One look at my travel logs or Instagram feed makes it pretty obvious – I’m a Marriott loyalist. So, when I had a chance to book a stay in their (relatively) new Delta Hotels brand of properties on a recent business trip, I took it.
Marriott opened its first Delta Hotel in the US in 2016, and now boasts 12 US properties with 5 more scheduled to open in 2018, including one in the Dallas suburb of Allen, TX. The brand was already previously under other ownership and operated in Canada. where it has 38 hotels. Delta brands itself as a modern hotel catering to business travelers and competing against other hotels in the “upscale tier”.
One step inside the Delta Hotels Chicago North Shore Suites and it’s obvious this hotel was designed to mimic Hilton’s Embassy Suites, from the central atrium to the double-door rooms to the in-room configurations. While I’ve always been pleased with the Embassy offerings (can’t beat those made-to-order complimentary omelettes in the morning), I had a mixed experience with Marriott’s comparative offering. And, nothing I saw in this hotel or many of the other Delta properties online said “upscale”, beyond the well appointed lobbies.
Let me put the disclaimer out there that I only personally visited one Delta property – the Delta Hotel Chicago North Shore – and this review is based on that experience combined with the online experiences of others and review of property amenities.
THE ROOMS //
The Delta suites offer a large, yet sparsely decorated living room reminiscent of a college dormitory common area, with a TV, (uncomfortable) love seat, and tall flat beige walls. There are no windows to the atrium, leaving this internal room devoid of any natural light. Yuk. One feature I did like – there’s a small counter, sink, and microwave and fridge tucked in one corner which is great for those who carry their own food or order takeout only to get wrapped up in work and need a place to reheat it. Not all of the Delta properties offer the in-room mini kitchen with microwave, but most do have the small fridge.
The bedroom and bathroom follow the same trend and similar lack of personality – beige walls, white fixtures and fabrics, light wood. It’s all fairly low end and the bed was quite uncomfortable, which is surprising for a brand looking to compete in the “upscale tier” against Hilton’s Doubletree hotels.
The Delta Hotels in Baltimore (there are two) seem to have invested more in the in-room decor, whereas properties in Virginia, Michigan, and others have the same uninspired decor of the Chicago location. Overall, the room I stayed in was clean and had everything I needed; it just wasn’t much to look at.
THE ELITE AMENITIES//
As you move down in the Marriott food chain, the extra amenities for Elite status also go away. This is where Delta Hotels has a slight edge over Fairfield, Courtyard, and Renaissance Inn properties. They offer a lounge alternative called the Elite Pantry for Gold and Platinum Marriott Rewards members.
Different from a full-featured lounge, this walk-in space accessible only by keycard offers grab-and-go snacks and drinks. It’s not much and there’s no seating. The fancy Starbucks on-demand coffee machine and fridge full of bottled PepsiCo products are definite perks for Elite status-holders, though. The Chicago location could do more to ensure items are restocked throughout the day. When I went in upon arrival, there was a sad, half-eaten cookie on one plate and some stale trail mix, and lots of empty platters and bowls which likely once held other snacks and fresh fruit. Breakfast was a bit better, although I did stop by before 7am otherwise it may have been more picked over.
The room service menu at the Chicago property was similarly limited. Rather than offering Marriott’s Fresh Bites menu (which I’m a HUGE fan of) that’s available at Marriott and Renaissance properties, Delta Hotels leverage their on-site restaurant for room service. In Chicago, this meant 6 breakfast offerings with no healthier egg-white options and 8 (total) entrees and appetizers for lunch or dinner. Going offsite becomes a must. Some Delta properties tout a robust restaurant, but like a lot of features of this brand, the dining quality varies significantly across properties.
The hotel brand also offers a nice, but small, gym on par with most other Marriott brands, a business center, and small on-site restaurant/bar. Other property amenities range from swimming pools to pool tables to complimentary shuttles to nearby offices.
THE PRICE //
Delta Hotels claim to cater to business travelers. Given the lower-end fixtures, I would expect to find this at a price point comparable with Marriott’s Fairfield Inn and Courtyard brands – and I did. A quick internet search found most Delta properties to be priced at $80-180, pending the day of the week, with higher rates on weekdays than weekends (to be expected with a hotel focused on business travelers and located in the suburbs). If you find a nicer Delta property like the ones in Baltimore, it may be worth booking as you’ll get a few more features for the money.
BEST FIT FOR //
It’s definitely a no-fuss business travelers hotel, although you could certainly use it for other travel opportunities. I recall school trips in high school where the suites that readily sleep 5-6 (two double-beds and a fold-out couch) would come in handy when you still don’t want to pay the higher rates that comes with comparably sized rooms in other locations. I’ve heard the Orlando property, located near Disney, is a favorite among families who would prefer amenities like the in-room fridge over the ambiance of a resort.
Personally, at this price point I will opt for a newly-built Residence Inn (tops my list for business travels) or Courtyard if they’re in the same proximity. In markets where there isn’t one nearby, the higher priced Marriott Suites, Marriott, or Renaissance properties may be worth the splurge, especially since I found most to be within $50 of the Delta Hotels.
Have you stayed at a Delta-branded property? I’d love to hear if you had a different impression!