This past week, I spent most of my time at the Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport hotel while spending time between an apartment reshuffle. My original toss-up for this stay was between the JW Marriott Sahar (Review) and the Grand Hyatt Mumbai hotel (Review), and then last minute, I headed to the Courtyard for a one-night stay I realised I had no bed or mattress at home to sleep on.
The Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport is one I had seen a lot of from the outside when I passed the road frequently, but it never occurred to me to stay there. This hotel has been around since 2010. It was one of the closest branded hotels from the earlier Sahar terminal of the Mumbai airport until Terminal 2 opened up. Along with it came the slew of new launches such as JW Marriott Sahar.
Booking the Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport
On this particular night, I’d booked a one-night stay for the Sunday night at the hotel for INR 2970 (USD 38) for the night with breakfast for two people (INR 2744 without breakfast), which is one of the lowest rates I’ve seen for a prime hotel in Mumbai over the past months (I’ve also seen the Renaissance Mumbai at INR 3300). As is usual, to access my perks as a Marriott Titanium Elite, I booked the room via marriott.com.
The room rates for June 2021 also look pretty attractive.
While I was booked in the Deluxe Room, on the day of arrival, I saw on the Marriott Bonvoy app that I was upgraded to the Courtyard Suite, which indicated that this was an elite friendly hotel. However, by the evening, this had dropped to a Junior Suite. I arrived at the hotel at about 7:30 pm in a desolate lobby.
I was informed that the hotel had seen a sudden surge of occupancy at about 70% plus, and hence the Courtyard Suite became unavailable at the last minute. Bad news for me, but good news for the hotel that they managed to get such a high occupancy for a change. As I discovered during my stay, the hotel had a large corporate customer base, which was using the hotel to quarantine their associates or create bio-bubbles for them with meals being served in the room. Not just that, the hotel also had small wedding groups, where up to 25 people were allowed.
The hotel followed the standard hygiene theatre, which all hotels are following for now. Temperature checks and hand sanitisation on arrival, plexiglass for the reception area and sanitisation of keycards and pens and other high touch items in the lobby area.
The check-in process took a while, with the reception only being staffed with two people and a slew of papers to be signed, including health declarations and so on. Shipra and I were escorted to our room, a pool view Junior Suite at the hotel.
Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport Hotel Pool View Junior Suite
I found the Suite to be large enough for a one-night stay. The 646 square feet suite had an L-shaped structure with no divisions between the seating and the sleeping areas of the suite.
As you can see above, the Junior Suite had a queen bed and a day bed along the corner of the room. One television adorned the room with a DTH connection which beamed select channels. On the other side of the room, there was a study table and a very comfortable couch. The whole suite was done up very well and to 5-star standards. However, in the next remodelling, I wish they would add power ports to both sides of the bed, rather than just one side of the bed.
In the alley, there was an empty minibar, as was the case with the entire hotel. There was enough stock of water bottles in the room, something I guess has been put on my Marriott Bonvoy profile now because I don’t have to ask any hotel for extra water bottles on arrival anymore for a while now. There was also the coffee and tea kettle and a big luggage rack as well.
There was also a half bathroom at the entry to the suite.
The shower area was as big as the room itself. There was a jacuzzi hot tub, a shower chamber and a lavatory, and an ample wardrobe on the other side.
The shower had a rain shower fitted in, and much in line with a mid-scale brand from the Marriott collection, there were wall outfitted large bottles of bath amenities from Ignis. However, I struggled with the bottle to get anything out of it, so I had to call in for the small tubes to lager up eventually.
The suite was sanitised and left out for a few hours before being handed over to us. All the paper items from the room were removed, and the room had alcohol wet wipes for our use and touch-free digital menus.
Looking at this suite and hoping I could hold on to it, Shipra and I decided that for the rest of my stay, by the time till we did not have a bed of our own, we could extend our stay at this property itself. We needed a bigger space because more luggage was yet to arrive, which we had initially planned to take to the other hotel where we were originally supposed to stay. With the liberal cancellation policy for booking directly (2359 hours the night before arrival), I proceeded to secure a room here for the rest of the duration and cancel my other hotel reservation simultaneously.
Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport Hotel City View Courtyard Suite
After seeing a more extended stay, the next day, I got talking with the hotel management, who explained the vast load the hotel saw the night before and their inability to offer the best eligible suite as they should have. The Director of Rooms informed me about the suite opening up for half my stay and asked if they’d want us to move there when it was ready. We took him up on this offer, and we were moved to the new Suite when it was ready. The suite was of interest because it had a physical separation to divide the seating and sleeping areas and also had a dining table for what was turning out to be an extended stay.
The bedroom was no less comfortable, with a bed, a second TV, and a workstation merged with the entertainment area.
The view from the window was towards the back-side of the hotel, and we kept the blackout curtains closed for most of our stay.
The shower area was differently organised but had a tub, a rain shower and a more extensive walk-in wardrobe.
Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport Hotel Dining
The hotel, still operating under the CoVid-19 protocols of Mumbai, could not offer a dining experience to guests while we were there. Consequently, only the MoMoCafe was open during our time at the hotel, but only for breakfast between 7 to 11 AM. For the rest of the day, the hotel offered dine-in options. They have a fabulous Indian restaurant in Ummrao which I could not try out this time around.
The breakfast was offered as a sit-down experience. On the first day of my stay, when there were many people staying at the hotel, a small buffet opened up. However, on the rest of the days, an unlimited a-la-carte from the Breakfast menu was offered. The seating arrangements were all organised to be physically distant as per the current CoVid-19 advisory. On the day of the buffet, we had to inform the staff about what we wanted from the buffet on display, and they would serve it to us from the hotplates.
The hotel was using a smaller pool of resources during the breakfast. As perhaps, there were fewer people on the job for now. This used to be okay if you arrived before 9:30 AM, but in the final hour, just like other times, the number of guests arriving for breakfast grew manifold, and this would mean service got slower. We met the restaurant manager, Abhijeet, and he was fully hands-on, supporting the rest of the staff every day.
There was an assortment of options, right from the fresh masala chai to a special dosa that we were recommended and so on. There was also an assortment of eggs on offer, pastries and paranthas, and so on.
On the first day, I paid for a breakfast inclusive rate. However, from the second day onwards, I realised that I had breakfast included as a Titanium Elite amenity, so I only paid for the basic rate at the hotel.
The hotel had a limited Indian and pan-Asian menu being sent through room service for the rest of the meals. However, if one had to eat in the room, many people were ordering in from outlets outside and collecting their orders at the lobby. This is how we got a meal in from Foo Mumbai when Shipra craved a Sushi lunch and a couple of other meals.
The hotel also had shut down their Executive Lounge, and the night before arrival, I would get a note from the hotel that high-tea was not going to be available as a consequence.
I do wish the hotel had their grab-n-go counters, which would have meant a quick lunch or a bag of chips and so on could be bought from the counter or the vending machine, rather than for us having to call for it from outside.
Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport Hotel Elite perks
The hotel knew its chops while dealing with Marriott Bonvoy elites. I felt, however, they did mess up once. The first night, when I checked in, I called back to ask about my Welcome Gift, which choice was not enquired upon check-in. As per Marriott Bonvoy, the following needs to be offered in Asia, Australia, Pacific Islands, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, South America, the Middle East, and Africa for Courtyard Hotels:
- Properties without lounge – 500 Points per Stay or F&B amenity per Stay or USD 10 F&B credit per night of Stay for Member +1
- Properties with lounge – 500 Points per Stay and breakfast in the lounge – if the lounge is closed, breakfast in a restaurant per night of Stay for Member +1
However, when I called, I was told that loyalty privileges were not being offered due to the pandemic at the moment, a stance that Marriott reversed on January 11, 2021. Anyhow, while extending my stay, I did not bother paying for breakfast, as I could claim breakfast for free.
The hotel had a lovely gentleman, Umesh, who was the Concierge and responsible for elite guests at the hotel, and he made sure that after this, they did not drop the ball at all with elite privileges. He was extra nice to us and one day even sent us some complimentary refreshments to make up for the first night’s experience. Who can say no to a good cup of masala chai after all at 4 pm?
I found the Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport to be an excellent hotel for a short stay. Not just that, I found their overall approach towards guest handling significantly evolved, and in many cases, even better than some of the high-end Marriott hotels in India. At the average price of INR 3,000 per night I paid to stay here, I found it extremely value-for-money. I know these prices will vanish the minute travel resumes, but I would still consider them for a stay if I needed one in the future. For all of these reasons, I think, this was a 5-star hotel stay at a 4-star hotel prices for now.
Have you stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport? How has been your experience at this hotel?
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