I have recently returned from staying at this property for 7 nights, March 12 through March 18 while my husband attended the NACE International Corrosion 2010 conference. I read many reviews before my trip, and most were very accurate. I will add my viewpoints in hopes that they help others.
I absolutely agree with the comments on the helpful, cheerful and pleasant check-in staff. They could not have been nicer and more helpful. This was certainly a great first impression and welcome after an 8-hour drive. We placed our vehicle in valet parking the first two days, simply for convenience sake; however, on the 3rd day, I moved the vehicle to the Riverwalk Parking Garage just across the street. Almost 1/2 the price and just as convenient. In fact, I could see my vehicle from my room's balcony.
I dreamed of spending many hours in the pool while my husband attended his conference. This was not to be. Every time I went to the pool area, it was like WaterWorld at Six Flags. Dozens and dozens of screaming kids with noodles and floaties. The pool is not *that* large, so there was no way for an adult to enjoy it. There were children even playing in the hot tub. My husband has a very bad back and shoulders, and it would have been so helpful for him to be able to enjoy the hot tub after a long day. The first evening, when we went down at about 10:00 to check the level of kiddie population, it had thinned out some (pool area closes at 11 p.m.); however, the pool area attendant told us that we might not want to go in the hot tub, because he would need to do some cleaning of it, because it had gotten "very dirty" that day. Yuck! I'm not certain at what price point level you have to go in hotels nowadays to get away from large families with unruly, screaming, dirty children, but apparently $250+ per night is not high enough. The pool is only 4' deep at the deepest end.
The newer Marriott Rivercenter (easy to confuse the two names) is just across the street. On at least one day, the other Marriott was having problems with their pool, so they sent all the children from their hotel over to use the pool at the Marriott Riverwalk!! Now, I'm sure this contributed greatly to the Six Flags atmosphere. When there were so very many adults attending this NACE convention (6000 attendees), many of whom were dearly wishing to partake of the pool for relaxation and exercise, but could not -- not even at 9 a.m. (opening time) or all the way up to 11 p.m. (closing time), I certainly would have wished hotel management would have considered opening the pool at some special hours, either early or late, during the week for adults only to compensate for taking on the mega-loads of spring break kids from another hotel to our detriment. :-(
We got a room with a balcony on the 24th floor, since I had read of the noise problems that were exacerbated on lower floors. The balcony looked out over the Riverwalk and was very nice. The room was adequate -- not huge or super plush, but quite nice.
As other reviewers have noted: the walls are indeed very thin. I could hear the lady in the next room coughing as though she were standing right next to me. I could hear the children in the bathroom next to me, and the next room's television was easily heard.
The bathroom is tight. I took a picture of how close the door is if you are sitting on the toilet. I found the shower to be excellent with good water flow and steady temperature. We had plenty of towels, although some were thin.
Lots of fluffy pillows. The bedding was not quite on the par of the nicer Hiltons, but was above average.
Housekeeping did a wonderful job, and I found the rooms to be cleaned very well each day.
They now offer free internet access in the lobby area. I was able to connect with no problems even on the outside patio area of the bar. We had drinks in the lounge almost every evening, and the staff was very courteous and cordial.
For conventions, it is a simple crossing of the street and you are at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. A crossing of the street on the other side puts you at the Rivercenter Mall. Many, many restaurants are within easy walking distance. The trolley stop is less than a block, as is the bus route.
Now, it just so happened to be spring break this week (terrific). I know that this had much to do with the amount of children, so other times might not be so bad in this regard. There was also a Luminary Festival...or something like that...which occurred over the weekend. There was a very, very loud live band playing on the street below and 100,000 people attending the festival. The noise level that night was tremendous, even on the 24th floor. On other evenings, I didn't find the street level noise to be a problem, although, I do travel with a fan which I run on "high" to drown out my husband's snoring (ha!).
All in all, the hotel staff gets an A+; the hotel ambiance gets a C- (because of it feeling like I was at a cheap Motel 6, with the zoo-full of unruly children -- I know you can't really blame the hotel for that, but...); We did not eat in the hotel restaurant, so I cannot judge that; hotel location gets an A+; cleanliness = A; room quality = A-.
We had a "convention rate" of $198, which came to $231.17 after all the taxes added.
I hope this has been helpful.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.