One night at Marriott Hotels Kochi- Mixed feelings!

Marriott hotels are hyped to be a cut above the typical 5 star hotels. I had never stayed in one. When Tata Motors booked us in Marriott Kochi for a night for Nexon Meet, I was eager to experience Marriott Hospitality as well, besides of course the vehicle for which we came for. This post shares my notes and observations from my experience at Marriott Kochi. Was it worth the hype? Is there anything unique and special about Marriott? Read on to find out.

0. Rewards program enrollment troubles!
My first brush, while attempting to create a loyalty account at Marriott website was a disappointment:
While entering email ID I entered an extra o.. (instead of .com entered .coom). Marriott doesn't have an email verification process, so account got created with this invalid email ID.  When I tried to edit it, website said an OTP will be sent, but I got no OTP at all. If they had sent to original ID with .coom obviously it wouldn't have gone through, if they sent to new corrected email ID, I didn't get it.

Then I tried to create new account with corrected email ID, but again Marriott website said this email ID is already in use (as I had given it for correction in previous account)

So eventually I was forced to create an account with 3rd email ID which I don't use much. Not very happy how a world class hotel chain can't handle simple errors/scenarios in their enrollment process.

1. Trouble tagging my check-in to rewards number
Upon getting into my room, I called rewards helpline of the hotel and asked them to tag my stay to my rewards number. The lady offered a call back. After sometime, someone called back and asked if I am a "club marriott" member. I said "I've given you my rewards number, I never got any email, I don't know if it is club or not- please figure it out"- he never called back. Later at the check in counter staff said she has done the needful. But as of now stay doesn't reflect on my account. Without a bill there's no option to claim our stay. So in summary, though I stayed at Marriott (at Tata Motor's expense) I got no loyalty point. Radisson Blu Temple Bay did credit me points for my 2 night stay sponsored by GRT Hotels...

2. No direct room access and tab based check-in: Marriott guests are entitled to an smooth check-in process, wherein upon arrival they won't be held up for their ID proof or other check-in formalities. Guests can go to their room directly and fresh up, complete the formalities little later.I was hoping to experience this, but since ours was a group booking, this process was not applicable to us. Our check-in was via a dedicated desk setup by the event management co. Only direct guests get that premium experience.

3. Nothing Wow! in the room. As I entered my room, I had high expectations- was expecting something out of the world, something extraordinary, something different from various 5 star hotels I had stayed in. But I didn't get any wow! feeling. It was spacious, nice, but only at par with other hotels I had seen. Nothing special. We were probably assigned cheapest category of rooms and because I had very high expectations it was a disappointment for me. Some premium examples that I've experienced are bath tub, premium coffee making machines, highly customized pillows and TV, massage chairs/leg massage units, premium interiors, separate living area n bedroom, mood lighting etc. None of these were present in our room.

Indrani said Marriott in Mumbai was simply superb. Hopefully some day I get to check it out.


Above: plain rooms, nothing wow! about it

4. Tender coconut for display only!
My biggest disappointment. Marriott had this nice lunch setup, but when I asked the staff to serve me a tender coconut, they said it is for display purpose only... Such a disappointment. They have so many artifacts depicting Kerala's tradition, but simply couldn't serve tender coconut to their guests- main natural refresher in Kerala. May be keeping a doll or poster is easier-one time purchase and not much maintenance, but procuring, serving and waste disposal for tender coconut needs more logistics, which I guess they aren't willing to invest in.


Hyatt Andaaz in New Delhi served tender coconut during breakfast. They had everything ready on time as well.

5. Empty breakfast counters!
We were supposed to leave very early- wake up at 5, check out at 5.30, have breakfast and leave by 6. At 5.30 when we went to Kochi Kitchen for breakfast, most of the main items- dosa, idli and such stuff were not ready. Had to manage with fruits and other secondary items. Of course it is too early, but if they had an agreement with Tata Motors to keep breakfast ready by 5.30 AM, all items should have been ready, not just fruits and breads.

6. Missing floors!
Not a complaint, just an observation. Guest floors begin with 10XX... It is not really 10th floor. There're no floors from 3 to 9.. 3rd floor is numbered as 10- either to create a false impression that guests are staying in higher floor. 1004 looks lot cooler than 304. Many hotels adopt this kind of strategies- like naming their cheapest of rooms as "Superior rooms" so that guest don't feel they are in cheaper room.

7. Feedback lost
I remember reading Vishveshwara Bhat (prominent Kannada media person) writing about the feedback he gave to Marriott- that he couldn't distinguish shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bottles in the bathroom while taking baths (without specs), as they all look similar. Marriott apparently replied stating his feedback will be factored and bottles will be better designed for easy recognition. I was trying to check if this is implemented in reality- I too found the bottles are of same design, similar colour- not possible to recognize unless one reads the text carefully.

8. Not very well informed staff
As part of the event high tea in the evening was on our agenda. But it was at the ballroom. I didn't know this- went and asked at Kochi Kitchen (another restaurant) for tea/coffee. They flashed their overpriced menu at me, which scared me off. Asked about tea setup for Tata Motors guests, but the staff was clueless. I found about ballroom on my own later. They can do some better job in briefing the staff on what are all planned for that day.

The Executive Lounge
We got complementary access to executive lounge on the top floor. View is great from here. But no high speed premium WiFi for lounge guests (same hotel wifi to be used), no complementary tea/coffee facility. Otherwise lounge is comfortable, spacious.


The good things:
With just one stay, that too paid for by someone else, I am sure I am not qualified enough to make comments on world's popular hotel chain. However, I have only shared what I found. There're many nice things too.

1. Follow up wake up call: Usually hotels give one wake-up call and forget. Marriott staff gave a secondary wake up call after few mins just to ensure we're awake. Good work.

2. Continued WiFi access even after checkout. (Some hotels disconnect wifi access soon after checkout. Marriott kept it accessible till evening, which was very convenient and useful. I could connect 3 of my devices to hotel WiFi- some hotels enforce restrictions on number of devices, duration of data usage. No such limits in Marriott

3. Chocolates with local touch was nice.

4. Lift felt very premium.

5. Lulu Mall is right next door and there's a free electric buggy shuttle service also. Edapally Metro station is also within walking distance. Location seemed ideal- closer to highway, still within city, not a crowded locality.

Overall because I had high expectations I sustained some disappointments during my stay at Marriott. hopefully others don't face same and enjoy their stay. Also with one experience I shouldn't generalize it to all Marriott hotels- my comments are particular to Kochi Marriott experience.

Update: Marriott customer care responded and has forwarded this feedback to Kochi team. I got a call from them to which I said "I don't have anything else other than what is already written in the post". Will wait to see if there will be any official response to above points.

20 comments:

  1. Am sure not getting the tender coconut served was the hardest part for you. :)

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  2. This is a good article more important you are having good blog, I will suggest you to go for wordpress with self host.

    By the way good article

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. I am comfortable with blogger. no time n patience to migrate

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  3. What was the breakfast like? The crowne Plaza at kochi had messed up all the traditional breakfast .

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    1. Breakfast was just ok. Nothing great. Many items were not ready on time

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  4. Just wonder how things can be creative

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    Replies
    1. if there's an interest, creative ways will pop out

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  5. I also thought that the rooms were going to be big wow, until I saw these pics!

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  6. Well for the previous events, breakfast was always served on time at the other hotels. They should have kept it ready. No tender coconut would have been so heartbreaking for you.

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  7. Love the food counter!
    We stayed there 2 years ago, and it was a really nice room that we got. And the views were great too.
    What was disappointing was that we seemed to have lost a few music CDs from the valet parking, there.
    :(

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your experience.. sorry to hear about your CDs

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  8. That was one great & honest review I have read... Normally I think the allotment of cheapest category of room will depend on the inviting party (in this case TATA MOTORS) and not the hotel directly. Had the hotel themselves called, I am sure then there would have been that "WOW !" effect. Just a thought...

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    1. That is right. But even cheapest category rooms should have Marriott level standards and offer a better experience- at least that was what I was hoping!

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