Well . . . not literally . . . but figuratively. One thing I can say is that I've been treated like royalty here. I'm checking out for a few weeks then returning in October. With the kind of treatment I've received here, I've decided for the first time in my life to write a hotel review and some comments on my treatment as a Platinum member in the Marriott chain (and the Intercontinental Hotel Group, in which I've primarily stayed in Holiday Inns/Expresses).
One thing I can say about the Marriott family of hotels, is that as compared to the Intercontinental Hotels group, the Platinum level gets much better recognition in the Marriott family of hotels than in the Intercontinental. And I'm going to distinguish this recognition on two levels: recognition when staying on points redemptions and recognition when staying for cash. As a true road warrior, over the last 15 years, I have almost 1000 paid nights in each of these hotel families. I've been a "points millionaire" in each of the programs in years past. It's not hard to do with as many nights as I stay on the road that are paid nights, and adding in using the Chase Visa Holiday Inn card or the Chase Visa Marriott and bonuses for charging the rooms to those cards, (all depending on the chain in which I'm staying), periodic promotions, etc., etc., etc., one can see the points add up. Hands down, I give the Marriott Chain a grade of A for platinum recognition for both paid stays and points redemptions. And by that I mean more than the obligatory bottle of water when you check in, but, service, room upgrades, etc.
By comparison, I give the Intercontinental Hotel group a B for paid stays and a C for points redemptions. Those points are the lemonaide made from all the years of lemons from being on the road. Those are how I take family on trips to some place I want to be for fun instead of some place I have to be for work. There is a VERY clear separation in my opinion between the two affinity programs on how they treat their Platinum members for points redemptions and the Marriott is unquestionably the clear winner and that's important to me as I use points on vacations, airline miles, etc. That's my personal experience and I'm not saying it is everyone's but it is mine.
Back to my stay here at the Courtyard in Abilene, I have to thank Darlene Yarbrough, the General Manager, for the professional attention she and her staff have provided during my stay. Darlene pulled out all the stops on recognizing my Platinum status for room upgrades. Whoo hoo! Really nice! Lisa, who works the front desk most mornings, has provided exemplary service. She rocks! If she tells you she'll get a need handled, it'll get done. I appreciate that. Rene, the operations manager, has been very helpful as well. Chris, another of the front desk people, is a prince of a guy. The Bistro staff (a cool restaurant here, with a limited menu as one would expect in a business hotel) have been amazing . . . and . . . STARBUCKS COFFEE IN THE MORNINGS! Yes, they've got a Starbucks concession here. Wonderful. David Yarbrough (whose last name I only learned tonight) and who is a brother in law to Darlene, as I was told this evening, has been so kind to let me interrupt whatever he's doing in the mornings when I want a grande Starbucks coffee with 2 to 4 shots of espresso to kick me into high gear. He's simply just one of the nicest and most gregarious men I've met. Cheryl, who works in the bistro, gets it too. Customer service. You can tell she doesn't come at her work as a chore. She comes at it with a sincere interest in providing service. I really do appreciate her. A young lady in housekeeping, Rosalina, was providing housekeeping in my room on the front end of my stay and put the flourishes in the room as someone would who has that same attitude of customer service. Others here have as well.
So, for me, service is key. I'm a road warrior. And, I don't want to be fighting any battles over poor service once I get to the room to rest up or crank out reports. I've been provided the best here.
But, the facilities are exemplary. There was a remodeling some few months before I got here. I don't know what it was like in the past, but it's certainly great now.
Also, the hotel is across the street from the Abilene Mall. If you don't want a Starbucks from the hotel bistro, take the ten minutes to walk to a retail Starbucks that is nearby, or the 3 minutes to get in your car and go. There are many restaurants outside of the mall that are near (meaning, walking distance, as in across the street or down the block on the same side of the street!).
I've stayed in many hotels, good and bad, in my many years of travel. I would say that the two best I've stayed at for my needs as a businessman are the Courtyard Abilene, and, the Holiday Inn Express in Raton, New Mexico. [Roy, the owner/manager there and his staff, "get it" like Darlene and her staff get it here.] There are the few standout properties within the Intercontinental family of hotels as I've enjoyed, of which the Holiday Inn Express in Raton is the undoubtedly the cream of the crop. But, overall, the experiences at the Marriott owned family of hotels is, as I have said, much better than the Interconinental owned family of hotels, as I've stayed at over many, many years of being a road toad, staying in hotels in cities large and small in many different states, travelling on business. It's going to be sad checking out here. But, I'll be coming back and glad I am!
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- Also Known As:
- Courtyard By Marriott Abilene Hotel Abilene
- Courtyard Abilene
- Abilene Marriott
- Abilene Courtyard