'Explorer Passes' Aren't Worth It at The Marriott New York Brooklyn Bridge
October 27, 2009 at 5:19 PM
Marriot Hotels have been very good lately about alerting us hotel guests to their newest hotel deals and packages via Facebook, Twitter and even the individual Marriott hotels' websites. However, just because Marriott advertises it as a deal doesn't necessarily mean it's a good one. The other week we expressed some disappointment with a New Orleans package which, based on its marketing and pricing, made less than zero sense.
Now it's the Explore Your New York package deal from the New York Marriott At The Brooklyn Bridge. Room rates range from $274-$524 per room, per night, plus tax. The ostensible bonus is that rooms come bundled with two Explorer Passes that have three discount coupons for 40 different shops, tours, or attractions. Breakfast for two is also thrown in.
We'll get into the mechanics of this non-deal after the jump, but before we highlight the specifics: there's no way this is ever going to be a deal. The rules never change. Deeply discounted resorts and cruises are sometimes bargains because you're purchasing a unique experience. Not so much hotels in major cities, which are functionally interchangeable. Tourist coupon books are worse than useless, locking you into events for which you'd be better off picking and choosing deals.
So, Marriott is quoting $274-$524 per room on this offer. Hotwire is currently showing weekend November prices for 4-star hotels as $194 in SoHo, $225 in Midtown, and $235 in Times Square. To even get close to savings, the Marriott would have to be offering those 40% coupons for items and tours worth hundreds of dollars.
But this gets us into the other letdown of the Explorer Passes: 40 percent off is 40 percent off the full price, which is insane if you're planning a New York getaway. This is a city with discount museum tickets, discount theater tickets, discount tours, etc. Now obviously you won't always get exactly what you want. But the goal of a vacation is to see, touch, smell, hear, and taste as much as you can for what you've budgeted. Locking yourself into certain options because you've already paid for the "discounts" is exactly the opposite of what you want to do.
This is the second week in a row we've caught Marriott pushing a deal that's not only a non-deal but also limiting tourists' genuine options. Let's hope there are better deals on the horizon soon.
[Photo: Marriott New York At The Brooklyn Bridge]