Marriott has done a great job of establishing Courtyard by Marriott’s place in the travel market. A favorite of business travelers, with a spacious lobby with plenty of seating, including a restaurant and bar, the cozy vibe also is appealing to families. Located off highways and near airports, they’re seemingly everywhere when you’re looking for a place to stay.
While we’d just been incredibly disappointed by the Courtyard hotel near JFK airport, I already had booked another stay at a Courtyard by Marriott hotel. This time, I was looking forward to my visit, as this was supposedly the best hotel in town.
For a long time, the Courtyard by Marriott New Braunfels River Village was the #1 ranked hotel by TripAdvisor, but a recent check shows that it had dropped to #2. While the hotel manages to charge a premium to the other places in the area, we were able to snag a weekly rate because Marriott doesn’t know how many days are in a week. This brought the price down to where we felt OK staying here for 5 nights.
The outside of the hotel looked like a typical Courtyard.
The lobby area is precisely what you’d expect. This consistency is the appeal of the Courtyard brand. To the right of the check-in area was the grab-and-go market.
Nearby was the restaurant/bar area. During the day, this was where the business travelers staying at the hotel worked, when not in their rooms on Zoom calls.
When we checked in, we were given a room on the 3rd floor.
As Platinum Bonvoy members, we got a great view of the parking lot and Tesla charging station.
To be fair, the two Titanium level guests we met got a much better view than us. So at this hotel, that’s the minimum status you need to get a good room.
I could do a whole room breakdown, but it’s exactly what you’d expect from any other Courtyard by Marriott in the US.
Everything was by the standard, even down to the Courtyard Paul Mitchell toiletries.
What could make this hotel the best Courtyard by Marriott? Well, it’s the view.
The back of the hotel overlooks the pool and a large grass lawn.
Just past that lawn is the Guadalupe River.
Even better is that there’s a dock where you can bring your own tubes or paddleboards and float on the river.
River access is free to guests and they have outfitters on site on the weekends to rent whatever gear you need.
If the river isn’t your thing, they have a volleyball court and cornhole games.
We chose to spend our time in the pool, or more accurately, the hot tub.
On the weekends, the hotel staff a trailer on the lawn to sell drinks and food to guests enjoying the property.
We brought the drinks back to the pool area and the hotel staff delivered our food when it was ready.
While we thought we were doing things right, other guests really knew how to do it. They showed up at the pool with a cooler and a Bluetooth speaker. 🙂
While this may seem impolite, they did ask us if we minded if they played some music. Because, Texas. They had decent taste in music and the volume wasn’t too loud to bother hotel guests, so we didn’t mind.
There was also a fireplace on the lawn which I’d guess they light when it gets colder, but it was never lit during our stay.
One interesting thing was that when we arrived on a Tuesday, there were signs all over the hotel warning that it was against Texas law to consume alcohol on property that guests did not purchase at the hotel.
On Wednesday, all of the signs were gone. I’m guessing they were there for the previous weekend, as when we drove past the hotel, there were cars parked on the grass. Apparently, the guests can get a bit rowdy on summer weekends. I’m glad we missed that by a week.
While the Courtyard by Marriott New Braunfels River Village met all of the corporate standards of the brand, it was unlike any Courtyard we’ve ever stayed in. While I don’t think the brand does this hotel justice, I can’t imagine any other Marriott brand where they could put this hotel. If it dropped the business vibe and fully embraced its riverside location, it could fit in the Autograph Collection. If it went more for the quirky Austin vibe, it would make a great Moxy hotel.
For now, it’s the most unique and possibly the best Courtyard by Marriott we’ve ever stayed.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary