Delta Hotels: A Newer Kid on the Marriott Block

Apr 1, 2019

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With the acquisition of Starwood, Marriott now owns 30 brands, so it was inevitable that I would stumble upon one I had never heard of at some point. Such was the case with Delta Hotels. Marriott purchased the Canada-based brand in 2015 and opened its first hotel in the US, near Walt Disney World, shortly thereafter. The brand has since enlarged its footprint to more than 70 locations in the US, Europe and Asia. The wider range of Delta Hotels, and the fact that you can now easily earn 100,000 or more Marriott points with a card sign-up bonus, makes this the right time to dig a bit deeper into the hotel brand.

There is a limited-time, 100,000-point welcome bonus on three different Marriott Bonvoy credit cards. Now through April 24, new applicants to the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (formerly the SPG Luxury Amex) and the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card (formerly the SPG Business Amex) can earn 100,000 Marriott points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. The same offer is available now through May 16 for the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card from Chase.

What Is a Delta Hotel?

Delta’s ranking within the Marriott hotel hierarchy seems to depend on who you ask. Before Marriott acquired the brand, Canadian guests would likely compare Delta properties to a Marriott or Sheraton. Marriott calls Delta an “entry-level full-service” hotel chain. I’ll be honest: I have no idea what “entry-level full-service” is supposed to mean exactly.

Image courtesy of Delta Whistler
Image courtesy of Delta Whistler

While some Delta Hotels look similar to a Marriott with expansive lobbies and a myriad meeting spaces, many others look and function more like a limited-service property. A majority of the US properties are in locations such as office parks or compact downtown buildings. However, there are a few locations that might interest families: Daytona Beach oceanfront; Anaheim, California; and the above-mentioned Disney World-adjacent.

Most US properties appear to be existing hotels converted to the Delta brand as opposed to new-builds, which may account for some of the inconsistency. Instead of worrying about labels, I’ll share my experience and encourage any of you who have stayed at Delta Hotels to share your thoughts in the comments.

The Delta Lake Buena Vista. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)
The Delta Lake Buena Vista. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Delta’s Unique Feature for Elites

Delta Hotels do not offer a free full breakfast for elites like a full-service Marriott property would. They also don’t offer free breakfast to all like a limited-service brand such as Fairfield Inn would. But they do have a perk that far outshines any you would find at Courtyard or Four Points by Sheraton, the hotel chains that Delta felt closest to in my experience: the Elite Pantry.

The Elite Pantry, available 24 hours a day to Platinum elite and higher Marriott Bonvoy members, offers soft drinks, coffee and tea, bottled water; fresh fruit, candies, chips; and breakfast options such as oatmeal, cereal and milk, snack bars and a variety of protein options including yogurt and hard-boiled eggs. In most locations, there’s no seating area, and in some locations it’s literally pantry-sized, but it gives you many of the same benefits of a club lounge. The Elite Pantry offers more than enough options to scrounge up a continental breakfast, afternoon snack or even something to fend off an attack of the midnight munchies.

The Delta Pantry at the Richmond Downtown. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)
The Elite Pantry at the Richmond Downtown. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

My First Delta Stay

My daughter had a request for her 12th birthday: instead of a party she wanted to take a girlfriend to the National Aquarium in Baltimore for the day. Since Baltimore is about 90 minutes away from our home, this visit was tailor-made for a girls’ weekend. I selected the Delta partly because it was December and I had almost made Marriott Titanium for the year but needed another stay, and partly out of sheer curiosity.

The Delta Hotels Baltimore Inner Harbor (Category 5, from 35k points per night) is located about three blocks away from the Inner Harbor where the aquarium is located. About a week before my stay I had visited the Courtyard New York City/Central Park and the two properties felt very similar to me: small lobby, bar/restaurant off to the side, small gym, no pool.

The room was new and clean, but otherwise nothing stood out. However, the Elite Pantry set the experience apart from a Courtyard stay. If you want to see what happiness looks like, tell two 12-year-old girls that they have free rein in a snack cabinet. Instead of heading out to dinner after our aquarium visit, the girls built a fort in the closet and filled it with tasty treats. I was glad I had brought a book because I didn’t see them again except for the occasional foray back to the Elite Pantry for refills.

I think what you call “luxurious” changes once you see things through a kid’s eyes. My daughter’s friend told me the Delta was the nicest hotel she had ever stayed in. I don’t think that’s actually true, but unlimited Reese’s Pieces and trail mix was about as good as life gets in her opinion.

Delta Baltimore. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)
Delta Baltimore. (Photo courtesy of Marriott)

Bottom Line

With the rapid growth it expects, Delta Hotels may be soon be coming to a spot you want to visit. As long as you don’t expect a premium product, it’s worth giving Delta a chance, especially if you are a Bonvoy elite who gets the munchies.

Here are some more Marriott tips:

Featured image of the outdoor pool at Delta Phoenix Mesa courtesy of Marriott 

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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