A follow on to my Marriott Crystal Gateway hotel review. Stayed at the Crystal Gateway last week for 4 days. It was my first stay there in about 3 or 4 years. The last time I stayed there the Concierge Lounge on the top floor (or one of the top floors). Now they have converted to an M Lounge on the lobby level.
The lounge has 24/7 access for coffee, sodas, snacks, etc. Breakfast is from 6:00-10:00 seven days and hor d'oeuvres are from 5:30-7:30 Sunday - Thursday. I was not happy to find the lounge did not have bottled water, only a dispenser for filtered or sparkling water. There were no bottles to pour some to take to the room, only chilled glasses. (Boo Marriott). Housekeeping did leave me one bottle per day in my room. Nice but not enough. The M Lounge was large and never seemed over-crowded. Breakfast is handled in a unique way. The lounge shares the buffet with the restaurant next door. Once you enter the lounge, you go through an automatic sliding door to get to the buffet area. To return, you either have to use your keycard to re-enter the lounge, or hope someone is coming from the lounge at the same time.
Mr. Cecil Exum, who has been written about in these blogs and the Washington Post, was on station making fresh waffles and omelets. I had omelets twice, and they were excellent. Not only does he get the meat and veggie ingredients nicely warmed before adding the egg mixture, the omelets are cooked with no hint of runny eggs and sporting a nice light brown surface. Yumm! The buffet portion was also excellent, oat meal and grits with many toppings to add. If you did not want the omelet, there were the usual scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes. The fresh fruit area lived up to the competition with fresh strawberries, blackberries, pineapple, and various types of melon. Bagels, bread, and other pastries were also there. You could get yogurt, apples, oranges, and bananas on both sides.
Evening fare was served on the M Lounge side. The offerings were also outstanding. Two nights I went in for a small bite, one night had nice size salmon steaks on cedar planks and the other night had teriyaki meat balls on a skewer. There were also meats and cheeses, accompanied by various crackers and bread. Individual bowls of hummus with pita sections were also served. Sweets included brownies, cookies, and one night creme brûlée. Beer and wine available for a fee, with an attendant serving. Wine ranged from $8 - $16 per glass.
Other than the lack of bottled water, one of the best lounges I have been to.