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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grand Rapids, Michigan / JW Marriott

We have stayed at the Grand Rapids JW Marriott  several times, and this is our favorite hotel in the area. I had not started this blog yet, the first time that I stayed in this hotel after it opened in 2007. My Marriott status was Silver at that time, and we received a fabulous corner room on one of the higher floors overlooking the river. I have had Gold or Platinum status for all of my stays since then. I received an upgrade to the concierge floor every time except for when my status was Silver. This review was our first 2-night stay in this hotel.

Here is a link to some of my previous reviews: September 2012April 2011 and February 2011. We also stayed in this hotel in 2010 and 2013; however, I must not have written reviews after those stays. 

March 2014, Weekend, 2-nights, Concierge king guestroom #2311

Status perks and check-in
sunrise from guestroom
The day before our arrival, I saw online that our guestroom had already been upgraded to a room on the concierge floor. I was checking because I had wanted to fill out the virtual concierge form to request early check-in; however, this option was not available less than 24 hours before arrival. A friend told me that he was able to do this on the day of his arrival; however, I did not re-check our reservation the morning before we arrived.

Even though I had not filled out the request form, we did not have any trouble checking in early. We arrived shortly after 2 p.m, and we were able to check-in. The agent provided friendly and professional service.

view from guestroom
Guestroom
Guestroom 2311 has a view of the city. I like to have a view of the city from the guestroom because then we can also see the sunrise, as well as the sunset and river, which are visible from the concierge lounge. I used to think that a river view guestroom was nicer; however, since the river is visible from the lounge, I like having a city view guestroom. I have actually never had a guestroom in this hotel that I did not like.

The guestroom had a wooden floor entrance where the closet and beverage center were located. The lighted closet contained hangers, two plush bathrobes, a folding luggage  rack, and an iron and ironing board.

The beverage center contained a single-serve coffeemaker with supplies, two small bottles of water, a steel ice bucket, glass glasses, and a small fridge. Condiments with the coffee included liquid creamer. A large safe was located in the drawer under the counter.

The marble bathroom across from the entrance contained a shower and a deep tub. Bath amenities, a scale, and a hairdryer were located on and under the vanity across from the tub. The towels were good quality. None of the guestrooms in this hotel that I have stayed in have very much counter space in the bathroom. The corner guestrooms have a larger shower. One frustration we had in this guestroom was flushing the toilet; we had to hold the handle down. This did not seem like a big deal at the start of our stay; however, by the end of our 2-night stay, it was somewhat annoying.

The bedding and bed comfort were superb. The sheets were good quality, and the guestroom was well-soundproofed. I was glad for the thick walls and sound barrier on the bottom of the guestroom door because we had two rooms of families next to us the second night (at least 4 to 10 kids total in the area). We heard a lot of conversation and doors shutting earlier in the evening, and fortunately, we did not hear anything after we went to bed that night.

Two nightstands with a clock and telephone were located on either side of the king size bed. Lamps were attached to the wall above the nightstands, and two reading lights were located at the head of the bed.

The guestroom also contained a bench at the foot of the bed, a chaise lounge, an end table with lamp, a soft straight-backed chair, desk and chair, and a flatscreen TV on an armoire. A second telephone was on the desk. The furnishings were the same as they had been in the other guestrooms we have stayed in.

Our room was not automatically cleaned during stayover. We had the "do not disturb" sign on the door in the early morning, until we left the guestroom shortly after 10:30 a.m. We heard and observed housekeeping in the hallway before we left, so we thought our room would be cleaned after we removed the sign and left the guestroom. When we returned around 2:30 p.m., our room had not been cleaned, and I did not observe a housekeeping cart in the hall. We observed a housekeeping cart in the hall a bit later when we left for the pool, and then we observed a small cart in the hallway, possibly the one used for turndown service, around 4:30 p.m. No one stopped at our guestroom after this, so shortly after 4:30 p.m., I decided that I better call for service. It was after 5:30 p.m. before our room was cleaned, and we received turndown service at the same time. Turndown service included two small chocolates on the tray.

Concierge lounge
Breakfast foods in the concierge lounge were the same both mornings: fresh fruits--whole and sliced, packaged yogurt, fresh yogurt with granola, cold cereals, cheeses, cold meats, salmon, hard boiled brown eggs, bagels, breads, and pastries. There was a cappuccino machine, in addition to coffee, tea, milks, juices, and bottled water.

The food both evenings was similar. There were two prepared food items: crostini topped with chicken, and  puff pastries the first night. The second night, the crostinis were topped with corn, and the second food item was some type of baked or lightly fried round cheese balls. Cheeses with crackers and dried apricots were also available. Dessert was brought out after 7:30 p.m. The food was a huge disappointment since we had received things like sushi, shrimp, and pot stickers in the past. Good quality beverages could be purchased for $5, and the first three beer or wine beverages were complimentary. The service in the lounge was excellent.

The lounge was accessible 24 hours. The cooler was stocked with non-alcoholic beverages, like soda and water, and there were three tins with snack foods--mixed nuts, and trail mix type foods.

Pool area
The pool and spa are located on the third floor. The pool and whirlpool tub were spacious, although the area was quite full with families every time that we tried to visit. We were able to use the whirlpool tub once. It was clean, and the temperature was perfect. We also used the eucalyptus steam room, which we thought was great. The pool towels were thick, plush JW embroidered towels.

Misc.
The Home & Garden Show, and the Little Black Dress Party were going on during our stay. The JW offered an excellent promotional rate the nights of our stay, which is why we decided to stay two nights instead of one. Parking is $16 a night for self-parking. I have seen parking discounts for the hotel in the past, although we did not see any for the nights of our stay.

The skywalk, which goes from DeVos Place to Van Andel Arena, is easily accessible from the second floor of the JW. The Marriott Courtyard is less than one mile from the JW via the skywalk. It has been several years since we have stayed at the Courtyard, and we have a visit planned there this summer. There are many restaurants, bars, museums, and more within walking distance of both hotels. We walked to the new Grand Rapids downtown market, which is just over two miles away.