three cheeses associated with Breakfast?
WRONG! While dining at the Costa
Mesa Marriott recently, I noticed this menu item: “Pancakes with Ricotta
Cheese and Strawberries.” It looked
delicious, so I ordered it. The
“chef” (and “chef” is lower-case and in quotations for a
reason) used Fetta cheese instead. Yow,
Ick, Gross! Like having pancakes rolled
around a Caesar Salad… When I asked the “chef” if he actually had any
Ricotta cheese, he replied (in Spanish), “Si, Cottage Cheese en el
Buffet.” *sigh* I gave up and
grabbed a McDonald’s breakfast burrito instead.
happened to this world? McDonald’s in
that knows his cheese? This brings me to
my point, not all hotels are created equal.
You may have noticed, there are different “tiers” of hotels
within the major hotel chains. Take
Marriot for example. You could stay at a
Courtyard by Marriott for a reasonable rate.
For a bit more, you could stay at a
(I think of them as “a Downtown” or “a City” Marriott. They usually have 10 or more floors). The grand-daddy of the Marriott hotel chain
is the J.W. Marriott.
about service! I had the opportunity to
stay at the J.W. Marriott in Bucharest, Romania (I highly recommend Bucharest,
by the way… you’re right next to Dracula’s castle, the Black Church, King
Karl’s castle and a host of other beautiful sights and the exchange rate is
unbelievably in favor of Americans). At
this hotel, a bellman had my luggage out of the trunk and looked at the name
tag before I could even get out of the car.
He radioed my name to the desk and as I entered the cavernous and
luxurious lobby, a gorgeous woman in an elegant red dress that was split up to her
hip-bone offered me a glass of champagne and said, “Welcome to the J.W.
Marriott, Mr. Walker. Your luggage has
been brought to your room.” She offered
me an envelope with my key and wished me a pleasant stay. The maid would stack my loose change every
day by denomination; she would clean the hair out of my brush… THAT, my friend,
result, my wife and I chose a J.W. Marriott in
the same caliber of incredible service.
So, when I was recently scheduled for a trip to
discovered a J.W. there, less than a mile from the office where I had to work? I couldn’t wait to get there, and I
was SURE they had a real Chef!
here to tell you; I would wait until at least 2008 to book that particular J.W.
if I were you. Although they charge the
FULL J.W. rate ($325 per night in
hotel. They’re undergoing a restoration,
so the sink in my room was cracked and leaked on the floor. My mini-bar was missing its refrigerator
(hard to have a mini-bar without one).
The bellmen were too busy playing around the front driveway area to get
my bags as I hiked up the hill (taxis aren’t allowed at the J.W. in
bellmen have an “arrangement” with a local car service). The best part, the turn down service lady let
herself into my room at 9:15pm! Imagine
my surprise when I woke up (in LESS than full wardrobe) to find myself staring
at a small crazed Japanese woman bent on turning down my bed and giving me
chocolate. They only had one restaurant (and it was a little “shady”) compared to the 5 or 6 different offerings at the J.W. in Hawaii or Bucharest. In my eyes, it was most certainly NOT a J.W. Marriott hotel and I told the manager the same.
nothing but trouble at that hotel, and they had no trouble charging their full
rate during an obvious restoration (their manager made some concessions to my bill after I complained, but not very much). Stay
away. In fact, take a good hard look at
what your needs are in a hotel, and pick one that meets those needs and NOTHING ELSE. My list includes: work-out room or gym,
airport shuttle (on occasion), and room service (I’m lazy). That’s it.
I can usually find a hotel that offers that for less than $200 without
incident. Don’t let the fancy service
“extras” temp you and your wallet unless you KNOW what you’re getting