A Year with Marriott Gold destination: Courtyard Avondale, Arizona

It’s April 22nd and I am in Arizona Avondale to be specific at the Courtyard Marriott. On my year journey with gold I have noticed at the Courtyard your status does not matter or that is the way it appears. It’s rare from what I can determine to be upgraded.   This the 4th time I have stayed at a Courtyard and I the breakfast that comes with Gold is usually not available at the Courtyard.   At this hotel I was not even thanked for being Gold.

The young woman at the desk was very nice though and made my check in easy. The hotel itself is very nice and looks new. Everything is well appointed and decorated. The Lobby is large and nicely decorated.  Ajacent to the Lobby is the business center with plenty of computers.  It is conveniently close to the Bistro for that morning cup of coffee, breakfast or pastry.   For the business center I did not check to see if there was a charge so I am not sure about that.

I used several of the hotel amenities and I will review each in order of use. My first was the Bistro which is open for breakfast and dinner. I visited it for both breakfast and for dinner. For breakfast my grandchildren joined me and we basically ordered ala carte. The staff seemed a little overwhelmed maybe although it did not seem that busy. Having worked in food and beverage I feel I have a little better eye than most. What might have happened is they just slowed down and were in catch up mode.

The Bistro serves Starbucks Coffee but did not really seem very familiar with the Starbucks sizing or drinks. I gave them my Starbucks mug and they were not sure exactly what to charge me. They decided it should be a Grande. The staff itself was friendly but not exceeding to excellent. I really never felt at anytime anyone went above and beyond. Yet they were ok. I felt no different than if I had went to Denny’s to eat.

My next amenity to use was the pool. It was beautiful, very appropriately laid out and large for a smaller hotel. I used the pool and the Jacuzzi both were immaculate and I give credit to the grounds crew for it. There were towels available and beautiful lawn chairs and at that time we were the only guest there. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

For the evening of the first night I used the internet using the high speed access given with my gold account and it functioned perfectly.  I had no issues and the speed was very good.

On my second day my room was never cleaned. I was out of the room from 9 to 230 and when I returned they still had not cleaned my room. I placed my used towels outside and I placed the sign on the door saying that I did not need the room serviced.  I had spent the day at the Phoenix wild animal park with the grandkids and I wanted to nap before the evening.

My last evening we used the Bistro again and although the food is good the service is not that great. We ordered dinner choosing a  variety of things including pizza and the gentleman who took care of us was very nice. We decided to sit outside the lobby area in the patio and when our food was brought it was handed to us in packages.  We actually had to come to the lobby patio door to get it.  It was not served or even brought but handed through the door and the excuse was that it was locked and he did not have the key. It was the middle of evening not yet dusk. There were people in the lobby and outside patio and the door was locked?  Not a very good impression or experience.  The food itself was very good and the pizza was excellent.

The property itself looks immaculate, everything is taken care of and it shows.  The staff are what I am coming to expect from a Courtyard.  I really have no complaints except the food being handed through the outside patio door.  A good quality stay at the Courtyard Avondale where gold appears to have no added benefits.

A Year with Marriott Gold destination: JW Marriott Houston Galleria

My year of Marriott Gold, destination: JW Marriot Houston Galleria

It’s April and we’re in Houston for one evening.  We’re getting ready to board the Emerald Princess for our voyage to the beautiful western Caribbean and some of my favorite islands (Belize, Cozumel, and Rotan Honduras).  For this Gold journey we chose the Marriott’s JW Houston Galleria.  Newly renovated, 23 stories, and reported to have luxurious accommodations.  Our anticipation is always heightened at the opportunity for Gold upgrades,  we are hoping not to be disappointed with just a standard room.  We really never know if we are going to be upgraded and usually just book a standard room and wait and see.  So far our best upgrade has been the JW Miami.  We were placed in a suite with wall to wall windows overlooking the incredible bay.  It reminded us of a penthouse on the top floor complete with a marble tiled bathroom. It will be hard for anyone else to compete with that but we are in Houston waiting to see.  Does Houston have what it takes to outdo Miami?

JW Marriot Houston Galleria is placed in one of the most famous shopping districts in the world only minutes to attractions like Minute Maid Park.  You can walk to more than 200 exclusive stores that surround it.  Fine dining and entertainment are only minutes away and we even managed to find a Catholic Church right around the corner for Easter Sunday Mass.

For our upgrade we were placed in a higher floor on the concierge level.   We were too late in the evening to enjoy any of what they had to offer.  The hotel features a state of the art fitness center with a view of the city.  It was definitely nice and I enjoyed my elliptical program while gazing out into the city.  The additional amenities we used were Starbucks in the morning. The barista was pleasant and enjoyable to talk with.  Breakfast was the buffet restaurant where the management and hostess were outgoing and friendly.  In the lobby lounge bar the service was sub-par and we eventually got our drinks from the bar.  It was the only area I found of the hotel to be lacking.

Our room itself was spacious but not noticeably different or luxurious, it was on a higher floor.  I have to say I didn’t pay too much attention to the down comforters, custom duvets or the rich cotton linens.  All in all I enjoyed my stay but they really didn’t exceed my expectations or deliver the type of service we experienced in Miami.  It is a great hotel in a great area.   Perfect location for our Easter Day visit to Saint Michaels Catholic Church.

Jw Houston Pool

JW Houston Bedroom