It’s not as bad as the Disney Sheraton, but it’s close. I find myself trapped in a Marriott resort for a meeting. It smells like a Marriott, kind of dusty with hints of clorox.

Welcome to hall.  Always a cart or two out for your viewing pleasure.

Welcome to hall. Always a cart or two out for your viewing pleasure.

I am in glorious hamster cage number 428, which is distinguishable from all of the other rooms here only by its number. Here is what Marriott has for us today. (There are no flowers. There is no note. There is some water I can buy for $6.)

Rectangle view one.

Rectangle view one.

Rectangle view two.

Rectangle view two.

Yay! A plastic shower of the most banal possible type.

Plastic shower at the Marriott (well, what did you expect?!).

Plastic shower at the Marriott (well, what did you expect?!).



Maybe I can plug in my ipod? Uh, no. Should have brought along some CDs?! Really?

Real new "digital" technology.

Real new “digital” technology.

Yes, Marriott continues to bore. I’m afraid to even go down and look at the bar. When do I get to go to NY??

One sad drippy showerhead for this place. Avoid.

At least it's in Florida.

At least it’s in Florida.

Here’s a little story. A buddy and I came back from a late dinner last night and decided to have a night cap around 11. Fraternity boy server dude (think Spicoli only less cool) was asked to bring some sparkling water and two glasses when he brought our drinks, one glass with ice, another without. 15 minutes later he returns with a tiny bottle of Pelegrino. Said, “That’s a bit small to share, can you get us a big one instead?” Leaves for another 10 minutes. Returns with nothing. “There were no more big bottles,” he said, “Sorry, man.” “But what about the little bottle you brought before?” “Oh I gave that to someone else.” FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. Marriott, what has become of hospitality in ‘merica?

And another. Having a breakfast meeting with a work buddy. Arrive a bit early and request a table. Ask server to sit by window. “Oh you can see just as well from here,” she says directing me to a decidedly non-window table. “I really don’t want to sit here, but I will if you make me.” Silence. “You see sir, sections, <blah blah blah middle management blather>." "Yes, but I don't want to sit here. Do you understand that? I will do so, but I don't want to." Sat there.

Story 3. Wrote down stuff that was broken in my room in a note and put a URL to this entry. When I was walking by the front desk they asked me how my stay was going. I said, “Glad you asked, here is some information about that.” Heard nothing at all from management about the note. Not even at checkout.

Speaking of which, the cute blond at checkout asks, “How was your stay with us? Did you enjoy your evenings?” “Not really. I provided some feedback about that.”
Blink. Blink. She replies. Silence. Nothing. Who trains these people?

The Indigo Hotel in Jacksonville is far far better than your average Courtyard by Marriott. But it is no luxury hotel catering to hipsters and rock stars. Instead it appears to be catering to people who would like to be hip, even though they read USA Today and shop at big box stores. Maybe that’s just how Jacksonville is?

I am in room 224 which is reasonably nice in a “just built yesterday” kind of way. Like I said, way better than a plastic shower chain. 224 is a sizeable suite with nice style.

View from the door.

The extra room is actually a room, and a solid door sits between it and the bedroom. The space is a large bisected square.

Bedroom. The bed is comfortable with great linens.

But the bathroom is the clincher. The largest shower I have ever seen short of a five star in Switzerland (I was once assigned a room that I swear was in a James Bond film.) Plenty of room, spartan, and nicely designed.

View from the tub. The shower is huge. And it has great water pressure.

View from the shower to the large hot tub.

The shower even has a little bench in it.

The little bench in the shower.

If it were left to the rooms, this hotel would earn a five star rating. So what’s holding them back?

Cheap furniture in the lobby designed to look good but not feel good. A bar that is way way behind the times. Fox news on the TV blaring into the room (they switched to CNN when I asked them, however). And other guests who seem to be made up of corporate America middle management.

Is that a good bar? Nope. It does feature a TV!

The chances of finding mixology in Jacksonville seem remote.

If you must come to Jacksonville, this place is an OK place to stay, but it does not make the top grade. Four showerheads for the Indigo.