my wife & I have loved our downtown JW Marriott for quite sometime we had never actually stayed at the hotel. Our love for the property was sparked by numerous dining experiences that were exceptional, as well as some relationships that were formed with various staff members at the property. However, we finally got around to staying at the hotel as guests just a handful of nights ago (12/23-12/24) and were completely thrilled with our experience.
I booked our 1-night stay direct through Marriott and reserved a Concierge Level Superior Guest Room since my wife & I have grown quite fond of hotel lounges. I checked-in via mobile app about 24-hours prior to our arrival only to discover that we had been upgraded to a Suite, which was a really nice surprise.
Even though the hotel itself only offers valet parking, I chose to utilize the garage that is connected to, but not affiliated with, the hotel. $25 for 24-hours is better than the $40+/night valet fee the hotel offers.
As soon as we arrived to the hotel I went to the front desk to get one physical key card. The gentleman who helped us (Oscar) was very pleasant and engaging. Everyone we dealt with was courteous and professional, from the valets to the front-of-house managers to the agents at the front desk.
Aside from a recent stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin, it had been quite some time since I had last stayed in a suite. As such, I was particularly jazzed up to have the extra space to relax in. Our room was located on the 13th floor and overlooked Main Street and Rusk. In addition to the spacious sitting area, our room also had a stunning bathroom. Modern and contemporary with an understated elegance, it was quite large and was marked by its noticeably open, airy design. I especially liked the shower alcove and the bathtub.
The Griffin Lounge:
Right after we got situated in our room, we headed down to the Griffin Lounge, which is located on the 11th floor on the Concierge Level. It was late afternoon when we arrived to the hotel so by the time we got to the lounge they were serving their evening hors d'oeuvres. The two ladies who were running the lounge that evening were both pleasant and seemed to enjoy their jobs. My wife & I, along with our 10-month old son, spent a substantial amount of time relaxing in the lounge while eating, drinking, and letting our son watch the hustle & bustle on the streets down below. We decided to skip out on doing a full dinner that evening (either at the hotel or elsewhere) and ended up just eating our fill of hors d'oeuvres in the lounge, instead.
The following morning, we woke up early (young parent life) and went to the lounge for Breakfast. I really enjoyed the buffet spread they offered, and I found most items to be quite delicious and of reasonable quality. While the lounge had a very light crowd the evening before, it was quite busy for Breakfast. Due to sheer size of the lounge, however, this heavy Breakfast crowd still did not fill up the ample gathering space. This JW's Griffin Lounge truly is large and very accommodating.
Additional Food & Drinks:
Even though we dined in the lounge for both Dinner and Breakfast we still found time to enjoy some drinks at 806 Lounge, as well as nab some room service. Every single time I visit this JW I order at least one (but usually 2-3) of their outstanding 806 Maggie cocktails, which I find to be one of the most "crushable" cocktails in the city. As such, my wife & I spent about 2-hours at 806 Lounge after light-bites in the Griffin Lounge. Later that evening my wife ordered us one of my favorite dishes in the city for room service: Main Kitchen's Buffalo Cauliflower. She also ordered us each a glass of bubbles.
Late night sweets left by Housekeeping
A Wonderful Surprise:
While my wife & I were in the middle of winding our son down for a nap I received a message on Instagram from the downtown JW's social media team. They were reaching out to me to see if I was still on-site because they needed me to collect something special that I had won. That's when the realization hit me! I had entered an online giveaway they were sponsoring and had won, but completely failed to realize it when they announced my name several days ago. And there I was staying at the hotel, days after having been announced as the winner, and totally oblivious. I ended up winning two (2) tickets to the Texas Bowl game (OSU v. A&M) and a free night's stay at the hotel. Talk about a sweet (and unexpected) surprise!
Even though this JW lacks a variety of amenities like a pool and multiple onsite dining options, it more than makes up for this with its luxurious accommodations, friendly service, quality food & beverage program, excellent location, and a wonderful executive lounge. Now that I have finally stayed at this property, I can say it's certainly my favorite hotel in Houston.