Aloft Seoul Gangnam
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Desks Return to Marriott Hotel Rooms?

S ome customers of Marriott International, Incorporated are skeptical at best upon learning of the news that desks return to Marriott hotel rooms in a redesign being heralded as the “modern guest room” — although those desks purportedly have wheels attached to them for portability around the room to allow you to work anywhere in the room wherever you want.

Does that include the toilet? Will the desks on wheels be required to undergo the same scrutiny pertaining to germs as remote controls and telephones found in hotel room bathrooms?

I digress, as usual.

Desks Return to Marriott Hotel Rooms — But What Else Will Be Removed?

Back in May of 2015, FlyerTalk member DL-Don first noticed that the vaunted furniture item were suddenly mysteriously missing from hotel rooms at Marriott hotel properties — and other FlyerTalk members chimed in with their opinions on both sides of the issue of the disappearing desk.

Other travelers began complaining as well, according to this article written by Beth J. Harpaz of the Associated Press, who proclaimed that the desk is back at Marriott hotel properties. “‘What happened to the desk in my hotel room?’ Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel tweeted and blogged in December 2015, subtitling his post, ‘A Call to Arms for my fellow desk-loving Marriott patrons.’ Other travelers shared similar stories, with one tweeting back that when he complained to the hotel about a deskless room, ‘They encouraged me to work in the lobby.’”

Harpaz reported in the aforementioned article that — in addition to other workspaces in the rooms — “the redesign also includes hardwood flooring, benches to place your luggage on, locally inspired decor and various check-in options such as using your cellphone as a key to unlock the door.” The new “modern guest room” design is expected to be included in a total of 108 hotel and resort properties.

However, one item will be noticeably missing from the bathrooms in approximately 75 percent of the newly redesigned hotel rooms: walk-in showers with hand-held sprayers will replace bathtubs — except for rooms in hotel and resort properties located in markets which cater to the leisure traveler and families.

Marriott Not the Only Lodging Company to Omit Desks From Hotel Rooms

A new concept for a hotel brand was unveiled by Hilton Worldwide back in January of this year called Tru by Hilton, which — among other features — has no work desks in guest rooms.

My response was that “I would prefer a work desk in the room — even though I could probably do without one.” The primary use of the desk in a hotel room for me is to work on my laptop computer; with a secondary use being a place to eat if I either bring food into the room or order room service, which is rare for me.

The Reason Why Desks Were Being Eliminated From Hotel Rooms?

Apparently the reason why desks were being eliminated from hotel rooms was because of — you guessed it — money; but not necessarily saving money on the cost of the desks themselves.

“The move away from a guestroom desk lowers the cost to build a property, allowing for smaller guestrooms that still feel spacious. The typical Tru by Hilton room measures 231 square feet for a king-sized bed room, and 285 square feet for a double queen room”, according to this article written by Glenn Haussman for USA TODAY. “This same philosophy drove Red Lion Hotels Corporation to forgo guestroom desks as a standard feature of its year-old Hotel RL brand.”

Because of access to the Internet via Wi-Fi — which is becoming more accessible to guests as more lodging companies such as Hilton Worldwide are offering it as a complimentary featureincluded with the room rate — a static desk with a port to connect to the Internet is supposedly no longer required…

…although I would argue that electrical outlets are still important in order to charge portable electronic devices; but they do not need to be by a physical desk either — at least, in theory.

The generation gap was cited as another reason, as supported by this quote: “Our target guest doesn’t want to sit in the guestroom and work,” Alexandra Jaritz — who is the global head of Tru by Hilton — said in the aforementioned article by Glenn Haussman. “They are working on beds many times, and our research has shown they would prefer to work in a vibrant social space when they need to spread out.”

Healthy Skepticism

With the absence of any reports of first-had experiences and sightings, the news of the desk truly staging a comeback to Marriott hotel rooms was met with a dose of healthy skepticism.

Citing the final paragraph of the article written by Beth J. Harpaz — “The redesign has been completed in more than 10,000 rooms at 25 hotels, including Marriotts in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in Brooklyn, New York, and another 25 hotels are scheduled to have renovations completed by the end of the year” — FlyerTalk member SkiAdcock posted that “Charlotte post-renovation doesn’t have a desk.”

SkiAdcock continued that desks being on wheels “only works if you’ve got a matching chair of the appropriate height. Some of the moving around have moved around to a sofa where the back is farther away or you have to lean forward uncomfortably. FWIW – I don’t have anything against desks that move, as long as you’ve got a desk chair too.”


Well, I suppose if I were given the choice, I would rather have a bathroom equipped with a walk-in shower stall but without a bathtub as opposed to doing without a desk, as I would prefer a work desk in the room — even though I could probably do without one. In addition to the other uses which I already mentioned in this article, sometimes the desk can act as a place with a hard surface to temporarily store items — I carry a soft bag whenever I travel — as opposed to placing any soft items on a bed in case any bed bugs might be lurking, as I impart in this article on how to prevent bed bugs from coming home with you.

I personally do not mind staying in a smaller room — as long as it is comfortable, functional, secure, and delivers value for the money I spend.

Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.


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