For the first time in my life late last month I spent five night at an airport hotel. In a row.
I flew out to Seattle for three back-to-back events.
- Global Flight’s loyalty industry conference
- The Freddie Awards
- Frequent Traveler University
I had agreed to emcee a panel at the industry event, which included the head of a hotel loyalty program, the head of partnerships for an airline program, a data guy, and an IT solutions provider. The topic was on creating a program beloved by members. I had to come in on a Tuesday night because my panel was at 9am on Wednesday.
The Freddie Awards would be the next day at the nearby Museum of Flight, and I was the emcee.
And then I would be giving four or five talks and spending time with mileage hobbyists at Frequent Traveler University Friday through Sunday.
All three events were held at the Seattle Airport Marriott. And at first I was a bit annoyed by the venue since:
- I’m not a frequent Marriott guest, I wouldn’t be earning points that I highly value and wouldn’t be leveraging status
- I don’t value Marriott status that much anyway, their top tiers are the toughest to get but don’t promise that much — at 75 nights you aren’t even guaranteed late checkout, let alone a suite if available.
- It’s an airport hotel, a real trek into the city or other interesting places.
I spent a night at the property back in December when a misconnect in Seattle forced an unplanned overnight.
And after now spending a total of six nights at the hotel in four months I think I can say it’s actually a pretty darned good property.
Back in December I chose it over the Hilton next door, even though I had Hilton status, because of a coffee shop opening early in the morning so I could easily pick up a freshly brewed coffee enroute to the airport. (Both properties were ~ $99++ for the night that evening).
This stay I spent more time and was able to appreciate it more.
The first thing to know is that when you’re a part of a conference, hotels generally throw in a few suites for the same price as a regular room (or comped) that the organizers can assign. As part of the three event block, I was assigned a suite upgrade which I didn’t know in advance.
That was great — it gave me some space to eat in seclusion while I got ready to get up and talk throughout the event.
Although being candid I will admit that I didn’t share with anyone at all throughout the weekend that I had a suite. I didn’t want my room to become ‘the gathering place’. I enjoy everyone’s company very much but I also need a place to go as a respite.
What many blog readers don’t realize (though some do, as I’ve shared it here before, and of course several have met me as well) is that I’m a terrible introvert. Non-stop interaction is draining for me and I need a space to re-energize.
One area where the hotel did a great job was breakfast. They have a club lounge but it’s suitable for fewer than 40 people at a time. During Frequent Traveler University there were upwards of 200 people eligible for access. After all, United Gold elites and higher as well as many Marriott or Ritz-Carlton co-brand credit card holders have Marriott Gold status which provides for lounge admittance.
So the hotel proactively offered breakfast vouchers to everyone that was Marriott Gold or higher. The vouchers were good for breakfast for two so everyone buddied up and I’d bet that a majority of frequent flyer attendees had comped breakfast, a choice of the buffet or ordering off the menu (I chose the latter).
The public spaces were nice, especially the pool housed in the middle of the complex in an enclosed atrium.
Kudos to the Seattle Airport Marriott, they even told me that check-out time was 2pm when the website lists 1pm (which is in itself generous, for this non-status guest though I am Silver after this stay).