Bethesda Marriott – Feb 2024

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We spent 1 night at the Bethesda Marriott in Bethesda, MD this week. We traveled to Bethesda this week both for work and to attend the Marriott Bonvoy 5th Anniversary Celebration at Marriott HQ. I found a low, 29,000 point redemption for a King room which was all we needed for a single night, and the hotel was only 5 minutes from Marriott Downtown HQ where the event was being held and where we would spend the next 2 nights. This was our first visit to this hotel. We chose it over the Courtyard Bethesda that was 23,000 points for the same night, for the full service restaurant, M Club as well as the 4.3 rating on the Marriott website. We would be arriving late, at 8pm, as the location is about a 6 hour drive from our location.

Arriving at the hotel it looks like many other Marriott hotels. While I don’t have any lobby photos, it is a large lobby that has reception, a good sized restaurant, M Club, the fitness center, as well as hallways to other buildings, rooms and meeting spaces. This is a large hotel that has an airport hotel feel to it. Aside from a high floor, I would say that we received the room I booked – no real upgrade to speak of for this stay. We were only booked for this 1 night stay that was very close to the event. It also gave MaureenTravels all day Thursday to relax at the property and get ready for the evenings event at Marriott HQ.

Our room was modern Marriott, having been upgraded sometime before 2020 with current style room furnishings, solid surface fake wood floors (I like these a LOT over full carpet), a nice 2nd desk/table that would be useful from the couch, a safe, slightly noisy fridge and an updated bathroom. While the shower was new, the rest of the bathroom felt like it was where the hotel decided to save some money and repurpose the old flooring, sink, counter, toilet and dropped ceiling with newer ceiling tiles in this small bathroom.

After getting settled in the room, we headed down for dinner at Coopers Mills – the hotels Farm to Table restaurant. The menu had a good selection of options – enough options that anyone dining should be able to find 1 or 2 options on the menu. This is a plus as we do find many hotel restaurants that don’t have a varied enough menu for everyone in the party – even when it’s just us as a party of two that are not seafood eaters.

We had some questions about the menu, and the spiciness of the Moco Saltado that MaureenTravels eventually ordered. Our server was fantastic – checking with the kitchen about the meal, tasting the sauce and even offering to bring a small sample. We started with Korean Short Rib Sliders and a couple of specialty drinks from the menu. The sliders and drinks were a great start to our dinner. Unfortunately the actual meals left a lot to be desired.

I don’t know if it was a bad night, getting late in the kitchen (it was open 2 hours after we ordered) or I who knows what – our meals didn’t look like or taste like something that’s “farm to table” – it was more Sodexo to reheat to table. Whether it was my microwaved, colorless, tasteless veggies in place of “Root Vegetables”, mushy rice and dry chicken or the french fries that were wok seared in place of “Potato” and the cut up Ribeye in place of the “Peruvian Beef Tenderloin” in the Moco Saltado – dinner was not good at all. We almost never send plates back to the kitchen, but the Moco Saltado was so bad and so NOT what the menu described it as – we just sent it back. To my surprise, that meal was not on the final bill. I had not asked for it to be taken off, but when the bill was presented to me our server had already removed it. This was just another great example of the excellent service she provided to us that night.

Aside from a mildly noisy fridge in our room (like so many are), we slept well in the King sized bed. Unfortunately when I got up in the morning, I discovered there was NO hot water in the room – even after running the shower for more than 5 minutes. I put a Kevin Harvick hat on and headed down for breakfast in the M Club. On my way I stopped at the front desk to ask about the hot water. When I stepped up to the desk, there were 2 other people complaining about no hot water. There were 2 front desk agents talking to customers, and I did inform them that we had no hot water either BUT and with a big caveat that they acknowledged. I asked them to NOT send anyone from maintenance up to the room at this time as MaureenTravels was still sleeping. It was about 7:30 am and I would let them know on my way out, after breakfast, when the best time to come up to the room.

Breakfast in the M Club was very good, and like many M Clubs, is served from the buffet in the restaurant. The breakfast options were good and kept freshly restocked. During our stay an omelette chef was also available for breakfast. There was a good selection of fresh fruit, breads/bagels/muffins/pastry’s as well as oatmeal. The M Club has a working coffee machine, and breakfast had typical push carafe’s as well as carafe’s of juice – not single serve plastic bottle juices.

After breakfast I headed back to the room hoping the hot water would be back on, otherwise it was gonna’ be a very quick, cold shower. I cracked the room door open as quietly as possible, knowing MaureenTravels was still asleep – well to my surprise she was not. Minutes after I told the desk about our hot water problem, someone from maintenance just barged into the room while she was sleeping. As you can imagine, neither of us was happy. I jumped in for a brief, super cold shower – and left for work.

I stopped back at the front desk on my way out – expressing my severe disappointment in maintenance entering the room. I left it at that and let them know that now they could call up anytime to get access to the room if needed. Much to my dismay, when I returned just before 3pm, there was still no hot water in the room. We packed up the room and headed down to leave.

On our way out we stopped at the front desk again – to check out, but also to provide feedback about our stay, which was honestly not very good. Our interaction with the front desk upon check out was another example of both great training and empowerment of staff. Upon hearing about our experience with the hot water and maintenance entering the room, the agent immediately apologized and offered 5,000 points in compensation. While our interaction was very professional, I did wish to express my feedback to the manager. It took less than a minute for the Asst. Operations Manage and the Rooms Operation Manager to come to the desk – interestingly enough, the Rooms Operations Manager was 1 of the 2 front desk agents I spoke to at 7:30am.

They both acknowledged the hotels failures in both the problem with the hot water, but even more so with maintenance entering the room. During this conversation I did something I’ve never done in 992 nights – and that was to ask for my room stay to be refunded. It was at this point that the Rooms Operation Manager informed me that she had already awarded me 25,000 points for the mentioned failures. On top of that, without even mentioning anything about our previous evenings dinner in the restaurant, the Asst. Operations Manager noticed the restaurant charge on our folio and gave us a $50 credit towards it. I had no intent to seek compensation for dinner, as it was IMO, resolved the previous evening. I can say that I was very pleasantly surprised by these immediate actions and in no uncertain words, let them know that I appreciated their professionalism and resolution.

Yes things can and do break in hotels. None of my complaints were about the hot water being out. The hotel was caught off guard and was working to resolve it. My complaints were entirely around the service failures and entirely resolved to our complete satisfaction with a pleasant, professional conversation with the hotel team.

I can say that while our stay was not the best, and we’re unlikely to return to the hotel – the professionalism of the staff we encountered was excellent and the staff should be acknowledged for that.

King Room Photos


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