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Monday, March 14, 2011

Visalia, California -- Marriott

Status perks
I did not initially receive an upgrade to the concierge floor; however, when I asked at check-in, the agent checked and was able to provide a room upgrade. My preference, which is on my profile, is for a king bed room. The agent said the only room available on the concierge floor was a room with two beds, and I accepted it. I received complimentary Internet access since I had Gold status at the time of this stay.

The room was at the end of the hall, which I liked. It was comfortable and well soundproofed. I slept extremely well both nights. There was a ledge half the length of one wall about 3-1/2' high, and 2' deep. I don't know if all the rooms had this, or if this room had it because the room was at the end of the hall. I really liked the ledge. It held my suitcase at a good height and made it easily accessible. There was also a luggage rack in the closet. There was a similar ledge in front of the window. It would have been a great window seat except that it was too high. The chair at the desk was comfortable. The coffee and ice bucket were set up on a counter outside the bathroom. Bottled water was not provided in the room. It was available in the concierge lounge, although it was not stocked at the time of my check-in. It had been refilled when I visited the lounge that evening.
Food & Beverage
I had a chicken cobb salad one evening, which was excellent. The chicken was perfectly grilled and cut in strips. The salad ingredients were fresh, and the portion size was generous--it was more than double what I needed. I called in the order for pickup, and the salesperson had asked if I wanted bread with the salad. I replied that I did not want any unless it was whole grain. I was impressed with the whole grain rolls I received. They were warm, fresh, and clearly whole grain. I met a colleague in the lounge for drinks one night, and was disappointed with the champagne available. The only champagne split on the menu was J. Roget for $8! I thought this was outrageous since that is an inexpensive and low quality brand. In fact, I was surprised that the Marriott would have such a low quality beverage available with no other choice.

Concierge lounge
I was happy that bottled water was readily available in the lounge (other than when I first arrived). The food items offered the first night of my stay were disappointing. The hot food item was macaroni with small bits of ham. A few vegetables and plain crackers were also available. Dessert, which looked like chocolate mousse pie, was set out later in the evening. I did not try the dessert because it did not look appetizing. The choices the second evening looked better; however, I did not have anything to eat in the lounge the second evening. There were small steak pieces for the hot food item, and cheese was also served with crackers that evening. I was surprised that breakfast both mornings was not any better than what I had received at the HIX the morning before this stay. Scrambled eggs and bacon were available one morning, and deluxe scrambled eggs and sausage the second morning. The deluxe scrambled eggs had green pepper and cheese mixed in. The food items were warm and acceptable, although I did not think any of the hot items tasted fresh or like high quality. There were a few fruits available both mornings--cut and whole--and limited bread choices. Oatmeal, cold cereal, milk, juices, coffee, and tea were available as well.

Fitness center
The fitness center was a fairly large room with several cardio machines and weights. There was one working TV with a remote in the room and cardio theater on each machine. The temperature was cool. Water, chilled towels, headphones, and sani-wipes were provided. I was happy with the condition and availability of everything in the fitness center.

Overall & misc.
The doorman/valet was great! He greeted and held the door for all arriving and departing guests. The front desk agent at check-in was also personable and accommodating. I did not initially receive an upgrade to the concierge floor; however, she was more than happy to provide this after I asked. I received an extremely discounted room rate--less than $100!--with a promotion I had found online. I don't know if that had anything to do with the room upgrade. This hotel is located near the hospital, so I heard ambulance sirens several times, although it was never for a very long period of time, and did not wake me up in the evening. There are several restaurants within walking distance of the hotel.