We decided to use Brad’s free night certificate that he receives each year from his Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card before it expired for a “staycation” in Houston, Texas. We chose the JW Marriott because it’s one of the few JW Marriott hotels that are a category 5 and the free night certificate is only good for Marriott properties listed in categories 1 through 5. We ended up coming away with over $300 worth of value on this stay by using the certificate and you can read more about that here.
The Houston Galleria
The Houston Galleria is the 7th largest mall in the US and the largest in Texas. It’s got over 375 stores including all of the upscale shopping that you’d expect to find at a high-end mall, such as Gucci, Burberry, Neiman Marcus, Chanel, Versace, Coach, Prada and the list goes on. There’s also a lot of a great restaurants in the mall and surrounding area — they even have Houston’s first Shake Shack!
In short, while the Marriott Marquis in Downtown Houston is my favorite Marriott hotel in the Houston area, the JW Marriott is still a perfect hotel to stay at when planning a trip to the Galleria in Houston because you’re just one street crossing away from the mall.
Both valet and self-parking are offered at the hotel. Self-parking ranges from $21 to $26 while valet goes for about $35 each day, so it’s a bit pricey. You might be able to find some cheaper parking somewhere else nearby, though I’m not sure about that.
We arrived around 6pm after work on a Friday and there were virtually no other guests in the lobby. The service right off the bat was exceptional. The staff members were extremely friendly and professional to the point that I felt like we were staying in a five star hotel and that’s not exaggeration — it was a nice surprise.
Since Brad has Marriott Gold Status, the hotel upgraded us up to the Larger Guest Room, which is comparable to a junior suite with all of the extra room. The Larger Guest Room goes for $219 on a Friday night but $256 with taxes factored in, so we saw this as a great opportunity to cash in with our free night certificate.
After receiving some complimentary “gourmet” ice cream from a pop-up ice bar, we made our way to our room.
The larger room has tons of space (750 sq ft) and it feels like a suite when you walk in.
There’s a chair, ottoman, and comfy couch with some nice decor arranged around it. I don’t think the couch folds out to a bed and I think you’d have to request a roll-in bed for that.
There’s only one window in the entire room and it’s pretty small. It comes with the old-school curtains with beaded string that you have to pull down. In the afternoon the window brings in a surprising amount of light when the curtains are pulled up.
There’s a nice desk area with complimentary bottles of water, too.
The TV sits pretty far away from the bed so it’s a little difficult to watch it from the bed, although it swivels so you always sit in the couch area and watch it from there.
The bed was very comfortable and was perfect for a one-night staycation where it feels good to sleep in and just lounge around all morning. The design of the room puts the bed into its own alcove-like space away from the small window in the couch area, so it creates a real cozy feel.
You can see what I mean in the photo below.
The bathroom is very nice. There’s a door that connects to the bathroom from the entry way and from the “bedroom” next to the TV. It’s got a nice glass-doored shower, although it was leaking a bit during my shower. The toilet sits right next to the shower.
I really liked the lighting in the sink area.
From our window we had a decent view of some high rises off of Post Oak Blvd. Houston has so many different skylines that it’s hard to keep track sometimes.
The gym is pretty huge for this hotel and is on the same floor as the pool. A lot of natural light gets into the gym area and there’s plenty of equipment to allow you to get a serious work out in.
The pool area on the other hand is much smaller. There’s a small portion of the pool that is indoors and is connected to the outdoor portion. It started raining while we toured the pool area so I didn’t get any shots of the outdoor deck area but it didn’t look like anything too special, although there were some nice views of the surrounding high rises in the Galleria area.
Unfortunately, the lounge was closed on the weekend so I wasn’t able to check it out and take photos. The good thing is that for Marriott Gold and Platinum Elites, the hotel offers a complimentary breakfast at the hotel restaurant if the lounge is closed, so we were able to enjoy a $50+ breakfast at the South Coast Grill.
They offered a pretty standard breakfast buffet with eggs, sausage, bacon, cereal, fruits, meats, and a few breads and pastries.
While the standard breakfast items were okay, the freshly made omelets and waffles were amazing. I’m not sure what it was about the waffles, but something about the batter used made them ultra-delicious!
The fresh omelet was great too and you could request for it to be fixed up in just about any way you desired. Outside of some of the lavish breakfast experiences at larger resorts, this was definitely one of the top breakfasts I’ve had.
The servers at the restaurant were fantastic and once again, it felt like receiving 5-star hotel service. The hotel has another restaurant called Destino and also has a Starbucks in the lobby. You can read more about the dining options here.
I think the JW Marriott is one of the best hotels to stay at in the Galleria Area. It’s just seconds away from the Galleria, the rooms and facilities are nice and the service is top-notch. If we don’t end up using our free night certificate elsewhere next year, I might just consider another staycation at this hotel.