An anonymous reader shares an experience at what is likely Marriott’s worst hotel in the Americas, a deflagged Hilton with 17 year old mattresses, a restaurant that’s still closed, and no daily housekeeping.
I don’t often feature guest posts. I’ve done it just a handful of times in the past 20 years. But I found this report on the Woodlands Plaza Toledo Hotel was interesting as a window into what Marriott has become willing to sell to its customers.
Review: The 1.7-star Hotel That May Be Marriott’s Worst Hotel
It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself after booking a Marriott International hotel with a 1.7-star rating that has to be one of the worst properties anywhere in the company’s portfolio.
Admittedly, star ratings are horribly inaccurate outside France and a handful of other places with strict government-regulated classification systems. Domestically, a diamond-rating from AAA means way more than any hotel’s self-description. That aside, the rating generated by Marriott is based solely on the responses to surveys that some guests receive after stays.
Formerly a Hilton until it was deflagged and then more recently a Radisson, the 212-room Woodlands Plaza Toledo Hotel with its rating of 1.7 stars is so bad that it is operating as an unbranded hotel, pending renovations. Whenever renovations are complete — supposedly in 2023 — it will officially hoist the Delta Hotels by Marriott flag.
For those unfamiliar with the brand hierarchy of Marriott’s portfolio, Delta, formerly a brand of Canadian business hotels, was acquired by Marriott not long before it also purchased Starwood. Today, Delta occupies the so-called “premium” lane, which is shared with Sheraton and Marriott’s flagship Marriott brand.
While legacy properties in Canada may be on par with a Marriott or Sheraton, every Delta I have ever stayed at in the United States has been more comparable to a Holiday Inn or Four Points by Sheraton. Regardless, an email from Marriott confirming my reservation claimed that Delta focuses “on the details that truly matter” to “make them perfect.” Among those details was the specific promise of “ultra comfortable beds.”
The Woodlands Plaza is located on the edge of the University of Toledo’s Medical Center campus, which should make it a gold mine. Downtown Toledo is six miles away. Detroit, the closest major airport, is 50 miles away.
There were just five or six cars in a massive parking lot that had clearly seen better days. Like the lot, the exterior of the hotel looked tired and in dire need of improvement.
The lobby itself wasn’t bad, but there were no signs of life anywhere. Not even staff. I stood at the front desk, saying “hello” and even calling the hotel phone to no avail for what must have been 10 minutes before a staff member emerged from a back office to handle check-in formalities.
While Marriott and Delta signs were visible, the front desk clerk never mentioned Marriott or Delta, never recognized my Bonvoy ambassador elite status, and never explained anything about the hotel or whatever services and amenities it offers, except to tell me where the elevator was located after I asked. “Around the corner and to the left,” she said.
Despite a self-described “larger” room being available — and Marriott’s booking channel offering a confirmable upgrade with a suite night award certificate — I was never given the upgrade required under the Bonvoy benefits. Instead, the front desk gave me a room with a king-sized bed on the third floor facing the parking lot.
With taxes, the rate I paid for a standard king room was $137.77. Had I used Bonvoy points, it would have been 23,000 points.
It became apparent when walking through the lobby to the elevator and then down the third-floor corridor that this was a really old hotel. Everything looked and felt a solid 15 years overdue for an exhaustive renovation.
Upon entering my room, I was a little surprised. Yes, it was way outdated, but everything appeared at first glance to be clean and in working condition. Then I started noticing stuff — and not in a good way. Sure, the TV and coffeemaker looked new or, at least, newer, but the closet door was broken, there were hairs on the toilet seat, the telephone still had Radisson branding visible (paging Radisson’s trademark lawyers) and the bed felt lumpy.
Suspicious of the bed, I started to remove the linen, which to housekeeping’s credit was clean. That’s when I saw the mattress cover. For all I knew it had previously been a sail on one of Lord Nelson’s ships at the battle of Trafalgar. There were that many holes in the cover. The holes exposed a highly discolored mattress that still had its tag indicating it was manufactured for Hilton way back in 2005 — yes, 2005, as in 17 years ago.
My jaw dropped as I started to think about all the guests who have slept on that bed or done the things adults are known to do in hotel rooms. While it is theoretically possible that the mattress sat in a warehouse somewhere for some of the 17 years, it is also likely — judging from the overall state of the Hilton-turned-Radisson-turned-Woodlands Plaza — that it had been in that room each and every night for the last 17 years.
Delta is one of the Marriott brands that offers breakfast for the three highest elite statuses in Bonvoy. Properties are required to operate either a traditional club lounge or pantry, the latter of which is generally useless except for free nonalcoholic beverages. Properties without a lounge or pantry are required under Bonvoy to offer eligible guests a choice of 750 points per day or breakfast in the restaurant.
Despite advertising itself as a “full-service” hotel with a restaurant, the restaurant is in fact closed. A sign taped to the doors said it “closed today” for “cleaning.” There was no evidence it has ever been operational.
The advertised gym is nominally open. I say nominally because most of the treadmills were broken. All of the equipment looked older and in poor condition. The pool also looked open, but I didn’t trust that the water was clean.
As one of Marriott’s “premium” brands, daily housekeeping is supposed to have returned. But the Woodlands Plaza has a sign at the front desk saying stayover service is not provided.
The Woodlands Plaza was so awful that I left for refuge at a more reputable hotel. I was unable to officially check-out or get a refund as the front desk clerk disappeared. Attempts to get her attention, including through repeated phone calls, were unsuccessful. Emails to the general manager went unreturned.
If Marriott still has standards and quality control, then it needs to shut the hotel down immediately. Bragging about the quality of Delta’s beds but then letting a hotel with 17-year-old mattresses open within your portfolio is beyond unacceptable.