This was our conference hotel for an intensive 4 day meeting on property. I have stayed at multiple Marriotts as well as many other conference hotels. The story here is that what they did well, they did very well, but there were many small things that just left me with a bad aftertaste, if you will.
Things started out poorly when we called from the airport for our "free shuttle" to the hotel. We were told when we called ahead, we couldn't arrange in advance, we needed to call upon arrival. So we did. We were told by the staff that we just needed to walk out from baggage claim one and there would be a shuttle right there. No shuttle. We waited. We gathered more from our flight - about 15 of us total, all waiting there for the hotel shuttle. We called again - we were told it should be right back. More waiting. No shuttle. We called again. We were told they'd send a cab at their expense. No cab. Finally we walked to the other end of the building, near the door marked for limos, only to find cabs galore and a shuttle that was marked Marriott, but that we were told was just there for show, because it didn't go to the Marriott we were going to. There were at least 25 people sitting and waiting on the sidewalk in a line, likely for the one shuttle that was looping to the hotel. We took a cab. When we got to the hotel, I called inside to see if they'd settle up the cab, but the lines were busy. When one of the party inquired about cab reimbursement, instead of the hotel staff paying for the cab (which they'd promised not only to me, but one of the others in my party that was also calling and waiting for 45 minutes). They told us we'd have to e-mail the manager for that request. They did not my colleague back before we left. I do not know the outcome.
In preparation for our return, we asked the desk if we could book the shuttle for our group for a specific time the next day. We were told yes, we'd have the shuttle for 5. When we went to get on the shuttle, there were other folks waiting as well, and the driver told us it was first come, first served, when we asked him to save a spot for our last member who was in the lobby bathroom. Why tell a group they have a reservation when they don't? More importantly, why run a large conference, where business travelers are counting on the "free shuttle" if you do not have an efficient system? We asked the very kind shuttle driver on the way back to the airport about where folks are told to pick up the shuttle from the airport. Without telling our story, he shared that he has to frequently tell the operators to make sure they are telling folks to go outside of the other door, because the shuttle cannot pick up from where they will tell them to wait. So, clearly this was not a one off problem, but a persistent communication issue.
My Room -
My room was great, almost. The bed was comfortable, the A/C controls worked well, the bathroom was clean and modern. There was a mini-fridge for our use. No safe. There were crumbs in all the drawers. There was lots of dust on the fridge. The alarm clock did not work, at all - you couldn't change the time on it from 12:00. The management called right after I checked in, to see if a prior guest left their Ipad in the room. They asked how things were. I reported the alarm clock. They said they'd send engineering to give me a new one. In my 3 day stay, they never did.
Conference Food -
I was very happy with the conference food we were served while there. It was your average fare,but it was warm, well seasoned and plentiful. Our conference had provided us a continental breakfast while we where there - set up outside of our meeting rooms each morning. This is a great perk that is not offered at most of my conferences. I was grateful to have it. I do think that if Marriott is going to serve a conference group a continental breakfast each morning, they could switch it up a bit. We got the exact same flavors of muffins, pastries, juices and fruit each day. C'mon Marriott..how about chocolate chip one day and banana walnut the next? If you want folks to give you conference business, you can't treat everyday like groundhog's day!
I checked in before my roommate did. I left a key at the desk with her name on it. When she arrived, they called the room to ask permission to give her a key. I told them I left her a key. They said "oh, you did?". Good thing I wasn't out or in the shower.
All and All, I'd say the staff were kind, they tried to be helpful, and the place looked nice and was comfortable. It was a decent experience...but it wasn't up to the par of other conference hotel experiences. They need to work on their communication. If we tell you there's an issue, fix it. If you tell us where to go for the shuttle, be there, etc.
Perhaps staying just for sight seeing, where you are not spending all of your time in the hotel, you'll have a much different stay.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Visit Columbia Marriott, a top choice among hotels in Columbia, SC and a hotel located in the vibrant downtown Columbia area near the University of South Carolina. Our hotel offers some of the finest accommodations in Columbia, SC. To meet our guests' needs, the Columbia Marriott hotel has remodeled guest rooms, lobby, meeting space, and restaurant and bar. Stay with us and you'll enjoy generous amenities such as pillow-top mattresses, 42" flat panel televisions, and wireless Internet access for plenty of entertainment. Our 28,000 square feet of space makes our Columbia, SC hotel a favorite choice for businesses and social functions in Columbia. Just minutes from popular destinations, including Columbia Museum of Art, Riverbanks Zoo, the state capitol, Colonial Life Arena, and Williams Brice Stadium, Columbia Marriott is close to many popular attractions. Guests are welcome to take advantage of our indoor pool and on-site fitness center. Reserve a room today. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Marriott, Booking.com, Orbitz, Expedia, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire, Cheap Tickets, Cancelon and HotelQuickly so you can book your Columbia Marriott reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Columbia Marriott Hotel Columbia
- Marriott Columbia