|Review: Marriott Accra|
|View all: Reviews • Travel Talk|
For my three-day visit to the capital of Ghana, I chose to stay at the only Marriott property in town, the full-service Marriott Accra. The hotel is located in the heart of Airport City, a new urban development area in the vicinity of Accra’s Kotoka International Airport, and I thought the location made sense for me given my late-night arrival in town.
You might think that chain hotels in West Africa are super cheap, but you’d be mistaken: the Marriott Accra routinely retails for $300–400 a night, which puts it on par with Accra’s two other more centrally-located luxury hotels (the Mövenpick and the Kempinski).
Meanwhile, when redeeming points, the Marriott Accra is only a Category 2 property within Marriott Bonvoy, meaning that a free night is worth 12,500 Bonvoy points. I of course considered that to be a spectacular value, and so dropped 37,500 Bonvoy points on a three-night stay.
Once I stepped off my South African Airways flight and exited the doors of Kotoka International Airport, I was of course hounded by a gaggle of taxi drivers. I told them I didn’t need a taxi but asked if they knew where I could find the Marriott’s airport shuttle bus, and they pointed me in the right direction.
The bus was parked some distance away from the airport, so after walking rather aimlessly for a few hundred meters, I was relieved when the bus driver saw me and asked me if I was going to the Marriott. He showed me to the shuttle bus and asked me to wait just a while in case any other passengers showed up.
Two other passengers eventually hopped onboard, and we made the quick drive over to the Marriott. The hotel’s complimentary airport shuttle is a very valuable feature, in my opinion, and as a first-time visitor to Africa, it was great to be welcomed into the familiar embrace of a Marriott hotel immediately upon landing instead of having to deal with taxi drivers trying to hustle me.
The exterior of the hotel has a stylish tropical look. Because of my nighttime arrival, I took a few pictures of the hotel’s exterior and public areas the next morning.
Entering the building, you find yourself in a spacious multi-storey lobby, with the check-in desks to your right. I was briefly welcomed to the hotel, thanked for being a Titanium member, and informed that I could enjoy daily breakfast in either the restaurant or the Executive Lounge.
Unfortunately, no suite upgrade was offered, but I hadn’t asked beforehand, and also didn’t feel like pressing the matter too much when all I really wanted was a bed to sleep in after a long journey to West Africa.
I took the elevator up to the second floor (here in Ghana, that refers to the floor that’s three storeys above ground level). The hallways here at the Marriott Accra are decorated to reflect our location in the heart of West Africa, drawing upon a vibrant palette of red, tan, and brown.
I was assigned Room 207, a standard king room, for my three-night stay.
Walking into the room, the first thing I noticed was the white linoleum floors, which felt like a major departure from other Marriotts I’ve stayed at, where plush carpets were more commonplace. The room consists of a standard-issue king bed on one side, with the cabinets, desk, and television on the other.
The king bed gave me a few decent nights of sleep, although I’ve definitely had more comfortable beds at other Marriott-branded hotels in the past.
The corner of the room played host to a small armchair, which I didn’t use much throughout my stay.
The countertop spanning the length of the room also acts as a desk, and it was a comfortable place from which to get some work done. There was also a nice and large flatscreen TV here, although I didn’t have much time to watch it.
The large cabinet in the middle of the room features a rather basic pantry…
…as well as a larger closet space. Unfortunately, while I appreciated having a bathrobe, I found it to be a little coarse in texture.
That brings us to the bathroom, which is encased within a rather unorthodox set of frosted glass walls. I’ve seen frosted glass used as a privacy screen in hotel bathrooms, but this was the first time that I saw an entire bathroom wall made out of frosted glass.
The bathroom was mostly fine for my needs, though slightly below the standard that I’d expect from a full-service Marriott.
The simple sink and mirror setup is good enough, but the shower felt like it could use a deep clean at some point, and the water pressure on the shower wasn’t great either.
You’ll also note the scruffs and dirt marks on the floor – I imagine it’s for the better that they chose linoleum for the floors instead of carpets!
Overall, the room was fine for my three days in Accra, as I didn’t end up spending too much time in the room anyway. But it certainly didn’t leave too much of a positive impression on me!
(Of course, there’s also the matter of different standards in different parts of the world. I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by a hotel in Ghana in the first place, which is why I still felt quite satisfied despite the shortcomings.)
Shortly after my arrival, a hotel associate stopped by to deliver a welcome amenity: a bottle of San Pellegrino sparkling water.
I also received some complimentary chocolate truffles on one of the other nights of my stay.
After sleeping like a baby on the first night, I made my way down to breakfast at about 7:30am. I hadn’t noticed this coming in, but the Marriott Accra has a large atrium that spans all floors of the hotels, with elevated catwalks providing access to the guest rooms. I thought it was a very cool design.
Breakfast is served in Red Red, the hotel’s restaurant. This is where the hotel really shines, in my opinion, with an impressive breakfast spread that’s served up by some very friendly staff members.
My favourite thing about the breakfast spread was the Local Corner, where scrumptious Ghanaian delicacies like eggplant stew, spicy beef stew, jollof (a type of spiced rice), and boiled yams are on offer. There’s nothing like a sharp flavour of a spicy African beef stew to perk you up in the morning!
I also loved the fact that you could have whole coconuts for breakfast. A staff member would fix you up a coconut with a straw, allowing you to drink the coconut water and temper the heat from the spicy stews! After that, you could dig into the coconut meat itself.
Of course, there are the usual Western breakfast items as well, like bacon, sausages, frittata, baked beans, pastries, and made-to-order eggs.
The staff at breakfast were so lovely. After finding out that I was here as a tourist, they gave me so many recommendations for what to do during my time in Accra. In fact, since I’d be leaving on Sunday night, and Sunday is “beach day” for everyone in Accra, one of the girls even offered to take me out to the beach after her shift ended on Sunday!
On another note, as I was taking pictures of the breakfast buffet, I was explicitly told that taking pictures was not allowed. This continued when I later took some pictures of the lobby and public spaces – the security guard there instructed me to stop, and when I said that I was reviewing the hotel, he told me I’d need official permission from Marriott to do so. Okay then…
This was probably the first time that my hotel photography was met with explicit forbiddance rather than merely a few sideways glances. Needless to say, I took pictures a lot more surreptitiously during the rest of my time at the hotel.
I also decided to check out the breakfast in the Executive Lounge during one of the mornings, just to see how it compared. The Executive Lounge has a nice ambience, and at some point I came down here to get some work done for a few hours.
Unfortunately, breakfast in the lounge is a lot more limited, with no Ghanaian dishes or coconuts available, and only a few standard Western breakfast foods. If you’re a Marriott Platinum Elite member or above at a Marriott-branded hotel, you’re really only entitled to breakfast in the lounge, so I was grateful that the Marriott Accra went above and beyond by giving elite members the choice of breakfast in the restaurant as well.
The lounge also has a Happy Hour between 5:30pm and 7:30pm, although I was busy exploring Accra and didn’t get to check it out. I imagine it’d be a suitable dinner replacement, though, especially if they served up some of those delicious Ghanaian dishes.
When food isn’t being served, the lounge has a small spread of grab-and-go drinks set up, as well as coffee and tea on hand.
The lounge also has a nice patio, overlooking the hotel pool and the streets outside. Looking at the hotel grounds from above, you definitely feel like the Marriott is a bit of a “gated community”, with the relatively upscale surroundings fenced-off from the more frantic public streets.
I briefly went down to check out the pool, though didn’t take a dip myself. There seemed to be plenty of guests at all times enjoying the Accra sunshine by the pool, and the poolside bar and grill seemed like it would be a nice place to unwind after a long day in the city.
On my last night at the hotel, I paid a visit to the gym for a quick workout. It’s a relatively small space with just the basic equipment, but it got the job done.
I was originally intending to take advantage of late checkout at the hotel prior to my 9pm departure to Istanbul, but my local friend offered to pick me up on Sunday instead, hang out at the beach, and then drive me to the airport. I therefore completed my checkout and bade farewell to the Marriott Accra pretty early in the day.
Compared to other Marriott-branded hotels I’ve stayed at worldwide, the Marriott Accra falls slightly below the standard, as a few parts of my standard king room had a tolerable but noticeable level of uncleanliness to them.
However, I imagine this is still one of the best hotels in Accra, with only the Mövenpick and Kempinski – true luxury hotels rather than a mid-range one like the Marriott, which I might like to try if I ever return to the city – ranking higher, so for that reason I can’t really have any complaints. In addition, the impressive breakfast spread certainly went some way towards leaving me with a more positive impression of the hotel.
Overall, if I had paid $300+/night for this place, I probably would’ve felt much more disappointed – but I paid 37,500 Marriott Bonvoy points for three nights instead, so I ended up actually feeling quite satisfied. If you’re considering a trip to Ghana, I’d say that redeeming your Bonvoy points at the Marriott Accra might be an ideal way to take care of your accommodations.