We recently had the opportunity to try a second Ritz-Carlton hotel during a visit to the Los Angeles area. The Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey is directly on the waterfront, with available rooms featuring a partial or full marina view.
This would not normally be a likely choice for a work trip, but redeeming Marriott Rewards points made the stay competitive with typical “moderate” hotels in the area.
A look at the redemption
The Ritz-Carlton is a part of the Marriott family. The Points Guy values Marriott Rewards points at 0.9 cents per point. Nightly rates for a basic room at this property come up in the $400-500/night range, with an option to apply 25,000 points per night to reduce the price by half. The redemption value is pretty close to TPG’s estimate (25,000 points being about $225). While it’s not necessarily the best case for using a redemption, we wanted the experience in between work activities.
We could have spent 50,000 points plus $400-500 a night to get a Club Level room. Having stayed on the Club Level at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, we can say that if you’re going to spend time around the hotel, this can be a very luxurious experience–we’re already looking for an excuse for a mid-week mini-vacation to try the Marina Del Rey Club Level. However, traveling solo for work didn’t justify the expense or the experience.
We were lucky to get a points + cash rate under $200/night, which falls within most corporate travel guidelines. With Marriott Platinum Elite status, we received a 50% Platinum bonus , plus 1,000 bonus points as a welcome gift. There may also be a 2,000 point bonus coming from the current Megabonus program.
Pre-visit and arrival experience
A few days before check-in, we heard from the Guest Relations Team at the hotel via email. We were able to request a feather-free room, as well as extra coffee capsules for the Nespresso brewer in our room. We also confirmed late check out and a request for an upgrade, as part of the benefits of Marriott Platinum Elite status. The team was willing to arrange reservations or spa services for us, but that wasn’t in the cards for this trip.
Upon arrival, the feather-free room request was on our record, but not the late checkout or the coffee. However, the front desk agent was very helpful, offering late checkout and confirming it for us, as well as finding an upgrade to an Executive Suite with a full view of the Marina. The coffee situation was rectified when housekeeping came around to offer turndown service.
The hotel and the room itself
Our previous Ritz-Carlton experience had been at San Francisco, in a standard room (two queen beds, if memory serves) on the Club Level. The Executive Suite was obviously larger, perhaps three times the floor space with a guest lavatory, living area with sofa and desk, bedroom with a vanity desk and chair, hallway with closets, dual-vanity restroom, and separate bathroom with a standard tub, shower, and toilet.
The suite would easily house two couples (or a couple and a couple of kids), and would be decadent for a couple traveling without children.
The bath amenities are Ritz-Carlton’s typical Purple Water by Asprey London. Bar soap and shower gel were provided, along with shampoo and conditioner of course, for the shower and for the bathtub. A dental kit, shoeshine cloth, sewing kit, lotion, shower cap, mouthwash, and shoehorn were also available in the room, most under the Asprey London brand.
We were pleased to see that the “honor bar” did not have the sensors common in hotel mini bars, and prices, while higher than grocery or drug stores, were better than some we’d seen in Las Vegas Strip hotels in the last year or two. The mini-fridge held chilled wine, soda, juice, local beer, and water, with a little bit of space if you needed to stash something.
We were also pleased to have copious bottled water in the room, replaced daily, with no courtesy price tags; two bottles were stationed at the coffee maker, two near the bedroom window with the ice bucket, and one on each nightstand, with glasses in the bedroom and bathroom.
And as mentioned earlier, they provide a Nespresso Originaline machine (the CitiZ model) with capsules and tea bags for your hot beverage requirements. Cappuccino mugs and saucers as well as to-go cups are provided. If you’re a Nespresso user, you can of course bring your own capsules, but the hotel will provide a medium roast Vivalto Lungo (suitable for brewing up to 3.7oz) and a decaf as needed.
The hotel’s dining options include in-person or room-service dining from the Cast and Plow restaurant located just off the lobby. Attentive service by name and farm-to-table focus made for a satisfying dining experience overlooking the marina at ground level, whether just inside the windows or out on the patio at night. If you visit in the summer, it seems you can dine poolside as well.
The breakfast included a buffet option with eggs to order, or a standard menu (including an American-style breakfast or an omelet). We went with the “Marina Breakfast” the first morning and an omelet with a side of bacon the second. Dinner the second night was one of the best steaks we’ve had in California (no joke), and alas, with the low lighting on the patio, the photo doesn’t really do the meal justice.
If you choose to go beyond the hotel, there are a range of dining options within walking distance. We took a 15 minute stroll down to the Firestone-Walker Propagator restaurant and brewery, but many options were available within that distance range, including several waterfront restaurants on Admiralty Way.
There’s a luxury gift shop off of the lobby, next to a jewelry boutique, and the hotel also offers a Sisley Spa which we didn’t take advantage of during our stay.
Parking is valet only, at $44/night for guests and hourly rates for visitors. We chose to ride-share rather than renting a car, but if you’re going to be sightseeing it may be worth getting a car even at that parking rate.
If you don’t drive, the Uber or Lyft rideshare from LAX to the hotel is about 20 minutes and well under $20 under normal conditions. There are app-based scooter rentals in the area (and the Lyft app even offered to connect us to them).
It’s difficult to gauge how to rate a very high end hotel (like the Aria Sky Suites in Las Vegas, Mandarin Oriental, or the Ritz-Carlton anywhere). If we review based on expectations of the brand, we might say “meets expectations” when, compared to almost any other hotel, it’s definitely in the “exceeds expectations” category. In any event, we expected an excellent experience with the Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey, and we enjoyed an excellent experience.
Would we go back? Definitely. We’re already planning on it. But would we do this for a two-day work trip again? Probably not, but maybe.