This Marriott Strictly Limits Each Club Lounge Guest To Two Snack Items

Here’s something of a new one as hotels begin re-introducing services that guests demand. The London Marriott County Hall has opened up its club lounge but they reportedly want to strictly limit costs. “the happy hour at the M Club [is] table service only…[and you’re] limited to two canapes per person.”

  • We’ve all seen guests load up plates like they’re at a Mongolian barbecue restaurant
  • Or go for seconds and fifth servings like it’s Golden Corral
  • Usually the food’s not that good but when it’s included (‘free’) demand is infinite

This goes on in airline lounges too, for instance a couple of British Airways passengers were caught on video shoving 20 cans of beer and chips into their bag to take away.

A handful of guests drive up lounge food costs, and some lounges combat this by using very small plates, preplating small portions in small individual plates, and using low quality ingredients (this is both cheaper and less desirable leading to lower consumption).

I can be sympathetic about edge cases! But hotels made this all work before the pandemic. Where room rates have returned to pre-pandemic levels hotels should deliver the value they’ve offered guests at that price point.

In contrast Marriott’s CEO thinks guests should be more grateful for what they get when spending as much or more than before, and should be more understanding that hotel owners need to take your money and not give you as much as before. He says guests have ‘short memories’ and fail to appreciate the needs of large REITs.

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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Comments

  1. Newest Stunt by Marriott- you call the hotel and ask if their concierge lounge has reopened and they say YES- truth of the matter is the actual lounge is not open- you get a free breakfast if you’re a elite member and some hotels they have a room where they may have a snack at dinner but not at all of them.
    The CEO ought to just come out and say “ we do a great job in spite of our returning loyal guests “.
    Not transparent or honest so it’s easier to stay somewhere else at a lesser price instead of being shined on by a once great hospitality giant which it is no more

  2. This actually isn’t new. Before the pandemic and as far back as 2017, the Marriott County Hall in question limited guests at club lounges to a tray of three snacks with no choice of what you could get.

  3. This was a problem in Sydney as people would load up their bags with beer before boarding. Bag checks during boarding pretty much cured that!

  4. Where are the lounge attendants who are there to oversee the rooms ? Having said that I have seen people as well come in and literally sweep the counter clean. This was a huge issue at Amex lounges with a member bringing in his whole family and parents taking multiple tables. At the end of the day owners/managers are going to do whatever they can get away with especially after as noted by Gary Marriott’s current ( not for long I hope ) CEO telling us we should be grateful. MY answer to that is you Mr. CEO should be grateful for my 4310 room nights by me. Little scrambled eggs some bacon and toast is cheap.

  5. We stayed at the Marriott County Hall for two nights in December and the club lounge was awesome. It was table service only but the first night they brought us each a large plate of mixed canapés and asked if we wanted another – which we did. They were very attentive with wine service too (there was a good red and a decent sparkling in the selection). The 2nd night I forwent the lounge so my husband could go with an old friend he hadn’t seen in a long time. They came back two hours later so well wined and dined they barely needed to go for dinner.

    If they have got less generous in the New Year then that is a shame. I was going to commend the hotel on the lounge, amongst other things, in my still to be written review.

  6. I won’t go there, If your’re charging $400 per nigh… Be more generous or we stay away..

  7. I was arrested by the Marriott County Hall House police when I took a 3rd canape.without official permission.My Bonvoid account was closed for a few weeks and can now only pay rack rate when staying there on property
    Was offered probation by cleaning their guest rooms for a few weeks and busting other guests who do the same thing..Consider myself one of the fortunate ones as at the Marriott Singapore they cane you to stay in good guest behavior.
    Its good to be a Marriott slave/ I mean guest.Oh the rewards for loyalty of a Lifetime Titanium
    Hilton or Hyatt anybody?

  8. I stayed at Westin DTW last night and was angry to hear that their club is closed for good. For good? Their rates haven’t dropped, and the rooms are small. The new staff, especially a man I’ve dealt with on 2 different stays, are not as friendly, and the upgrades are rare. And the club is closed for good. No treats or extra water, no breakfast unless you choose it as your amenity. Usually when a club is closed they try to do something. Nope. Closed for good. I wish I’d never heard of Marriott.

  9. @Jen: The Westin DTW lounge has been closed since the pandemic in 2020. The hotel (owned by the local government and managed by Marriott) is converting that space to suites. I’ve found suite upgrades to be decent at that property, but yes the lack of a lounge and a subpar breakfast offering is very unfortunate. Especially when a can of Diet Pepsi is $4 from the gift shop in the Westin lobby. For me, the real value of a lounge is grabbing a half-dozen Diet Pepsis every day. If you choose breakfast as your welcome choice, you can redeem the voucher for room service. Unfortunately, the hotel insists on it being “continental.” So nothing hot, except coffee, is allowed. But getting room service at 6:20 am is nice.

  10. At a $150 a night tier 5 city Marriott that includes club access, this is fine. This, however, is a capital city Marriott where *base rooms* often start at $500 and I’ve seen club access rooms going for much higher. The total and utter lack of fear Marriott franchisees have over the standards compliance of Marriott International is outstanding, and a damming indictment on the state of Marriott.

  11. I will never understand the people who enjoy lounge food. It is absolutely atrocious. The only edible items to be had in a lounge are the bread and cheese, as long as you don’t mind that they’ve been touched and breathed on by a bunch of other guests. Personally, I stick to bottled drinks when I’m in lounges.

  12. Dumb people keep staying at chain hotels. Bloggers keep pushing Hyatt and Marriott. The cycle continues.

  13. Wacky stuff! The KrisFlyer lounge has cut fruit, sealed in plastic and other snacks near the door, if you want to take something to go. This makes sense, because 1) the guests are your VIPs- you should give them what they want, and 2) the majority of cost for food on board is the cost of packaging, transportation and service. If a passenger wants to eliminate those costs for you, and take what they want, it’s a win-win!

  14. Two is a bit cheap on the part of the hotel. Twenty beers and snacks is extreme on the part of that guest and should be limited. How much is the hotel actually spending since the lounge is for Platinum and above? What percentage of the guests using a hotel are actually that level?

  15. I never understood how people went into a lounge for cocktails and had the nerve to transform the moment into dinner !!! This is mostly the case in Southeast Asia, where the food they serve tends to be top-notch. And after doing so, instead of keeping a low profile, they went on to brag themselses on Tripadvisor. Hence this outcome …

  16. @Wendell: Internationally it is probably a smaller percentage of guests because Marriott remains an American-focused loyalty program. But I’ve stayed at random Renaissance or Marriott properties domestically in the United States in which 60 of the 240 rooms were occupied by platinums or higher. That’s 25%. Before the pandemic, the JW Marriott Essex House in New York City used to average 75 platinums or higher every night of the week. That’s 17% of their rooms.

  17. @Wendell: I suspect the number could be much higher now since everyone has had two years of status extensions; to say nothing of all the status offers and promos. I mean, who doesn’t have platinum status these days? Basically, you only need to do 15-20 nights and you’ll be platinum if you have a credit card and sign-up for the promos. I would not be surprised if the same hotels that had 60 platinums or higher in 2019 are getting 100 or more platinums or higher a night in 2022.

  18. I have been a Marriott rewards member for many years. Currently Titanium Elite. They continue to devalue the points and offer less and less perks like free breakfasts and evening beer/wine/hors d’oeuvres. Marriott is has been less and less appealing and since the merger and the Bonvoy change it’s accelerated it’s downward spiral. I am going to start looking at Hyatt or Hiltons. Customer service has gone out the door. Screwing over the loyal customers has been perfected and at some point they better figure it out or they will fold.

  19. This article is complete garbage! Deserving of retraction by someone who is completely misinformed. I am currently writing this review from Marriott County Hall. I have enjoyed canapés every night in the same room pictured. Thete IS NO LIMIT to canapés here. The table service delivers 3 selections at a time, per person. When you are finished, you order 3 more, and they bring them. This is simply a COVID precaution.
    I travel 2/3rds of the year and am an Ambassador Elite. I can usually trust this site, but this article is completely off the mark. It should be corrected.

  20. Not sure why a CEO would think that the customer cares about an REIT and their profits. So out of touch. Provide an excellent value and the customers will be lining up. BTW, lounge snacks are not a substitute for dinner you cheapskates.

  21. Simple answer…why stay at a Marriott? Obviously their pompus CEO considers you a bother….save your energy go where you are valued

  22. The team responding to emails for “personalized service” in the Ambassador program is located in China.

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