Arrival Experience: The Courtyard by Marriott Walla Walla is the 1,000th hotel opening in the Courtyard by Marriott portfolio, and it is an excellent example of the brand’s evolution to appeal to young millennials and frequent business travelers. The bright lobby features numerous conversation seating areas including a board room table with rolling leather chairs in one corner and several cushioned sofas tucked in another. Individual reception pods welcome guests, and the touch-screen welcome board behind the check-in area allow guests to look up local weather, news, and current events. Staffers are extremely proud of the new hotel, which is within walking distance of the city’s charming downtown area and numerous wineries in the vicinity.
Dining: The bistro concept is in full swing here offering cooked-to-order breakfast and dinner from an impressive menu of creative dishes including Thai sweet chili wings; kale, cheddar and bacon risotto with sriracha sauce; and fried eggs with turkey sausage. The chef prepares meals in the morning and evening, and during other times of day (and throughout the night), a grab-and-go station features salads, sandwiches, and other snack items. Starbucks coffee and fresh smoothies are always an option. Unlike most Courtyard hotels, staff here offers table service creating a unique restaurant atmosphere. The bistro area features locally crafted tables including a central communal table crafted from old wine barrels. A fireplace crackles in one corner, and guests scramble to sit in one of the many media pods with individual TVs in private booths.
Rooms: The fresh rooms show the latest brand prototype, which center around oversized king or queen beds topped with thick duvets. Facing the bed is the new lounge sofa with ottoman that was designed by Courtyard by Marriott and is now trademarked as the Lounge Around. It provides the perfect place to kick back and relax while doing work on a laptop or watching TV. In the corner, a Keurig coffee machines, refrigerator, and microwave were all nice touches. The large wooden desk is on rollers allowing it to be repositioned and paired with the leather desk chair with adjustable height and ergonomic seat. Flat-screen cable TVs are mounted above the desk, and a full-length mirrors covers the large closet. The number of power outlets and USB ports is phenomenal including those positioned above the desk, on either side of the bed, and even in the lamp by the lounge sofa. A large photo covers one accent wall behind the bed. The bathrooms are bright with large vanities stocked with Paul Mitchell toiletries, a spacious tiled shower (or combination shower tub in some rooms), and thick towels. The shower was especially unique since the controls are on the opposite side of the showerhead, which keeps hot or cold water from surprising guests as they turn on the water. This is especially expensive for hotels to create this type of design as it adds extra piping, but is indicative of the attention to detail here.
Amenities: Meeting rooms are equipped with the latest audiovisual capabilities, and another special amenity here is the exhibition kitchen that can be used for cooking demonstrations, special events, or parties. The bistro nearby provides ample dining space or even an area for guests to get some work done. If exercise is important, a well-equipped gym features the latest equipment facing the courtyard, and a nearby indoor swimming pool is filled with salt water. An outdoor whirlpool is surrounded by several lounge chairs. Laundry machines are available for those making longer stays, and the detergent is compliments of the hotel. Parking is free, and a shuttle is available to take guests within the surrounding area. As the newest Courtyard by Marriott hotel in the world, the modern amenities, clever décor, and friendly service make a great example of what this business-minded brand has become, especially now that it is placing increasing importance on appealing to millennial travelers looking to mix both business and pleasure in their travels.
This property is available for booking on www.StayFaster.com, which provides the lowest rates in addition to the opportunity to earn loyalty points and miles (something that other third-party sites do not offer). It is easier to use than many other sites and aggregates some of the best hotel bargains in a destination while keeping the loyalty point aspect, which makes booking travel much easier (and more rewarding).