courtyard by marriott riverfront
I would be lying if I said I knew what to expect when I walked into this hotel. I, like most of you, have been traveling for years, staying in hundreds of hotel rooms. In fact, I have stayed at dozens of Courtyard's across the country, all containing the same expected amenities. A nice bed, swimming pool, lobby bar and several other characteristics that make them indistinguishable from the other national chains. I mean if it was say the flagship Marriott or one of their new AC branded hotels, then I would EXPECT to be surprised. Well, I guess it's good to be thrown a curveball every now and then as even us adults like surprises... right??
Well upon check-in, we both realized we were being thrown a major curveball, one of Sandy Koufax & Burt Blyleven's proportions!
This isn't the Courtyard I remember by a longshot! From the moment you walk in you'll realize you've arrived in a space designed for YOUR relaxation! The lobby is hued in soft colors with wood accents abound and is separated into several sections with couches, seating, alcoves and more televisions than your local Best Buy or Fry's! Caddycorner from the front desk in it's own nook is a self service store with Sandwiches, Hot and Cold foods, Snacks and drinks in addition to toiletries and other travel essentials.
Located off the lobby promenade is Plaza One, A full service Restaurant & Bar. While in town, Mother Nature forced us to slow down a few times by opening the clouds up, temporarily suspending all outdoor activities, which ended up being a good thing as we would venture down to Plaza One and relax for a bit and kill time.
Good Value, Good Food & A Chill Environment
My past experience tells me that one of two things will happen when visiting a Restaurant / Bar in a Hotel,
1. My wallet will take a hit ( No value)
2. The quality will teeter between Foreman Grill and TV Dinner quality.
I can honestly say that this is an establishment of not just perceived value, but actual value. The ole lady ordered a Grilled Chicken Salad, not expecting much at all but you could see her eyes light up as big as an MSG filled stomach at a buffet once she took her first bite, then commented "Oh MAN this is GOOD!!"
2 Glasses of Wine
1 Draft Beer
1 Dinner entree Grilled Chicken Salad
= $16.50 / win for us!
The rooms, which at the end of the day are really all that matter here with everything else being extra, carry on the surprising trends of this property. Simultaneously catering to both the business and everyday traveler seamlessly.
Smart Tv with all your streaming services built in, log in with your home password and enjoy as you would in your bedroom (don't worry about your passwords as they automatically erase when you select check-out)
Outlets in most lamp fixtures and tables so unlike your house where you have to reach behind that 200 lbs. couch to plug your phone in, everything is surface level here!
A cool couch / ottoman / bed / 70's saucer shaped lounger that was where I spent most of my time comfortably working on this site and still staying awake
If you get a riverfront room, the view at night is the money shot as the Main Street Bridge lights up and sorta makes you feel like your in one of those ritzy locations!
A front facing room towards Marcum Park is equally rewarding as you will have a view of the concert stage and whats better than seeing a concert without leaving your room! Sadly, we were a week too early as the Bruno Mars concert took place the following week.
At home we have a California King Bed that we paid a ridiculously insane amount of money for, Don't get me wrong, its a great bed, but once we drifted off to the sleep zone on this bed here, I realized we bought the wrong bed at home as it's just that comfortable... Or maybe it was the fact that we didn't have 2 of the 6 kids wrestling for pole position between us as we generally do at home... hmmmm...
patio / downtown:
The location of this Hotel being Downtown on the Riverfront, provides you with a perfect excuse to not stay holed up in your room (Mother Nature pending of course). Outside on the property you will find a relaxing outdoor space with a Firepit and comfortable lounge chairs that are all you need to let the evenings slip away as the sun sets over the Western edge.
Adjacent to the property is the previously mentioned Marcum Park, fitted with a water fountain and "splash pad", vast green space and a concert pavilion.
A stroll Downtown is also highly recommended as the city of Hamilton embraces their history which is highly evident by the many sculptures, wall murals and statues spread about. This is really a beautiful thing to see as our hometown of Columbus, seems to pride itself more on modernization at the expense of historical value (I mean how else can you explain the first ever Wendy's restaurant being shuttered over becoming a museum? I mean there can only be one "first").
Downtown you'll also find Rotary Park which has a unique feature, a set of permanent Cornhole boards and a Ping Pong table, all you need is to bring your own bean bags and paddles / balls, respectfully.
I'm sure there are many great lodging choices in Hamilton, Ohio, however personally I can tell you that when you factor in amenities, location and just plain old hospitality, well, there is no need to look any further.
A SPECIAL THANKS:
From the time we walked in, the staff set the bar high and they kept it there with ease during the duration of our stay. When someone speaks of "Southern Hospitality, they generally are speaking of the Southern region of the United States, but I now see that this also applies to this portion of Southern Ohio.
Rather it was calling the front desk 3 times between 2:15 and 2:45 Am with frivolous request (my wife's, not mine of course) or just greeting us whenever we crossed paths, everyone from the Front Desk agent to the Bartender and Housekeeping Staff, no matter if it was first shift or third, went beyond what we expected and always did it with a reassuring smile and for that, we appreciate you all. I apologize as I am horrible with names and I genuinely feel bad as you all deserve to be recognized by name, but nonetheless, a sincere thank you. I hope to cross paths with you all again.