Evening everyone! Just landed back into Omaha after a week of traveling in Houston. Overall it was an excellent trip tho with some hickups with the rental car (along with the drivers of Texas... more on that later.)
I stayed at the JW Marriott in the Galleria area for 5 nights. I got 7 nights at a category 1-5 hotel from a flight and hotel package, of which 2 nights were thrown away. The cash cost of this hotel was well into the mid-$200 range, making it one of the most expensive Marriott properties in all of Houston. Surprisingly it was category 5, so it was quite a decent point-for-value proposition overall.
GETTING TO THE HOTEL
After securing my rental car I drove from Bush International Airport into Uptown Houston. It was a 40 minute drive but fairly standard for Houston commute.
Since I had a rental car, upon arriving at the hotel I decided to quickly secure a self park spot in the garage. It was a 2 story garage with a mezzanine level, and parking was fairly ample when I arrived. The first time pulling in I had to be issued a magnetic tape access card but after checking in I was able to use my room key card to enter and exit, which was greatly convenient.
I believe this is the main reason why this hotel is priced where it is. The hotel is located directly across the street from the Galleria. Being there during Thanksgiving week, it was completely packed the entire time with traffic and the whole area was bustling. However, it was simply a walk across the street from the hotel for me to access the Galleria for all my holiday shopping. On top of which, the hotel offers a free 1 mile radius shuttle in case if you do require to be dropped off elsewhere, which is extremely convenient as there are plenty of retail and dining outside of the Galleria itself, making this hotel a prime location if you were looking for some retail therapy, as well as business travel as there are numerous corporate outposts in the Uptown area.
Considering how the traffic and commute is around Houston, it is a fair value proposition for paying cash rate for the convenience of this location,
Heading into the lobby at 4 PM, there was no line for me at check in. There were 2 receptionist on staff and they quickly processed my room keys. The receptionist did ask if I would like to be moved to a different floor due to construction work that was ongoing at my floor, and since I would have quite a bit of time to myself, I requested to be relocated to another floor so I can work and hang out in peace.
I was assigned to the 20th floor. For a JW Marriott, it is definitely lacking in the hardware component. There is a fair amount of wear and tear in the hotel elevator lobby that is quite noticeable, and it is rather dated. Tho from what I gathered from the receptionist, the lobby is supposed to be completely remodeled in the coming year. However, as of Nov 2017, I was not particularly impressed with the public areas of the hotel as everything looked a bit dated and worn.
My room was the same story. It was a serviceable standard room with a king size bed, but the layout was definitely awkward. The room was not too wide, but quite deep, thus they decided to put the bed backing up against the bathroom which made the other half of the room not necessarily useful for anything other than putting down a sofa. The TV was at an angle as a result and I was far away from the windows, thus giving it a bit a cavernous feel, tho not in a good way.
Marriott did decide to update the bathroom and it looks quite nice. The lights built into the mirror was a nice touch and overall the bathroom was very well appointed. My only issue with it was the shower took a long to warm up, as well as the shower head water pressure was on the weak side. There is also no tub or soaker in the bathroom, but personally I did not mind since I was not planning on spending too much time inside my room's bathroom to begin with.
The hotel has a 24 hour gym, as well as the concierge club on the 22nd floor.
The gym was not too busy most the time I visited during the evenings, and it had a decent range of weight machines, bikes, and treadmills. There was also a soaking pool and outside pool, though I did not see anyone using those at any point I was there. Overall it is decent a health club.
I checked out the concierge club the first 2 nights I was staying at the hotel. First night it was for hors d'oeuvres, which consisted of cheeses and cold cuts, as well several hot snacks. I also had breakfast at the club floor the 2nd day, with a decent enough a spread of breakfast options for an American hotel with your continental options, as well as some scrambled eggs, bacon, and potatoes as well.
I was unable to fully review the concierge club for their dessert hours however, as Marriott managed to shut down the lounge and proceeded to demolish the entire space all within a single day the day before Thanksgiving.
I literally wandered into the club floor, and got perplexed after seeing 2 buckets of drywall mud on the front door, only to enter and found the entire space gutted and plastic wrapped. There were no signs, nor were we informed ahead of time that many guests were equally shocked and surprised when they stood in the doorway dumbfounded.
I was told the lounge renovation would be complete by next month, however I would appreciate a bit more notice for the guests, as well as maybe a backup space in a meeting room or somewhere else so that elites would still be able to enjoy some snacks and desserts despite their renovation plans.
While the club was closed, we were diverted to the cafe on the 2nd floor for breakfast. The breakfast buffet was practically the same options as what was offered on the club floor, only with the additional of an omelette and waffle station. I did wish they had a wider range of offerings as the cafe is a far larger space, and I believe they could expand their food offerings even more.
There was also a business center on the ground floor, as well as a bar and meeting rooms.
The wait staff on both the club floor and the cafe restaurant were simply -EXCEPTIONAL-. Everyone was very attentive and conversational with me every time I visited. I was very impressed with the service of the staff as they even remembered my juice choice were simply from a visit the day before, Even tho I am a Marriott elite, I was more than happy to tip the staff here for their service.
Front desk was also fairly efficient in handling their work, and they were able to send a repairman to my room to replace a dead battery on my RFID door lock fairly quickly. I was also able to get a late checkout of 4 PM from my Marriott Gold status without any issues, so they managed to deliver everything I needed during this trip.
I enjoyed my stay at the JW Marriott Galleria. It isn't the most stunning hotel in terms of hardware, but I quite enjoyed the convenience of the location as well as the staff working here at this location. If there was ever another trip where I would stay in Houston for at least 5 days, I would not mind revisiting this JW Marriott at all as it is only a category 5 and if I am able to secure 5 nights for 100,000 Marriott points, it could be a compelling option for the area.
HOTEL HARDWARE: 4/10
FOOD AND DINING: 6/10