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At what point is a hotel stay a good or bad stay? What is the tipping point for you?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This was very nice!

I am just coming off of two days of Marriott stays and those words are something very strange to me. To be clear, I have been an SPG guy for years. I gave up on chasing SPG top status after holding their top tier Platinum for years now once the merger with Marriott was confirmed. Now these two stays do not mean I am now changing over to Marriott as my preferred hotel chain, just that first, my “BACON” or BoardingArea bloggers conference was held at a Marriott property in DC and second, the next hotel was near DCA and had a decent price on points, that is, the Marriott Courtyard Alexandria Pentagon South.

Let me start off with the positives. I was REALLY impressed with the staff. I was VERY much made to feel welcome at check-in and thanked for my loyalty. I mentioned I was an SPG refugee and inquired about breakfast as a Platinum (something I always get at Westins or Sheratons even if they have a club if I ask). The rep was more than happy to give me a coupon for the buffet for the next morning.

Not just that, I was given a card good for a snack or beverage (I had a glass of wine later) and I was pressed to let them know if there was anything else they could do for me. Impressive. Then I got to my room.


First the positives. The wifi was good. Not blazing but solid and worked well so no complaints here. The bed was soft and when it gets down to it a clean soft bed is why you are there. The shower itself was clean as well as the rest of the room ie the very dated carpet was clean. But there were a number of issues with this stay. Like the HVAC wall unit was broken and I had to use the panel on the unit itself. No big deal really – but still.


Next the clock was broken. Again, no big deal as I never use them other than to check the time if I wake up in the middle of the night. Again, really not enough reason to gripe or change rooms.


While the bathroom was clean, it was dated and had maintenance issues. The sink was a bit gross where it met the counter top.


The fittings were all loose and there was clear water damage around the wall where the tub was and tile was loose and there was some mold growth.


And then there was the pealing paint on the ceiling of the bathroom as well. Just yuck. Not what you like to look up and see. It really shows a lack of care for a room.

Now again, I am not saying I would not stay at this hotel again. In fact I would and not just because I mentioned and showed the photos above to the staff at checkout and they offered me 1000 points as an “I am sorry gesture” but because, to me, the positives of this stay still outweighed the negatives. But it was close to tipping the other way I have to say.

And that is where I would love your input. At what point is too much too much? What is the tipping point for you. Should I have gathered all my stuff up and moved to another room or is what you’ve seen enough to push you to move to another hotel? You tell me? – René



Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.


  1. This summer we stayed in a Hampton Inn near Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. My daughter found a few spiders in the room, they were about the size of a quarter. So dad the ‘hero’ to the rescue and killed them. In the process, I found a couple more and called the front desk. They sent up the maintenance man. But while I was waiting for him, I found 15 more that ranged from the size of a quarter to a half dollar. He and I killed them all and found even more in the process alive and dead. That was a tipping point for me to leave that hotel. Long story short, I ended up having to call the Diamond Desk and guest assistance in order to get our two rooms booked in another Hilton property.

  2. No Tell Motel Dude Reply

    The lack of effort by the hotel management/owner to maintain the rooms or encourage employees to report when rooms need repair would cause me to request a different room to a hopefully upgraded room. As we all know many hotels are “let go” until the time comes when the entire property is upgraded or remodeled.

    After many years of 60% hotel stays much of this was common place even including a towel by the door to block the winter cold air! (I have needed to take apart the type of air conditioner you describe many times to override the controls and get it to work correctly!) Perhaps we expect a higher standard now – because we expect value for our payment dollars.

    Ok to get back on point the issues you experienced are not enough to change hotel properties. The time factor would be horrible. As you say the bed was comfy, wifi bearable, and you would be clean after a shower. Given what you say I would still ask for a different room.

    BUT a major consideration as to whether I ever came back would be how efficient was the service in the bar/restaurant AND was the food actually palatable?

    My main concern above all is the chance of “bedbugs” ….

  3. @René,

    I probably would have asked for another room once I saw the mold and peeling ceiling. I am surprised that you were able to use the AC controls on the unit itself, as usually the wall thermostat overrides the unit’s.

    I find that the Marriott branded properties have a staff that is very nice and accommodating and as a Platinum, usually get a nice upgrade when available.

    Since the merger went through I linked my accounts and stayed at the Weston in Jersey City a couple of weeks ago and wonder if the nights will count towards the last 20 nights I need to maintain Plat status with Marriott. The folks at the Westin were amazing and it was a nice property as well.

  4. I’m Marriott Lifetime Platinum, but started staying at Hilton Properties after Marriott went 100% smoke free. I’ve been Hilton GOLD for 10+ years in a row actually earned via stays & nights. Hilton properties (Garden Inns, Hampton Inns, Hilton Hotels, Homewood Suites are my top 4 brands) offer a solid 100% satisfaction guarantee – they’ll make it right or you don’t pay. I’ve called them on this twice.

    My tipping points:
    At a Seattle area Hampton Inn near SEA, the WiFi speed was horrifically slow (300 baud dial-up would’ve been faster for people old enough to remember modems). Barely tolerable, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was that they failed to make wake-up call to my room, I overslept, had to miss breakfast and rush off to airport. They reluctantly comp’d the room.

    At a Hilton Garden Inn near Portland ME airport, I was working from my room, having an important conference call, when people started working outside with noisy equipment to re-pave/surface the parking lot. I called front desk and requested to have the workmen take an hour break. They didn’t. I actually didn’t expect them to stop working – what irritated me most is that the management must have known that there would be paving work done on Wednesday afternoon and they could have given guests notice when they checked in. Had I been given advance notice, I’d have conducted my web conference call elsewhere. I was comp’d a free night for the noise.

    I’ve immediately abandoned rooms and requested another when I’ve first entered a room and found it not ready, not made up, or clearly not properly serviced. Exiting and un-serviced, or improperly serviced, room is a no-brainer.

    I’m rather sensitive to noise. There’s nothing worse than a rattly, noisy, HVAC unit, or a loud fridge. I unplug, or turn off, loud refrigerators. If outdoor temps are conducive to shutting off a noisy HVAC, then I’ll do that; if not, I need a new room.

    To sum up, I expect cleanliness, quiet, and good service. I’m usually very pleased with any Hilton Property that I stay at – they’re my #1 pick. Lifetime Platinum status at Marriott makes them #2 and I usually stay with Marriott a couple times per year due to event locations.

    Cheers, Scott
    Delta Diamond since Inception, 2.7M lifetime miles and climbing.

  5. Santastico Reply

    Marriott is terrible. That is what you can expect from Starwood now. Too bad.

  6. Bells peal, paint peels.
    Hair in the wet areas. That’s it for me. If it’s that visible, the staff should have seen it and so should the supervisor. I want a clean room not a pass over

  7. I hate to sound too much like a millennial, but although I play the loyalty game hardcore in the air, I don’t focus too much on the ground. I travel for work and play a bunch but never enough to push status past what my credit cards get me. That being said, when I stay in hotels I aim for more updated properties…or rather:

    In the US: SPG (mostly W or Design Properties), and small footprint boutiques (Hotel San Jose in Austin for instance). I’m not huge on AirBnb but if I can find great value plus an amazing spot I’ll try it.

    Abroad: SPG + AirBnb + Boutiques (I.e. The Drake in Toronto)

    I know sometimes Marriott and Hilton or Hyatt are your only choices in some places I’m just never blown away by anything but the service. I stayed at the Waldorf in Panama which was very nice but sterile combined to The American Trade Hotel (an Ace property). With loyalty the way it is, i only take advantage of what credit card loyalty and status can do for me to that end.

    I would change rooms if a bathroom was nasty and/or there was a bed issue. Also if an AC/heat situation couldn’t be fixed I’d be out. If customer service made me feel uncomftable about any of my concerns I’d walk completely. Only other reason I’d leave is because of things that could effect my health like bed bugs or something just as nasty.

  8. Just forgot, my university brought me back to D.C. to make a speech. They put us up in a horrible hotel in Bethesda, MD. Got bad vibes at check-in. The receptionist didn’t care about her job or about her service. The elevator was out of service, and there were dead cockroaches in the hallway. I got to the room, and my gf saw the look on my face – panic. I booked another room in DC proper at a Kimpton property via HotelTonight even without finding out if I’d be reimbursed. Luckily my school covered the bill.

  9. Marriott isn’t what it used to be. I had an “incident” at a Spring Hill Suites in Ft. Lauderdale area – Dania Beach. The room had “sand fleas” (aka looked like bedbugs) in the room & they wanted me to be “discreet” when I mentioned this at the front desk – uh, no!
    On top of them canceling my rewards points for not staying with them last year – plus holding for 800 reservations this morning (over 30 minutes) then hanging up on them b/c they never answered the call – I’ll take my business elsewhere. Like another person said above – I’ve had VERY good luck & fabulous stays at all kinds of Hilton properties. My choice is Hilton !

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