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Why We Just Can’t Quit the Marriott Swan Reserve

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Marriott Swan Reserve

Marriott Swan Reserve

In our experience, the Marriott Swan Reserve has been a bit of a head-scratcher.  Our first stay there was peppered with disappointments.  Primarily due to one property trait (more on that below), I’ve stayed at there a few more times since, both solo and with my family.  On these stays, the positives more than balanced out any negatives.  In the process – who’d have thunk it – we now consider the Swan Reserve more highly than we ever have.  Today, I’m getting into why we’ll keep returning.

Location

I’ve talked about this before, but I’ll underscore it again.  The Swan Reserve’s most stellar attribute is its location.  The property is within convenient walking distance to EPCOT and Hollywood Studios.  This trait is even more important to us now as our little ones have grown – EPCOT is my family’s current-favorite WDW park, and Hollywood Studios isn’t far behind.  And they still love the boat transportation between the two parks and the Swan complex.

Marriott Swan Reserve

Service

I never thought I’d say this, but the Swan Reserve’s service has steadily improved since our first visit.  The front desk now has its sea (or lake) legs.  Check-in is efficient and welcoming.  Agents have thanked us for returning, and some recognize us from previous visits (or at least pretend they do).  Regardless, they seem to appreciate our business, even on award stays.  During short stays, I’ve been upgraded twice from the base two-queen room type to a Signature Suite on a few occasions.

Housekeeping and room service is spot-on.  Remarkably, we’ve had the same worker deliver our Platinum elite breakfast on each stay, bright and on time at 6 am.  He offers just the right amount of hushed hospitality for the bleary-eyed: a quiet good morning and subsequent whispering through the itemized order.  On our last morning, he simply said, “it was good seeing you again.”  I took his warmth at face value.

Memories Along the Way

During these mundane-by-appearance stays, something else has set in – a burgeoning family travel tradition.  My kids feel at home here, and perhaps related, so do the wife and I.  Sure, this could happen anywhere we visit more than once, but we’re feeling it more at the Swan Reserve here and now.  Our family recalls unique memories from past visits and creates new ones on the current stay.  It also comes down to some everyday elements:  the smell of the place, perfectly timing the Uber Eats and DoorDash handoffs, returning from the parks for a pre-fireworks grotto pool visit.  Of course, this is nothing that the hotel is doing – it’s more the built-in rhythm we’ve established with repeated stays.  And it’s steadily working on us.

Marriott Swan Reserve

Marriott Swan Reserve – Conclusion

It’s not all pretty.  Swan Reserve award rates are much higher now, routinely in the mid-70k range per night.  We’ve been lucky to find mid-50k rates with a bit of flexibility and will keep considering the property when it’s in the sub-65k area where we can continue topping off 50k certs with points.  Perhaps even those days are numbered, but we’ll keep enjoying the Swan Reserve until we’re priced out.  As much as we like the hotel, I don’t see us ever redeeming here in the 70k+ nightly range; we’d rather be at a Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, or JW Marriott at those rates.

Stepping back, our changing attitude toward the Swan Reserve reminds me to stay open-minded.  Sometimes, it’s worth giving things a second chance, travel-related and otherwise.

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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