It was mostly an accident. After all, I rarely spend eight days in a month staying at any one brand or chain of hotels. But last week I found myself in Budapest, Pilsen and Prague and each time a Marriott-associated property was available at the right price and location. And so, during the first official week of Bonvoy, I got to experience a trio of check-ins as a Platinum Elite (thanks to United Million Miler and RewardsPlus) and see just how well the hotels were adjusting to the new program.
Executive Apartments, Budapest
First up was a stay at the Millennium Court – Marriott Executive Apartments in Budapest. I booked the room less than 30 minutes before arriving at the hotel, from my phone while already in a taxi headed to town from the airport. Still, when I arrived at the front desk the clerk was expecting me and had a room ready as well as the various amenities.
The room was a one bedroom suite with separate living room/kitchenette area. It was way more than I needed for the stay, though having a large desk area to work at was helpful as I mostly was working in the room rather than playing tourist in Budapest this trip. But that was the room type I’d booked, not an upgrade. Then again, the benefits offered at Executive Apartments locations are generally close to nil so I wasn’t expecting much.
Indeed, the check-in clerk noted that typically elites don’t get anything but this particular property is a bit different. Because it is just around the corner from the Budapest Marriott Hotel the two have an arrangement whereby the manager of the Executive Apartments property can offer lounge access at the main Marriott on a discretionary basis. He handed me an extra envelope including a key card for the other property that allowed me access to the elevator and lounge.
While typically I’m no fan of hotel lounges the Budapest Marriott offers spectacular views of the Danube River and Castle across the way. I wouldn’t go out of my way to book the hotel just for the lounge, but this is one of the better versions of such, particularly with the outdoor deck, that I’ve seen in some time.
Of mild interest, the hotel had a large stack of old Marriott Rewards marketing collateral on the counter when I checked in on the 13th. On the morning of the 14th that was binned, to be replaced with Bonvoy materials.
Next up on the Bonvoy train was a couple nights at the Courtyard Pilsen, just outside Prague. When we arrived the staff once again acknowledged my Bonvoy Platinum status and noted that we had been “assigned to a Studio room, the largest in the property.”
We also received the new, matte black keys here showing off the Bonvoy branding.
Fancy new #Bonvoy room keys made it to the Czech Republic. pic.twitter.com/49FH4LUCYd
— Seth Miller (@WandrMe) February 15, 2019
Hotel Carlo IV, Prague
The final half of our trip was a four night stay at the Carlo IV Autograph Collection property in Prague. I mostly chose it for price and location; that it happens to be in an old, gorgeous bank building was simply a bonus.
We were once again warmly welcomed, with bonus points offered because the property does not include an executive lounge. Alas, my luck with upgrade benefits ran out at this stage. The receptionist noted that they did not have any rooms available for the full four nights so we would just get the regular room I’d paid for. And it was a pretty nice room overall.
While the stays were relatively uneventful overall the tech migration/merger challenges did crop up at one point: The stay in Budapest never posted to my account. Not a huge deal and I’m sure I’ll get the points eventually. But I also know that my exposure to the tech mess on this merger is tiny compared to the issues faced by many others.
And, fortunately, the Bonvoy transition went relatively smoothly at these three properties. I’m still waiting to see horror stories from elsewhere around the globe.
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