Marriott Executive Apartments, Longin Center, Prague
Commission: 10 percent
Representatives from Hungary and the Czech Republic recently to promoted tourism to their countries at an event held in Los Angeles last month. Hoteliers, tourism board representatives and meeting planners made presentations to travel agents on a range of subjects. One of the primary goals was to highlight these countries as a destination for MICE and group travel.
Hungarian National Tourist Office
While designed for expat business travelers, guestrooms are great for families as well.
When I told friends that my family and I were going to Europe this summer, nearly everyone mentioned the weakness of the dollar to the euro. And, for good reason — the dollar’s decline is a significant factor in planning a trip. Fortunately, on our stay in Prague, we discovered Marriott Executive Apartments (MEA), an "upscale serviced apartment" brand that is available in 13 countries, with more hotels on the way.
The brand is actually designed as long-term lodging for executive expatriates that are in a foreign country for business. As we discovered, however, the apartments are also great for families. Apartments feature a full kitchen, a spacious living room, a fold-out sofa, a large bathroom, free on-site laundry, a DVD player (just remind your clients that European DVDs use a different format), high-speed Internet (for a fee) and more. Our apartment at the MEA Longin Center, Prague, also featured a terrace with views of Prague Castle, daily breakfast, grocery delivery service and a 24-hour fitness center.
Although we were only there for a brief stay post-tour, it had a homey quality that the kids loved, and with rack rates that run $112-$345, it’s a value compared to a similar suite in a standard hotel.
The MEA Longin Center also impressed us with its central location that’s within walking distance of many of the city’s sights, including Wenceslas Square and Prague’s Old Town. It’s also just a couple of blocks from a metro stop, and there are grocery stores close by as well.
Next door is the Dallmayr Kaffee, serving "traditional Czech cuisine as well as light meals," although families should take advantage of the hotel’s continental breakfast, which, while not elaborate, is sufficient.
It’s important to remind clients that the MEA Longin Center is not a five-star hotel. It only has 53 units, and, at times, it felt like the staff may have been spread thin. There was no bell staff, and getting all the bags from our taxi through the hotel’s security door was a challenge. Also, when I needed a power converter, there was nobody at the front desk to help me for at least 15 minutes. In addition, agents should be advised that the front of the hotel has several stairs and no handicapped ramp that I could see, so clients in wheelchairs or with strollers should be forewarned.
MEA currently has hotels in Hungary, the Czech Republic, India, Japan, Belgium, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, China, U.K., Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea and Kazakhstan. More properties are currently planned for Bahrain, Qatar, Thailand, Egypt, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Agents can book MEA the same way they book other Marriott properties and all commissions and Marriott Rewards apply as well.