Conceptually I love “aspirational travel” (you know, the thought that I could just hop from Four Seasons suite to St. Regis penthouse in between the time on my yacht or my villa in St. Tropez). The reality is for me, that’s a vacation dream at best – an aspirational goal, not a day-to-day reality. I do a ton of standard boring road warrior travel – the kind that involves basic cookie cutter mid-market chain hotel brands in places you may have never heard of. Such is how I found myself at a Courtyard by Marriott that was new to me in Richland, WA.
Previously in the Tri-Cities (yes, Richland is one of three fast growing towns clustered together in Central Washington), I’ve given my business to various Hilton properties. But my on-again, off-again affair with Hilton brands soured a bit when I realized Marriott Silver seemed to do more for me than Hilton Gold. I used to Courtyard-hop many years ago so I had a fairly good idea of what I thought I might expect. But I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised to find that the tired Courtyards of a decade ago have a bit of sass now.
My hotel reviews always focus on comfort to me as a business traveler. I’m not easily swayed by the biggest room on the property or the most lavish lounge – I crave comfort at a reasonable business rate. I often arrive very late and/or leave very early so my priorities are set around a refreshing night of sleep, being able to work efficiently, and having the set up of the room (bathroom, lighting, electronics, and heating/air conditioning/circulation) be functional for a productive stay.
Little conceptual details about parking lots bother me – like large grass medians that require one to walk all the way around them (or drag a suitcase across them) to access the hotel. I was cranky to find no walkways, especially since it looked like it might rain during my stay and I don’t like long walks in heels while dragging my rollaboard in from the car.
The front of the property was clean and well-manicured however. I felt like I was pulling up to a resort, not a chain hotel.
Check in was easy and quick. My Silver status was recognized and the front desk agent reviewed my benefits with me. I liked that she took great care to NOT say my hotel room number out loud, a front desk habit I abhor. (I will actually request a different room assignment if the desk clerk announces my room number when other guests are within earshot – safety first!)
I was assigned a room in the middle of the property (room 242) that turned out to be almost directly over the lobby.
To my pleasant surprise, my room was one of a handful of balcony rooms. If I’d had more time, I might have sat on the patio to work as the night air was beautiful.
The room was spacious and was decorated in a modern color palette – I’d almost describe it as bright.
I had difficulty getting a good shot of it, but one wall matched the bright reds in the hallway. It was definitely something that would wake me up in the morning.
I booked a room with two queens as it was less expensive than a king room. The room was in good working condition and had functional air conditioning, a plus since the room was very stuffy on my arrival.
The bed was comfortable and there were outlets near the bed to charge electronic devices which always wins points with me.
The desk was also comfortable to work at. Wifi was very fast compared to what I’m used to at some properties so that also rated well.
The bathroom was of average size although it appeared to be a new build. I felt like the vanity area could have been larger as the room dimensions by the bathroom would house a more spacious layout.
One curiosity was a fairly large area of unused space behind the tub (opposite where the kitchenette unit was on the other side of the wall) and it seemed like it might have been a contracting error in how that space was utilized.
The hotel offers a buffet breakfast for a set price. I had an early morning meeting so I did not partake. They also have a small bar area that seemed to be lively when I checked in at 6 pm, when I left for dinner around 7 pm, and when I returned closer to 10 pm.
Check out was quick as I had a bill under my door when I woke up (always my preference as I tend to run late too often for my own comfort).
I’ve stayed at several other properties in the Tri-Cities but this is now at the top of my preferred list. My client noted that they also believe its now the best property in the market and where they house all of their candidates visiting for interviews.
Marriott has scored again with me, an achievement that keeps them ahead of Hilton as my third choice hotel program.