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As soon as I entered the Marriott Renaissance Downtown Phoenix, I noticed the hotel’s nice ambiance, which is fostered by an abundance of beautiful decor and lighting found throughout the hotel.
I was absolutely awestruck by the chandelier in the lobby. It’s this beautiful glowing piece made up of a couple of hundred hanging “light bulbs” clustered together. It looked like an exhibit straight out of an art museum and I had to stop and get some photographs of it before I could do anything else.
On the other side of the lobby is a Starbucks.
On my way to the check-in desk there were several other pieces of interesting furniture found throughout the corridors of the lobby. On display on many pieces of furniture were these giant rock crystals, which you can see on the table below.
I loved this piece with the owl with one eye open.
There’s also a very nice bar and lounge area in the lobby. I wasn’t able to partake given my schedule but it looked like a cool place to grab a couple of drinks.
At check-in, I was informed that due to my Marriott Platinum status, I’d be receiving an upgrade to a suite, which was at least two tiers above the king room that I booked. It was great to receive this upgrade given that I made by booking though a new online travel agency called Bonwi.com (much more to come about that on a later date).
The suite was essentially a large studio suite, since there was no divider between the bedroom and the “living room.” However, it was very spacious and I liked the color scheme of the room with the complimentary orange and blues.
We got in around 11pm local time so it felt like 1am CST for us. Since we were waking up at around 5am, we didn’t do much lounging around in the suite and pretty much went straight to bed. For the brief amount of time I spent on the couch, I will say that it was very comfy and a nice place to relax.
The bed was a bit firm for my liking, but I still managed to get a good night’s rest. Despite the hotel being located right in the heart of downtown, noise from outside was never an issue. Also, I didn’t have any issues with room temperature fluctuating.
One of the drawbacks to studio suites, or even big standard rooms, is that you often have a single TV that’s quite far away. That’s kind of what happened with this hotel room — the TV is very far away from the bed.
There are plenty of sets of drawers in this room: one set below the TV and then another set dividing the studio.
There’s a nice deck area that sits in a nook in the room.
The view from our room on the 15th floor was pretty good. In the morning, you can watch the sunrise reflect off the curvature of the Phelps Dodge Tower and light up the mountains off in the background. You can also see the Talking Stick Resort Arena, home of the Phoenix Suns, off to the left.
The sink area in the bathroom is nice and comes with a large closet and a scale.
I wasn’t crazy about the bathroom, however. I definitely didn’t care for the green color and the shower looked like your typical lower-tier shower.
The Elevate Lounge
One highlight of this hotel is probably the Elevate Lounge, located on the top floor. It opens at 6am although it doesn’t officially start serving breakfast until a little after 6am.
The lounge is full of a swanky arrangement of furniture and decor.
It was a far cry from some of the boring hotel lounges I’ve encountered in the past.
One of the staff members was exceptionally friendly and helpful. He was a fellow photography buff, and gave us a lot of info on place to check out and some insight into our morning drive into Las Vegas. He also took the time to explain some of the artwork found in the lounge, which I thought was interesting. It’s always amazing to me the effect that one very friendly staff member can have on your overall experience at a hotel.
It’s also nice to not get chastised or interrogated for taking photographs with my DSLR for once.
It seemed like it would have been worth it to come up to the lounge in the evening to grab a drink but unfortunately we’d already be checked in to our new hotel at the W Las Vegas by that time.
The main dining area did have bit of a fast food restaurant feel to it but I didn’t mind.
Because we were Marriott elite members, we were give a complimentary breakfast in the lounge. I’d rate the breakfast somewhere around average. It wasn’t bad at all but probably just what you’d expect from a 4-star hotel.
I enjoyed the fresh selection of pastries, which came with a good variety of choices.
As for hot food, the hotel offered bacon, eggs, and potato chunks.
There was also a section with fruit.
Overall, the breakfast offered more than enough decent options to get you going for your upcoming day. And again, it was right about what I would expect from a four star hotel, quality wise.
The hotel also has a really nice gym, complete with a lot of different types of equipment, including a decent free weight section.
The pool isn’t much to look at it. The plus is that it’s heated but it’s not very big and although it’s technically a “rooftop” pool, I didn’t feel burning desire to spend anytime in or around the pool area.
The rooftop also has a large open area where you can sit around and even play corn hole. I’d imagine they host event outside when it’s nice.
This was a solid four star hotel experience for me. I loved the look and feel of the hotel, from the lobby to the lounge and including our hotel suite. The fact that they had wonderful staff made this an even better experience. I was on a bit of a streak of experiencing slightly underwhelming hotel experiences for a while, so it was nice to get back on track with this solid Marriott hotel.
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Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and creator of the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned full-time credit card rewards/travel expert and has earned and redeemed millions of miles to travel the globe. Since 2014, his content has been featured in major publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, US News, and Business Insider. Find his full bio here.