When I was a kid, my family and I would drive every year to Boston to stay at the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel. It was so exciting because we got to stay in a hotel and when you’re a kid-that’s the coolest thing. Looking back on it now, I can’t believe I loved staying in hotels like that because they were so bland. I had long thought of Marriott as being just that: bland, stale and a place my parents would stay.
For years I thought that, and as other hotel chains launched boutique style hotels and as boutique/lifestyle hotels became the new trend, I forgot about Marriott. Recently, I rediscovered Marriott and realized they are changing things about their hotels and their guest experience.
Last week I stayed at the Marriott Marina del Rey out in Los Angeles. I had actually been to the ‘Glow’ bar at the hotel once before but didn’t even realize it was inside a Marriott-at the time a few years ago, that would have been unfathomable to me.
However, Marriott has been reimagining their guest experience, transforming its lobbies and public spaces for the next generation of travelers. They have redone several of the ‘Great Rooms”, meaning the main lobby area.
They have knocked down walls, put up cool fixtures, added communal seating, enhanced the lobby bars and food and made Internet free for its guests. This is to lure the guests out of their rooms and into a cool atmosphere. It makes guests want to stay in the hotel itself and not just to sleep. Marriott is becoming an innovative brand for my generation and the generations to follow.
The Marina del Rey Marriott offers the perfect blend of work and play. It has over 18,000 sq. ft. of conference, meeting and event space. This includes weddings from their amazing rooftop area where many movies have actually been filmed including ‘Valentines Day’ and several other high profile Hollywood films.
As I mentioned ‘Glow’ earlier, it is one of the coolest hotel lounges and bars I have been to in the world (and I’ve been to plenty). It was actually rated one of the top 10 hotel lounges in the U.S. and I couldn’t agree more.
It has a cool communal vibe with open sofa areas, good food, drinks, and that cool LA vibe to it. It also features some tucked away areas for a little more privacy. The best thing is it’s open and connected directly to the hotel ‘Great Room’ so it feels like an extension of the lobby.
Marriott is becoming extremely innovative with their redesign of several hotels and they have become acutely aware of what the modern, young, savvy traveler is looking for. The Marriott Marina del Rey is a great example of what Marriott is doing. It is leading the pack in the campaign to change hearts and minds of peoples’ perception of the old Marriott. I will say this, they’ve changed my mind and next time I am back in Los Angeles, I will be at the Marriott Marina del Rey again!
Disclaimer: I was compensated financially by Marriott for attending an event at the Marriott Marina del Rey and given free hotel accommodation. However, the views expressed in this article are solely my own.