Pros: Nice rooms, great staff, location, plenty of dining and ammeneties.
Cons: Rediculously expensive for normal items. Resteraunts all high end and high cost.
Recently my wife and I visited Atlanta for a 4 day long weekend to celebrate our anniversary and stayed at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta. Seeing we were on a pretty tight budget we wanted the best deal we could get for a nice hotel within walking distance to the main attractions. I used Priceline to book the hotel and was able to book a room for 4 nights at $69 a night. That was 60% lower than the price listed on the hotel website! Let’s start with the fact about the hotel.
The Marriott Marquis Atlanta is the largest hotel in downtown Atlanta with its 50 floors and over 1500 rooms including nearly 100 suites. It has 84 meeting rooms, that total a massive 160,000 square feet of space. The Marriott Marquis Atlanta is 100% smoke free and will not allow any pets other than service animals. The hotel does offer free Wi-Fi in the lobby on weekdays, however from the room and on weekends they charge a whopping $14.95 per day. They do offer free local and long distance call within the continental 48. The hotel has made a science out of getting you to pay the premium for the stuff you get a deal on at the lower rate chain hotels. No free Wi-Fi, that’s $15, PPV movies are over $10 on average(not porn), the bottle of warm water they leave in your room is $7, and if you want a beer you can expect a minimum of $6. I was very surprised to see such high prices on such everyday items, but I guess that’s how they pay the staff and overhead on the largest hotel in downtown Atlanta. Parking is about what I expected, however living just outside Chicago, I am used to paying a premium to park in a major metropolis. Valet parking will run you $32 a day, however if you are like me and can park your car yourself, it’s $4 an hour or $20 per day.
Check in: 4pm
Check out: 12pm(noon)
For what we paid, the rooms were a great deal, for what they wanted to charge they are almost what you would expect. What I mean by that is the rooms are nice, and the attention to the details were made. The towels are folded fancy, the bedding is quality, and the furniture is all very well built and modernly formal. In the standard 1 King room that we were in, we received a large 5 drawer tall dresser, and a short 3 door dresser with a cabinet that contained 2 shelves one of which was taken up by the electronic programmable room safe. Our 40” plasma TV was more than acceptable, and all the programming is in HD. Besides the standard channels, you can expect to find CNN, ESPN, and HBO. You also get the PPV as I mentioned earlier. It is the standard hotel television program you find at many large hotels across the country. As soon as you turn on the TV you are greeted not by programming, but by the welcome screen that describes to you over and over every hotel TV you have ever see, while bombarding you with the same advertisements. A couple nice features about the room are the iPod/iPhone compatible alarm clock that charges your device, and a couple cups of single serve brew coffee in take away cups with lids(I love when hotels do that). If you want to travel light you can leave your hair dryer and iron at home, in addition you can find hand and body soap, shampoo, conditioner and a XL cotton robe.
Within the Marriot Marquis Atlanta, you can find a few different dining options that will keep you well fed nearly 24/7, for a cost of course. As with everything in this hotel, you pay a premium price for everything.
Let’s start with Sear, the only restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Upon our first morning we woke up looking to catch a quick breakfast and get out on the town. It was a 65 degree day out in March and we weren’t in Chicago! We went down to Sear, I was ready to just sit and eat but the better half of me decided she would ask the price first, back to the budget. $19.99 per person plus beverage for a buffet?!?! I couldn’t believe it; I had to look for myself. Besides the omelet station, it was just a bunch of poorly cooked food in steel trays warming over heating candles. We ended up cabbing it to the waffle house, and after fare, tip, food, and tip we spent $22 and probably liked the food more.
Lunch and dinner at Sear are very high hind price range with food that almost meets the cost. For lunch a beer and a burger will cost you $25 plus tip. Sandwiches and soda you can get a little cheaper, but still over the $20 range, even a kids meal is $15. Sear, as you may have already suspected by its name, labels itself mainly as a steak house. At Sear, dinner time is prime time. The lighting and feel of the restaurant all bring the sense of edgy, modern, class. A feel you will pay a premium for in the form of an average of $50 a person for dinner.
As far as the quality of food goes, I give breakfast a D for its low end quality, and high end price. Without the Omelet station the Sear breakfast would get a solid F based on the overly steep price tag.
Lunch gets a C+ in my opinion, mainly because the burger was better than average and cooked to a perfect medium just as I ordered, but at the $25 for that and 1 beer after tip my wife and I walked out with close to a $70 tab. That lunch cost us more than the room for the night!
We never did eat dinner at the hotel, so I cannot attest to the quality of the steaks. The price tag was just more than we wanted to spend. Luckily there was a bounty of dining all within walking distance. Within a 5 minute walk, you can get to over a dozen restaurants including many fast food options that are in a mall 2 blocks away.
When you are a hotel located in the heart of SEC country, minutes away from a major ACC college, and host the ACC basketball tournament, while being the official hotel of said tournament, you tend to put a premium on sports. Yeah they offer ESPN, but what they really do well is keep one of the largest sports bars in Atlanta. With 21 plasma screens, and every sports subscription you can imagine, the only thing this place lacks is an OTB counter. Open Lunch and dinner, the prices are comparable to Sear, and I’m pretty sure the food is cooked in the same kitchen. My burger at Sear, was nearly identical t the gentleman next to me during the after dinner hours. The price was $1 cheaper, but the description was exactly the same on the menu.
Again, I did not eat dinner there, however when I looked at the menu, it
seemed to be basically bar food with a couple of higher end options. I feel confident you could eat a $35 a person meal with a couple of drinks with some careful selection.
Overall this is my favorite place in the hotel, plenty of good beer, a lively atmosphere that isn’t overly loud, and sports everywhere you can look. Overall I give it a B because it is like most services in this hotel…overpriced.
Pulse is located 1 floor up from the lobby level. It is a lively hang out with the convention crowd as it is just 2 floors up and offers lounge areas serviced by the wait staff. You can often find sales people and clients grabbing company comped drinks talking about the next deal. Beers are overpriced, $5 for your domestics, $6 - $9 for the premiums. Mixed drinks will cost you $6-7 at the well level and more costly by the shelf. Pulse is strictly a cocktail lounge and does not offer food at any time throughout the day.
One side not I have about sitting at the Pulse bar occurred when I was sitting at the bar and while stretching looked up. Above me was a large oval shaped piece of glass or acrylic that surrounded the entire bar. After wondering for a second how someone splashed a drink up onto the glass to leave the stains on the glass, I realized that this glass piece of architecture was actually a giant spit guard. We were on the 2ndfloor. That means there were 48 floors of rooms above us all open on the center. Perfect for the “spit test.” It made me a lot more self-aware while walking around the lobby.
Besides the restaurants, the Marriott Marquis Atlanta also offers a Starbucks Coffee and a small convenient store that sells souvenirs, candy, drinks, snacks and bottle of beer. The store like everything else in this hotel is about 30% higher in cost than you would expect to pay.
Perhaps the best part of the Marriott Marquis Atlanta is the location. You can walk to Georgia State University, World of Coca Cola, The Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, and CNN Center. Zoo Atlanta and many other museums are accessible via cab, bus and Marta services. You can also access the Marta train system without going outside which is a really nice feature that allows you to go from hotel to airport for less than $5 per person as compared to the $40 cab ride.
We were mainly there for the aquarium, and had a blast at world of Coca Cola, both of which are about a 10 minute walk away. The walk is pretty downhill most of the way, and traffic is pretty light. A family would have no problem making the trip and saving $20 or more for the short cab ride. Centennial park is across the street from these two attractions and a great way to walk back to the hotel the long way since you are going to be going uphill most the way.
The hotel is in the center of what is known as the convention district, and is connected via walkways to a couple other hotels and a mall.
The Marriott Marquis Atlanta is 100% wheel chair accessible offering 32” wide doors on all it’s rooms. Dedicated wheel chair rooms are also available upon request. These rooms feature a roll in shower and larger bathroom for easier accessibility.
The gym was about what i expected. It had 4 treadmills and 3 elliptical machines. A free weight and nautilus weight system an aerobic are and your "other typical gym stuff." With plenty of light an mirrors it provided a very comfortable workout experience, and any machines that did not have their own TV were within sight of one.
The pool was something else altogether. With half of the pool indoors and the other half outside, it was something of a novelty. The temperature controlled pool was warm but refreshing, and had plenty of indoor and outdoor lounge chairs. Is addition there were also private bath houses that could be used for more privacy. But considering i found this out from looking out my window of my room, you may want to reconsider getting changed or any other naked activities you may dream up.
When my wife first arrived, we did so on the 2nd day of the ACC basketball tournament, the hotel was packed, and decked out in sports logos. Even with the high volume, we were greeted at the door promptly when walking in and escorted to the front desk for check in. Our bags were handled for us from the moment we walked in. The staff presented themselves in a way only to be described as first class. They were always happy, helpful, informative, and courteous. Any time we needed something, we were greeted by the front desk well and they always had the answer on how we could arrange something if they could not do it for us. For four nights, we had nothing but good things to say about the staff. We did however have a problem with the TV in the room. At times the TV would go on the blink, and just go black. Certain channels would work and others would get a black screen or would become so choppy it was impossible to follow. When we called maintenance, they just cam in unplugged the system and plugged it back in. This happened twice before I stopped calling maintenance. I’m not sure if this was a problem that plagued the hotel or just our room, but it was rather annoying, and a major inconvenience while watching basketball.
Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at the Marriott Marquis Atlanta. I feel that it is a very nice hotel that deserves the 4 star rating it receives. The staff is top notch providing the service you would expect from a hotel with this reputation. The food offerings go from 6am to 4 am and offer enough variety to satisfy any taste or dietary need. The main negatives I see for this hotel is that everything is very costly. You can plan on spending about 30% more on everyday items when purchased at the store. My advice is to use the 711 around the corner for anything you need, and save yourself a few bucks, as well as taking advantage of the great dining in the area that can help you avoid paying the premium prices at the hotel restaurants.