A Cheap Stay at the Recently Redone Renaissance Boca Raton

From 2004-2006 the Renaissance Boca Raton was probably the hotel I stayed at most often.

Once upon a time it was actually a Sheraton, it’s on 19th street but you turn off Glades Road onto Renaissance Way which brings you a block down to the property. I remember driving past Sheraton Way years back.

It happens to be the closest decent place to where I was traveling. And it was a hidden treasure.

  • Service used to be incredible. Some of the friendliest, most engaging people I had come across at a hotel, I thought the place was flagged with the wrong Marriott brand or at least they had sent the staff over from the Palm Beach Ritz.
  • An oasis of a suburban hotel, the pool area was more akin to a resort. Without a resort fee, of course. It was great to sit outside with a cocktail in the evening, too. And if you wanted glasses to open up your own bottle, they’d do that. Free.
  • A good quality breakfast, smoked salmon and high quality meats.

It’s also been quite the bargain in the off season, rates frequently under $100. And free internet for as long as I can remember.

Over time the physical plant has deteriorated. There’s been storm damage to the outside. The rooms took on a musty smell. And while the staff has always remained ‘fine’ it was never quite as good as it once was. Even the breakfast went downhill several years ago.

But I kept staying here at least occasionally because it was convenient. I hadn’t been by this year yet, but I did return several days ago.

The hotel lobby has been completely redone, the furniture replaced and the front desk moved. It’s given a bit more modern of a décor. The gym equipment has been replaced.

But the rooms are as they were last year, which is to say that they are fine. Mostly.

Now, I abandoned my status challenge with Marriott. I have no status. Room rate was $79. I used to also get this place on Priceline, I once got it as low as $39 or $45. At this rate it seemed a bargain considering parking is free and so is internet, and my two nights would be a second qualifying stay towards another MegaBonus free reward night.

I earned my last MegaBonus credit while redeeming a credit in conjunction with a paid stay, in June also in Boca Raton. You can actually see the Marriott Boca Raton from the rooms at the Renaissance.

I arrived and was given a room overlooking the pool on the fourth floor. There are very few suites and the “executive suites” here are really just large rooms close to the elevator. So that’s as good as it gets other than the club floor, the club being closed on weekends.

I took off my shoes standing over by the desk and found the carpet soaking wet. So I sloshed down to the front desk for a different room. They offered me a club room (at least I’d have waters from the fridge there) and breakfast which I accepted.

Back up to the room, it seemed dry and fine. The bathroom products were Aveda.

I did notice, just before departing, that the new room too had wet carpet — just below the air conditioning unit. There was a faint mildew smell in the air as well.

Breakfast was nothing special, typical hotel fare like you might find at an airport property, service seemed a bit confused at times but at least the orange juice was good (my basic test of a decent property in South Florida, which the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale fails).

I didn’t get any pool time on this trip, but would have liked to.

Bottom-line is that the property needs to do some work in the rooms, solve the dripping air conditioning and do so thoroughly because the mildew smell isn’t helpful. And they could improve in the restaurant a bit. But the fundamentals are there, they aren’t as good as they once were but they’ve but a bit of cosmetic improvement into the place. And I can’t complain much given the price I paid and that the stay also put me over the top towards another free Marriott Rewards category 4 stay.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Shout out to my hometown! (where I’ll be crashing at my parents house for the next 2 weeks)

  2. Funny, I am here right now — I come monthly. You are spot on, they spent a lot on the lobby (which wasn’t bad before) but none on the rooms which need it.

    Some of the Executive Suites are dysfunctional. The one I’m in, room 527, the chest of drawers won’t open because the door frame juts out and blocks it. An obvious thing that should have been caught years ago (and I’ve brought it to their attention years ago) but hasn’t been touched.

    As with several of the Executive Suites, there is a lovely flat screen TV set way back in an ugly armoire so you have to be sitting in front of the TV to watch it. If I have to work at night (often the case), I like to have sports or ESPN or something on the TV — but you can’t see the TV from the desk.

    My colleagues room had an extremely musty smell. I used to be known to all the staff, but there has been so much turnover that I no longer feel personally welcomed. Normally not a big deal, but when a hotel is your home away from home, it makes a difference.

    Things have went downhill here.

  3. Small world, Gary!! I was the Director of Sales at the (then) Sheraton of Boca Raton in the early eighties…..which shows you how many years that property has been there!

  4. I had several bad experiences at the Renaissance in Boca Raton – service and rooms. Both were “in season”. I now stay at the Hilton on Glades near the turnpike. They have an unbelievable free breakfast, open bar from 5:30-7:30pm and rooms are all suites. It’s frequently around $100 off-season, but it can get expensive in-season.


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