Being a regular user of IC, Hilton and Sheraton hotels—of all grades and types—we’ve been curious for some time to see how a Marriot would compare. In the event, our opportunity came with my wife’s week-long conference in Pisa, where we stayed at an AC version of the Marriot brand.
The best thing about our stay, by some measure, was the room, which was comfortable, clean and nicely designed. The bathroom was equally slick and clean—they compared well with a top-end Holiday Inn or an average Doubletree Hilton.
A mini-bar stocked with complimentary soft drinks, fruit nectars and mineral waters (still and sparkling) was restocked every day.
The only disappointing thing about the accommodation was the towels, which were thin and often warn.
The public spaces of the hotel looked good and were nicely furnished and reasonably comfortable. A nice touch in the lounge / bar area was—from 5pm onwards—free nibbles and light snacks, which went someway to lessen the pain of the over-priced drinks (in fairness though no worse than comparable establishments).
On the negative side however, there were several issues. The Wi-Fi was not free anywhere within the hotel and was exorbitantly expensive. From what I could gather, the situation wasn’t much better for loyalty scheme members. It’s rare to find a hotel anywhere these days which charges for lobby Wi-Fi and it left a mean impression on the part of the hotel.
The complimentary breakfast was just about okay so far as the food went—better than a Holiday Inn Express but humble in comparison to a paid breakfast at a comparable establishment. The coffee however was just plain poor, and might even have been instant. Unfortunately, even if one asked for a specially made espresso or cappuccino the quality was no better, and this applied to the coffee available in the hotel throughout the day. What puzzled me was that there was a state of the art coffee machine behind the bar which was never turned used. All the dreadful coffee emerged from the kitchen and outside of breakfast time was 4.50 Euros plus for a cup…
On our final evening we tried the hotel restaurant. Our starters were acceptable, but my main course which was advertised as half pound beef burger turned up as two cheap and nasty preformed processed patties (which I presume had started life as quarter-pounders)—of the sort one might expect to get outside a football stadium. Quite dreadful. My wife’s spaghetti with “fish” sauce emanated in fact as a spaghetti with a sea food sauce. This wouldn’t have mattered, especially as the sauce was excellent, but the portion was miniscule with barely a handful of sea food elements.
Finally, the Marriot blurb implies that the hotel is in the heart of an exciting and happening part of modern Pisa. Well, NO, in actual fact, unless one gets excited by the idea of the shopping mall next door. In reality, this is just a typical edge-of-town business hotel for people with cars, a good half an hour walk from the centre of old Pisa. There is a bus which runs about every ten minutes, but it stops running at 8.30pm, which means that the only way one can get back to the hotel after a supper in Pisa is on foot, or by taxi.
Overall, I would say that despite the nice room and even allowing for the complimentary breakfast, one gets more for one’s money at an equivalent standard Doubletree or Holiday Inn, where one is also generally made to feel more welcome and more valued by the staff (the staff at the AC Marriot were mostly gruff and / or uninformative).
Summing up, I would only recommend this hotel to businessmen and women on an expense account that will cover the Wi-Fi and poor value restaurant and the taxi fares—assuming they don’t have a car.
We booked through Trivago and got room for about 90 Euros per night. The meal came to about 80 Euros. Unfortunately, the nightly taxi fares nullified the thrill of getting the room so cheap.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.