Let's start with the good stuff about The Bohemian. The location is fantastic. It sits on the river and is very close to many of the historic district’s main attractions: the City Market, Johnson Square, River Street, the shops on Whitaker, Broughton, etc. The hotel is clean, modern, and well decorated.
Now let's talk about the bad stuff. Originally, we were excited that the Marriott was expanding its footprint by having more options in more cities through its recent addition of the Autograph Collection, including Savannah’s Bohemian hotel and The Mansion at Forsyth Park. Our understanding and expectation was that, while the Autograph Collection hotels are not Marriott owned/franchised properties, the same benefits provided to Gold and Platinum Members would be provided at these properties. This is NOT the case, based on our recent experience at The Bohemian.
When we arrived, we did not receive an upgrade to our room which is frequently assured for Platinum members. Plus, we were placed in one of the smallest rooms available and near the elevator.
Not only did we not received our upgrade, but we did not even get normal benefits guaranteed for elite members. Normally, Gold and Platinum members receive complimentary access to the hotel's concierge lounge, or if there is no lounge, a free breakfast voucher is provided. At the Bohemian (which did not have a concierge lounge), we received two $10 coupons for breakfast to cover the two of us during our 4-day stay, with each coupon prominently stating that only one coupon could be used per day and that each coupon could not be combined with any other coupon/discount. This amount ($5 per person per day) is obviously inadequate to cover breakfast for two individuals. Plus, we did not use one of the vouchers but asked if we could use it on another day, we were emphatically declined.
Furthermore, we requested a late checkout at 12:30 pm, instead of the standard 11am checkout. We believed this was a modest and reasonable request, considering that most hotels give guests a one-hour grace period for checkout, even if you aren’t affiliated with any loyalty program. The front desk manager promptly declined. We asked if this declination, even applied for Marriott Platinum members. After a pause, the manager offered 12:00pm, which is still not normal or reasonable. This was irritating because loyal guests are forced to negotiate over half an hour, which realistically would make no meaningful impact on room preparation. We believe the logical response would be to simply give us the extra half hour without any fuss and risk of irritating the guest.
While none of these issues ruined our vacation or resulted in severe inconvenience, our Bohemian experience was less than stellar compared to our experience at other Marriott properties for loyalty program members. We believe our loyalty to the Marriott did not provide us with any benefit, even though we were Platinum members. We would have been better off staying at another hotel such as the Andaz, which appears to be a better value when comparing price, room size, and other standard amenities.
If Marriott is going to advertise to its Marriott elite members that these affiliated hotels offer the same benefits to its Gold and Platinum members, then Marriott has a lot more to do to integrate these new "independent" hotels into its system. At this point, these Autograph hotels appear to disregard their obligations to elite members. Until Marriott rectifies these problems, we will be more leery of staying at these Autograph hotels in the future. With this review, we can hopefully spare other Marriott Rewards members from the same negative experience (or at least warn them about such problems at these Autograph hotels).
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