Before you book, you should know... A review of Marriott's BeachPlace Towers
I did my homework ahead of time, and decided to stay at the Marriott Beach Place Towers in Fort Lauderdale. There are some good things about this hotel, but there are some things that I felt unacceptable in a hotel costing upwards of $250 per night.
In order to present an overall view (and not seem too negatively biased), I first would like to point out the positives:
1. Extremely courteous staff. Practically every single worker there made it a point to say "hi, how are you" to me. Very much welcomed.
2. Nice rooms. My room was larger than I expected, with a nice view (except for the construction -- see below). Tile entryway, a small refrigerator, and a microwave were nice touches as well.
3. Excellent central location. This can actually be a plus and a minus, depending if you want to be near the action, or prefer peace and quiet.
Now for the negatives. Again, I want to be fair about this, so please understand that many of the problems might be okay for some, but to me, $250 should buy something a little better.
1. Terrible parking. This has been documented in previous posts.
Apparently, the Marriott shares its parking with the Beach Place shopping area, and they are limited to just two levels of the structure. On two occassions, there was absolutely NO parking for hotel guests. My suggestion to Marriott: lease more parking on the third level. There were *plenty* of open spaces there (as well as on P2, P1, etc.)
2. Terrible elevator service. My partner and I probably spent over an hour more than we should have during our two day stay just dealing with the poor elevator system. On one occassion, *all* of the elevators went down. It was infuriating. Even when service was working, we waited up to 20 minutes at times. (The Director of Customer Experience said that the hotel was built without service elevators -- the architects forgot!
-- she says.)
3. Subpar HVAC. My air conditioning went down, and that's not a good thing in Southern Florida. To its credit, the hotel did have someone up to my room at midnight, and he did manage to fix it.
4. Overselling of the time share. With all of the problems we had, we had left numerous messages for management. The only return calls we received on our voice mail was from other staff, trying to persuade us to attend a time share presentation. Other staff members in the lobby also insisted on getting us to attend this meeting. We felt like we were being hawked too much.
5. Adjacent new hotel construction (as of February 2003). This is not Marriott Beach Place Towers' fault, granted, but it should be mentioned that you will hear banging from 7am till about 5pm with all the pile driving going on. To make matters worse, many of the ocean view rooms are obstructed by cranes. I think that the hotel should make it clearer while booking that this type of construction is taking place, especially when the hotel guest is paying extra for a view of the Atlantic.Finally, I would like to add that this hotel experience does not represent a "peace and quiet" experience. If you want to be in the middle of it all, you will love the location. However, well into the evening (and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning), there's an incessant "thump thump thump" going on downstairs (from the music at one of the numerous nearby bars).
One last thing: my partner and I went to the *other* Marriott (called the Harbor Beach Marriott) for dinner, and it was wonderful. (Visit the restaurant inside, 3030 Ocean, if you have a chance.) That hotel has the kind of ambience I expect for the price, so consider staying there if you can.