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Looking for Marriott Hotel reviews from someone that is a loyal Marriott member?

Something that I’ve learned in the last few years traveling 170+ days/yr is that you can book the perfect hotel down to the location, amenities, and nearby activities and still have all your hours of meticulous research go to waste.

Sometimes, no matter how much we plan a trip, it can still fail to meet our expectations. That is especially true about hotels since they account for a large part of a trip’s success or failure and choosing one can often be hit or miss. 

One hotel could look trendy and be in the perfect location when you’re booking it online only to be totally cramped and lacking in customer service when you arrive while another hotel could surprise you completely and be better than what you were hoping for.

Basically, hotels either flat-out disappoint us or offer more than we ever could have imagined. I’ve had my fair share of both experiences.

In my past Marriott blogs in this series, I’ve talked about the perks of having a Marriott Bonvoy membership, how to optimize your membership to earn travel rewards, and all the different ways to build status and get points toward free nights! 

You can read both blogs here:
Marriott Bonvoy Membership: A Real Girl’s Guide to Marriott Hotels and Resorts (Part 1)
How to Leverage Marriott Points and Miles with Marriott Partners (Part 2)

In this blog, I’ll share some of my favorite and not-so-favorite hotels from my most recent travels and give them each a Real Girl Review. 

Hopefully by the end, you’ll already know which hotel to choose for your next trip. Who wants to go through hours of research anyway? Not me. 😉

I’ll do separate blogs and go into detail about my adventures on each trip later! This is just a quick breakdown.

Which hotels were a “BOOM” and which were a “BUST”? Alright, are you ready? 😊 On your mark, get set, relaxxx… 

Marriott Hotel Reviews | Pinterest Marketing Pin

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Before we dive into any stories or reviews, I thought you should know… As of this posting, the following blog posts are not sponsored. Any products or services reviewed were paid for out of my own pocket unless otherwise noted.

Let’s Talk About Marriott Hotels Baby

Let’s start with a “BOOM”… 

Atlantis, Bahamas, Autograph Collection

Overall: BOOM
4 star element

Geeves posing with her feet in the pool with Atlantis Cove tower in the background and palm trees
Dipping my feet in the beautiful Reef Pool in Atlantis Bahamas

During a trip to the Bahamas, I was fortunate enough to stay at The Cove, the only adult-only pool on Paradise Island at Atlantis. It’s the more “elegant” of the different Atlantis towers and more for couples than the other towers which are more family-friendly.

The Bahamas has a reputation as not so tourist safe outside resorts, which is why we opted for staying at Atlantis which was perfectly safe the entire time. 

I’m not here to agree or disagree with the statement of safety but, I do always recommend checking the US STATE DEPARTMENT website before traveling outside of your country of residence. 

I’m glad we chose Atlantis, it was a lot of fun! Even if it was very expensive. The resort unlike its competitor, Sandals, is not all-inclusive. 

The Atlantis resort has:

11 swimming areas
11 water slides
2 Lazy River Rides
a protected Paradise Lagoon
the Dig
the Predator’s Lagoon
multiple marine life habitats
and the ocean beach area
Geeves in the shallow waters of the beach in front of Atlantis Bahamas
Isn’t this great?

Atlantis Towers

Note: You can book 3 towers (The Cove, Royal, and Coral) with Marriott Bonvoy points. The rest of the towers do not accept points.

Our Stay in Atlantis Bahamas

A view of the blue Caribbean ocean, hotel view, and palm trees from a balcony
Our amazing view from our Deluxe Ocean Room from the Cove Tower in Atlantis

We had the Deluxe Ocean Room with a terrace view which was lovely. (get Club Ocean Room) if you want Club lounge access)

Part of the experience of Atlantis is getting to walk around and explore different towers at the resort which we did as well. 

I enjoyed the entertainment, casino, and dining at the other hotels more than my own I think! It was very glamorous but no entertainment or shops really. 

They did have restaurants, a nice pool, cabanas, a couple of stores, and places to dine as well as a bar & lounge with slot tables and slots.

At least there weren’t really kids running around. Families were at the other towers more.

What I Liked About My Stay at The Cove

Geeves posing in pink bikini by a large blue pool between to lounge beds outside surrounded by palm trees
Atlantis Cove Pool
Pros…

Our Tower Felt More Secluded and Quiet
It wasn’t as busy or loud as the other towers.

The Pool Felt More Exclusive
It is adult only and off-limits to any guest that didn’t stay at Cove. Cove guests also had their option of any pool at Atlantis. Unlike the other pools, I didn’t see any families. It was a peaceful, sexy atmosphere.

The Hotel Has a Luxurious Atmosphere
Very lush green, tropical. It gave you the vibe of being on an island but wasn’t family-oriented like the rest of Atlantis which you can appreciate if you’re a couple looking for a romantic experience. 

Making Purchases Was Convenient
We were able to bill everything to room. They accept credit cards and have ATMs throughout the resort.

Great Gym & Spa


Fun Marriott Bonvoy Membership Perk
Upon arriving, we were given a welcome gift basket with wine!
It was the start of a great stay!

What I liked About Atlantis

Pros…

Abundance of Restaurant Options
I’m a huge foodie and loved that Atlantis had so many different cuisines and dining settings. I tried pretty much everything they had there from upscale to casual, Bahamian to Asian.

Trams 
They take you around to each of the hotels and arrive every 30 minutes. ** Plan ahead if you have scheduled events. 

Getting to our dinner reservation on time would have been impossible in my high heels without a tram.

Daily Resort Activities Offered
Each morning, you’re given an itinerary loaded with activities (both paid and free) all around Atlantis in addition to the waterpark, various pools, shops, and restaurants. 

You could really pack in a ton! I definitely did during my 1.5 weeks there. It rains a lot in the Bahamas, they have plenty of indoor activities for people of all ages.

Will share all my adventures in a separate blog! There were so many.. Snorkeling and sunrise with dolphins, Behind the Blue tour, the list goes on. 😉

Real Girl Review Tip: Book activities in advance to get 25% off

I heard from a blogger friend of mine after my trip that she had went to Atlantis’ Mandara spa like I did but got a 25% discount for booking in advance. Had I known, I would have too!

Waterpark
Lots of different slides (some with sharks) and a lazy river.

Cabanas 
I did one at 2 different towers- Coral & Baths Colonade

The Beaches 
Really gave you tropical vibes! We saw rays and fish! The water was so clear.

Gambling
(blackjack tables, slots)

The Marina
This marketplace was a great hangout spot! Lots of shops and restaurants. A bit touristy but fun nonetheless. Right on the water with boats.

If you want a fun atmosphere while experiencing the Caribbean culture, go during Bahamian Independence Day as I did. Atlantis threw a great big celebration all throughout the resort which we really enjoyed. 

Geeves in a long orange dress and matching flower in her hair, holding a pocket boo and smiling in the middle of tropical lush landscaping

What I Didn’t Like About My Stay at The Cove

Cons…

High Taxes
12% of bill is tax 15% of bill is tip

Marriott Status Doesn’t Matter Much 
Breakfast wasn’t complimentary like other Marriott properties & no lounge access.

If you want a fun atmosphere while experiencing the Caribbean culture, go during Bahamian Independence Day as I did. Atlantis threw a great big celebration all throughout the resort which we really enjoyed. 

No Marriott Bonvoy Points Collected for purchases
Unlike other Marriott properties where you get points on all purchases (i.e. food, shopping, etc.), you don’t get points for food and purchases at Atlantis. Only the cost of the hotel stays converts into points.

Real Girl Review Tip: Credit Card Holds

The Cove blocked $1,200 on our credit card upon checking in. For those of you who don’t have that much credit on your cards, do yourself a favor before booking a hotel, and call in advance to see what they put on hold. That might determine your stay.

What I Didn’t Like About Atlantis

Cons…

The Resort food Was Expensive

If you want to save money on food and drinks, leave Atlantis to go to grocery store. I myself did not do this but heard of people doing this.

Most of the Atlantis Staff Weren’t Very Friendly 

Lounge Access Not Available 
Unless you have a Club hotel room. Usually, with a certain Marriott Bonvoy status, lounge access is included. At Atlantis, not even for purchase. 

Lots of families, Very Crowded
Maybe a better time would be to go in the off-season. We went in July.

Cabanas Hit or Miss
If you book a cabana and the weather is horrible the only way that you can get a full refund is if you wait 3 to 4 hours when the park is consecutively closed. You can reschedule free of charge in a weather situation. It rained on one of our cabana days, we didn’t get a refund. Luckily, it didn’t last the whole day.

Learn more & book your stay w/ Atlantis directly here! To earn Marriott Bonvoy points, book w/ Marriott for the Cove, Royal, & Coral Towers.

Stay tuned, I’ll do a separate blog for this Bahamas trip!

Real Girl Review Tip: Stay 5 Nights, Pay for 4

Receive a complimentary night when you redeem for five consecutive nights. Sign up for a free membership before booking to collect points toward future free stays.

This deal is only if you’re using points.

The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, LA

Category 7
Overall: BOOM
5 star element

Geeves sitting on the couch in the club room at the Ritz, enjoying and sipping champagne and holding a magazine

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities! So much history, culture, and delicious food.

I’ve been here several times before and each time is equally special. On this trip, it was the week of 4th of July. 

When searching for Marriott properties in NOLA, The Ritz was a no-brainer. It’s an elegant hotel. You can’t do much better than The Ritz. 😉

Our Stay at the Ritz-Carlton

A club level room at the Ritz Carlton New Orleans

We booked a club level room which is necessary to get access to the lounge. It was very chic! We ended up watching the 4th of July fireworks from our window!

Everything about the hotel was divine from the courtyard and jazz bar to the library room in the club lounge.

One of the first things I noticed were the French accents throughout. That’s one of the things I love about Marriott, they have so many different styles of hotels. 

Upon arriving, we were given a welcome basket for my partner’s Ambassador status.

We had a lovely stay. I highly recommend if you’re in NOLA.

What I Loved About the Ritz, New Orleans

Looking for authentic Marriott hotel reviews? I review the Atlantis Bahamas, The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, and Wailea Beach resort in Maui. See how I rate each, how you can and cannot use your Marriott Bonvoy points, and what hotel perks come with each hotel. #hoteltips #hotelrewards #travelresources #traveltipsandtricks #hotelreviews #marriottbonvoyhotels
Our welcome gift from the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans
Pros…

Marriott Bonvoy Welcome Gift 

Very Friendly and Attentive staff

Great Housekeeping 
Our room was serviced 2x/day which included the usual service in addition to a turndown service, shoe shining, 1 pressed outfit/day. I especially loved the chocolates they left on the bed. The housekeeper was super friendly as was the rest of the staff!

Special Offerings like Cultural Bites in the Lobby

Jazz Bar 
My partner and I enjoyed delicious oysters and champagne at Davenport Lounge while listening to the music. They also serve Afternoon Tea there.

The Ritz, NOLA offers different events and dining experiences

Champagne Vending Machine
Need I say more?! It was super fun to order champagne from a vending machine.

Beautiful Courtyard

Gumbo Served Every Afternoon in the Lobby

Conveniently Located in the French Quarter

Nice Gym and Spa (largest in the city w/ 100+ treatments)

The Club Lounge: 
Was nice after a humid day strolling the French Quarter. We’d give our feet a rest in the lounge and grab a bite before our dinner reservation.

Every morning, we enjoyed a mimosa brunch and tasty Creole and Cajun yummies in the spirit of New Orleans. Even beignets! Food and drinks throughout the day: hors d’oeuvres, snacks, desserts, selection of wines, champagne, and cocktails. All included. Well worth the money! 

Geeves reading a book and holding a glass of champagne in the Jazz Lounge of the Ritz Carlton New Orleans

What I Didn’t Like About The Ritz

Cons…

Unlike other Marriott Bonvoy properties, regardless of your status, Ritz doesn’t offer many of the perks members have come to enjoy.

No Free Lounge Access with Status
You had to pay to upgrade to lounge access (Club Level)

You Can’t Use Suite Vouchers

No Free Room Upgrades Based on Status
Unlike other Marriott properties

Some Marriott Bonvoy Perks Aren’t What They’re Cracked Up to Be

My then partner was the highest status with Marriott, Ambassador.

That gives him Ambassador Service which is a point of contact that helps you with anything you need, much like a concierge.

However, in full disclosure, this service has not happened since he became Ambassador. Not at any hotel we’ve stayed in, so it’s a perk on paper as I like to say.

GOOD NEWS: It’s not necessary for you to become Ambassador. At a certain level, there’s not much of a difference in offerings. 

The concierge couldn’t help us
At this Ritz stay, we wanted to use our “Ambassador Service” and arrange a 4th of July cruise. All they did was give us the info. 

Rather than setting up our activities for us in the city (which is what you’d come to expect from Ambassador Service), we had to set it up for ourselves.

Learn more & book your stay at Ritz, New Orleans here.

I’ll do a separate blog for this New Orleans trip!

Real Girl Review Tip: Charge Food & Store Purchases to Room

At Marriott, rather than paying at the time of each purchase (food, souvenirs, etc.), charge it to your room and pay at the end of your stay instead. Every dollar on your hotel bill will get translated into points = higher status & free nights. **Except Atlantis and select hotels**

How to Leverage Marriott Points and Miles with Marriott Partners

Two great ways to get perks such as automatic status, points, deals and free nights are:
1) Take advantage of the reciprocal agreements Marriott has with their select partners 
2) Sign up for a Marriott credit card

Wailea Beach Resort, Maui: Marriott Hotel Review

Category 7
Overall: BOOM
3 star element

We decided to stay at Wailea Beach Resort because at the time it was Category 5 so great use of our Marriott Bonvoy points.   

Honestly, if we stayed at it now, I’d probably think it was overpriced. (points = cost of hotel)

When we first arrived at the hotel, I was blown away by the oceanfront property. 

You’re given the island treatment right from the start when you check in… a lei, eucalyptus cold towel, and guava juice. Because hello, you’re in Hawaii! It definitely sets you up for a relaxing vacation.

Marriott Bonvoy Membership Perk: We were also given two drink vouchers

Our Stay at Wailea Beach Resort

Lounging by the infinity pool in Maui

My favorite thing about the hotel was the calming effect the ocean had on me. It’s true that Maui’s waters are magical! A couple of days, I even got to join a yoga class on the water. Also, sunset yoga. All included in the $35 resort fee.

I definitely enjoyed the last half of our stay the most when we moved from a room with a partial oceanfront view near the infinity pool to a suite with a full oceanfront view just a few feet from the water

I’m like, how did we score this?! We didn’t pay extra. Instead, we used a suite voucher. Another great Marriott Bonvoy perk.

FYI: Not Every Marriott Hotel Let’s You Use Suite Vouchers

As I shared earlier in this blog, Atlantis doesn’t let you use suite vouchers, that’s a paid upgrade. But most properties I’ve stayed at allow you to. Marriott Wailea Beach Resort is one of them. The only caveat was that a room has to be available and it wasn’t till a few days after we arrived. We switched rooms midway through.

What I Liked About Wailea Beach Resort

Welcome gift basket of chips, nuts, and other treats
Our welcome gift basket upon arriving in Wailea Beach Resort
Pros…

The Resort Offers Water Activities
Kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling. On top of the countless other free activities offered at the resort. One day I did a lei-making class, another day, a ukulele lesson.

Free Shuttle From the Hotel
But, you don’t have to spend all your time at the resort. They also have local things to do like beaches, spas, and restaurants at other resorts. And, they’re all within walking distance. Or, if you prefer to be driven, Wailea Beach Resort has SUVs and drives you in style at no charge. 😉

The Location was Great! 
This is why we chose the hotel.

They Accept Suite Vouchers
Not all Marriott properties do. With my partner’s Ambassador status, we had a suite voucher so we decided to use it for this stay. 

Our Suite’s View Was Perfect
Right on the water. Not only did it have the most unbelievable view, but it was also at the far end of the resort. So it was much quieter and secluded. Ulua Beach was within walking distance.

It was so nice to wake up every morning and take a walk outside on the lanai. You could take in the fresh air and hear the waves crashing. It was pure bliss!

Loved the Luau
It was rated one of Maui’s best luaus. It was right at our resort, how could we not go?! The setup was amazing and so was the show they did. The food was also delicious. I got to watch the grand celebration of the pig.

Great Pools
The resort has 3 Pools to choose from.  

  1. Serenity Pool, Maluhia (Infinity Pool) – Adult Only
    We got a cabana one of the days we were there which was nice. (reservation required)
  2. ‘Ohi – Family 
  3. Adventure Pool & Waterslides, Nalu – Kids
    It’s like a mini waterpark. They have the longest resort waterslide in Hawaii! It was a lot of fun!

Serenity & ‘Ohi have stunning views of the ocean. 

Modern pool and jacuzzi in front of the ocean, surrounded by palm trees and beach umbrellas

Real Girl Review Tip: Pool Cabanas

You can book a cabana and find more info here. Poolside lounging options range from free, affordable, and luxury. 

If you’re not renting a cabana, I’d recommend getting a seat early in the morning as it gets packed. Most if not all spots were taken. We went September-October.

Good Gym

Spa
We enjoyed a couple’s massage. Basic amenities, however, no pool or hot tub.

What I Didn’t Like About Wailea Beach Resort

Cons…

The Hotel has a Very Simple Aesthetic 
Our stay was nice overall. You wouldn’t choose this hotel if you wanted a luxurious stay though.

It was almost like a yogi retreat which works if you’re into the minimal look. Not exactly what I envisioned for a Hawaii tropical getaway though. 

Another Marriott option we had looked at was Ritz Maui but there wasn’t direct beach access and it was much further to the airport so we went with Wailea Beach Resort instead.

Pools Close Earlier Than Usual For a Resort

More of a Family Resort Than Couple Resort
There were a lot of family-oriented things that made it clear that I chose a less romantic hotel. I mean, they have an arcade and game room for crying out loud! If you’re going with your family, then I’d definitely recommend this hotel. It didn’t feel “exclusive”.

No Club Lounge
This is a perk we’ve come to enjoy at most Marriott properties we’ve stayed at so we were disappointed.

Suite’s Design was Underwhelming
In terms of location, it was perfect. But the actual interior was lacking in personality. At the time I went, the hotel was like any of the Category 5 Marriott stays with the typical sleek and modern look. 

But, it wasn’t “Hawaii” to me. Wish it had a more tropical vibe. But hey, that’s why categories are so important. At least you know what to expect from them.

Price Increase
Just recently, this hotel became Category 7. If this was a Category 7 at the time of booking, I probably wouldn’t have chosen it. There are much better options for the same price. Guess it depends on what you’re looking for. 

Not Many Dining Options
I’m a huge foodie and expect amazing food choices on vacation! I ended up either dining at the same 2 places at the hotel every day or went outside the resort to dine.

Learn more about Wailea Beach Resort and book your stay here.  

I had so much fun in Maui and I’d love to share it with you! I’ll do a separate blog soon!

illustration of geeves traveling with pink suitcase and blue outfit

In the meantime, stay tuned for my next blog in this Marriott series where I share more Marriott hotel experiences. But, this time, not just the “BOOMS”… the “BUSTS” too! 

What hotel(s) appealed to you most? I love hearing from my readers! If you enjoyed my post, leave a comment below!

You can also follow me on Instagram or Twitter . Until next time!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:

Best and Worst Marriott Hotels I’ve Stayed In, Boom or Bust (Part 4)
How to Leverage Marriott Points and Miles with Marriott Partners (Part 2)
Marriott Bonvoy Membership: A Real Girl’s Guide to Marriott Hotels and Resorts (Part 1)


Fact Check:

Real Girl Review strongly values truth and strives for accuracy. If you read something that doesn’t sound right, feel free to contact me and I will investigate the facts and make changes as I deem necessary. Posts are updated regularly.

Always keep it real…

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