Crappy hotel experiences with other hotels and loyalty programs, hotel-fatigue … and then some delightful experiences with Marriott properties. This is the story how Marriott became my favorite hotel chain.
After quitting Booking.com after the gazillionth time they had screwed up a booking and failed to help me out, I had started booking with IHG and -later- when I had reached Platinum status with IHG and plenty of nights to spare, with Hilton. I had overlooked Marriott at first, but after reaching Spire Elite with IHG and Diamond with Hilton, I decided to try Marriott.
In essence, all big hotel chains are very much alike. But where I prefer Marriott is in the limited number of screw-ups I have to endure compared to Hilton and -especially- IHG. Where I have had an occasional issue with Marriott (some bathroom cleanliness issues) and never had an issue with central customer service, IHG has proven a champion of making my hotel stays challenging.
So, with Marriott, no privacy breaches, no ignoring me with customer support, no broken promises, no missing points, no missing stays … all things I had gotten so used to with IHG.
The limited number of screw-ups I did experience with Marriott, were all resolved quickly.
When I was a kid, sleeping in a hotel was one of the coolest things ever. I could look forward for months, staying in a hotel on our way to France or on a city trip to London or Paris. But many years and many many hotel stays later, hotel stays tend to blend into a large gray pile of nothingness. Many hotels look alike. And that makes me either look for brands that fit my personal style or just are a bit different (just to break the chain of completely interchangeable hotels).
To give you an example – every Hilton in every country is pretty much the same. Just like every Crown Plaza or Intercontinental is (also read my separate post on the Intercontinental Ambassador program). So within IHG I tend to gravitate towards the Indigo (Antwerp/The Hague) and Kimpton (De Witt/Fitzroy) properties, just because they at least have some character of their own. The same reason why I tend to gravitate towards Hilton’s DoubleTree properties
Marriott offers 6,700 Hotels in 130 countries and has plenty of these hotels with character. With their Design Hotels (like AnaYela in Marrakech and Miss Clara in Stockholm) and Autograph Collection hotels (like Hotel Nassau in Breda), they have plenty of boutique hotels to choose from. And although every Marriott is pretty much the same everywhere, I tend to feel most other brands, including the JW Marriotts and Renaissance Hotels have some character of their own.