ALEXANDRIA, VA: Courtyard by Marriott

I spent five nights here while waiting for my new apartment nearby to be ready. There's a lot to recommend it, but some things to be aware of.

This Courtyard is NOT your typical Courtyard by Marriott. The guest rooms appear to have been newly refurbished and are quite nice, inclusive of all the modern amenities. If the beds were as comfortable as Westin's Heavenly Beds, this hotel could give the Westin nearby a run for its money.

In addition to the well-appointed guest rooms, this hotel has a snack pantry, a modest restaurant, convenient location to the Eisenhower Metro, a shuttle bus, and a well-equipped fitness center.

What it doesn't have is a staff that understands what service is all about.

On two separate occasions, I was either waiting to be served at the restaurant or waiting to ask a question of the desk clerk when another guest barged in front of me. While that was the other guest's fault, the server or the desk clerk SHOULD have said, "I'm sorry, this gentleman was here first. Let me help him, and then I'll take good care of you."

They didn't, and the hotel gets poor marks for it.

Even overlooking the lackluster service, the room rate is nothing to write home about. While it is not exorbitant, it is higher than the nearby Hyatt, and on par with the Westin a few minutes' walk east of the location.

All things considered, unless you're a demon for Marriott Rewards points, I'd stay at the Westin or the Hyatt. Better value for the money, and better treatment in the offing.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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