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Even when you fill a hotel with 300 people, things can go sideways in Marriott land. Met at the door by a persnickety doorman, I was refused luggage service when I arrived and asked to drive around to the loading dock. What?! Well, there was a bit of music equipment, but in the past it has all fit on 2 carts. No bending of the rules for mr door weeny.

Too much luggage for the front door?  Nah.

Too much luggage for the front door? Nah.

So, instead of a welcome I got to bake in the heat, sweat through the shirt I was going to wear in a video shoot an hour later, and work with (the very able and excellent) security people. Hey Westfields, your front entrance situation needs a reboot. (FWIW, after a chat with the manager, the checkout situation went much more smoothly.)

Still from the video shoot.  Had to change shirts due to checkin SNAFU.

Still from the video shoot. Had to change shirts due to checkin SNAFU.

But there is some good news. The Internet situation has been fixed. Free, more reasonable net. Which when you are running a conference full of geeks (like last year) is important.

And there is some bad news. The shower still sucks in suite 130. I mean really, get a new shower in here. The rest of the room is far better.

This is the bad shower in 130 at the Westfields Marriott.

This is the bad shower in 130 at the Westfields Marriott.

After a long day, including a video panel, a talk, and a music performance, it was nice to retire to some wine and cheese left by the event staff. Thanks for that! It was demolished before I thought to take its picture.

The stage ready for some Gently Let Down by Catherine.

The stage ready for some Gently Let Down by Catherine.

There was fruit and cheese here last night?!

There was fruit and cheese here last night?!

Thanks for the note and the wine.

Thanks for the note and the wine.

All in all, the Westfields Marriott is an even better place for a meeting than in past years. But the staff needs some training and suite 130 needs a new shower. They can make you an espresso in a pinch though, and they’re actually pretty good at it.

Morning at the Marriott.

Morning at the Marriott.

Three showerheads for the Westfields. Run a meeting here, but don’t come here for the sleeping rooms.

Not that long ago, all 300 of us piled into the Westfields Marriott for a technical meeting of the minds. I just came back to this Marriott property to run another conference—smaller but including executives from 38 different firms dispersed around the world.

I stayed in the same room (130 which is the Presidential Suite). Sadly, they did not get around to fixing the shower since my last visit. So this well-appointed marble palace of a room is marred with a plastic shower curtain. Add that to the fact that the shower has no water pressure at all—an insufficient dribble—and we have a problem Houston. Miserable. Here in noplasticshowers-land that sort of problem is a fatal flaw.

This shower is not good.

This shower is not good.

One of these things is not like the others.

One of these things is not like the others.

The rest of the room is probably decorated about the same way it was when Ronald Reagan stayed here in the ’80s. New paint? New carpets? That would be nice. (Contrast with this.)

Living room.  Nice place for an '80s party.

Living room. Nice place for an ’80s party.

Fireplace (fake variety).  On switch.

Fireplace (fake variety). On switch.

And then down the spiral stairs.

Spiral down.

Spiral down.

To the room where nobody wants to hang out. Even when the full bar is put down there and there are too many people upstairs.

Yuck

Yuck

Need music? No problem. Some massive, heavy, metal core speakers can be hooked up with a metal box, RCA adapters, and thick cables to your ipod. Time warp!

The bed is nice.

Bedroom

Bedroom

But Marriott still has very bad Net that costs money?! Authentication systems straight out of the early ’90s too. yay?

Desk with a view.

Desk with a view.

Bathroom art (in bathroom 1)

Bathroom art (in bathroom 1)

No shower here.

No shower here.

We had some fun times in 130. The rent-a-cop came to visit once but then went on his way when informed that it was only 11pm.

All in all the Westfields Marriott is a very good place to hold a meeting. Nice facilities, but very very dated technology. Creaky internet with really stupid authentication (why is net not free here?!). A/V equipment manufactured before advanced alloys. A default liquor and wine list that needs work. But the food is great, and the lobby is gorgeous. Can’t win ’em all I guess.

All in all a three showerhead (a one head demotion) for this place. Hey Marriott, fix your shower!

Delta Net and other Wonders

September 30, 2013

Since cigital is opening an office in Atlanta, it looks like I will be flying down there more often. Flying to Atlanta is best accomplished on delta of course. So we left United at the gate, and here we are in the air.

So what do we think? Well for starters, Terminal B at IAD beats the bejesus out of Terminal A (which I call the “walmart terminal.”) It is modern, spacious, and has restaurants designed by something other than a chimpanzee.

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

Second of all, the delta flight left a bit early (better than on time) and has wifi available. (This is the first noplasticshowers entry posted from 35,000 feet.) I did have to pay to get moved into “economy comfort” or whatever they call this, and net costs $14 for this 90 minute flight.

Delta wifi.

Delta wifi.

All in all, things seem pretty similar to a United flight on an A320, but there’s net. I think that is good. Right?!

After my ridiculous non-travel day trapped at Dulles courtesy of United, the Marriott across the street from the terminal was a welcome respite. My friend Drew has Elite status and helped to snag me a room once I finally gave up on getting to Detroit after an 11 hour wait. (Did I mention that United sucks? It does.)

Good news? Incredibly friendly staff. Bad news? Plastic showers and those 1985 hamster cage rooms. Oh well, the bed was comfortable.

Welcome to the machine.

Welcome to the machine.

Plastic shower.

Plastic shower.

Drew’s Elite status earned me choice of 500 points or a snack. After hearing my United story, the people at the front opted to give me both. Hopefully Drew got the points. I need them not.

Snack.  All wrapped up and ready for the grocery store.

Snack. All wrapped up and ready for the grocery store.

Still no fan of Marriott. This hotel, though a welcome place to crash after a crappy day, is a two showerheads hotel. Only stay here if utterly screwed by your own airline.