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Thursday, December 5, 2013

ATL - Atlanta, Georgia / Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway

November 2013, Weekday-Holiday, 1-night, King guestroom #546

Status perks and check-in
I contacted the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway about a week before our arrival, because we were not going to be arriving until around 9 p.m., and I wanted "late arrival" to be noted on our reservation. I also inquired whether the concierge lounge would be open during our stay. I was told that it would be closed, and that I would receive breakfast because of my Platinum status. I had already reserved a rate that included full breakfast; however, I had wondered about lounge access, because sometimes specialty coffee, bottled water, and snacks are available in the lounge.

At check-in, the agent recognized my status, and she provided two appetizer coupons to use in the restaurant since the concierge lounge was closed. She said that I could also get a beverage from the gift shop, if I wanted.

Guestroom
Guestroom 546 is located on the 5th floor of this 7 floor hotel, and it is not too far from the elevator. Since the agent had been so good about recognizing my status and providing extra perks during the check-in process, I had not asked her if I was being assigned a guestroom that met my preferences. I mistakenly assumed that she had taken care of everything. I do not know why she did not assign us a corner or concierge floor guestroom.

Even though the concierge lounge was not open, I am sure a guestroom on the concierge floor would have been more comfortable. It probably would have been quieter, and concierge floor guestrooms usually include bathrobes and bottled water. Our stay was Thanksgiving evening, and there was a lot of hallway noise that night and the next morning. We had had a long travel day, and really wanted to enjoy a quiet stay.



Other than my disappointment with the guestroom location, the furnishings were adequate, and the bed was superbly comfortable.

A closet was located next to the guestroom entrance door. The dry beverage area next to the closet included a single-serve coffeemaker with only one coffee packet, condiments with liquid creamer, a large bottle of water for $3.50, the ice bucket, and glass glasses. A small fridge was located in the cabinet under the counter. We got a second packet of coffee from the front desk clerk before going to bed that evening.

The sleeping and sitting area contained standard furnishings: flatscreen TV on an armoire, work desk and chair, soft chair and footstool, end tables, lamps, and two nightstands beside the king-sized bed. There was plenty of room to set the luggage rack up between the armoire and beverage area.

I do not understand why the desk photos on the hotel website look like the desk is rounded or tilted out on the end. The desk in this guestroom was flat against the wall. There would not have been room to walk through at the foot of the bed, if the desk had been placed on an angle. I wonder if all of the photos on the website are concierge or oversized guestrooms, because the rooms on the Marriott site look slightly larger than the guestroom we were in. The website also says that there is a laptop safe in the guestroom, and I did not see one. I may have missed this, although I thought I had checked for one.


The average-sized bathroom contained a tub/shower combination with a shower curtain on a curved rod. Everything worked fine. This is the first Marriott I have stayed in since the bathroom amenities have been changed to THANN and Aromatherapy.










Food & Beverage
Since it was late, and we were not planning to have anything to eat other than two appetizers with our complimentary coupons, we initially went to the lounge to eat. There were a few guests seated at the bar, and at one or two tables besides ours. After we had been waiting for several minutes, it appeared that no one was waiting on guests in the lounge except for the bartender. We then asked the host if there were servers in the restaurant, and we moved to the dining room to eat. The host did not seem to be busy, so I did not understand why she did not take beverage orders. Service in the restaurant was also lacking. The manager ended up serving us--she brought us water, took our order, and served our food. We waited several minutes after we had finished dining, and then I finally walked over to request a to-go box from the host. Since our coupons covered our food items, we left a cash tip, and then departed after this.

This hotel was definitely understaffed in the lounge and dining room the night of our stay. The manager was scurrying about taking orders, and helping where needed, while the other employees moved slowly, and did not seem to notice or assist outside their basic duties. Apparently, the manager was not very good at delegating, which is what was needed.

Our coupons were good for $10 each, and we ordered two appetizers for $10 each --  Country style chicken fingers grilled, and Margherita flatbread. I am sure that we could have ordered something more expensive and paid the difference; however, after our long waits, we were glad that we had not done that, because then we would have had to wait for our check. The chicken fingers was actually a grilled chicken breast, partially sliced into strips. This was good, and the honey mustard dip was excellent. The flatbread was disappointing, and I would not order that again.

The room rate we had booked included a full breakfast for two. The coupons we received said that they were good for the breakfast buffet. When we arrived for breakfast, I asked if I/we could use the coupon toward an item on the menu, and I was told no. When I stayed at the LAX airport Marriott, I was allowed to use my coupon toward an a la carte item, so this must be an individual property decision. The buffet was actually better than most buffets, and when I recalled later that I did not care for the menu choices or my breakfast entree at the LAX Marriott, I was glad that I had been told no.

The buffet included made to order eggs, which were excellent. There were several fresh ingredient choices for the eggs, with things like feta cheese and spinach. There were so many additional food items, that I do not recall them all. Some things I remember were: white, wheat, and swirl rye bread; three bagel choices, although none were whole grain; yogurt, fresh cut fruit, salmon with toppings (no tomato), cereal, oatmeal, grits, sausage, turkey or chicken sausage, bacon, cheesy potatoes, and many pastries and muffins. It was difficult to tell what some of the food items were because some of the signs were either missing or misplaced.

The toaster did not work well; once through did not toast the bread, and twice through burned it. I buy and consume chicken and turkey meats frequently, and I did not like the turkey sausage. It was dry and bland. Overall, though, breakfast was good. The egg chef was excellent.

Pool
When I chose this hotel, I did not notice that it does not have a whirlpool, which is one thing my husband likes. He went to the pool in the morning; however, he did not go swimming because he said that the water was quite cold.

Transfer from the International terminal and the Skytrain
I chose this hotel because of its proximity to the airport. I like that it is accessible via the Skytrain. We had to take a shuttle bus from the International terminal to the Skytrain, which did not take long. We boarded a waiting bus, and it departed as soon as it was full a few minutes later. This is the same shuttle bus that goes to the domestic terminal, and both locations are at the same stop. We then took the Skytrain to the Gateway center hotels. SpringHill Suites is across the street from the Marriott. This night, the rate at the SpringHill Suites was more than at the Marriott. The next day, we took the Skytrain to the domestic terminal for our flight.

Misc. and overall
I have wanted to stay at this Marriott when I was in the area before, because of the airport convenience; however, the rate has always been much higher than the Marriott Atlanta Airport hotel. Here is the link to my 2011 review of the Marriott Atlanta Airport. This night, the rate at the Marriott Atlanta Airport hotel was $12 less than Marriott Gateway; however, it did not include breakfast, and we would have had to spend more time waiting and riding the shuttle bus. I think that the Gateway hotels are the most convenient when needing to stay near ATL.

We thought the AAA rate at Marriott Gateway was an excellent value, although I was disappointed with the guestroom we received. I expected that as a Platinum guest, I would have at least received a corner, oversized, or concierge guestroom. We did not hear any noise from the airport or other guestrooms; just the hallway. Guests were not making a lot of noise in the hall; we could hear people speaking in a normal tone of voice, and we could hear doors opening and closing.