I’ve just spent a few days in Yerevan, and spent two of those nights staying at the Marriott Yerevan. This is supposedly one of the best hotels in the city, if not the best (the Kardashians stayed here when they visited in 2015, and there’s no one who appreciates classy and understated elegance more than they do). The hotel is painfully outdated, so I’m thrilled that Starwood is opening a Luxury Collection hotel in the city in a few months.
Not only is the hotel outdated, but I had some issues with how they cleaned rooms — my balcony had an ashtray with cigarettes in it, most of the toiletries were clearly recycled (as the shampoo, conditioner, vanity kit, etc., were all half full), and I had a mixed experience with the staff (some were extremely friendly, some not so much).
I’ll save all of that for the review, but in this post I wanted to talk about the executive lounge at this hotel, which is one of the strangest club lounges I’ve ever visited. There’s obviously a huge variance in the quality of club lounges around the world, and the US has among the worse ones out there. Outside the US some are okay and some are amazing. Lounges have all kinds of different service concepts, ranging from a few food presentations per day, to an all day menu off of which you can order things.
But there’s something about the Marriott Yerevan executive lounge that’s especially strange. For one, it’s located at the back of the hotel’s Italian restaurant. When I arrived at the hotel I was told the lounge was on the second floor, and I must have spent a good 10 minutes searching the second floor before asking, because I felt so dumb for not being able to find the lounge.
“Sorry, I feel dumb for asking this, but where on the second floor is the executive lounge?”
“Oh, the lounge is in the Italian restaurant. Just walk inside, turn right, and walk to the very back.”
“It’s in the restaurant?”
Sure enough, it’s a room in the back of the hotel’s Italian restaurant. I’m not sure what’s stranger — that the club lounge is in the back of a hotel’s restaurant, that I didn’t once see a single guest in the Italian restaurant, or that I didn’t once see another guest in the club lounge.
I would be worried that the food they put out was going to waste, but it was clear that this was being used as an employee break room when I wasn’t there. Every time I arrived several servers darted up from sitting there. It basically being an employee break room might sound like a bad thing, but at least they were eating the food, so I felt like it wasn’t totally going to waste.
There is one major advantage to a hotel’s club lounge being in the back of a restaurant — they serve you food from that restaurant. There was a small buffet with snack options, though I was also asked if I wanted some chicken or pizza from the restaurant.
“Sure, I’ll take some pizza.”
“How much do you want?”
“Just a small one, please.”
And then 15 minutes later I was brought a pizza.
So yeah, this has to be one of the more unusual club lounges I’ve been to. I’ve never been to a deserted club lounge in the back of a deserted Italian restaurant before.
And before someone says it, I realize Yerevan is a great food city (I love Armenian food), so the reason I visited the club lounge so often was because I prefer to work from outside my hotel room, so I avoid the temptation to nap.