Marriott San Juan gives guests the option to go green

More hotels are getting into the green travel craze, and it’s paying off for travelers. The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino recently introduced a new conserve and win initiative for its guests – go green and earn points toward Marriott nights.

The concept is simple: forgo housekeeping services and the hotel will award you 500 Marriott Reward points for each night. Housekeeping will continue to replenish amenities including shampoos, conditioners, soap and towels, as needed. However, a full cleaning including linen changes is the guest’s responsibility under this new program.

Marriott’s “Opt Out and Earn” program means guests can help the hotel conserve water and electricity by reducing the cleaning products the housekeeping staff uses daily. The hotel has been working on green initiatives for a while, including adding recycling bins in guest rooms and the new Green Key 1000-5000 Microbial Food Digestor, which converts all solid organic material into grey water.

Seems making your bed has its rewards with Marriott.

We want to hear from you: Would you choose to eliminate daily housekeeping during your hotel stay to help with greener travel initiatives?

Marriott launches another hotel brand: AC by Marriott

Marriott is entering into an agreement with Spanish hotel group AC Hotels, chaired by Antonio Catalan, to form a new brand of hotels across Europe and Latin America called “AC by Marriott.”

According to the press release: “AC by Marriott will incorporate the concept and business model of AC Hotels’ urban-style four-star hotel product, characterized by a unique blend of quality, comfort, design and technology, with Marriott International’s global systems, distribution, and sales platforms, particularly Marriott Rewards.”

That’s right – this means if you’re a Marriott rewards member, you have yet another option for earning and redeeming points! The new hotel brand will allow Marriott’s customers access under the Marriott Rewards program and enable AC’s guests to earn Marriott Rewards points for travel at Marriott branded hotels around the world.

The new brand of hotels is not to be confused with Marriott’s other “AC” – the Autograph Collection. The “AC by Marriott” stands for Antonio Catalan, whose hotel group currently manages over 90 hotels in Spain, Italy and Portugal. The hotels anticipate closing the deal before the end of 2010, which means you can start booking rooms for stays in 2011.

Ritz-Carlton launches hotel loyalty program

Luxury travelers rejoice: The Ritz-Carlton will finally start giving customers loyalty points in exchange for stays at Ritz hotels around the world. Ritz-Carlton officials will unveil the “Ritz-Carlton Rewards” program this morning at a press conference in New York City.

Why the excitement? Until now, Ritz-Carlton has remained Marriott’s only brand that doesn’t offer customers points for frequent stays. Starting Sept. 15, both Marriott and Ritz-Carlton guests who sign up for the new loyalty program will be able to earn and accumulate points for reward stays at Ritz-Carlton hotels, or use points toward experiences offered through specific partnerships. Some of the partnerships with the Ritz-Carlton rewards program include Vera Wang, National Geographic Expeditions photography workshops, and Neiman Marcus.

So how will Ritz-Carlton Rewards work? According to Barbara De Lollis over at USA Today’s Hotel Check-in column:

  • There will be silver, gold, and platinum status for the Ritz-Carlton Rewards program and each level will have the same requirements as Marriott Rewards.
  • Customers can be a member of either Ritz-Carlton Rewards or Marriott Rewards; not both.
  • Marriott Rewards platinum members who stay at a Ritz-Carlton will receive a complimentary room upgrade.
  • Ritz-Carlton Rewards members who earn platinum status will receive upgrades at Marriott hotels.

I’ll report on more details from this morning’s press conference, but until then… now’s a great time to start looking at Ritz-Carlton for your upcoming trip.

Costa Rica Marriotts celebrate non-stop flights from New York with $101 rates

Marriott Hotels and Resorts of Costa Rica found a way to celebrate the tri-state New York area. Residents of New York, Connecticut or New Jersey can stay at any of the participating Marriott Costa Rica hotels starting at $101 a night through Dec. 31, 2010. Why? Because they like you, and because Marriott is celebrating the recent launch of American Airlines’ direct flights to San Jose from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Those of you looking for deals to Costa Rica will save up to 40 percent off room rates under the “Residents Rate” promotion (code: N9R).

Guests will receive deluxe accommodations for two at Los Suenos Marriott and Costa Rica Marriott (both 5-star hotels) and at the Courtyard by Marriott San Jose Escazu. Los Suenos Marriott stays ($101/night) include free use of the free-form pool with private coves and water activity areas as well as lighted tennis courts and fitness center. Those staying at the Costa Rica Marriott ($119/night) will get complimentary use of the two outdoor pools and a whirlpool, three tennis courts, nature trails, and fitness center. Stay at The Residence Inn by Marriott San Jose Escazu ($112/night) and you’ll enjoy a Studio Suite with a fully equipped kitchen and separate living area, complimentary high speed internet, complimentary grocery shopping service, complimentary laundry service, complimentary breakfast, and complimentary use of the full-service business center.

If you need help deciding which Marriott to chose it’s helpful to know that both Los Suenos and Costa Rica Marriott have brand new luxury spas and the Marriott Los Suenos also has a golf-course located in the Costa Rica rainforest.

Marriott, New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity and KaBoom! help rebuild NOLA neighborhoods

Five years have passed since Hurricane Katrina made her mark on the city of New Orleans but the city’s spirit continues to thrive, thanks to the rebuilding efforts of NOLA residences and businesses.

All this week hotels are banding together their staff and guests to help support local area projects. “Marriott’s Spirit to Serve New Orleans” package allows employees and guests to partake in voluntourism projects leading up to the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. More than 350 Marriott associates will work side-by-side with hotel guests on Aug 27 and 28 to build a New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity home and a KaBOOM! playground in neighborhoods still in need.

Guests who book the “Spirit To Serve New Orleans” voluntourism package can partner with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity or Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans, through the end of the year, to help rebuild homes hardest hit by Hurricane Katrina and provide food to families impacted by the Gulf oil spill.

The “Spirit to Serve New Orleans” voluntourism package is priced at $99 and is available at the nine hotels in downtown New Orleans. The package includes:

  • A concierge to coordinate volunteer efforts
  • Deluxe accommodations
  • Box lunch for two
  • Transportation to and from the volunteer site
  • Two commemorative t-shirts

The participating hotels are: New Orleans Marriott; JW Marriott New Orleans; New Orleans Marriott at the Convention Center; Renaissance New Orleans Pere Marquette Hotel; Renaissance New Orleans Arts; Courtyard New Orleans Downtown near the French Quarter; Courtyard New Orleans Convention Center; SpringHill Suites New Orleans Convention Center; and Residence Inn New Orleans Convention Center.