Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Claremont

Oh, Claremont, why hast thou forsaken me? I was at the Claremont, again. I was hoping I'd get the promised 11th-stay upgrade, even though (of course), I'd lost my golden ticket. (See below). I arrived at the hotel very very late (3:30 AM my time), and was again greeted like the stranger I am not. My room did seem a little bigger than usual. The message light was blinking on my phone when I arrived in the room. It turned out there wasn't a voice message, but there was a note for me at the front desk. How exciting! I thought it would be a congratulatory message about my upgrade. Alas, it wasn't so. The next morning, when I retrieved the message (oddly, they couldn't turn off the blinking message light until they had printed it out), it turned out to be nothing but a hotel-wide notice that the hotel was now providing shuttle service to downtown Oakland. What a heart breaker.

Norfolk Marriott Waterside

I had a short, but nice, stay at the Marriot in Norfolk. This Marriott has very upscale ambitions - perhaps it was going to be a Ritz Carlton (owned by Marriott, you know) but plans were scaled back at the last moment. Here's why I think so. Beyond the grand (and freezing) lobby, the carpet pattern in the elevator landings says Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey to me. (See much earlier posts). Check out the giant graphic!

The rooms are very nice, but they played it dim on the hallway lighting.

Maybe they were hoping that you wouldn't notice the peeling wallpaper:

There was a palimpsest of elevator landing devices of yore, too. I can't guess what it could've been. (And, yes, I do know that it's not really a palimpsest. But it is an impressive looking word, so I used it anyway. So there)

And they couldn't have spent more than a minute or two coming up with the imaginatively-named dining room:

I had one very odd thing happen to me. I got in the elevator to go downstairs, the door shut, and the elevator started to descend. It changed its mind after it had gone about 4 inches and slammed to a halt, after which the doors opened. I got off quickly. Later, when I made it downstairs in a different elevator car, I mentioned it to the (very nice) front-desk-person. Walking away, I heard her on the phone saying something like "...the elevator's acting up again..". Yippee

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta

2008 begins with a chain. And a hotel that pretends to be in two places at once. It seems a little unfair to the weary traveler to cause him to question his place in the universe, but I'm here to tell you that the Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta is indeed in Alpharetta, and not in Atlanta, where there's another Marriott, called the Marriott Marquis. Got that? The Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta is pretty new, as is the exurb of Alpharetta itself. It has a sort of grandiose entrance hall. When we arrived, the OSU smackdown by LSU was in full play, with the SEC being loudly supported in the bar.
The hall was like most halls in chain hotels:

that is to say, striped wallpaper and wall to wall carpet with a stain-hiding design down the middle. (In this case, sort of tangerine-ish). My room actually had a hall-ish feature, too. Here's the view from the 'bedroom' to the door:

There wasn't much, honestly, to distinguish the Alpharetta version of the Atlanta Marriott from most other Marriotts, though there was one irritant and two things that struck me as a little out-of-the ordinary.

The irritant: A sink that took forever to drain.

Then, this is the first hotel I've stayed in for ages that has its own laundry area:

I can see this in an extended-stay sort of place, but it seemed rather out of place here. (This was a chi chi Marriott, after all).

Finally, there was the permanent glass of beer by the elevators. The first photo was snapped when I checked in (around 9:30 pm), and the second when I left, at 8:30 am.

I do have a question for Mr. Marriott. There's a pecking order for Marriott hotels, and Courtyard by Marriott is lower caste than a "Marriott". So why why why is internet free at the Courtyard, and not free at the more expensive Marriott? Isn't the general rule that paying more actually gets you more? Maybe it's a Mormon thing.