My recent stay at the Courtyard Lake George illustrates how unrewarding Marriott rewards can be. I want to separate my experience with the program from my very good experience while staying at the hotel.
I have been meaning to check out the Lake George area for a long time. I had put the Courtyard Lake George on my favorite list on the Marriott app. Since we were going to be in the area we decided to take advantage of Amex’s spend $200+ get $40 at participating Marriotts offer. When we arrived at the hotel my name was on a welcome flyer near the front desk. That is as special as being a platinum or titanium gets at this Courtyard. The person at the desk, welcome me and told me, “you are all set, since you checked in online.” Unlike the people who had checked in ahead of me, I was not offered the option to upgrade to a room with a view of the lake. I was not told where the pool was or anything else. “I was all set.” When I went to the 6th floor (the top floor) to my room, I found a very spacious suite, but no lake view! I had never done this, but I went back to the front desk and asked if there were any rooms with lake view left. The people who checked in ahead of me had been offered such rooms for either $10 or $35 more. I said, please let me know how much will it cost me to upgrade to a room with lake view. The desk person at that point told me that since I was a titanium elite, she would not charge me and just give me a room with better view at a lower floor. Well, I took it.
The room was much smaller than my suite, but this view while not the best was much better than the other view.
This experience illustrates how little you are valued as an elite at a Courtyard. There is no breakfast, no voucher for drinks or meals at the restaurant. You are not guaranteed an actual upgrade to the best available room, etc. All I got were 500 Marriott points. As a gold I would have had a much better perks-wise experience staying at the near-by Hilton. I had a much better experience at a NJ Courtyard a few months ago, but that Courtyard might be an exception.
After my less than ideal start, all other hotel staff persons were great with me and my family. Malik my waiter for dinner was super attentive and professional, Katherine did a wonderful job cleaning our room and wrote one of the best notes ever. The night desk person told me about the great view from the rooftop.
View from the rooftop during the golden hour
in short, if you are looking for a hotel where you get complementary breakfast, drink vouchers, lounge access, a great upgrade then avoid Courtyards (in the USA) like the plague.