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JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
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Reviewed April 30, 2008

Our family of FIVE ( two parents, two middle schoolers, and a 3rd grader) stayed at the Marriott Desert Ridge Hotel during our week of Spring Break in early April. We arrived early Friday evening after a long day that had started 12 hours earlier; starting in Flagstaff, moving on to a fabulous day at the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas.

Needless to say, we didn’t look exactly “spiffy” as we tumbled, crumpled and hike-weary out the large but not upscale rental car. As my husband snaked around the crowded arrival area I spied many immaculate, beautifully dressed “shiny” people coming and going from the lobby, I took a deep breath and as we trod upon the premises we were treated……… WELL by the valet, bell captain, and assorted staff in the lobby.

I had carefully read the room descriptions prior to making reservations. As any family of FIVE knows, it is a challenge making reservations for one room. However this time, I didn’t have to forget, oop’s, a family member and make it an even four to get a room, as rooms were noted as having a max of five with two queen beds and a sleeper sofa. We opted for the up-grade with the view. It wasn’t planned as a long stay, just a little nice R&R after all the traveling, with a fun pool for the kids and admittedly “lovely” grounds for the parents, so no worries for mom.

Check in was fine, again courteous enough, etc. except I was advised no sleeper sofa. My third grader is small enough (we did it at Disney) so I figured no big deal, sleep on sofa as sofa vs sofa bed. BUT when we got to our room --two double beds (!!!) and NO sofa. The music was vibrant and clearly lively outside our balcony over-looking the pool. One person’s “party” is another mom’s nightmare. I was not OK with the set up. When we asked for a cot, it took up so much space that other furniture needed to be removed.

Another deep breath, and I marched to front desk looked for the person who seemed to be in charge and politely advised, NOT OK. Francesca (sp?) was very attentive and immediately got busy trying to find another room. I also offered to, happily, forgo the up-graded view to look out at a wall gain a sofa, and call it even. No exchange rooms were available……BUT undaunted Francesca kept working it. She offered some sort of penthouse (??!!) room with a dining table for six, and a murphey bed, my eyes started spinning in their sockets (no explanation needed for other moms) then she found it. The executive suite. One King (as if the 3rd grader doesn’t end up in bed with us anyway) and a sleeper sofa in the other room for the two middle schoolers.

Perfection !!!!!! The room(s) were large, lovely (by any standards….Belagio, Wynn, Beverly Hills Hotel for recent comparison) quiet, and the view the next morning, one for mental memory books. I advised Francesa that I was not looking for a freebie or a hand-out and she politely scoffed at the thought of anything other than an even exchange.

Kevin Costner (in town for a charity event), quietly singing and playing the guitar under my balcony the next morning was an added bonus for mom (and yes, super handsome, !!! etc, in real life).

We were treated graciously by all staff, problem-resolution skills seem to be honed, grounds were beautiful, and food was good to fine. RECOMMENDED !

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled with family
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1  Thank gerheif
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 25, 2008

I must be living in another dimension than some of these reviewers because my experience at the Marriott was outstanding - and I was just one of the "sheep" attending a conference there! My thought upon arrival was that perhaps since I was only there for the conference that service provided to me would be sub-par but that was not the case. The staff, at all times, were friendly and helpful - even the young men working the valet service (although it is my understanding that they are contracted by the hotel).

Upon check-in, my request for a king bed was immediately satisfied, despite the two large conferences going on there that week. My room overlooked the "Isle of Capri."

The grounds were immaculate. On occasion I did see some trash but with all of the kids about, that is to be expected. On the subject of the grounds, I have uploaded some photos I took while there.

If you are into birding, you'll see several species that have taken up residence at the resort, including Verdin, Gambel's quail, Cactus wren, Kildeer and Curve-billed thrashers, along with the usual Mourning doves, House sparrows, Mallards and Great-tailed grackles. I didn't expect to see rabbits on the grounds (I'm from the east coast) but they were everywhere and allowed me to get close enough for some nice pictures. The children at the resort loved seeing the "bunny rabbits."

The room was very clean and I was pleased to discover a 37" flat-screen TV upon arrival. There was also a user-programmable safe and a mini-fridge. The mini-fridge was split in two down the middle, with the left side locked (where the booze, etc. was located) and the right side unlocked. A key to the fridge was offered at check-in. The bed was VERY comfortable and the A/C unit cooled the room down quickly when asked of it.

The bathroom had a marble counter and included a tub and a glass-enclosed shower, at opposite ends of the room. Hot water was almost immediate, at any time.

I did not eat at the hotel restaurant since food was provided at the conference. Whoever catered the event did a fantastic job, with the helpful, friendly staff and delicious food. (I only add this to my review in case the hotel was somehow connected with the catering.)

Smoking is not permitted in any of the rooms but ashtrays are provided upon request for balcony use.

For those interested in shopping at the nearby Desert Ridge Mall, the hotel provides a free shuttle service, with departures every 30 minutes from the hotel entrance. There is an Albertson's grocery store at the mall (with an attached liquor section) as well as a CVS and Target, for any of your needs.

Overall, my stay was outstanding and I would certainly recommend the JW Marriott, without hesitation. I would take the negative reviews of this hotel with a grain of salt - and are probably written by people who would find something to complain about while staying with Her Majesty the Queen in Buckingham Palace.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled on business
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4  Thank The_Devil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 23, 2008

This resort has a good website "sell", but is in no way a four star. A group of us went for a girls weekend and were extremely diappointed. We all travel quite a bit and have stayed in great spots. This is not one of them. The service was non-existant at the pools, the restaurants, the front desk and the lounge. If you are going to charge $15 for a martini, you had better have a waitress in the lounge that appears within, oh, say, less than 20 minutes and doesn't have attitude (just as an example). Our room was nothing special, the pools were overcrowded and filled with partiers and kids. Not our idea of a $400+/night resort.

  • Stayed: April 2008
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7  Thank stpaulites
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2008

Recently returned from a 7 night stay (4/12-19) using Marriot Rewards points. This is my second stay at this hotel, last was 2 years ago for 3 nights.

First, let me say I am a Gold Member of the Rewards program and am a loyal patron. That being said, I was dissapointed not to be treated like one. One week before check-in I requested a room overlooking the Desert Botanical Garden. I did this knowing that the rooms facing the pool are quite loud at times. I was told I had an "upgraded view room".

Upon check-in I was given a room with "two over-sized Queens" according to the front desk. Queens?? These are full beds and I am with my wife of nearly 15 years on vacation. Possibly we could have a King bed? Oh yes, and the room is on the 2nd floor overlooking...the pool. I called front desk immediately to let them know this was not satisfactory. They took my cell number and told me they would call when they had another room available.

The time marched on until about 3:30. At this point, I was concerned they would have filled their rooms. I went to the front desk and found they only had 2 rooms left in the hotel. Unreal. They were a King on ground floor (I always request high floors, but apparently having that information in your Elite reservation status is just for one's own personal information) and another double/double room overlooking the Botanical Garden.

I took the double/double begrudgingly as it least it had a decent view. By the way, no offer to help move my luggage...nice touch.

Room we finally setlled in was standard for the resort. Nice view of mountains, botanical garden and....720 people from Bacardi on two mornings having breakfast. Now I dont begrudge the hotel for making money on corporate events, but they need a better system to make those on vacation not feel inconvenienced by these events. My inconvenience came at 3:30 AM on my 2nd night there when the staff started setting up the buffets, etc. Having come to AZ for the weather, I had my sliding glass door open. Ahhhh, the relaxing sounds of golf carts backing up (beep, beep, beeep) and rattling dishes, clanking glasses.

Now, every day you get a sheet in your room with activities for the resort. Basically, this doesn't change form day to day. My suggestion? Put the events and location of events on their as a "heads-up" to the vacationing resort guests so they know if they should keep their door shut so as not to be awoken at 3:30 AM. Another thought, work it out with the corporation to give those in rooms overlooking their event a small gift. It would go a long way.

Lastly, let's talk about litter. The grounds are mainly immaculate. This ends in the common areas outside, especially at the pools (SPA pool is worth the money). I know there are a huge number of people that traffic these areas, but the resort doesn't seem to know this. They need many more staff to clean up througout the day. Cups, straws, etc were everywhere. Part of the blame lay on the guests. Some of whom didn't make any effort to clean up after themselves. On the other hand, I shouldn't be swimming in a pool with empty cups at the bottom (at least 1 every day I was there). Also, as I was walking back to my room after a day at the pool and I noticed something striking. There was a sugar packet on the lawn as well as a piece of plastic. I saw 2 Marriott employees, one was dressed as a manager. I thought this will be interesting to see if they stop to pick up this trash. The answer? They walked right by. Marriott, train your employees to have pride in the resort surroundings. This is unacceptable.

One last piece of advice: get some new chaise lounges out at the main pool. A number of them look like you got them from a garage sale. People are paying over $500 a night at this time of year for chairs like this? The lounges at the Spa should be standard for this kind of high-end resort.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank CTSirTravelsAlot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 21, 2008

We stayed at the JW Marriott for three nights in April - it is a fairly new site and you could definately tell. The hotel and grounds seem impressive when you pull up to the place, but we found the rooms to be fairly average with nothing special to really speak of. There are three swimming pools and a "lazy" river you can float around in, which my four year old enjoyed - at first. The problem with this hotel is with the employees - most of the employees we came into contact with were standoffish and rude. An employee working at the top of the waterslide at the pool was verbally abusive to the kids - letting some go down the slide and telling others to "take a break." Although my son met the height requirements, she scolded him for being up there without me (I was waiting at the bottom of the slide in the pool for him.) This upset him and he refused to go on the slide again with "the mean lady" working there. I talked to the manager of the pool area and he said he would address it. The overall feel of the employees there was cold and, well, just plain rude. We were able to get a cheap rate - $125 per night - so we didn't feel to taken - but if you have to pay $300 or $400 for this place, look around somewhere else.

  • Stayed: April 2008
    • Value
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1  Thank wamu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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