My wife and I recently stayed at two separate Marriott properties to attend the same weekend wedding that I mentioned in my AA LAX-JFK Basic Economy review. I knew it would be a short stay. Therefore, we didn’t necessarily need anything fancy. We’ll save our pennies for that nice stay on a week-long vacation!
Instead, I planned for what I call a ‘functional’ hotel stay: using the hotel for its utility rather than its luxury, unless I can afford both! We didn’t plan on being at the hotel much anyway, what with family to visit in the area. Seeing as I have Marriott Platinum Elite Status until year’s end, I plan to make good use of it while I still have it.
I’m not too worried about the room itself since they are usually decent at Marriott properties. This lets me focus on 4 main criteria to consider for a functional stay:
- A good bed
- Proximity to the activity for the day
- Low cost
- Free parking.
With these criteria in mind, we made our bookings.
Review: Fairfield Inn & Suites Parsippany
We first stayed first at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Parsippany in northern New Jersey. The property has lots of parking space, and I was able to park relatively close to the main entrance. The front desk recognized my status and put us in a high-floor room upon mobile check-in.
The overall layout and look of Fairfield Inn’s are relatively consistent from my experience. The room was comfortable thanks to its smaller size, allowing the Air Conditioning to act real fast during what became a humid, rainy weekend. This turned out to be a lifesaver throughout the night! We got there late and left early in the morning. So, we really only used this stay for sleep.
Fairfield Inns usually serve breakfast, unlike Courtyards properties which are geared more for the business traveler. In my opinion, breakfast is typically hit or miss. I’m there more for the beds than anything else!
The hotel is close to our families, being a 15 minute drive down I-80. For the base price I paid of roughly $100/night at this Fairfield Inn, this hotel is a bargain compared to $150-$200 I would have paid for similar hotels closer to NYC.
Free Night Certificates can save your wallet!
For the second night, I wanted to choose something closer to the wedding reception venue. That way, we wouldn’t have to drive all that far at 2-3am when the festivities are over. Sure enough, the reception venue was closer to NYC! This is where free-night certificates come in handy.
I am also a Marriott Rewards Chase Visa cardholder, which has a free 1-night annual certificate that gets posted to your Marriott Rewards account. This cert allows you to stay at a category 1-5 hotel free-of-charge, and its usefulness really shines when you have short trips like this one. For an annual fee of $85/year, the certificate more than pays for the card itself.
Review: Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe
It just so happened that the Category 5 Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe is 10 minutes away from the venue. Typical night stays at this property are $200+. You bet I used that free-night certificate there!
Located right off the I-95 where I-80 starts, the Marriott Teaneck at Glenpointe is relatively close to New York City. You can drive a few miles north on I-95 and cross the George Washington Bridge to catch a Yankee game in the Bronx. Maybe drive a few miles south on I-95 to catch a Giants game at Metlife Stadium off of Rt.3. Perhaps take the same Rt.3 a few more miles eastward to I-495, enter the Lincoln Tunnel, and be in Times Square without too much hassle! But that’s not why I stayed there – I needed quick and easy access to Rt.17.
You expect a little more from staying at a Marriott-proper like this one, and the lobby sports a nice, classy gold and dark wood theme.
Since I was wearing dress shoes, carpeting leading into the elevators and in the hallway was very welcome. I was given a high-floor room again! But, we had a construction view with a small sliver of red and white lights from the regular I-95 traffic coming in and out of the GWB.
I wasn’t there for the view anyway. I needed a place to get ready for this wedding!
Overall, the room felt sharp and sleek, almost a bit sterile when entering. However, it felt cozy after a while, especially when waking up and the sun lights the room with a warm morning glow.
The large, white table below the TV provided a large, open space for my wife to sprawl out with all of her make up accessories; the bathroom was a bit small on the counter and sink department for this kind of activity.
Lighting was a bit dim in the room. It turned out that the light bulb in the lamp in the back of the room was slightly unscrewed, and therefore unpowered. But, with a quick twist of the wrist, I found the light I needed to see those subtle pesky creases in my black slacks while ironing.
One thing I have not seen before at a hotel is a Netflix button on the hotel room’s TV remote!
I did request a late-check out this time, but housekeeping still ended up knocking and opening the door at 9:00am; I forgot to place the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the outer door handle. I’m glad my wife had the foresight to latch the top lock before we went to bed the night before; we were about to get dressed!
In general, the Marriott Teaneck at Glenpointe was definitely a great functional stay. I would likely stay there again if the opportunity presents itself. I could say the same for the Fairfield Inn Parsippany. Both are excellent hotels when going in with high utility and moderate comfort as the expectation.
Any hotel successes or tips that you want to share? Share your stories in the comments below!