Jan222015

Courtyard Salt Lake City Downtown free stay during $400 rates at category 3 hotel

Courtyard by Marriott Salt Lake City Downtown was moving on up the hotel market segment after three nights in Country Inn & Suites West Valley City. The Courtyard hotel downtown location is a convenient location, one block walk to the light rail UTA TRAX Courthouse Station on the green line with direct service to SLC Airport.  TRAX costs $2.50 one way and is a 23 minute trip from downtown to airport. You can walk to the terminals in 2 to 5 minutes depending on airline. Over three days of riding TRAX, it was one of the most accurately scheduled arrival times compared to mass transit systems I have experienced. Every train was within a minute of its published schedule. Trains between airport and downtown run every 15 to 20 minutes.

I burned a category 1-5 free night certificate I earned in 2014 from Marriott MegaBonus promotion. I would not have predicted in April last year I’d burn a free night certificate for a category 3 hotel.

January 20 was the night before the big event. Outdoor Retailers opened yesterday and it is one of the largest conventions for the year in Salt Lake City at about 24,000 attendees. Surprisingly, Sundance Film Festival starts January 22 and runs to February 2, 2015, but that is primarily a Park City event 30 miles away and does not drive hotel rates in Salt Lake City. Room rates in Salt Lake City are no higher during Sundance Film Festival than they were last week. It is the Outdoor Retailers convention that packed hotels, bars and restaurants downtown beginning Tuesday night.

Sundance banner

Sundance Film Festival 2015 banner (January 22-February 2, 2015)

Courtyard by Marriott Salt Lake City Downtown

Room rates went sky high Tuesday night for any hotel in Salt Lake Valley. Courtyard was over $400 per night after tax. I burned my free night e-certificate.

Courtyard SLC 400

Salt Lake City Outdoor Retailers Convention drove room rates sky high January 20-23, 2015.

 

Sweet Suite Upgrade

I checked in early before noon and the front desk staff pleasantly surprised me with an upgrade to a suite with balcony.

SLC Courtyard Suite-1

Courtyard Salt lake City Downtown Suite 232

The room was too warm at 70 degrees when I entered. The bedroom window opened and I could let cool 40 degree air rush in and quickly get the room comfortable.

SLC Courtyard Suite-2

Courtyard Salt Lake City Downtown Suite 232

Room offers an empty refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker. TV is large. The desk feature is nice since it rolls out and there is space to relocate desk farther from the TV.

SLC Courtyard view-2

Balcony view from Courtyard SLC Downtown east to Grand America Hotel, the top rated hotel in Salt Lake City.

This week was my first time in downtown Salt Lake City. Street beggars in SLC were prevalent all around, mostly young and white. I can’t recall any place in the past decade in the USA where as many people approached me for a handout.

I walked the beggar gauntlet for hours and turned down all requests. In several places around town there were posted signs instructing people on how to deal with beggars.

SLC charity meter

Charity meter for homeless services outside Utah Jazz Arena in Downtown Salt Lake City.

I bring up the SLC Downtown street people in this review since I don’t think you can walk around this area without being approached by someone asking for money. It truly is a major issue for the city and tourism.

My impression is Courtyard is kind of on the border dividing north and east tourist zones from south and west ‘in the hood’ zones. That being said, many of the brand hotels are in close proximity to Courtyard with Sheraton one block south and Hampton Inn one block west. The Utah State Liquor Store is between these three hotels and looked like a magnet for the down and out beggars trolling the streets. Hilton SLC is one block northeast and new hotels like Hyatt House and what will become a new Courtyard SLC are located a couple blocks north. The current Courtyard SLC Downtown will rebrand to a Fairfield Inn when the new Courtyard is completed is what I was told.

SLC Courtyard bathroom

Courtyard SLC Downtown Suite 232 wheelchair accessible bathroom.

Suite 232 has a wheelchair accessible bathroom and room with two queen beds.

SLC Courtyard beds

Courtyard SLC Downtown Suite 232 two queen beds.

There was a large TV and chair in the bedroom too.

Courtyard Salt Lake City Downtown Lobby

The lobby of this hotel is inviting. Some hotels have no character or social space for sitting around if you are not dining or drinking (i.e. Radisson SLC Downtown lobby).

SLC Courtyard lobby

Courtyard Salt Lake City Downtown lobby

This hotel had several spaces for seating in the lobby, along with a computer terminal space. Beside the front desk is a market for common food items and drinks.

SLC Courtyard dining

Courtyard Salt Lake City Downtown dining room and bar

Dining and bar area of lobby space.

SLC Lobby and dining

Courtyard Salt Lake City Downtown lobby and dining room

My three photos show about 90% of the lobby and dining space. There is also a newspaper counter and an Airline Boarding Pass printer station by reception.

Courtyard Salt lake Downtown Pool and Fitness rooms

The fitness room seemed small for a hotel this size. There were two treadmills, a stair stepper and cycle. Weights were present too.

SLC Courtyard fitness

Courtyard Salt Lake City Downtown small fitness center

In contrast to the small fitness center, the indoor pool was a good size space.

SLC Courtyard pool

Courtyard Salt Lake City Downtown indoor pool

There is a laundry facility next to the pool room.

SLC Courtyard pool area

Courtyard Salt Lake City Downtown pool area

Only a few minutes walk from the hotel is Squatter’s Pub as an even better opportunity for craft beer than the Utah State Liquor Store. Squatter’s sells cold beer at lower price than the State Liquor Store with longer opening hours.

Courtyard by Marriott Salt Lake City is a convenient downtown location for a tourist.

Hotel Positives

  • Downtown location, even if bordering a sketchier part of downtown. Hampton Inn and Sheraton are one more block into the hood.
  • Large indoor pool.
  • Laundry room.
  • Nicely furnished and comfortable lobby for socializing.
  • Lobby market.
  • Breakfast and Evening dining room and bar.
  • One block to Salt Lake City’s craft brewery Squatter’s.
  • room windows open and some rooms have balconies.
  • One block to Courthouse Station TRAX light rail on green line to SLC Airport.

Hotel Negatives

  • Small fitness room.
  • West side hotel rooms face a nightclub. Many TripAdvisor reviews have complaints about late night noise. My room was on east side of hotel, so not an issue I experienced.
  • Ceiling noise from room above on 3-floor hotel. After reading a TripAdvisor review where someone described the sound of guests in the room above sounding like a Clydesdale walking, I do recall that same sensation. Best to get a 3rd floor room or hope the guests above simply lay in bed and watch TV.

Courtyard by Marriott Salt Lake City Downtown is Marriott Rewards category 3 at 15,000 points per night.

TripAdvisor ranks this hotel at #59 of 75 Salt Lake City hotels. There are only 8 reviews of the hotel. Aside from the creaking noise of the ceiling in my second floor room when the guest walked around the third floor, I loved my stay at this hotel.

I’d certainly return, and try to remember to request a 3rd floor room on the east side of the hotel.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. It’s always neat when you can take advantage of free night certificates when rates have skyrocketed. I just used my IHG annual free night plus one of my two Into the Nights rewards to book two rooms at the Intercontinental Times Square for a June night when rates are a whopping $700. When I figure that one of those rooms cost me a $49 credit card annual fee and the second room cost me two $80 per night stays at HIE properties, I have to smile and be thankful that people like you have taught me how to play this game.

  2. @M – I did not walk by Pioneer Park to see that area. I read in the paper that Rio Grande is the place to go for buying drugs where the Mexican cartel dealers blend in with the homeless. This is only a couple blocks from several of the downtown hotels.

    #PSL – Free night certificate from Hyatt Visa at Category 4 Hyatt Escala Lodge Park City is worth about $500 this week.

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