Marriott’s Brand Leader Says Sheratons Will Cut Club Lounge Food Costs

There was one important takeaway in a P.R. puff piece for Marriott at The Points Guy. Calling a review of the Sheraton Denver Downtown “a tired brand reborn,” TPG writer Benji Stawski buried an important message about the future of Sheraton club lounges and what Bonvoy elites can expect during their Sheraton stays.

The framing Stawski offers is risible,

The new branding emphasizes aesthetics, productivity and community. Guest rooms are lighter in color, desks are replaced by adjustable tables and public spaces are transforming into gathering places.

Points Guy Executive Editor Scott Mayerowitz has in the past emphasized the importance of desks yet somehow aesthetics and productivity are transformed by their removal. And ditching desks is part of “[bringing] up to the new brand standard.”

And as they emphasize ‘technology is everywhere’ I’m reminded of the brand’s play offering Link@Sheraton where ‘Windows 7 would enrich the guest experience’. The focus on communal spaces, of course, is about driving revenue for the hotels food and beverage program.

The important takeaway from the piece is that Sheratons will keep club lounges, but cut food costs:

While the pandemic put the fate of club lounges in jeopardy, [Sheraton Global Brand Leader Amanda] Nichols doesn’t see them going away — at least not for this brand. “Sheratons have a lot of elite guests and elites will always expect to have an exclusive space,” she explained.

However, the way guests seek value in them may evolve. Nichols sees lounges as being less about the complimentary food and drink and more about the physical space.

In Denver, the new lounge was located on the street level and basically looked like a fancy coffee shop. Unfortunately, though, it was closed during my stay due to staffing issues.

Pre-pandemic Sheraton Lounge Breakfast

Breakfast towers of sadness

It’s hard to imagine cutting food costs in U.S. Sheraton club lounges and lower than they’d go prior to the pandemic, given the cheap version of eggs and breakfast meats you could expect. Having pushed down the cost of items perhaps as low as they can go, now we can expect fewer items to be offered.

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, 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. No more Towers of Despair in the Admirals Club
    Brand-new Towers of Despair in the Sheraton Club
    You can’t explain that

  2. Breaks my heart. I used to truly enjoy reading TPG, but after they decided to just breathlessly be PR for Bonvoy and any other travel related company, I just don’t trust them any longer.

  3. Sheratons and Marriott are on the steady trajectory from bad to worth especially in US. Right now I would gladly accept the daily credit from Hilton rather than hoping for a free breakfast from Marriott.

  4. I have been travel, for over a year now again and yet to have a sheraton that has a Sheraton club, and all have been closed.

  5. Quick hits:
    1) I still like TPG
    2) What are lounges? (Tongue planted firmly in cheek)
    3) Bonvoy, Hilton, WoH better realize, the elites are still out there and when we start traveling again at a 2019 level we’re going to vote with our pocketbook.

  6. I am not a frequent traveler but have had a place in my heart for what I consider to be my “other” home, the Sheraton Centre in Toronto where I was taken on a family trip when I was 17 and the hotel was relatively new. WHile others went sightseeing I was more than content to enjoy the environment of the hotel inside and out. It was rare for me to partake of the club level, but I did once in a while get to enjoy the stunning views and food. IN past years, since 9/11 when I found pups were welcome in the hotel, I have opted to drive rather than fly, and stay on a different lower level as the temptation to go in the lounge with my pup would be too great, but when given the opportunity, there was no issue with my taking a small plate of goodies back to my room for both of us to share. Fond memories that will stay with me. It’s a shame that the SHeraton we knew is changing and not for the better. Maybe it would be better to have a way guests could pay an additional fee for access and better quality food. Of course there will always be those who take advantage and pig out so to speak…but there has to be a better way rather than closing lounges and diminishing the offerings of those that do exist.

  7. I don’t know about anyone else but I am sick of hearing how Marriott is diminishing the value of being a loyal customer especially someone who grew up in DC many years ago and knew the family. Clearly the current management don’t stand for the values Willard then Bill strived for oh so many years it made being loyal easy. However todays management makes me wish I hadn’t been so damn loyal ( over 4300 room nights, yes I’m old !).

    Sad to see an iconic brand slowly spilling downward. The hotel owners and managers are more worried about a few eggs and pieces of bacon than their guest.

  8. I’m old enough to remember when a Sheraton was a really nice hotel, across the board. I originally got the SPG amex just for the Sheraton lounge access. I hope this doesn’t get to Europe, where there are still some very nice Sheraton club lounges.

  9. I don’t know about you guys and gals but with all the Marriott downgrades in the program I hardly stay at them anymore. And I’m a Lifetime Platinum. Also went ahead and cancelled my card with them.They reduce the perks and I stay elsewhere. Problem solved.

    Marriott seems to suffer from the same illusion that United had thinking because they are strong in markets they are entitled to a certain marketshare. There are so many independent hotels and other chains in the major cities I visit that I just don’t care. Hyatt is getting most of my business.

    Just do everything you can not to give Marriott your business. If enough people do it maybe they will figure it out. Don’t care either way — but if they get better I’ll consider them again.

  10. SOP for the Marriott total brand overall
    When you as a CEO think you do your guests a favor, you have lost the plot
    Done by a lot of their executives
    So why complain, stay at Hilton or Holiday Inn Express- better value for your money

  11. That TPG article is genuinely funny to read. If they’re going to publish articles like they, they had no choice but to get rid of comments.

  12. What a crock. I have no need for “elite space” only for free drinks, pre-dinner snacks and free breakfast that I can grab on the go instead of wasting 15-30 minutes in a 2nd rate restaurant.

    Putting aside the pandemic BS why do you think lounges are disappearing? Me thinks maybe Marriott minted too many Plats. Or just doesn’t have the balls to tell hotel owners they need to suck it up.

    At some point hotels – like airlines – become quite fungible without substantive perks, and people will choose solely on pricing.

  13. 28 nights away from lifetime platinum as soon as I reach that category I will be moving to Hyatt and spending my million plus per year on another credit card that values my business. Marriott has gotten so big that they feel there brand is worth so much more in purchasing power and so much less in loyalty. If only a new revamped SPG would return.

  14. Well, before the $10 per day, I used to go on a Courtyard diet where I’d intentionally stay at Courtyards when my Suits got too tight. I guess I can go on a Sheraton diet now 🙂

    But when my clothes fit, I will try and avoid. I don’t want communal space, I want free food/beverages in the lounge. YMMV.

  15. @ Boraxo

    Checked into Marriott in downtown Norfolk, Virginia last Thursday. Lounge was open. Manager said they had 125 platinums and higher in a 400 room hotel.

  16. Marriott iahhouston airport
    M club is open.
    At nite:
    It is a joke…..

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