It’s always funny staying at a Sheraton overseas compared to staying at one in the US. There are the similarities that are the definition of hotel branding and loyalty yet then totally different elements that continue to blow me away. Sure their signature plaid, bedding, toiletries or status gifts are what they are no matter where you are. The rest though, such as gyms, clubs, service, decor is up for grabs and leaves you guessing more often than not on what to really expect. Case in point: the Sheraton Warsaw Hotel.
Challenging myself to travel within my preferred programs and working within a capped travel stipend for my speaking engagement at CoworkingNOW 2018 at 04 Coworking in Gdansk, I needed a one night stay in Warsaw on my way to Gdansk (by train). Immediately I determined that transferring Marriott Rewards points to SPG was the way to play this booking. Taking into consideration the 3:1 ratio, the Marriott properties in Warsaw were more expensive (starting at 30k points in the city or 17.5k points for out by the airport) than redeeming at Sheraton. While I usually earn on SPG and burn on Marriott domestic, overseas I’ve discovered is the wild wild west.
Booking a standard room (cheapest available) on a cash & points reservation for a total of 3500 star points + $55.00 USD, I figured my SPG Platinum status would easily score me an upgrade in addition to guaranteed access to the Sheraton Club. Though I could have scored this suite had I not desired an early check in, I was grateful for whatever they gave me; which was still a legit upgrade. Why? Well, when you’re getting off a crap, eight hours in coach (ORD-BRU) and another two hours (BRU-WAW) with a layover panic attack due to lost meds on an already tighter than comfortable connection, whatever was available thanks to the Your24 program was more than fine.
Recently renovated and upgraded with advanced A/V features (including speakers in the bathroom), a shower gave me life and helped me reset and dive into work before drinks with a colleague. The room and the plethora of outlets and USB ports is an example of how different Sheraton experiences can be; compared to old, drab and dreary properties I (reluctantly) frequent when I’m stateside and the one paying for the expense, not a client.
Speaking of work and drinks…hello Sheraton Club! By far the biggest benefit to the stay overall and the main reason why I knew this property was the best fit for my needs. The Sheraton Club experience in the US is pretty bad: breakfast is the standard fake scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, salsa, yogurt, maybe fruit (if the platter hasn’t been wiped out. It’s no better than what you can expect at a Fairfield Inn or Hampton Inn (plus those guys have waffles!). In the evening you’re lucky if any beer/wine is complimentary and if you aren’t early you’re going to miss out on the sub par wings and crudete – sorry…I said it. We’re all thinking it.
Well, the Sheraton Club in Warsaw is the polar opposite. Red/White wine is available at all times (heck, there was bubbly for mimosas in the AM!). Breakfast included egg and meat staples but also had a beautiful array of meat, smoked fish, cheese, fruit, yogurt, cereals and breads that any European breakfast expert would enjoy. The coffee machine was on point and the water dispenser was perfect (Hot OR Cold?! Flat or Sparkling?!)
Throughout the day the canapés were fresh and in the evening there’s a full bar and plenty of heavy hors devours to make a meal out of. As an SPG platinum member I received top tier internet gratis, though if you aren’t HOLY COW. The speeds were always great and the club for the most of the day saw activity, but was never too full. With tables, couches, clustered furniture and a full blow board room I was happy to call it my own coworking space for the time being.
The gym is also a fantastic amenity at this property. While it really isn’t staffed (at all), it appears there are local members present more so than guests, but there were plenty of new machines and the hot and dry sauna helped extract some of the prior evening’s wodka – Sheraton Warsaw Hotel just so happens to have some top notch LGBT nightlife within a short walk that I couldn’t pass up. 🙂
Overall, the time spent at the Sheraton Warsaw Hotel was short but incredibly pleasant. While March certainly isn’t peak season for visiting Warsaw, the redemption rate was a perfect match for my purposes. I highly encourage and recommend staying at this property over others that are now in the combined Marriott/SPG family.