As I continue to try out Marriott brands during my status challenge period, the Renaissance Hotel in Oklahoma City seemed like a perfect property to review. All hotel brands put their best foot forward in key destinations, like the stunning grounds and adult pool at the Holiday Inn Resort in Aruba. I prefer to try the brand outside of markets where every chain will try to make the best impression. My first Renaissance experience was not what I expected.
Oklahoma City is spread out like many Midwestern metros. The Renaissance is convenient to business travelers looking for meetings downtown. For leisure travelers, the property is walking distance to Bricktown.
I arrived at the hotel and checked in late in the afternoon. My room was ready when I arrived and was upgraded (to a higher floor but not a materially different room). I have mentioned this was my first exposure to the brand so having a suite would have been a really nice upgrade giving me a better impression of the property.
This was also my final stay of the Marriott status challenge and I would soon be Platinum, so I was hoping for a warm welcome. I have often said, “Book the experience you want to have” meaning that if I really want a suite and even if my status qualifies me for a suite, I should book a suite outright if I want one bad enough.
The status upgrade rule with Marriott is vague. Entitlement to a “better room” is about all we are left with and as I commented in this post, an upgraded room is essentially whatever the hotel wants it to be.
But I still asked. I will always ask, and if there are suites available for sale and I have the right to ask for one, I will persist further. That is, I will persist further with the exception of this stay, as I was but a lowly Gold and not yet Platinum until checkout. I was upgraded to the 14th floor, a club floor though the room was no different than any other.
The best description I can place on this room is “dated with touches of luxury.” The size of the room is average, not too small but not too big. I actually prefer the new design of the much smaller Hampton Inn rooms because they use the space a little smarter.
Walking into room 1419, the entrance to the bathroom was on the left followed by a closet with a safe and robe. Then the room opens to the bed and a chaise lounge against the window.
The bed was the highlight of the room. Sheets were soft, premium and the duvet was satin with an updated design. Each side had a bedside table, with a reading light and a plug. The plug was too loose to hold a charge for anything. I like to plug my phone in next to my bed but the plugs on the lamp were useless on both sides of the bed. The wall plugs were hidden behind the bedside table and occupied, each powering two of the three lamps in the room (almost all of the light) the other slot: a speaker on one side and cordless phone on the other.
The TV was opposite the bed on a mostly useless cabinet. There was space for a mini-fridge but instead there was an ice bucket and plastic cups. I failed to take a photo of where the fridge should have been. The TV on top was reasonably sized but suffered from satellite viewing options over cable. Unfortunately, Oklahoma City was also suffering from thunderstorms that night so there was no TV available for me. It seems so strange that so many hotels offer satellite TV service that is still susceptible to being blocked by a cloudy day.
At the far end of the room was a desk with ample room for two laptops, a modern cordless phone like a luxury hotel would have and the most amazing desktop plug I have ever seen. This multi-port power triangle more plugs than devices that needed power (an impressive feat considering my travel gear).
This is where the hotel shows its age the most. Odd wallpaper lines the room but can’t cover up for some clearly dated flaws. While spacious, the bathroom as a whole has wasted an easy opportunity. The toilet is set off to the right and when they update a small door would add some privacy.
There are points of strength and weakness throughout the property and sometimes at the very same time. For example, the housekeeping staff put in time creating a fan from the Kleenex but failed to remove all of the hair from the tub. The hotel management thought enough to include a coffee maker in the room (low-grade, poor quality) but then leaves it in the bathroom like a Motel 6. There is an amenities box on the bathroom vanity but the bottom is beat up and should be tossed in the trash.
When they remodel, which should be soon because it’s a simple and cheap way to bring this hotel up a star level, the shower over tub should be swapped for glassed-in shower with a door. Switch the wallpaper, add a rain shower head, clear that damaged amenities box off the counter and I could justify a higher room rate the next time I return to Oklahoma City. Wait, did this just become “Love It or List It?”
As stated in the benefits, breakfast is offered in either the lounge (if they have one and it’s open) or in the restaurant. This hotel had a solid lounge and I was looking forward to breakfast. I don’t usually make it to the afternoon happy hour in the lounge as I am not a big drinker and there is often very little in the way of food – well, good food. This time however, I thought I’d give it a try.
The lounge was crowded even at 7PM when I made my way up. The food they had was great, and even a little over-the-top, but staff had a difficult time replacing items. I’d say it was full, but there weren’t more than 10 guests in the room, and yet some items were full and others completely empty.
One great example is the first station in the process. There were spoons but no forks nor knives. There were three chafing dishes, two of them may have been the same, but I don’t know because there weren’t any labels. Were they holding chicken noodle soup? Probably but no one knows. We can surmise that the ingredients are consistent with chicken noodle soup but there’s no broth, no ladle and few white items which might be noodles, so who knows?
Meanwhile, the macaroni and cheese was amazing and even an idiot like me could identify it without the placard.
My room rate was $129/nt before adding the taxes, and concession fees or the $25/day valet charge. I found the property to be fairly priced for the location if not a little under market value if you are self-parking or taking a cab. When adding valet (and the associated taxes) it takes the price per night to nearly $180/nt which is about the top price I would pay for this market and area.
When thinking about the stay and where I might stay when I return, it’s probably not going to be this property. It’s not that the property was so horrible that I can’t imagine returning, I might be back. But newer properties just seem to feel cleaner and the Renaissance Oklahoma City Convention Center is showing cracks in the armor. It’s a classic full-service downtown hotel
Would you rather stay in a dated and tired full service hotel or a brand new “select service” property without the bells and whistles?