A Year with Marriott Gold destination: JW Scottsdale Camelback Inn and Resort

May 22, 2015 We are traveling through the Southwest today on our way to Phoenix. The desert is filled with wildflowers from the recent rains to our area. We are booked at the JW Marriott Scottsdale/Camelback Resort. It’s a AAA 5 Five Diamond Resort and has been for 25 consecutive years.   This is a significant achievement for a hotel.

We made a reservation using our military government rate. Which came in at 113.00 plus taxes and resort fees and or course parking. A great rate for this property and not often found.  They do make it up with all the other fees built in after you arrive though.  The resort is at summer rates which are very economical due to the temps being pretty warm in Phoenix at this time of year. I have never stayed at this JW so it will be interesting to learn what they offer.

There own description of the property is “Vibrant and serene, bold and enchanting, the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa embraces the future and welcomes the next generation of guests into its harmonious blend of creature comforts with a storied history.”

From my research it looks like they have a hiking trail right off the resort, a golf course near the property, a spa and several pools.

As we arrive in Scottsdale it’s absolutely beautiful weather.  It’s May but it’s about 81 degrees.  It’s typically well into the 90’s and 100’s.  Coming from Colorado where it’s in the 30’s to 40’s in the morning, I really don’t mind.   When you walk into the JW, Marriott or Ritz you are given a welcome and a thanks for being a gold member this simple little touch is nice.

The Marriott is at the base of the Scottsdale Mountains it is a fantastic property. The property features separate bungalows and they are by no means little bungalows. Each with it’s own private entrance.

The landscape is desert influenced with water features and simulated dry creek beds. It is definitely a little oasis in the desert. Our room is spacious and has it’s own outdoor patio. We arrived using our Gold status and military rate versus travel agent benefits. They were very busy and we were given a standard room, no upgrade that we can see. We did ask for a different room on Sunday evening as we will be having our children join us. We were offered a one bedroom suite at no rate increase. Being a Gold Member has it’s perks but it takes 50 stays to do it. So far this is our second amazing upgrade, the first being the fantastic JW Miami.

We settled into our room.  The bungalows seem very large, almost similar to stay a larger studio apartment.  The bathroom is in a separate area and features beautiful tile work in a modern updated style including a glass shower enclosure.  A separate area is adjacent with a make up area and a large closet.  The room features large southwestern style furniture.

We arrived later in the afternoon, so by the time we got settled, it was close to dinner.  We opted for drinks and dinner at the outdoor venue adjacent to the lobby and restaurants. It was very crowded and took us a while to be served. Having been in the industry it was definitely justified as the place was completely packed. Everything just seemed to take a little longer. Once we were served the food was excellent.  We had their appetizer Queso Fundido and a signature Blood Orange Margarita brought in a bucket style glass. Both were delicious. Paul enjoyed their Signature Fajitas and the grand kids pizza.

After dinner, we opted for a trip to the pool.   It was late so it was pretty empty.  The area is very large yet had an intimate setting.   It’s perfectly designed with rock features complementing the desert scenery.  The pool has views of the surrounding mountains which are stunning in the evening.  After the pool it was off to sleep after our long day.

I was up before 6:00 A.M. and went back to the courtyard area to watch the early the morning sun rising over what I presume is Camelback Mountain. They have the standard Starbucks on site so I sat as I waited for it to open at 6 am. Only one other gentleman besides myself waiting to feel up our senses with the aroma and taste of coffee.   The wait staff were good and the coffee was just what I needed to continue on with my blogging for the morning.

JW does it right again with this Southwestern property. It’s absolutely gorgeous with just the right amount and balance of eco friendly zeroscaping and a touch of the oasis in the center of the property with it’s delightful water features.

It’s definitely family friendly with much to do in the way of children, putt-putt golf, a pool that provides water toys such as floating pads and noodles, and a small park. For the adults it has romantic southwestern style large rooms with adjacent outdoor patios. A large ample outdoor seating area to imbibe in some wonderful spirits such as signature margaritas, a steakhouse, a casual dining experience, and the jack rabbit pool bar.

My overall impression is…. I loved it.  The property is fantastic and the description of being serene hits the mark.   I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it and I will be going back.  Also, thanks for the Sunday upgrade to the one bedroom loft, it was just what we needed for the grandkids to join us for the evening.

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

A Year with Marriott Gold destination: Courtyard San Antonio River Walk

san antonio rw4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               A year of Marriott Gold destination:  Courtyard San Antonio, Texas River Walk

Our journey was spent in the Downtown Marriott River Walk which is a Courtyard. It is somewhat small or narrow which makes it slightly in my opinion uncomfortable. It’s slightly old and has less attractive features than other Courtyards. The staff were nice but no one really stood out.  Our room was on a higher floor which is a standard upgrade for gold.  This does not mean much in the grand scheme of things.  I understand it is a selling point but the room does not have to have to be a nicer room it just has to be on an upper floor.  So you could in general receive an upper room floor overlooking concrete or air conditioning ducts.  This actually was the case when I booked the Pueblo downtown Courtyard.

So at the Downtown Marriott River Walk the highlight of the hotel is that it’s on the River Walk.  It is in a great location to start any journey to the various bars, restaurants, and activities on the River Walk.   I received nothing for being a gold member and barely even an acknowledgement. I was not overly impressed. On the contrary the Marriott River Center was beautiful and looked amazing!  I will definitely have to try that hotel before my year is out.  Just to compare the two.

san antonio missions 2  What a fantastic city! San Antonio is the quintessential American city. It’s a perfect blend of old and new all coming together in a sophistication of western city life. With its River Walk, missions, and history you could spend well over a week just viewing the city’s historical sights. The market downtown is where you want to go for your “REAL” Mexican food and it also has a panderia which is a Mexican bakery. For night life pubs and dance clubs abound in and around the River Walk and it’s lit up at night in more way’s then one. There are five missions there and they are a sight not to miss.  They represent the history and heritage of the city itself. San Antonio is one of the first cites I have seen embrace its history to the fullest. This is where the Alamo is and the missions are one of the jewels of the city. The city itself is truly a melting pot of America.  In it you will discover a wonderful blend of people, each embracing a San Antonio lifestyle. Not only is the city welcomed and developed its Latin roots but its German heritage too.  It all seems to be incorporated into a beautiful mixture of proud history and culture.

If you have a chance San Antonio should be on your bucket list. You will not be disappointed.   As for the Courtyard Marriott San Antonio if you want to be right on the River Walksan antonio rw 2 at a decent price point this is the place.  Just don’t expect too much.  Grab a drink and sit outside taking in the scenery, sights, and sounds of San Antonio.   That is what you will enjoy the most

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Hello world! Start Here

Welcome to Travel with T your destination discovery agent.  I am Teresa, my blog is all about travel.   My husband Paul is along for the ride.   From budget to luxury, from backpacking to tours, it’s all about the discovery.   So goes our eclectic journeys and we will share with you some of our experiences.   I started this blog to help promote my work as a Destination Discovery Agent also known as a Travel Agent.  So there is a booking button up top if you care to use it.  Or if you would like after you trekked through my site and would like help discovering your destination, give me a call I would be happy to help you.

I will be taking you along my own journey’s but also will be adding post from some of my fellow travelers.  I will feature a special area for my year with Marriott Gold where I will be blogging about Marriott’s Loyalty program.  I have not made the top Platinum level but I have achieved gold and so I will take you through my year utilizing that little perk.  Is the loyalty worth it?  I don’t know yet we will have to see.  I will discuss points, perks, travel hacking, loyalty programs, and military or space A travel.

All about cruising, as I and my husband love to cruise we will take you along for the ride.  We usually travel with Princess, but have done Carnival also.  Stay tuned as we share with you the benefits of being a Black card Elite Cruiser on Princess.

Jeeping for adventure will be a standard feature for our blog as we ask you to buckle up and experience some to the best jeep country Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona have to offer.

Military, for those of you out there who have yet to discover the benefits of being retired military and what, where, and how, we can travel.  Or maybe for the old pro’s of space a travel you can share some of your travel hacks.

So Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit with me.  Buckle up and lets go a little unconventional.  Lets travel slow, travel fast, lets space a it, lets hike, lets jeep, lets fly, lets cruise, lets spend the night in the city, in the country, in the US, or out in the big vast world, lets fall asleep under the stars, or in a 5 diamond hotel, because really what it comes down to is it’s all about Destination Discovery.