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Monday, March 25, 2013

Montgomery, Alabama / Renaissance Hotel and Spa at the Convention Center

March 2013, Sunday night, 1-night, Presidential Suite #1227

Status perks and check-in
view from balcony
The perks I received at this hotel are like nothing I have ever received before, and I may never get to experience again. This was a fabulous and impressive stay!

The front desk agent at check-in told me that I had been upgraded to the presidential suite. I did not get overly excited before I saw the guestroom because I have received great upgrades before: honeymoon suite, hidden/secret room, conference room suite, and even presidential suites. This was, however, my first presidential suite upgrade at a Marriott Renaissance hotel. I received a conference room suite at the last Renaissance I stayed in.

I also received my choice of Platinum bonus points or an amenity, and late checkout.   

Presidential Suite #1227
This suite is located on the top floor next to the concierge lounge. It is amazing! The size is well over 1,000 square feet. I was so amazed that I did not leave the guestroom for several hours after we had checked in, and that was at my husband's urging after we heard Bubba Hall playing while out on our balcony.

Bubba, if you are reading this, I wanted to insert a link to your website in this review, but the site on your CD is not working. Let us know if you have a new web page.
half bath

The guestroom double doors entered into a marble entrance that is larger than our master bathroom at home. This area contained two flags--USA and Alabama, two entry tables, mirrors, beautiful wall hangings, and a coat closet. There were no hangers in the closet. A half bath was located to the right beyond the coat closet.
American flag in foyer on left

The rooms inside the suite consisted of the foyer, half bath, living room, dining/meeting areas with two tables, kitchen and bar, bedroom with sitting area, and master bathroom. There was a large furnished outside balcony as well.

A round table with four chairs was located straight ahead from the entrance, and there was a baby grand piano on the left, next to a conference table with seats for eight.
conference table, piano,
bar & kitchen

There were five comfortable seats at the bar on the other side of the piano. A flatscreen TV was mounted behind the bar, and a cordless telephone was on the bar.

The kitchen contained a medium size fridge (about half size), large ice maker, sink, microwave, and coffee maker with supplies.

living room beyond
round table

The ice maker was filled with ice! My husband--who likes lots of ice, and often complains when a hotel does not have the ice maker on--was thrilled! Well... maybe the amount of ice was a little overboard, but it was still impressive.

There were not any dishes in the cupboards, and there was not any paper towel or a dish cloth in the kitchen. My husband said that is because they do not expect you to serve yourself in a room like this. There was a service entrance door into the kitchen from the hall, and there was a large pantry in the kitchen.

Beautiful chandeliers and plants were in the dining/boardroom table area, as well as throughout the entire suite. The piano was beautiful--I wish I had kept up my lessons, so I could have played it.

The living room beyond the round table across from the entrance was completely furnished. It contained four chairs, a sofa, coffee table, end tables, lamps (and chandeliers!), and a flatscreen TV. A gas fireplace was located under the TV, and there was a telephone, hotel directory, and local information on a built in cabinet against the wall.

The balcony was accessible from the living room through two sets of glass double doors. There was also a door at each end, from the bedroom and the dining area. We had an excellent view of the river and the hotel fountain below.

Double doors entered into the spacious bedroom from the living room. The bedroom contained an entry table, king bed, night stands, lamps, telephone, alarm clock, suitcase bench, couch, two chairs and a table with a lamp, desk with a lamp and chair, flatscreen TV, and gas fireplace. A large safe was in the cabinet next to the fireplace.

There were beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, and the room was well lit. The river view from the desk was great. I would have enjoyed working at the desk, if I had been working and staying in this room for a couple of days. There was access to the balcony through a glass door near the desk.
balcony door from bedroom

The sleep quality and comfort of the guestroom was excellent, except that we were awakened in the morning by the activity in the concierge lounge next door. It was not noisy in the lounge; it is just that the head of the bed is against the wall between the two rooms, and we could hear activity as food was being setup. If this had not been a leisure stay for us, we would have been up well before any activity next door.

The spacious bathroom was fabulous! There were mirrors the length of the long vanity with two sinks. The light fixtures were beautiful. A good quality hairdryer was in the cupboard under the left sink. Bathroom amenities provided on the vanity and by the tub, included mouthwash and toothpaste.

The large whirlpool tub filled from the ceiling, and there were two shower heads and a bench seat in the tile shower. All of the towels were plush and high quality. A separate toilet room contained the toilet, and a table with towels and tissue.

Concierge lounge
Several food items were available throughout the evening. There were three hot items, a large assortment of cold meats, cheeses, and fruits, and a few packaged snack items.

The quality and pricing at the honor bar was good, although most guests were not honest. I only saw one other beverage written on the sheet besides ours, and I observed guests who came to the room to get beer. Additionally, when I returned later for a second glass of wine, the wine bottle was almost empty, although no more beverages had been added to the list.

Food items in the morning included a similar array of cold meats, cheeses, and fruits. Other items included scrambled eggs, bacon, breads and bagels, yogurt, granola, cold cereals, coffee, tea, juices, bottled water, and milk. Full size candy bars, and snack size packages of chips were available after breakfast.

A working computer and printer were located off to the side of the sofa and TV sitting area of the lounge. I did not have any trouble printing documents, although I did not see a stapler or other office supplies available.

Food & Beverage
This hotel has several dining options, although we only visited one.

Wintzell's Oyster House is located on the bottom floor on the corner of Commerce and Bibb Streets. We tried to go to this restaurant for lunch the day of our departure, but there was a long wait for a table, and we did not have time to wait.

The Exchange is located next to The House restaurant on the corner of Tallapoosa and Commerce Streets. We visited the patio area of The Exchange, which is where we met Bubba Hall. The atmosphere was pleasant, and the seating was comfortable. There was a tent canopy around the patio, and gas heat lamps kept the temperature comfortable. The only thing I did not like about the lounge, is that smoking is allowed on the patio. In Michigan, smoking is not allowed outside at any establishment that serves food, and I sometimes forget that this is different in the south.

Pool area and fitness center
The pool area is located over the parking garage on floor eight. The pool was not open, although my husband used the whirlpool tub. He said it was clean, and that the temperature was good. The area was a good size with plenty of outside seating and loungers.

A large fitness center and the spa were also located on this level. I did not use the fitness center because we walked outside down by the riverfront. There is an outside walking track around the perimeter on this level, and we ended our walk on the track. I observed several cardio machines in the fitness center when we entered the room to get water.

Misc. and overall
This Renaissance Montgomery Hotel is a beautiful building, as are all the buildings in this area. It is well maintained and clean. I observed magnificent paintings in the guestroom, and in all public areas. I was surprised that this hotel was only a category 4 property. It is being raised to a category 5 at the end of this month, which seems like a more accurate category.
view across Commerce Street

If I lived near Montgomery, I am sure I would have used my Marriott category 4 certificates for weekend getaway stays at this hotel. I liked this hotel better than one of my favorite Marriott hotels in my home state--the JW Marriott Grand Rapids. The JW Marriott used to be a category 4 hotel, and the category has since risen higher than what it should be, in my opinion. That hotel was raised to a category 5 last year, and now it is being raised to a category 6.

The riverfront is within walking distance of the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel, and the area is clean and well maintained. There are several restaurants across Commerce Street, and there are other sights nearby, such as Hank Williams Museum. I had no idea this was such a fabulous area when we booked this stay. I was disappointed that we did not have another day to explore the area.