GREAT NEWS: Marriott Is Bringing Back Desks!

Filed Under: Hotels, Marriott

In December I wrote about the disturbing trend at Marriott hotels, where they were removing desks from guest rooms, instead replacing them with side tables.



Apparently they felt desks were unnecessary in the age of laptops and smartphones, and that eliminating them fit into the overall theme of minimalist decor that they’re going for. As laptops continue to get more popular I’d think desks would be more important, and not less important. But maybe that’s just me…

Sure, not everyone is going to work from their hotel room for hours on end, but that has never been the case. But they suggested the reason for the change was millennials, which seems ridiculous to me. For that matter I think hotels have their perception of millennials all wrong. On one hand they love to market how they understand that millennials care about being individuals and don’t want to be stereotyped. Then hotels make broad changes like suggesting that those millennials don’t work from rooms.

Anyway, there’s some good news on the desk front. Desks are once again part of Marriott’s new room concept going forward. Per Yahoo:

Marriott is redesigning its hotel rooms, and desks with chairs are once again a standard feature.

The desks in what Marriott is calling its “modern guest rooms” are on wheels so you can move them around the room to work where you want.

I’m not sure what to make of these desks on wheels (which suggests to me that they’re not actually “proper” desks, but just moving tables), though it’s certainly better than having no workspace.

It’s also interesting to note that Marriott will be eliminating tubs at roughly 75% of their properties going forward as part of their “modern guest rooms:”

Tubs are disappearing, too. Bathrooms will have only walk-in showers with hand-held sprayers in roughly 75 percent of the new hotel rooms, except for hotels in leisure/family markets.

That’s another idea I can get behind. I’d much rather use a walk-in shower than a shower/tub combo. Besides, aside from resorts or luxury hotels it’s rare to actually find a tub that one would want to soak in (and that’s not even taking into account potential cleanliness issues).


Bottom line

It’s nice to see Marriott change course on this. These new “modern guest rooms” won’t appear everywhere overnight, but rather as hotels undergo renovations they’ll get these new designs. The above concepts apply to Marriott flagged properties, and not their other brands.

What do you make of Marriott bringing back desks and eliminating tubs?

  1. +1 for Desk on wheels. THAT is a millennial-approved idea
    totally agree on the tubs… Unless it’s a PH/RC/SR/etc., I don’t even consider using it

  2. Shower/tub combo with a plastic curtain is one of the most disgusting things you can find in a hotel. Who in their sanity will give a bath on a baby on those tubs?

  3. I wonder how much severance pay the manager who made the original decision got on his way out the door. And BTW I’ve never heard “Millennials” call themselves that. The last “Millennial” I spoke with called herself a “Belieber.”

  4. i don’t see how this is a big deal. i primarily use hotel desks to spread out my stuff. most millennials would be accessing the internet via smartphone or tablet, while road warriors are already at the client site the whole day so the last thing they need is hours and hours in front of another desk doing work back in the hotel.

    is it nice to have a desk ? sure why not. but is it a deal breaker ? hardly.

  5. Desks? What’s next bring back rotary phones? How about extra phone lines so we can plug in our modems to connect to AOL?

    They were on the right track in the first place.

    I hate shower tubs also, too much space, more slipping hazards etc.

  6. Good! The “millennial” excuse always felt like exactly that—an excuse to get rid of an extra cost.

    It irks me, as someone who falls into the millennial age bucket. People in my generation, just like every other generation ever, are not uniform in their preferences. Also, the type of millennials who are staying in Marriotts a lot are often staying there because of their work, where a desk is hugely important. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill frivolous millennials that the media tells us exist in spades.

  7. A shower only is my preference. I haven’t taken a bath since I was maybe four years old. Not to mention the fact that sitting in your own tepid filth and possibly the filth of previous guests makes my skin crawl. BTW, the “moving desks” have been put in Marriott properties for a year now. I stayed at a brand new Fairfield Inn near Pittsburgh Airport last year and there was a slightly curved table with wheels on it in the room. It works great for meals and laptops/work.

  8. I’m good with shower only but my wife likes tubs.

    Desks are good. Don’t care about wheels, except on desk chair where they should be. I always bring my own extension cord and power strip but curious how Marriott will provide power for the movable desk.

  9. As a new father who recently stayed in a Protea hotel without a tub, it was a lot harder to bathe the baby in the hotel-provided infant tub than it would have been to do it in a tub. Without babies though I think getting rid of tubs makes a lot of sense.

  10. I agree rooms should have a desk or a decently large table to work on with a comfortable chair.

    Stand alone showers should be the norm and should have a glass door. One should have to ask for a room with a tub. Agree with the majority here that the tub/shower is awful and the shower curtain is even worse.

  11. Desk on wheels is good. Marriott has used within several brands. I typically pull the desk out a couple of inches to improve the view to the TV which is often on the same wall. It also allows a hutch type shelf affixed above the desk without sacrificing space. I use the shelf to place electronics while charging and storing small stuff (keys etc)

  12. I like the rolling desk idea. At the Fairmont I regularly stay, the big desk is facing the window and the TV is behind me. I need a way to eat in front of the TV!
    The rolling desk will allow people to adapt to the numerous room configurations.

  13. After a stay at the super-minimalist 5th ave. Andaz, I say give us SOME kind of surface. Damn that place is spare.

    Prefer the option of a tub, but can live without it.

    HERE’S the issue we all need to rally around: “Bring back the top sheet!” After spending the last week in a Park Hyatt (Vienna) and 2 Sheratons (Salzberg and Franfurt) I can’t wait to get home where there are actual layers on my bed. It’s nearly impossible to get a comfortable temperature when your only choices are nothing at all or a giant heavy comforter.
    I’ve noticed this trend over several years, but I’m really tired of it. BRING BACK TOP SHEETS! Please.

  14. Handheld sprayers? W.T.F. Why not rainforest shower heads like other hotels, including Westin? I’m curious to know how Marriott’s product and its design guidelines will change Starwood. This also includes any changes in the toiletries, bedding and so forth. I imagine Starwood has oodles of toiletries in warehouses right now, but maybe they’ll switch to Marriott’s products soon. I don’t care for the Sheraton and Westin toiletries at all.

  15. @mbh top sheets are rare outside North America

    +1 on desks… I make extensive use of desks when traveling as I work long hours.

    -1 on removing the tubs, though I agree a shower is better than a tub with no depth. But a proper soaking tub is a nice luxury to have on uncomfortably warm travel days.

  16. I often wonder if some of these new hotel room designers have a) ever worked for a living, b) have ever stayed in a hotel room.

    No desk = I go to a different property. Non-negotiable. I’m on the road ~250-300 nights a year. Not all clients are cordial. Some are quite adversarial, like the guy who pulled a gun on me last year when I was just enforcing the agreement he signed 3 days earlier. I don’t think I’d be asking him if I could work in his office.

    While I have spent days working with a flight/road case as a desk and another one as a chair, it’s not ideal. Even less ideal when it’s in an un-ventilated airline hangar in the middle of Florida in the summer. So yes, the hotel room desk is my office. No, I’m NOT going to be working in the hotel lobby, as the case data needs to remain private.

    I’d prefer a separate soaking tub with separate stall shower. Second to that would be a NICE stall shower. Either way, I don’t want a sh*tty, wimpy “rainforest” showerhead on there — I want a good ‘ol fashioned, rip-your-skin-off Speakman or equivalent.

    …and… absolutely NO peek-a-boo bathrooms or stupid bathroom doors which don’t properly close! I don’t want to see my co-worker’s hairy, saggy ass at 6am, nor do I care to see him taking a dump…and I definitely don’t want to smell him taking a dump like some of those door-less bathrooms are!

  17. That’s why I don’t and won’t stay at a Marriott property anymore. No desk, no tub, no stay. Simple as that.
    Marriott used to be a top-rated brand. They’re (now) on my list as the LCC’s are. Avoid them like the plague.
    Any company stooping to such “service/amenity levels” to “cater” to one traveler group will never see a dime, let alone a penny from me – EVER.
    Why Marriott & every other company/restaurant stooping to such levels to reach “one type” of traveler/customer is ridiculous.

  18. @JH: I fear it’s not any better with the other chains either.

    I just stayed at a newly-renovated Hampton Inn, as in I was the first occupant in the room since the remodel and the 1st floor was an active disaster/remodeling zone. Nothing with drawers in it to be found, bed end tables were floating off the wall. Tons of USB ports on them but nowhere to put anything. It did have a desk but no functional desk chair, and the desk was right next to the rattle-trap wall AC so you’d freeze your arse off if you tried to work at it. Additionally, it had a sliding barn door for the bathroom which wouldn’t stay shut and had a gap big enough to let your roommates’ bathroom noises & odors permeate the room. No es bueno.

    My go-to domestically are the Residence Inns. Terrible earn rate for MR points, but I get a full kitchen & proper desk, along with a dining room table which I can use as an additional desk.

  19. Japanese travelers will want tubs. Many Japanese friends are put out when there’s no tub. I wonder if people from other cultures would agree.

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