Last year, following the merger with Starwood Hotels, Marriott rebranded its Experience Marketplace to “Marriott Moments.” Marriott Rewards Moments are unique experiences that include tickets to events (concerts, performances, sports, etc.), opted stays, master classes, art festivals and more. Moments can be purchased by Marriott Rewards members using points earned through hotel stays, credit cards and other promotions.
My first Moments redemption cost 35,000 Marriott Rewards and provided seats for myself and a friend at the London edition of Renaissance Hotels’ Navigator’s Table dinner series. Each installment of the dinner series took place at a different hotel, in a different city, with its own unique theme. In London, myself and a friend joined four other Marriott Rewards members (plus their guests) for an evening of cocktails, live musical performances, a 5-star dinner from a Michelin-starred chef and a great night’s sleep at St. Pancras Renaissance, one of the city’s finest hotels.
The Navigator’s Table at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London
After a cocktail hour, we made our way into The Royal Suite, venue for our dinner party. The suite is typically accessible only via steps, but the hotel rented and installed a temporary ramp (it must have been 20-feet long!) to accommodate me.
There, we were greeted by our hosts for the evening, Tom Sellers, the Michelin-starred chef from Restaurant Story who had crafted our meal, and Kimmy Beatbox, a talented musical artist and beatboxer who performed for us that evening.
After a brief welcome, our first course was served. Each table setting was personalized with the Marriott Rewards member’s initials, a nice touch. Between each course of the meal, we were treated to a different musical performance (which I’ll get to in just a bit).
The meal was delicious, but I unfortunately only took photographs of two courses, pictured below. The last course, dessert, was incredible in both presentation and taste.
We were treated to a selection of wines throughout the meal, which paired perfectly with each course. But, since one of my favorite champagnes, Veuve Clicquot, was on offer, that is what I drank the most of.
In reflecting on the entirety of the meal, I was impressed with Sellers’ contribution and even more impressed with the hotel’s execution. The meal was an important part of what proved to be a truly memorable evening.
The event was billed as “Music through Food,” but I felt that the musical performances warranted calling it “Food through Music.” No offense to Mr. Sellers, who produced a fantastic menu, but the diversity of sound on offer was incredibly appetizing and really stole the show.
Three artists joined us for the evening — Kimmy Beatbox, a beatboxer who is really starting to make a name for herself in the U.K., as well as an opera singer and a DJ.
After our first course, we were ushered into the bathroom of the Royal Suite for an experience I could never have imagined. In something that seemed straight out of the movies, we watched and listened as an Opera singer performed from the bathtub. The acoustics in the marble bathroom were outstanding, making for one of the most memorable performances I have yet witnessed. I unfortunately did not catch the performer’s name… if you recognize her, please share!
Kimmy and the vocalist teamed up later in the evening for an impressive opera + beatbox composition, which we were told was orchestrated on the fly.
An Evening of Conversation
As great as the cocktails, food and music were, the true highlights of the evening were found in conversation with rewards members like me, hotel staff and our hosts/performers.
The soft-lit room provided a comfortable atmosphere and made it easy to converse with the strangers all around us. The experience was indicative of many I have had at hotels around the world – strangers coming together in the bar or club lounge, enjoying food, drink and conversation, and leaving as friends.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to the hotel’s general manager, who I learned had previously managed one of my all-time favorite Marriott hotels in Paris. She was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the hotel in a Facebook Live streamed from the Navigator’s Table.
Historically the life of the party or “class clown,” I picked up one of the musical instruments placed omg the table as decoration. I gave up playing music after 3rd grade and the recorder, so had never played a brass horn. Needless to say, the output was minimal and the sound horrible. Tank God I never signed-up for band class!
Video of the Experience
Marriott was just as excited about this event as I was, and they wanted to document it with photos and video. We each signed photo releases, and I wondered what would come of it. The answer is this incredible video which captured the evening perfectly.
I cherish my travel loyalty and rewards points, because they can be used to gain experiences I might not otherwise be able to afford. My favorite Marriott Rewards redemption has always been a 7-night stay at the Paris Marriott Champs-Elysees, which overlapped (purposely) the final stage of the 2015 Tour de France. It cost a boatload of points, but gave me nearly € 7,000 in value.
If 35,000 points had bought only a seat at the Navigator’s Table, I would have been satisfied. But, in addition to this incredible experience, I also received a complimentary night at the hotel and a suite upgrade. Since a free night in a standard room normally requires 45,000 points, this was truly a steal. And, perhaps that is the point of Marriott Moments, to wow members with jaw-dropping experiences and thereby foster future loyalty. If that was the goal – it worked, as I have no plans to end my relationship with Marriott Hotels.
To the entire team at the St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London and especially to Anne, the wonderful general manager, Thank You for making this experience accessible to me. I left with a memory that will last long into the future.
Do you collect rewards points for hotel stays?
What is your most memorable redemption of rewards points?
Let me know in the comments below!