Hotel Review: Marriott Jaisalmer
On our trip to Rajasthan we were spending four nights in the living fort city of Jaisalmer. We had been contemplating staying at one of the hotels inside the fort, but later learned that the fort is deteriorating quickly due to hotels and restaurants opening within the fort and putting pressure the ancient drainage system. There was a new Marriott just a mile away from the fort, so we decided to give it a try since it seemed a great value on points.
Check In: Upon walking into the lobby, we were greeted by Mohit, the front office manager who was expecting our arrival and provided incredible service throughout our stay. I was given a local turban hat to wear, while Sari was given a beautiful local scarf. After presenting our passports, we were given a choice of sweet and salty snacks and drinks to be sent up to our room which was a nice touch. We chose a local Indian red and it was the perfect nightcap. Mohit suggested how we spend the next few days in Jaisalmer, and even noted the type of Indian sweets we loved so he could periodically send some up to our room. As a platinum guest, breakfast was included along with free evening cocktails and small bites from 7-9 PM.
After check-in was complete, he walked us to our upgraded 1 bedroom suite. The whole hotel still had a new smell and we found out the soft launch had started 6 months ago. The official opening was slated for October 2017.
The Room: The 1 bedroom suite we were staying in was spacious, modern and well-appointed. It had large living area with couches, a small dining table and a mini-bar along with a half bathroom. On the other side of sliding doors was the bedroom with a large bathroom that had a rainfall shower, bathtub and two sinks.
The Property: The building is designed in a figure 8, with a large fountain in the first courtyard, and a pool in the second courtyard. The lobby looks out onto the large restaurant below and is adjacent to the bar. The décor has Rajasthani flavor, but is not as tastefully done as the ITC Rajputana in Jaipur. The gym was well-appointed and included treadmills, bikes, freeweights and a cable machine.
The Service: Throughout our stay at the resort, the service was exceptional. People catered to our every need and went above and beyond the call of duty. Since the hotel was quite empty during our stay, there was no breakfast buffet on offer but we were allowed to order anything from the a la carte menu which we actually preferred. The breakfast chef even made sure to come out to say hello to us every day, and offered to make local delicacies that weren’t on the menu. One morning, he made our favorite sweet treat, piping hot Indian Jelabis, which are a deep fried sugary, saffron colored pretzel with a gooey inside served with yogurt to dip in. They were far and away the best we’d ever had in our life.
Another evening, we got chatting with Gaurav, the bartender who mentioned the cocktails he loved making, and how he even makes molecular cocktails at the bar. We told him that we’d love to try some, so the next day he went into the garden they have onsite to make fresh tamarind juice, lime juice, green mango extract and pull some other fresh herbs! All the cocktails he made were impressive, and the fact that this was included in our platinum happy hour was incredible. We couldn’t thank him and the rest of the staff enough.
At the end of our stay, we did not want to leave. We felt like we had become friends with everyone at the hotel. The last night, was my birthday and at night the crew had come to our room with a delicious chocolate cake and a card signed from the entire crew, which included a picture of us from breakfast a few days ago! We had not informed anyone, and couldn’t believe the thoughtfulness and attention to detail.
We had an early train the next day, and had setup transportation to the station through the front desk. As we dragged our bags to the lobby and dreaded our departure we saw Mohit waiting at the front desk. We found he had packed breakfast boxes for us and would be accompanying us on our ride to the train station. He even helped us get settled in and find our seats on the train.
All in all, our stay at the Marriott Jaisalmer was perfect. The property was beautiful, but the standout was the service which was the best we have received anywhere in the world. They have created a work environment where the employees feel empowered to be entrepreneurial and creative, rather than read straight from the manual handed out in training. The chef is empowered to go "off the menu" with his guests, the bartender is empowered to grow fruits and herbs for unique cocktails in the bar, and the management is empowered to help their guests in situations they are not potentially profiting off of. We are usually SPG people and were worried about the merger. This was our first stay at a Marriott which we transferred points over for and its safe to say we were blown away.
Tsunami Says: We spent 15,000 Marriott points a night (worth around $135 according to The Points Guy), which we found as an incredible value. We were not only upgraded to a 1 bedroom suite, but also received breakfast and cocktail hours from 7-9 PM. What really made our stay special was the staff, which went above and beyond every opportunity they had. We will definitely be returning to the property and recommending it to everyone we know.