Sometimes I think that airlines and hotels have too much time and/or money on their hands and the news last week that Marriott is trialling facial recognition software to help with the check-in process does little to quash that opinion.
A number of people have been saying that having the likes of the St Regis Bora Bora and the St Regis Maldives Vommuli priced at 60,000 points/night is only really a good deal on paper. In reality, they say, award availability will be very limited (due to demand) so only a few of us will be able to get the reservations we want. I see things in a slightly different way.
We've known about the new Marriott award chart (kicking in from 1 August 2018) for some time but it hasn't really meant all that much up until now because Marriott hadn't confirmed what categories its hotels would be placed in. The hotelier gave us an indication of what to expect back in April but, as I noted at the time, there was quite a bit they left out. In its examples Marriott didn't include all the properties in each city/region that it was using to explain how things would look, we weren't told how peak- and off-peak seasons would be split and there was still uncertainty over how all-suite properties would be treated.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Air France integration coming to Amazon's Alexa and now it looks like Marriott is taking things a step further as it brings Alexa into its hotel rooms.
Marriott already has a strong presence in London with 10 very centrally located hotels and, counting the Starwood properties, that number increases to a very impressive 17. However, apparently 17 isn't enough for the guys in Betheseda because Marriott has recently announced that it will open a new Westin in central London in 2020.
I loved Belize when I visited it a few years ago. I visited outside of the busy season (May) so where I was staying was beautifully tranquil and the scuba diving was fantastic. I've been looking for a reason to return and it's just possible that Marriott is about to give me one.
Last week I analysed the changes Marriott announced that it would be making to its hotel categories from March 6th onwards. I concluded that the changes are clearly a net negative but I also said that I didn't think they were quite as bad as some are making them out to be. I've now had time to take another look at the changes that are coming and I think I've found another way of looking at them.
If you're looking to book a Las Vegas vacation on Marriott.com you'll find that the chain will offer you 20 properties in the Las Vegas area. If you throw Starwood into the mix you'll find another 6 properties on offer. That's sounds like a good amount of choice until you realise that 16 of the properties aren't full-service establishments and that only 3 are anywhere near the center of the Strip.
Following Marriott’s hotel category moves late last week I’ve taken a closer look at the changes Marriott is putting through and pulled out some of the more interesting statistics. I’ve taken a look at Marriott’s hotel category changes by region, by significant brand and on a holistic level to try to get a better idea of just what these changes mean and to see if they’re as bad as some are saying they are. Are the latest Marriott hotel category changes really the “bloodbath” that some are suggesting or are they something else?
I only had three nights in Sydney on this trip so it was important to me that I booked somewhere central and within an easy walk of most things I'd like to see and do while I was in town. I was also keen to spend as little as possible while still enjoying a good amount of comfort so that meant booking a property with points and with a chain at which I have status. All of this made the Sydney Harbour Marriott a logical place to stay.