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Thursday, November 14, 2013

St. Louis airport - STL / Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel

October 2013, Weekday, 2-nights, Club Level 2-queen bed guestroom #1002

Check-in and status perks
The front desk agent recognized my status, and she asked if I wanted bonus points for my on-site amenity. I also received a bottle of water and a snack. I was originally assigned standard king guestroom #737 with access to the club level lounge. Guestroom 737 is located in a central hallway area with more guest traffic than an end room, and it has a connecting room door. Since I was going to be staying for two nights, I returned to the front desk to see if I could get a room with a non-connecting room door. One thing I do not like about the Marriott reservation site, is that it does not have a comments box to enter special requests, like many hotels do.

A different employee assisted me this time. He said that most of the guestrooms have connecting doors, and that there were not any rooms available on the club level floors. After a bit more conversation, he was able to find me a guestroom on a club level floor without a connecting door, and at the end of the hall! The guestroom had two queen beds instead on one king bed, and I said that would be perfect. I have one king bed chosen on my hotel profiles; however, when the two-bedded rooms have queen beds, I am happy with that as well.

Guestroom
This hotel has 12 floors, and guestroom 1002 is on the 10th floor facing the direction of the airport. The windows and walls were well soundproofed, because I did not hear any disturbing noise. 


The guestroom contained the basic furnishings: two queen beds, a nightstand, a large desk area with chair, a soft chair, end table, flatscreen TV on an armoire, and a couple of lamps. 

The lamps did not provide enough lighting, and it was very dim in the guestroom. One of the bulbs in the floor lamp was burned out, and I do not think one more bulb would have made much difference. There were not enough electrical outlets in this guestroom. I like to have four accessible outlets outside of the bathroom, and this guestroom did not have that.


A slide-out shelf in the armoire contained a single-serve coffeemaker with supplies, the ice bucket, glass glasses, and a small bottle of complimentary water, like I had received at the front desk.

The bed was super comfy, and the bedsheets were good quality. 

Unfortunately, my photos are kind of fuzzy. Hopefully, they are clear enough so that people reading this blog can see the quality of the guestroom, because I have made reference to another Platinum guest's review at the end of this review, whose experience was different than mine. 

The carpeting in this guestroom, the bedding, and the desk furnishings looked new. Some of the items, like the lamps, looked outdated. 






The bathroom contained a tub/shower combination with a shower curtain on a curved rod. Bathing amenities were provided on the vanity, along with a hairdryer in a bag on the shelf. 

The electrical outlet in the bathroom did not work. I was glad that I had tried to use it the day I arrived, because there may not have been an engineer available to solve the problem early the next morning. 

After the engineer looked at the outlet in the bathroom, he said that he needed to go to the main panel to fix the problem. He said that the switches were not well marked, so it would probably take him a while. He plugged the hairdryer in on the "on" position. He said that he would have radio contact with the hotel operator to call me and find out when it started working. About 10 minutes later, the hairdryer started working, so I called the hotel operator to tell her it was on.

If I had noticed that the bulb in one of the lamps was burned out before this service request, I would have gotten a replacement bulb, too.

I had one other problem with the guestroom that occurred during stayover. One of my replaced glasses after the guestroom had been cleaned was dirty. I do not know if this was the glass I had used, which housekeeping wiped out and reset, or if it was a glass off the cart from another guestroom. 








Club lounge
The food in the club lounge was very good. There were two hot items both evenings, and a deluxe veggie platter. Other items available were cheese, crackers, and mixed nuts. A cappuccino machine, coffee, tea, and bottled water were available all day long. A self-serve honors bar was available in the evening. There were more food and beverage items than what I have listed; however, I did not take detailed notes during my stay, so I am only listing what I recall for sure.

The lounge is located on the 11th floor, on the same side of the building as my guestroom, so the view overlooked the end of the airport. If you plan to just stop and grab something to eat, I suggest not visiting the lounge as soon as it opens, because the food items were never available right away. I visited three times--both evenings, and once for breakfast, and the food was never ready until about 15 minutes after the lounge opened.

Fitness center
The fitness center contained several cardio machines with cardio theater, a weight machine, and hand weights. Two of the treadmills did not work properly. One did not work at all, and another one made a squeaking noise. Both of the inferior treadmills were the only ones available when I arrived, so I started out with the squeaky machine. Fortunately, another guest left a short time later, and I switched machines. The squeaky machine did not make a lot of noise, if you were not the one using it; however, I was not able to hear the cardio theater very well before I switched machines.

Hotel parking and shuttle
The Marriott Renaissance website for this hotel lists self-parking as $10 per night, and valet parking for $12. I was not charged for self-parking during my stay. The parking lot was open--the gate was not down when I entered or exited. I do not know if this is typical, or if parking was not being charged at the time of my stay, or what. The agent did not ask if I had a vehicle during check-in, and I had my car keys in my hand when I arrived. I also asked about the airport shuttle, to see if I could be picked up at the car rental lot when I returned my car the next day. I was told that the first priority of the shuttle service is the airport, and that he sometimes accommodates special requests.

When I called the next day, I was told that the shuttle could pick me up at the Avis lot in 14 minutes, which is exactly when he arrived. The hotel operator called the shuttle driver before she quoted the time. I was impressed with his accuracy! The airport car rental lot is not at the airport, so I would had to take a shuttle back to the airport, if the driver had not agreed to pick me up at the lot. Shuttle service in the morning was excellent. I waited only a few minutes at the hotel, and the trip to the airport did not take long. The shuttle driver was extremely cheerful, and he provided a great start to the day!

The car rental lot is less than a mile from the Renaissance, and I would have walked to the hotel, except that there is not a cross-walk in front of the hotel, and the street is a fairly busy road. There are several hotels less than one mile from the car rental lots; however, most of the area does not have sidewalks for walking. I saw three hotels that looked like they would be safe to walk to from the car rental area: the Hilton is located in between the Hertz and Avis lots, and Holiday Inn and Americas Best Value Inn are located right around the corner from the Hilton in the same block. As much as I would have liked to stay at the Hilton for the convenience, I did not choose that hotel because the cost was quite a bit more. The Holiday Inn cost was also more than the AAA rate at the Renaissance, although not as much as the Hilton.

Misc. and overall
I was happy with my stay for the most part; however, if I had stayed in the guestroom I had originally been assigned, #737, I do not know if I would feel the same way.

I read a recent review from a Platinum guest on TripAdvisor that does not match my experience. He stated that the rooms are past their prime, and that the linens were holy and thin, which was not true in guestroom 1002. He did not provide his room number, nor did he say if he had a club floor level room. He also complained that the front desk agent asked to see his AAA card for the AAA rate he had booked. He did not like this because he did not have his card, and he claimed that this is the only Marriott hotel from his last 80+ stays to request his card. My experience has been that I need to show my card about 50% of the time. The agent at this hotel requested my AAA card at check-in, also. I do not understand why a AAA card holder would not be carrying his card. I carry my card in my wallet, because if I ever need towing, or unlock or gas assistance while traveling, I would need to show my card for this service.

The first guestroom I was assigned was not a club floor room, and I was initially told that there were not any club floor rooms available. Most of the reviews for this property on TripAdvisor are good, although the review from the unhappy guest, and this review from me, are the only two recent reviews I could find from Platinum guests who had booked a AAA rate. Reading about his experience, and thinking about mine, makes me wonder if the hotel does not treat Platinum guests who book the AAA rate the same as they do Platinum guests who book the regular rate. I also wonder if the dissatisfied guest's complaints stem from the fact that he was asked to present his AAA card, which he did not have.

I thought the AAA rate I had booked at this hotel was an excellent value. And, although I do not have any reason not to choose this hotel again, I have been far more impressed at other Marriott properties. One time, when I had an incident like the non-working plug in my guestroom, at a Marriott Courtyard, the engineer knew that I was a Platinum status guest, and before the end of my stay, I was told that I would receive 5,000 points for the inconvenience. That was a pleasant surprise, and I will always remember that stay.