Trip Review: Renaissance Newark Airport (no really, it’s good!)

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I know what you are thinking……a review of an airport hotel?  Yawn.  Next post, please.  However, this is a hotel that is worth reviewing for a couple reasons.  First, it was actually nice – especially for an airport hotel.  Second, it is located next to an airport that lots of us actually use, so it should be pretty relevant to most travelers at one time or another.  Finally, it is a Marriott Category 4 hotel, so that means that all of those MegaBonus certificates that many of us have in our accounts can be used there.

You can count me in the camp of people who were not excited about staying at the Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel when I found out the that Freddie Awards were being held here.  I was disappointed it wouldn’t help in my quest for SPG or Hyatt status, and furthermore it was an airport hotel.  While airport hotels certainly serve their function, they are typically far from exciting destinations.  However, in the interest of simplicity, I was going to stay wherever the awards ceremony was, so airport hotel it was.  I had previously done a status match/challenge with Marriott, so I did have Platinum status with them.  I knew that the hotel had a lounge, so I was happy that I should at least have access to that, but otherwise my expectations were pretty low.

The hotel does have a complimentary shuttle that takes you to/from Newark Airport, but I was running short on time so I just took a cab.  The cab ride ended up being about $23 for about a 7-8 minute ride, so the shuttle was probably the smarter play, but I didn’t have the time to be smart.  😉  Upon arrival to the hotel, the lobby immediately impressed me as being modern, clean, and somehow calming.  Although perhaps it was the fact that I had finally arrived to my destination that was calming. 

Check-in was efficient and I was indeed informed of my access to the club lounge on the top floor.  They acknowledged that I had used a free night certificate for my stay, and there was no problem with that at check-in or check-out.  There is a TV that displays the flight status from Newark right in the lobby, so that is a nice feature given that it is an airport hotel.

There is also a bar/restaurant right off the main lobby that was dimly lit and inviting in a “come hither and have a drink” kind of way.

The room itself was as modern and clean as the lobby.  I really liked the wood floors in the entry hallway.  It felt both homey and luxurious at the same time.

The bed was insanely comfortable, but I was also insanely exhausted, so I’m not sure I would have been able to tell the difference.  Though two weeks later, just looking at this picture makes me want to crawl in and take a nap.

What I liked the most about the bathroom was the use of Aveda products.  It has been a while since I personally stayed in a hotel that had Aveda products.  I do not normally take any unused soaps or shampoos with me when I stay at hotels (though my husband has a lifetime supply of toothpaste courtesy of Hyatt!), but I took every last drop of Aveda home with me.

Another thing I liked about this room was the fair room service prices.  I had been fighting an illness for what seems like forever, and was on the verge of losing my voice after chatting all night the night of the Freddies.  When you are at a happy hour for a couple hundred folks, you have to project pretty loudly just to have a conversation.  Given that I had to present at the Frequent Traveler University that weekend, losing my voice would be less than ideal, so I ordered some hot tea after the festivities that night to try to help.  I was expecting this to be a $20 pot of hot tea, but shockingly even with the delivery fees and such it only came to $8.  Not bad!

There is a gym and a pool on the first floor that I did not use this time, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use the pool on a future stay at this hotel with my family.  It would make for the perfect way to get out some of my toddler’s energy after flying into Newark.


Here is a shot of the lounge on the top floor.  I must say that I am massively jealous that Will Run for Miles was able to see a shot of the space shuttle coming in from the lounge while I was down at the Randy Peterson Executive Summit.  She also did a much better job at reviewing the gym/pool area than I did since, well, she runs.  😉

We have an upcoming reservation at the Sheraton Newark (that is now actually a DoubleTree), but I think we will likely cancel that reservation and switch to this hotel since my old Sheraton reservation now won’t help me with SPG status, and the Renaissance looks much nicer anyway.  I would not hesitate to return to this hotel, nor would I hesitate to recommend it to other traveling families.

Have you stayed at this hotel?  What did you think?

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  1. Funny. I was just at this hotel earlier and I wasn’t too impressed. The bed was nice, but the pillows weren’t very comfortable (and not the ones we requested online). Service wasn’t great – the agent looked like she wanted to finish her paperwork more than checking me in, and we were greeted with a very unfriendly attitude.

    Lobby was nice, I have to admit that.

    • @Adrian, good to know. I had no special requests, so I can’t comment on my experience with that. We had good service while I was there, but of course the hotel knew that there were tons of travel industry folks there. Thanks for sharing your experience! I’m curious to see what my impressions will be when I stay during a time that doesn’t include a massive travel industry awards show. 😉

  2. @phil, I’m not sure, but I will try yelling and report back the success of hearing an echo. Hellllooooooooo, anyone out there?! 😉

  3. I always love Renaissance — good Marriott brand. I’ve stayed in them from Philadelphia to Ho Chi Minh City (literally). I’ve also always received the things requested. I’ve not stayed in the Newark one though, but next time I have a Newark flight, I think I’ll make a point of it… Glad you had a good experience!

  4. The Renaissance had to be better than the SPG meadowlands and there were a whole bunch of travel people there too at FTU. That didn’t stop the Sheraton from their impressive show of poor service, from no shuttle service to the double billing of my room. The word consistent comes to mind with Marriott brands. Sometimes consistency is nice!

  5. Stayed there just last month and I am in agreement with your assesment. We had a 6AM flight so we weren’t there very long, but enjoyed the stay. The restaurant was very busy that night but the meal was very good. Nothing over the top but good none the less….

  6. @CU, I have stayed in a few Renaissance hotels, but I’ll have to keep it on the list in other cities too!
    @DJ, it was better than most I have stayed at.
    @Jim L, I will not be reviewing the Meadowlands since it isn’t somewhere I would really recommend. It wasn’t horrible, but it was certainly not my favorite. Consistency (in a good way) is a positive!
    @Jethro, glad to hear you had a good experience as well.

  7. Thank you so much for the mention.

    I agree that it was a nice hotel, and that the staff was welcoming and helpful. One thing – I thought that the breakfast food at the club lounge – particularly the eggs – tasted funny.

    I used the shuttle – it was reliable and good.

    I did not have a chance to use the pool, but it is always nice when a hotel has an indoor pool. This one looked large and well kept. a definite plus. The gym equipment was ok – I went on the treadmill and ran about a mile and did not fall off. Another plus.

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