Residence Inn is one of the many brands in the Marriott family of hotels. It’s the company’s entry in the mid-scale, extended stay segment. They target families or business travelers that are staying for longer periods in one location and would prefer some extra space during their stay to feel a little more like at home. So, what kind of experience can you expect from a Residence Inn by Marriott?
So, who are they? Residence Inn was launched in 1975 as an independent hotel group and acquired by Marriott in 1987 – it was the first extended stay chain in the US! There are 700 Residence Inns, making it the third largest brand in the Marriott portfolio, bigger than the original Marriott Hotels brand! The vast majority of properties are in North America, with only 6 hotels in Europe and the Middle East and 1 in Central America.
And this is how Marriott describes the brand: “Designed to provide everything you need to thrive on long stays, the all-suite Residence Inn features upscale, spacious suites with full kitchens and room to eat, work and dream. Plus you can enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast, Wi-Fi, evening socials and grocery delivery service.” That’s actually a spot-on description of Residence Inn without the usual marketing fluff, although “upscale” might be debatable…
What experience can I expect? The original Residence Inn were designed as a “home away from home”, more like an apartment complex than a hotel: The reception and lobby were in one building, including the breakfast and lounge area, a laundry room and fitness center. The suites were located in a number of low-rise buildings, often grouped around a central pool area, with separate walk-ups or interior corridors. Parking was usually offered around the buildings, near your entrance. I’ve stayed at a few of those over time and they did feel more like an apartment rental with communal spaces than a hotel. Newer additions to the brand are more designed like a typical hotel, with the front desk, common areas and all the suites (now including studios – aka one-room suites) located in one building. You can still expect to get a free, hot breakfast, a social hour during the week, as well as a gym, pool, laundry and a small “convenience store” for necessities on site. You’ll even find a barbeque area and fire pit and can order groceries, delivered to your room!
There are studios, one- and two-bedroom suites, each equipped with a full kitchen, including refrigerator, stove, microwave and coffee maker, usually with bar-style seating. You’ll also get a living room with a big sofabed and TV and a large work desk. The 1-bedrooms are a little larger and have a door to the bedroom and a 2nd TV. They all accommodate 1-4 people. The 2-bedrooms have 2 closed bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, one set up as a “master bed & bathroom” and one bathroom accessible from the living area. Each suite has a full set of white and silver ware, as well as a welcome kit with coffee & tea. You’ll get bathroom amenities, just like at a hotel of similar price class.
Marriott has upgraded Residence Inn over the years and made them more attractive to younger guests, with a more youthful design and brighter colors. I like it, but don’t expect the flair of a boutique hotel. On the other hand, I consider Marriott the best hotel group in enforcing brand standards and delivering a consistent and reliable experience. You can check out the Residence Inn brand site and it’s the most accurate and fair description of the experience that any hotel company provides!
You can expect professional service, just not a lot of it: Staff is limited, so they’ll check you in and out, but don’t expect a bell boy or concierge to assist you. Breakfast staff is equally small, so during busy hours, they’ll have to work hard to keep up!
Residence Inn is part of Marriott’s Rewards program, so you can earn and redeem points at any of the Marriott brands around the world, over 4,000 hotels worldwide.
So, if you are traveling with family, want a little extra space on your next trip, like to cook yourself or want to feel a little more at home away from home, Residence Inn is worth checking out. While they are not the most exciting long-stay hotels out there, they are reliable. Prices have gone up significantly over the years, so check around for other brands if it’s above your budget!