For those that follow the blog closely you’ll know that I don’t do a lot of hotel reviews and that because for the most part, stays are fine … neither great nor terrible. The San Francisco Marriott Marquis is the exception.
My daughter and I flew into San Francisco late on Thursday night and didn’t get into the hotel until about 12:30 AM. I had made a request via the Marriott app to be put into a corner suite on a high floor. As a Marriott Gold member, I was hoping for the best but not expecting to have my request fulfilled because only Platinum members are supposed to get suite upgrades.
When I checked in, the gentlemen at the reception area immediately recognized my Gold Status and thanked me for my patronage. He then confirmed that I had already checked in via the app and that my room was ready. Before he gave me my room key, he told me that they had a couple of “late arrival care kits” and asked if I wanted them.
This was the very first time that a hotel has ever had the forethought of taking what is generally a terrible experience and turning it into a great first impression. I gladly accepted the kits which contained a granola bar, a bag of chips and a red apple.
Let’s think about this for a minute. This care bag probably cost the hotel $1-2 for each bag but the gesture was unbelievably appreciated. I wish more hotels would make these types of gestures to make their guests feel welcome.
On top of the care kits, the gentleman at reception confirmed that my requested room was fulfilled and that I would be in a suite on the 37th floor. The hotel is 39 stories high but the top floor is reserved for their View Lounge.
When I got to into the room, I was very pleasantly surprised. The room was everything you expected it to be but had a living room that was intended to show off the view.
As you can see, the views were fantastic and we were treated to the fog rolling in over the hills of San Francisco every morning.
As a status member at most hotels, I get the opportunity to relax in the hotel lounge at most places I visit. In most cases, the lounge provides a quiet refuge with things like free soda and some light snacks.
This wasn’t the case at the Marriott Marquis. It was MUCH … MUCH more.
As you can see, the spread is extensive for breakfast. Lots of hot food choices as well as some fantastic fresh fruit and pastries. It really felt like the Marriott Marquis made a conscious decision to depart from the standard continental breakfast that many hotel lounges have opted for and decided to provide extreme value to their status members.
When I saw the choices for breakfast, I was blown away. Like I had said before, I have been to many hotel lounges and none have had this quality or selection of food, not even the very high-end hotels.
But wait … it gets better.
As I mentioned, many of the hotels I have been at don’t have a good breakfast selection but if they do, that’s all they have. Not at the Marriott Marquis.
When I saw that the Marriott had a two hour “hor d’oeurves” offering, I needed to see what it was all about and again, they exceeded my expectations.
In my opinion, this was not an hor d’ourves option, this was a full out dinner. Cheese selection? Grilled Salmon in a cream sauce? Green beans and soup with fresh fruit? That’s not something you see every day at a hotel lounge. Again, Marriott goes above and beyond.
I know … dessert too? Yes.
The dessert hour follows the hor d’ourves and while simple, it’s still amazing that it’s an option that provided by the hotel as part of their club for status members.
As you can see, you get a choice of brownies, cupcakes, cookies and other sweet pastries.
Beer and Wine
I’m not much of a drinker so I didn’t partake but there looked to be a good beer and wine selection in the lounge as well. From what I understand, beer and wine are not free but you can charge the drinks to your room card.
Snacks Through the Day
While I didn’t get any pictures, the Marriott Club Lounge provided snacks throughout the day. Fruit and bags of chips were the main choices but it certainly is a nice option to be able to grab a snack while you head out the door to explore San Francisco for the day.
I have to say that the service at the Marriott Marquis was exeptional. Every single staff member I met was friendly, efficient and actually went out of their way to make sure our stay was fantastic. From the check in staff to the wait staff in the lounge to the concierge, everyone was incredible. Many people engaged us in conversation to make sure everything was as we expected and these conversations were genuine … not contrived like at some hotels. It’s hard to explain but it really felt like the employees at the hotel took a real pride in ownership.
Another fantastic thing about this hotel is that it is smack dab in the middle of San Francisco and a block from Market, the main thoroughfare through downtown San Francisco. The area that the hotel is located is called Union Square and it’s probably the most desirable area to be in San Francisco if you value being central to all the sights. The F Streetcar is one block from the hotel and it runs from downtown to the Ferry Building, the Embarcadero and Piers 33 (Alcatraz) and Pier 39 (Fisherman’s Wharf).
The hotel is also one block from the BART station, so you can take it from the airport to just outside the hotel in about 30 minutes. It’s a cheap ($8.95) way to get from the airport to the hotel without having to deal with traffic into San Francisco, which can be painful.
One of the things I hate about hotels is the speed of their internet. Not so with the Marriott Marquis.
20 Mbps up and down? That’s fantastic for a hotel, especially if you consider that my experience at most hotels is about 2-3 Mbps down and 0.5 Mbps up.
I hesitate to use the word “perfect” to describe a hotel but this is about as close as it gets. The only complaint I have with the Marquis is that they charge for letter and package handling.
For those of you that don’t know, hotels will gladly accept packages for you as a complimentary service (typically). This is great if you want to get something for your trip from Amazon or another online retailer. In my case, I surprised my daughter with tickets to the Into the Woods musical and had the tickets sent to the hotel.
Apparently, the Marquis has seen a surge of packages being sent to the hotel and has implemented a handling charge for things you send to the hotel. That’s fine in my books but the cost was a bit exorbitant. I paid $7 USD for the service, which was a little frustrating but if I weigh it against the list of positives, it doesn’t even register.
All in all, I think I have found my preferred hotel for stays in San Francisco.
The best part of this experience was that I cashed in points for the stay so I paid nothing out of pocket (except the $7 for the package handling).
The Marriott Marquis is a Category 8 hotel so the cost is 40,000 Marriott points per night. As SPG points transfer to Marriott at a 1:3 ratio, I only needed to use 13,333 SPG points per night. If you consider that the Marriott Marquis costs about $400 USD per night, that’s a great redemption of SPG points.
If you want a quick way to earn SPG points, take a look at my reviews of the American Express SPG Personal and the American Express SPG Business cards.