Between the holidays, myself and a lady friend of mine arranged a "getaway weekend," making reservations online at the Marriott website for the West Des Moines Marriott.
We arrived on Friday night, and the first thing we noticed was that the front door said that this was a non-smoking facility even though we had reserved a king smoking room. We found out that that we could smoke in our room and outside the hotel, but not in the restraunt, lobby, or lounge. For non-smokers, this is ideal, and I would recommend it to them, but I would have wished that the description of the hotel on Marriott's website had indicated as much.
The interior of the hotel (we could see the lobby, restraunt, and lounge) was VERY attractivly done, and if I hadn't been a smoker, I think I would have enjoyed my stay there. The front desk people understood our objections, and were very helpful--cancelling our reservation without penalty and contacting the downtown Marriott to see if rooms were available there. We were able to make similar reservations and went down to the heart of Des Moines to check in.
The staff at the Downtown Marriott were efficient, pleasant, and helpful. We availed ourselves of their valet parking ($12/day with unlimited in/out) and were given a room on the 30th floor with a very nice view of the city lights.
The room, staff, and service was first-rate. The only minor complaint that we had was that room service seemed to be understaffed. For the weekend there was only one room-service person to handle the entire hotel. I don't know if that was because of cost-cutting or illness, but I found it unusual to always get an answering machine when calling room service. However, when they called back, the service was consistently prompt, courteous, and efficient. At one point they must have been really swamped, because the head of security ended up bringing up order.
All in all I was VERY satisfied with our stay there, and would recommend it. Although it seemed to be designed for the business traveler (data ports, a large workspace, etc.) it was quite suitable for a pleasure stay also.
While there, we also visited Marriott's Rennaisance Savery hotel, a few blocks away. This is a restored and refurbished hotel built, I believe, around 90 years ago. Although we did not stay there, we had dinner and caught a jazz trio in there lounge. The food was good, the service prompt, and the music was fine.
I think that the next time we stay, we'll choose the Savery, just out of curiosity. It is tastefully decorated in the public areas and they have what they call "historic suites" that sound interesting.
If we can't get in at the Savery, we'll gladly return to the Downtown Marriott.