OK, I’m posting this review onto both hotels because the stay was so intertwined.
Here’s why: I had booked into the JWMarriott for one night. They were overbooked, and walked me to the Ritz Carlton. So, I had a Ritz Carlton room, but was given access to the JW Concierge Lounge (NOT the Ritz Club Lounge) and ate dinner at the JWM. The hotels are in the same building, and linked by a circuitous hallway on the lobby and second floors.
JWMarriott Front Desk/Ritz Carlton Front Desk
I was greeted with smiles and helpful staff. The young lady punched at her computer, made a call, and then asked me to follow her. (Note: no explanation given at this point…) We went through a series of hallways, and were in the Ritz’ very small lobby. She handed me over to the Front Desk Agent there, and excused herself.
The FD agent at the Ritz proceeded to check me in. I asked her what had happened, and she explained that the JWM was overbooked, so they were ‘upgrading’ me to the Ritz.
Note to Front Desk Manager at JWM: be sure you tell your guests exactly what you are doing with them… this was not done here. If you’re overbooked, just say so… I’m a big boy, I can handle the bad news. Plus, telling me you’re walking me to a Ritz is not exactly a bad thing… try this: “Mr Gardiner, I’m afraid we’re overcommitted this evening, but the good news is that we’ll be moving you to a room at the Ritz Carlton!”
I was given a King bed room on the 25th floor (which requires a change of elevators on 22).
The room was gracious in size… there is a large bathroom, with a large glassed in toilet, and an even larger glassed in soaking tub and shower. I laughed at the shower… a prior post had mentioned that you had to deal with the cold water just to turn the shower on… they were absolutely right! Two sinks. (frankly, I’m not familiar with Ritz amenities, but Mrs. Gardiner liked the stuff I brought home.)
The bedroom area was large, with a long built-in sofa against the window wall, and floor to ceiling windows. Nice King bed, which was very, very sleepable.
There was a smallish desk, in a safari style… but with NO electricity anywhere nearby. How do you have a hotel that’s less than two years old so badly designed for working in your room? My laptop cord had to hang mid-air from a hidden point by the window back to the safari table. My cell phones had to make use of the coffee pot plug for charging.
Truly, I crawled on my hands and knees looking for convenient plugs, and they just weren’t there. If you travel for business and need electricity to recharge various devices, I can’t recommend the Ritz for simplicity.
If Mrs. Gardiner were to be here with hair dryer, curling iron, and curlers, this would be a complete fail.
The other fittings at the Ritz were nice. Even the phones in the elevator lobbies were Bang &Olufsen… great attention to detail on that front.
JWMarriott Concierge Lounge Access
I’m a Marriott Platinum level (that’s 75+ nights/year), so I get Concierge Lounge access at Marriott’s which have lounges. Nice perk, and I don’t usually complain.
So, I asked at the Ritz Front Desk about my Concierge Lounge access. Apparently, since I was walked from the JWM, I had to go their Concierge Lounge, NOT the Ritz Lounge. To be very clear, this meant taking an elevator from the 25th floor to the 22nd floor, changing elevators, then another elevator from 22 to 2. Then, a walk around the corner to the Marriott’s elevators, then up to the 4th floor over there. That’s annoying.
Then, I asked at the Ritz desk about my Platinum amenity, and was told that the “upgrade” to the Ritz was considered my amenity.
Frankly, no. It’s not. I didn’t book or ask for the Ritz. I was there because the JWM screwed up and overbooked.
I told the young lady so, and explained that I bring my Platinum wine splits home for Mrs. Gardiner. She stepped away and brought back a small Ritz bag with a water bottle. Nice, but my presence in your hotel was because of a screw-up at the JWM. I’d have rather been at the JWM and had my amenity than the Ritz “upgrade”.
(Note: This is where you call me a spoiled hotel brat… and you could be right. “Chauncey,” you say, “you got “walked” from a JW to a Ritz? And you’re unhappy???” When you’re clocking 125+ hotel nights a year, the little things become magnified, become important… they become issues. Knock out 125 nights away from your family and let me know how that works out.)
JWMarriott Concierge Lounge
I headed over here around 5:30p, and they were still setting up for the evening. I was impressed by the wine selections. They had 5 different white wines, plus a Moet & Chandon sparkler… The wines were fully high end: Sonoma Cutrer R3 , Villa Maria Reserve NZ Sauv Blanc, etc. The reds were of equal stature… Very impressive selections. Other Marriotts and Delta SkyClubs could learn something here!
The lounge, when I was here, had a choice of grilled chicken skewers with a teriyaki glaze, or vegetable quesadilla rollups. Foods and sauces were replenished regularly.
In the morning, they had a very nice hot breakfast available, and served Illy coffee. Excellent!
LA Market Restaurant
I had dinner at LA Market in the JWM lobby, and was delighted to find a flatiron steak on the menu. It was blinking outstanding, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Although not on the menu, I asked if they had mushrooms, and the answer was a crisp “no problem, sir”
The food menu was in print, and the wine menu was on an iPad, with very user friendly tabs for choosing wines. Excellent use of tech. Why, though, wasn’t the whole menu (food and wine) on the iPad?
I have to call out Chef Linton, who came by to chat with me after I asked about the flatiron steak. We had a nice chat about the cut, and how they get such a thick piece of flatiron. He was knowledgeable and friendly, and was a great example of why I like Marriotts.
So, how do I rate this dual property visit?
>Marriott Check-in – 3 stars only for not being frank with me.
>Ritz Check in – 3 stars for not having access to the Ritz Club lounge and making me walk all over the place and take 3 different elevators for a cup of coffee. AND for telling me that my being “walked” was an upgrade and I’d get no Platinum amenity.
>Ritz Room – 4 stars… would have been five if you’d had electricity near the desk!
>Marriott Concierge Lounge – 5 stars… Nicely kitted out, great wines.
>LA Market Restaurant – 5 stars… LOVE IT when a food-passionate chef comes out to discuss your meal. Excellent!
Regrettably, here’s Marriott’s West Coast flagship property, and I’m giving them four stars. Your hardware was excellent, as I’d expect. How I was handled on this visit was what I’d expect from a Courtyard. Relook your practices around “walking” guests, and you’ll have 5 stars on my next stay.
Note: As always, I never post negative comments about a property without speaking with a Manager on Duty. I did do that before I checked out, and explained all of the above to him. He apologized, and agreed that the massive trek to the JWM Lounge was odd, and promised to look into that.