The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte: Luxe and welcoming

7

Last Friday evening, my wife and I flew into Charlotte where we needed a one night stay.  Our plan was to pick up our rental car the next morning, drive to Charleston for a long weekend, then return to North Carolina for Thanksgiving.  I had an expiring 40K Marriott free night certificate and the Ritz happened to cost exactly 40K points that night.  Deal.  That turned out to be a great choice for this mini transit-cation.

The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte Bottom Line Review

In several ways, the Ritz exceeded my expectations even though as a high level elite (Titanium) I didn’t receive a room upgrade.  Their Guest Experience Expert reached out in advance to see what they could do to enhance our stay, and asked about our preferences for a “welcome treat.”  When we arrived, we were delighted to find that the base level two-queen room was great: comfortable and opulent.  And the cheese platter and wine we found welcoming us in our room were great.  The cheese selection was remarkably delicious.  This made the first night of our trip wonderfully memorable.  The only downside of our brief stay was breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant: we knew it wouldn’t be free, even with my Titanium status (see: Marriott Platinum Elite Free Breakfast Simplified), but we expected great food and service.  In reality, the food was mediocre and the service was abysmally slow despite the restaurant being less than half full.

  • Points Price: Varies.  The Ritz charged 40K points for the night we were there.
  • Cash Price: Varies. I believe that the best refundable rate for the night we visited was around $600 before taxes.
  • Points Value: Excellent.  Once Marriott stops capping free night award prices in 2023, though, I expect that the value will drop because the point price will increase with the cost of the hotel.
  • Resort Fee: None.
  • Parking: $40 daily for valet parking.
  • Turndown service: Yep, with chocolates
  • Housekeeping: Daily
  • Internet: I didn’t use their internet on this short stay.
  • Dining:
    • Breakfast: Meh.  Food was average and service was very slow.  I’d recommend looking elsewhere for breakfast.
    • Lunch / Dinner: We didn’t try it.
  • Pool and Spa: These looked great, but I didn’t try either.
  • Fitness Room: Looked good, but I didn’t try it.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Elite Benefits:
    • Welcome gift:  We received a very nice cheese platter and bottle of wine.  I don’t know what welcome gift, if any, would be offered to those with status below Titanium status, but I suspect that Platinum Elites would receive the same whereas I wouldn’t expect a welcome gift like this to be delivered to Silver or Gold elites.
    • Upgrade: At Ritz-Carlton hotels, Titanium Elite members and higher are technically eligible for suite upgrades while lower level elites are eligible for room upgrades.  Despite my having Titanium Elite status, I didn’t receive any upgrade.
    • Club Lounge: None
    • Free Breakfast:  No.  Ritz-Carlton properties are exempt from Marriott’s elite free breakfast benefit.  See: Marriott Platinum Elite Free Breakfast Simplified.
    • 4PM Late Checkout: I didn’t need or ask for late checkout on this stay.
  • Would I stay again?  Yes, we really enjoyed our stay!

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fantastic Titanium elite welcome gift
  • Base level rooms are beautiful, luxurious, and comfortable
  • Huge and opulent bathroom
  • Phone charging station in-room with multiple different connectors
  • Plenty of free water bottles both in-room and given at check-in
  • Indoor pool looks great

Cons

  • Breakfast was mediocre and service was very slow

Additional Info

Here are the emails I received in advance of our stay…

Good evening, Mr. Davis-Kean:

I hope this email finds you well. As a Guest Experience Expert at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, I will be working closely with you to ensure an absolutely memorable guest experience with us for this stay, and for all future stays at the hotel. I very much look forward to assisting you throughout your time with us.

Do you have an estimated time of arrival?  Are you celebrating any special occasions while in Charlotte?

Please review the below letter that has information regarding changes throughout the hotel. Our Ladies and Gentlemen are delighted to assist you with anything that you may need, both before and during your stay in the Queen City. Dinner reservations are recommended as we are under a reduced capacity for sit down dining in all restaurants in the state of North Carolina. Are there any arrangements, accommodations, or reservations that I may assist you with in order to create a relaxing, productive stay?

Should you wish to purchase an amenity prior to your arrival you can do so at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte (ipoolside.com).

We very much look forward to you and your guests being our guest at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte. In order to ensure that all of your requests are taken care of in a timely manner for your upcoming stay, please reply to all.

Please note:  BLT STEAK is now open for dinner Sunday from 4:00-9:00 pm; Monday-Thursday from 4-10 pm and Friday/Saturday from 4-11 pm.

I replied that we would be arriving late and didn’t need dinner reservations.  Then I received this email:

Good Afternoon, Mr. Davis-Kean

Thank you for your response, I have notated the information provided into your reservation. It would be a pleasure of mine to have a welcome treat delivered. Should I be aware of any dietary restrictions? What beverage could I pair with that? Champagne, waters, soda, wine, beer?

Best,

Joeey Stewart

I replied that wine would be great.  And it was.

Image Gallery

2-Queen Room

View from our room
We found four free bottles of water in our room in addition to the two they gave us at check-in. We tend to drink a lot of water so this was appreciated (but I do prefer hotels that provide water in reusable carafes).
Mini-bar
Welcome gift. Delicious!

Dining

The Ritz’s BLT STEAK restaurant is open daily for breakfast. Despite the fact that the dining room was almost empty when we were there, our food took far too long to arrive.
Eggs Benedict. It was… fine. The plate of fruit in the background was tasteless (the fruit wasn’t yet ripe).  If I return to this hotel, I’ll look for somewhere else to eat breakfast.

Pool, fitness center, and relaxation room

Indoor pool.
Fireplace near indoor pool.
Loungers near indoor pool
Fitness center.
Relaxation room
5 3 votes
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Pam

I was also very impressed with this property, Greg, I think it very much exudes just the right RC vibe.

It’s been 2 yrs now since there, but they used to offer a 24-hr rooftop garden/bee hives tour on Sat. I really enjoyed it & the city views from the top are great.

To the right of the front desk, was a Hidden Wine experience. I don’t remember the cost (or if even still do) but the tasting was phenomenol – well curated.

A quick walk from the hotel is the 7th St public Food Market, is fun & worth a visit. Mert’s Soul Food also close & good for meat n three.

Pam

(Sorry…book the bee tour 24 hours in advance!)

Randy B

Shame the Punch Room closed down. Was a very nice cocktail bar on the 15th floor.

Pam

LOVED it! Celebrated a milestone there & they went all out. Comfortable speakeasy…

Stvr

I’m happy if you’re happy but I’m sort of shocked that you’re totally blasé about the fact that they completely ignore elite benefits with regard to titanium room upgrades… and they don’t even TRY to FAKE it. I know you’re not captured by some Marriott credit card bonus industrial complex but if someone were a conspiracy theorist about such things this would be fuel on the fire.

Pam

They gave us a cheese tower + a 1/2 btl of Tito’s but booked under STARS & upgraded to an Exec Suite. That worked well there but getting what you did for 40k points was also a STEAL & ahows they did what they could as a Plat.