Marriott Introduces Hotel Brand Aimed At Tech-Savvy Millennials To US

Courtesy Marriott International

If you consider yourself to be a tech- and design-savvy traveler, Marriott International will soon have a new batch of domestic hotels just for you. The company today announced plans to introduce a chain specifically targeting Millennial, or those born in the 1980s to the early 2000s, to the United States.

Marriott plans to import the AC Hotels by Marriott, an already established hotel chain with 79 properties and 9,000 rooms in Europe, to the U.S. According to Marriott research, Generation X and Y travelers spend $34 billion on hotel rooms a year, and these travelers are unique because they desire to stay constantly connected through social media. This means Millennial not only want comfortable, modern business centers to work in, but they also have a desire to seek out unique and local amenities, among other needs.

This isn’t the first attempt Marriott has made to tap into this lucrative market. The company also recently announced a partnership with IKEA, a Swedish furniture company, to launch a budget chain in Europe called Moxy.

[via USA Today]

Marriott guest sues property after alleged sexual assault by hotel employee

marriott sexual assaultA woman filed suit today against a Marriott property, claiming she was sexually assaulted by an employee of the hotel during a stay on April 23, 2010.

In the suit, Katherine Olson claims hotel employee Mauricio Rodriguez entered her room using a master key code card, removed his clothes, and assaulted her. The suit also alleges that Rodriguez was intoxicated.

According to the suit, Marriott International:

“failed to provide adequate security, allowed employees with access to master keys to become intoxicated, served employees excess amounts of alcohol and allowed employees access to master keys after their shifts”

The hotel in question is located at 50 N. Martingdale Rd in Schaumburg. The news is especially embarrassing for Marriott as they just took announced the removal of all porn movies from their hotel pay-per-view system claiming the decision was made to “keep adult content out of the reach of children and unavailable to any adult who chooses not to view it”

This is the second lawsuit Marriott is involved in this month that involves sexual harassment. Earlier, a Las Vegas property was sued by two employees of the hotel alleging that a supervisor assaulted them, claiming hotel management was informed, but failed to take any actions.

And this all comes six months after ESPN reporter Erin Andrews filed suit against another Marriott property for failing to protect her, when a stalker filmed her through the peephole of her hotel room.

Courtyard by Marriott opens 2 new properties in Europe

The Courtyard by Marriott chain of hotels is in the middle of a major revamp – but at the same time, the chain is working hard to expand across Europe.

The chain already has 40 properties and over 7,000 rooms in Europe, and today, they announced the two newest additions to their lineup – Budapest and St. Petersburg.

The 235-room Courtyard Budapest City Center is located on Blaha Luiza Square in the Pest section of Budapest. The hotel is located in close proximity to both the airport and public transportation lines.

The new 273-room Courtyard St. Petersburg Center West/Pushkin Hotel is located in central St. Petersburg within a 10-minute walk of the Marinsky Theater and St. Nicholas Cathedral and the State Hermitage. It is Marriott’s second Courtyard-branded hotel in St. Petersburg.

Both properties feature everything that makes a Courtyard such a great pick – high speed Internet, the Grab & Go snack market, flat screen TV’s and a well designed work area.

The two new properties are open and ready for guests – to learn more about them, and the 848 other locations in the chain, check out the Courtyard by Marriott site.

Inside the award winning SpringHill Suites by Marriott

As part of our hotel review coverage, we recently paid a visit to the newest generation SpringHill Suites by Marriott. The property in question was not only one of the newest, it was also voted “opening hotel of the year” in 2008. Marriott is putting a lot of effort (and money) into refreshing its properties. Back in January, we showed you the updates at their Courtyard brand.

The upgrades are evident before you even walk in the front door – the outside of the hotel is modern and very pleasantly designed. Plenty of free parking and a covered entry allows for easy check-in.

The lobby area is nice and bright – one might even call it “hip”. In the lobby is of course the front desk, but it is also home to a nice business “center” with two PC’s and a pair of printers.

These printers are not just for guest using the lobby PC’s – thanks to a set of keypads, you can also print documents from your room, and “release” them using a code you assign. This way, you can print things like your boarding pass, then walk downstairs to pick up the print.

A full service bar offers liquid relief, as well as an assortment of light snacks. TV’s are located throughout the lobby, making it a surprisingly decent place to spend some time, which sure beats hanging out in your room all evening.

And speaking of the room – I really loved the layout. Inside the room, you’ll find a (sleeper) sofa, desk with glass divider, separate toilet / shower area and a coffee/fridge/microwave/ice corner

The desk has everything you need to get some work done – four outlets, a wired network port and a decent lamp. The hotel Wi-Fi was slightly disappointing, as it limited all speeds to 2mbit – but this should also mean mooches won’t be able to suck up all the bandwidth, depriving others of Internet access.

The glass doors slide open, allowing natural light into the desk/sofa corner, or can be closed for a little bit of privacy.

The room has a single 37″ flat panel LCD TV. The screen swivels, making it ideal for watching TV from bed, or from the sofa. Under the TV is a media access panel, with easy access to VGA, HDMI, video and audio. Thankfully, this property didn’t fall for the old trick of offering HDTV’s without any HD programming – the majority of all channels were crystal clear HD, and the lineup was surprisingly decent.

Another really simple, yet helpful touch was ordering iHome alarm clocks WITH the operating instructions printed on them. You’d be amazed how many hotels purchase the consumer version of this clock, assuming everyone in the world can program them without the need for instructions.

The separate toilet/bathroom design was really neat – both offer privacy with large sliding doors. The shower was a real treat with its showerhead and side spray nozzles – a perk normally reserved for more upscale luxury properties.

All in all, a very nice design and one that I hope will spread to all other SpringHill Suites properties.

Everything is where it should be, and while the rooms won’t “feel like home”, the bed is comfortable, the climate control worked, and you can even open the windows. It doesn’t take much to please me in a hotel, but it also doesn’t take much to spoil the experience. Thankfully, this new SpringHill Suites design sets a really good benchmark for how business/leisure hotels should be.

The hotel in this review is located in Waukegan, IL – about 40 minutes north of Chicago, and about 10 minutes from the city of Gurnee. Gurnee is also home to Six Flags Great America – making it the perfect location for a family getaway. Thanks to the sofa bed, the rooms are great for families with kid(s). The hotel has an on-site pool and fitness lounge, as well as free breakfast.

Rates start at $95, and you can find out more about this specific hotel, or other hotels in the SpringHill Suites chain here.

Courtyard by Marriott Celebrates its 100th Hotel with an upgraded lobby

Last month, Gadling took you on a quick tour of a recently upgraded Courtyard by Marriott. In that review, I mentioned how impressed I was with the upgrades in the lobby. Marriott is obviously pretty impressed with their own progress, because they are currently celebrating the 100th hotel to be part of this exciting program.

As a reminder – the lobby upgrades include features like the innovative GoBoard® touch screen LCD TV with local information, news and weather as well as a brand new restaurant and bar dubbed The Bistro.

Marriott operates 860 Courtyard properties around the world, and the brand is doing so well, that an additional 200 will be opening within the next three years.

More information about the upgrades. as well as which hotels have been upgraded, can be found at GoCourtyard.com