A busy travel week had part of the crew in Atlanta for an all-too-short visit. While there, we stayed at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center, one of several Marriott properties in the heart of the busy Buckhead area. One thing we loved about this hotel was the location: about two blocks from a Marta train station, and right across the street from Lenox Mall. (If your budget allows and you are even lazier than us, there is a JW Marriott literally across the street from the same Marta station and attached to the mall.) The only thing that would suit us better would be moving the Caribou Coffee down the street just a few blocks closer. (Picky? Us? Never!)
There are plenty of hotel options in the area, from budget (Red Roof Inn, LaQuinta, MicroTel Inn) to luxe-ish (W Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, the aforementioned JW Marriott), so why did we choose the Marriott? As mentioned, the location was ideal. We lucked into a good rate which included breakfast and Wi-Fi, making it on par with the nearby Courtyard. And, being a Marriott Rewards member, the stay counted towards Elite status and free nights later. Was it worth it? Yeah. Was it worth more? Not really.
Marriott Mobile App
We like playing with new technology, so we used Mobile Check-In for the first time, checking in several hours before our arrival. At the hotel, there was a dedicated desk for Marriott Rewards and Mobile Check-In arrivals, and we were able to speed through, stopping just long enough to pick up our key. However, we were also the only ones checking in, so I’m not sure we actually saved any time. Other aspects of the Marriott app, such as Mobile Requests, seem much more functional, allowing you to choose from common requests – we often ask for more towels – or “text” the staff with special requests. If you’ve used Mobile Check-In, you can even make requests before your arrival, but Mobile Request is only available at select Marriott locations (for now).
Our Room & Stay
Our king room was not luxurious, but it was clean, tidy and in very good condition. There was a decent-sized closet and bathroom just inside the door, and a sofa-sized sitting area by the window. As we’ve come to expect at Marriott, the bed was very comfortable and we slept soundly. The workspace was well lit with lots of plugs close by. We didn’t use them, but noticed the panel by the desk had PC connectors (audio/video/digital video/LAN network) which fed to the TV screen. There were also plugs at each nightstand, and in several places around the room. Clearly, they have today’s electronics-addicted travelers in mind.
Two things we did not find in our room were an ironing board and a safe. We also felt the in-room coffee amenities were a bit lacking. Though the standard one-cup drip brewer was accompanied by an elegant dark wood box, inside we found only two coffee pods (one decaf, one regular) and two tea bags, two foam cups with lids, and an assortment of sweeteners. Granted, we can be coffee-holics, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable to have more than one cup of regular coffee, and maybe some tea options, including decaf. Apparently, that’s harder to manage than we imagine, because we find this shortcoming at many hotels. Yes, we do realize it might cut into profits at the coffee shop downstairs, but it would also improve guest satisfaction.
Speaking of the coffee shop downstairs, there really isn’t one. Food and Beverage does not seem to be this Marriott’s strong point. The bar, which features excruciatingly slow service in the evenings, does offer coffee and muffins in the morning, though we couldn’t find anyone to help us. The on-site Shula’s restaurant is a tasty, though pricey, option for dinner, but there are many very good restaurants within walking distance or a short drive away. The hotel does offer a limited breakfast buffet: scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon and sausage, fruit, packaged yogurt, bread, bagels, and muffins. There is an omelet chef as well. When not included in your room rate, this breakfast is almost $20 per person. Much better value can be found outside of the hotel, which is not unusual.
Overall, our stay was just okay. Aside from an in-room safe, nothing was really missing, but there was also nothing we felt was extra. Service, which can break an otherwise good hotel, was only adequate and, aside from location, I did not find anything that made me want to book this hotel again when there is so much competition in the area.
At various rating sites, the hotel is consistently in the four-star range. We just were not that impressed, and give it a solid 3.5 stars, allowing the great condition and thoughtful design of the room to tip the rating just above average. We wouldn’t mind a return visit, but we’d be more likely to explore other area hotels first.
Details & Disclaimers: This review was neither solicited nor compensated. Our stay at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center was anonymous; all views, experiences and photographs are our own. Featured photograph courtesy of Marriott International.