Marriotts near National Parks?

Old Aug 13, 15, 12:54 pm
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Wow, I'm surprised I haven't spotted this thread until now, as I visit parks in the western US several times per year. A few general remarks:

1. Yes, MR is not the best loyalty program for staying in/near parks in the west. The "gateway" towns close to the parks are generally small, and business there is often seasonal. Marriott franchises don't penetrate these kinds of areas.

2. I agree with the recommendations upthread that IHG, Choice, and Best Western are better fits. You'll find a HIX, or a Quality Inn, or a BW in a lot of towns where you won't see a Courtyard or Fairfield-- or a Hampton Inn, for that matter.

3. Staying at a property that's an hour further out than others just because it belongs to your preferred loyalty program is rarely worth it. Be flexible. Be willing to... <gasp>... pay cash for a night's stay without earning points.
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Old Aug 13, 15, 1:17 pm
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Yes I totally agree that MR is not the best place to stay when you are doing NPs in Western US. Last Christmas we did the Mighty 5 in UT and the only place we stayed at with Marriott was in Richfield heading down back to CA. Most of the hotels we stayed at were Super 8, BW etc. It's impossible to do the scenic routes if we had stick to Marriott.

Waking up in Springdale UT seeing the Zion NP was amazing - there was a slight cover of snow on the mountain and the ground.
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Old Aug 13, 15, 1:50 pm
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Also bumping an old thread... Carlsbad Caverns is a great NP. Marriott has quite a few options in Carlsbad, NM.
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Old Aug 13, 15, 5:45 pm
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Originally Posted by slpybear View Post
Also bumping an old thread... Carlsbad Caverns is a great NP. Marriott has quite a few options in Carlsbad, NM.
Thanks! It looks so interesting! We are spending Christmas holiday flying into IAH and we are looking for great NP in the area. Can do this combined with Big Bend NP ^
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Old Aug 14, 15, 2:14 am
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Originally Posted by nacho View Post
Waking up in Springdale UT seeing the Zion NP was amazing - there was a slight cover of snow on the mountain and the ground.
Most of the time I've visited Zion I've chosen to stay in Springdale at one of the many small, independent motels. There is a BW there, which I stayed at once when it offered a good rate. It's not worth the hour-plus drive each way to stay out in St. George at one of the bigger name chains.

Originally Posted by nacho View Post
Thanks! It looks so interesting! We are spending Christmas holiday flying into IAH and we are looking for great NP in the area. Can do this combined with Big Bend NP ^
Big Bend NP is certainly worth visiting, though while you're in the neighborhood of Carlsbad Caverns you should make sure to visit Guadalupe Mountains NP nearby.

Also, you are aware that Houston is 635 miles from Carlsbad, NM, right?
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Old Aug 14, 15, 4:48 am
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
Most of the time I've visited Zion I've chosen to stay in Springdale at one of the many small, independent motels. There is a BW there, which I stayed at once when it offered a good rate. It's not worth the hour-plus drive each way to stay out in St. George at one of the bigger name chains.

Big Bend NP is certainly worth visiting, though while you're in the neighborhood of Carlsbad Caverns you should make sure to visit Guadalupe Mountains NP nearby.

Also, you are aware that Houston is 635 miles from Carlsbad, NM, right?
We stayed at the Cable Mountain Lodge at Springdale - it was literally by the park gate! The scenery is breathtaking - especially with a dust of snow. We stayed at the TPS at St. George to visit the little park with Red Rocks that the kids and climb on. It was great and the drive from St. George to Springdale is manageable.

Yes I do aware about that - well the trip I mentioned above we flew into LAX . The longest drive I did last time was from FFI Richfield UT to Indio CA, with a stop at Cedar City and the other entrance of Zion (couldn't get in due to snow - but got the Junior Ranger done for the kids).

As coming from Europe we only fly into big hub due to the first port of entry policy - we had several bad experience with it so we'd rather drive far than having to go through that.

I don't mind the driving as long as it's not I10 from PHX to Blythe (got better after getting into Palm Springs area) - that was the most boring drive ever - one big straight road.

I looked into to the forest too and it sounds interesting - we'll definitely go there if we are going to Carlsbad. We have more than 2 weeks and we don't have any other must do, so it should be doable. We were looking for NPs in Texas and we found Big Bend, it can definitely combined with Carlsbad. Any good Marriott to burn our Cat 5 certs?

Thanks a lot for the advice!
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Old Aug 14, 15, 8:49 am
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If you are going to Carelsbad Caverns, You should take US-82 over to the White Sands National Mounment, and then visit the White Sands Missile Range and Atomic Museum.

White Sands is these giant gypsum sand dunes that you can sled down.
The missile range has an awesome museum about buildings no and testing the atomic bomb.
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Old Aug 14, 15, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by nacho View Post
I looked into to the forest too and it sounds interesting - we'll definitely go there if we are going to Carlsbad. We have more than 2 weeks and we don't have any other must do, so it should be doable. We were looking for NPs in Texas and we found Big Bend, it can definitely combined with Carlsbad. Any good Marriott to burn our Cat 5 certs?
In Carlsbad NM there are two Marriott properties, both Cat 4 or 5. They're a good redemption value because their cash rates are absurdly (IMO) high.

There are no Marriotts near Big Bend NP. It's in a very remote area. Inside the park is a lodge that's definitely worth considering. Outside the park there's Terlingua, where the motels are all small, unaffiliated properties. The closest chain hotels would be in Alpine TX, 80 miles further out than Terlingua. In Alpine there's a HIX and a Hampton but no MR properties.
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Old Apr 9, 16, 11:33 am
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Originally Posted by returnoftheyeti View Post
Bump the National Park Thread: There is a Fairfield Inn at the Joshua Tree National Park. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...national-park/
Mrs. ReturnoftheYeti calls this the Fairfield Spring Suites.

This place is actually really nice. Its close to the main visitors center. The rooms are large and spacious. Seperate "living room" and "bed room". Not really seperate, but it feels that way. Microwave and fridge in the room.

Quiet, 2 stories. Pool, gas grill for you to use. Soda in the soda machine is stupid expensive.

Grocery store accross the street for supplies.

If you go, 3 great eating options, Twentynine Palms Inn, Joshua Tree Saloon and Pappy and Harriettes in Pioneertown.
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Old Apr 9, 16, 12:43 pm
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Originally Posted by returnoftheyeti View Post
Bump the National Park Thread: There is a Fairfield Inn at the Joshua Tree National Park. http://www.marriott.com/hotels/trave...national-park/
Great tip. We plan to return to that incredibly beautiful park later this year.
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Old Apr 10, 16, 10:48 am
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Stayed at FFI Alamogordo and TPS Carlsbad, both are great for doing award stays. We visited White Sand and Carlsbad Caverns.
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Old Apr 10, 16, 11:15 am
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
Great tip. We plan to return to that incredibly beautiful park later this year.
I've stayed in the FFI last year when I visited the park.

It is solid for what it offers and also presented decent value.

The service was great, including offering breakfast at 4:30 AM when the crazy photographer (i.e., me) is heading out for the sunrise shoot.

It is conveniently located to the park (less than 10 minute drive) as well as for other amenities in the area (such as they are).
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Old Apr 12, 16, 11:50 pm
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They are building a Springhill Suites in Kalispell, MT near Glacier National Park. Hilton already had a HGI and Hampton there.
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Old Apr 13, 16, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by aroundtheworld76 View Post
They are building a Springhill Suites in Kalispell, MT near Glacier National Park. Hilton already had a HGI and Hampton there.
I stayed at the Kalispell Hampton 10 years ago when visiting Glacier. It was a nice enough hotel but I checked out after 1 night because Kalispell was simply too far from the parts of the park I wanted to spend time visiting. That's often the problem with "gateway" towns big enough to support the level of business MR and HH franchisees are looking for: they're 2 hours away.

In that vein, I'll be staying at the Merced (California) Courtyard this Friday en route to Yosemite. At approximately 2 hours out from Yosemite Valley it's not a hotel I'd recommend for anyone to stay at while visiting the park. It happens to fit my needs on this trip, allowing me to split the driving so I can bed down at a reasonable hour on Friday night instead of driving a canyon road in the dark when I'm tired from a long day. I'll drive the rest of the way into the park Saturday morning, enjoying those beautiful canyon views in the daylight, and stay in the park Saturday night.
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Old Apr 15, 16, 5:48 am
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Originally Posted by darthbimmer View Post
I stayed at the Kalispell Hampton 10 years ago when visiting Glacier. It was a nice enough hotel but I checked out after 1 night because Kalispell was simply too far from the parts of the park I wanted to spend time visiting. That's often the problem with "gateway" towns big enough to support the level of business MR and HH franchisees are looking for: they're 2 hours away.

In that vein, I'll be staying at the Merced (California) Courtyard this Friday en route to Yosemite. At approximately 2 hours out from Yosemite Valley it's not a hotel I'd recommend for anyone to stay at while visiting the park. It happens to fit my needs on this trip, allowing me to split the driving so I can bed down at a reasonable hour on Friday night instead of driving a canyon road in the dark when I'm tired from a long day. I'll drive the rest of the way into the park Saturday morning, enjoying those beautiful canyon views in the daylight, and stay in the park Saturday night.
Merced and Fresno are not true gateway towns for Yosemite. They're simply the closest towns with hotel programs like Hilton and Marriott.

The "true" gateway towns for Yosemite are Oakhurst and Mariposa, but they only have Best Western and Choice in terms of chain hotels (with points programs), like the "true" gateway towns for some many national parks.

Back to Glacier, a "truer" gateway town than Kalispell would be Glacier Falls, but all you'll find there in chain hotels (with points programs) is Super 8, a WyndhamRewards property.

Best Western, Choice, and/or WyndhamRewards are only hotel points programs (if any) that you're likely to find in the smaller "true" gateway towns for many national parks, especially in the West (where the national parks tend to be in remoter areas than some of the ones in the East).
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