Marriott Family of hotels

Jul 13th, 2009, 01:46 PM
  #1  
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Marriott Family of hotels

I am STILL planning the itinerary for a family vacation beginning next week. I used a bunch of Membership Reward points (am Ex) to buy gift cards for Marriott so would like to stay at a Marriott family hotel as much as possible. The cards are pretty neat you trade in your MR points and they send you $20-$100 gift cards. Just make Marriott (or Radison) reservations and when it is time to check out you use the gift card. Still get marriott points that way... That makes me happy.

Here is our propsed itinerary: The trip is July 21-29th.
July 21st DFW - SFO arrive around 3 pm.
Thought we would stay in SFO the night of the 21st
July 22 do Alcatraz, City sites Cable Car museum and GGB
July 23 Maybe tour a bit in the morning and lunch in Sausilito and then drive to Monterey July 24th. See Aquarium/sites around Monterey.
July 25th drive to either North Lake Tahoe or Yosimite (which I know is packed this time of year). I don't think there is time to do both. Which one? Where to stay?
25-26-27-28th ??? Plan is open...
July 29 depart at 2:00 pm from SFO
I could do the whole thing in reverse order or do something totally different stating from SFO. We have done San Diego in the past so I wanted to give the kids the Northern California tour. I am a single Mom, with 15 yr old boy and 10 yr old girl. They are good travelers since we have traveled quite a lot. Any ideas??? Any hotel choices in the Marriott family along ethe way?
Thanks so much for your opinions! I used to use Tripadvisor alot but am starting to use this site almost always because it seems this community has more real time knowledge!
txbluesky is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 02:37 PM
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Your itinerary sounds good. If you have to choose between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, I would choose Yosemite. Although Lake Tahoe is pretty, Yosemite is an awe inspiring experience. At Yosemite, you might want to stay at the Yosemite Lodge in Yosemite Valley. It's great for walking, biking, and taking shuttle to all the sites. It books up months in advance but sometimes you can get in if someone cancels. After all that driving it would be nice to relax and spend several days at Yosemite or Lake Tahoe, which ever you choose.
montereybob is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 04:19 PM
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I would add a day to SFO and divide the day between Muir Woods and Napa Valley.

I would add a day to Monterey and take a leisurely drive around 17 mile to Carmel and walk around the city and down to the beach. Rent a bike and ride the path from Monterey out to Pacific Grove.

The Marriott in downtown Monterey has great Bay views from the upper floor. Contact in advance to request bay-side upper floor.

Yosemite can be busy and hotels hard to find at peak times. Commit to your dates and confirm bookings ASAP if you are doing Yosemite.
stumpworks73 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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Adding my 2 cents, I'd skip Monterey altogether, it's a bit of a drive from SF plus it's in the opposite direction of either Yosemite or Tahoe. All that way to see the Aquarium and spend 1 night isn't worth it, IMO.

Also, I'd go ahead and stay in downtown SF your first 4 nights rather than doing the first night at SFO since it's a relatively early arrival at 3 PM. I believe there are 6 Marriotts in SF, the best locations are the JW Marriott on Post, the SF Marriott on 4th and the SF Marriott Union Square. A possible itinerary could be:

July 21 - Check in and have a dinner resv. somewhere, lots of restaurant tips here on Fodors

July 22 - Do Alcatraz as planned, Cable Car Museum and perhaps Chinatown and/or Fisherman's Wharf. You can ride a cable either way between Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf.

July 23 - Get in the car and drive down the crookedest street Lombard Street and then head over the GGB to Sausalito for your lunch. You have time after lunch to go to Muir Woods in Marin County and spend an hour or two, head back to SF

July 24 - This is a Friday so the Farmer's Market will be at the Ferry building. Head down Market Street either on foot or on the famous F Line trolleys, get off at the Ferry building and walk around the area including Justin Herman Plaza--have lunch. Walk down The Embarcadero as far as you desire, all the way to AT&T Park if you'd like. This would allow for you to walk under the SF Bay Bridge and see the South Beach area, which is often the sunniest place in SF. You can take the Muni Metro back if you choose one of the Marriott's I suggest above. There is lots of shopping to do at Union Square and SF Center on Market & 6th.

Hint-any time you could squeeze in for Golden Gate Park, the De Young Museum, Coit Tower, North Beach and Yerba Buena Gardens would be a plus.

Because you may be unable to find accommodations at or near Yosemite with short notice, I'd suggest you finish your trip in the Tahoe area. I don't think there is a Marriott in North Tahoe but there is a Marriott Grand Residences in south shore.

With a 2PM SFO departure I'd drive to SFO on the 28th and get a room near the airport for your return flight on the 29th. Hotel, higher-end restaurants and Alcatraz reservations are a must this time of year.
Parrothead is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 06:11 PM
  #5  
 
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We stayed at the Marriott on Second and Folsom. It was about a 12 minute walk to Market, near Union Sq. It was very nice and was less than the other Marriotts. [Feb 2009.]

Deb
DebitNM is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 06:39 PM
  #6  
 
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I believe I stayed at that Marriott as well - unfortunately I get them very confused in S.F. My son and DIL stayed at the courtyard and were happy with it.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 07:18 PM
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Two clarifications....

The Marriott at Second & Folsom is a Courtyard (Marriott family, but not Marriott brand). It is fine, but in a business neighborhood - not much in the immediate area after hours or on weekends.

And the Farmers Market at the Ferry Bldg. operates only on Tuesdays (small) and Saturdays (huge), but definitely NOT on Fridays.
sf7307 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 07:26 PM
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Hmmm, I didn't realize there was no farmers market at the ferry building on Fridays. When I worked there 3 years ago Friday always had lots of artists around Justin Herman and I thought that was the same day as the food vendors over at the FB. I never actually shopped for food since I had to go home on BART and didn't want to carry the bags.

But then, a tourist in a hotel probably wouldn't want to food shop either. So, bottom line, go visit the Ferry Building regardless of day, it's a lively place everyday.
Parrothead is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 07:29 PM
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The ferry bldg is a fun place to visit any day, but nothing is like market day (I work across the street).
sf7307 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 08:14 PM
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We were able to walk to Market and Union Sq and get anywhere from the Courtyard [sorry about the wrong brand].

We were also able to walk to the Museum of Modern Art, some great restaurants, Yerba Buena Center etc.

Deb
DebitNM is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 08:17 PM
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That is the one the DS and DIL ended up staying at (Courtyard) they were happy with it as well.
MomDDTravel is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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I'm not saying it's not walking distance from everything -- it definitely is (but I pretty much walk everywhere). But it's also not located "in the middle of", well, anything.
sf7307 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 09:57 AM
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I wanted to add as a point of reference - my son and DIL are young and not experienced travelers over all so would have been happy with just about anything
MomDDTravel is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 04:32 PM
  #14  
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Thanks so much for all the info. I think I am going to use most of the itinerary Parrothead so kindly outlined. I am still torn about leaving out Monterey. I really wanted the kids to see the aquarium. Is it as great as I remembered it? I am going to take a bit more time in SF as you all suggested. I did make reservations at the JW, but may end up changing it to the courtyard to stretch the budget a bit. Anyone have an opinion about the convenience between the two? I got a parking included deal at the jw so it really was almost the same per night. Still working on it though. I will keep you posted witha trip report.... THANKS! I will never go back to tripadvisor again
txbluesky is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 06:21 PM
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If the JW and the Courtyard are really nearly the same price, there's no question -- the JW is in a much better - more convenient location just off Union Square -- you can walk to shopping and restaurants, as well as (a much longer walk, but still doable) Chinatown, North Beach, the Embarcadero, etc.
sf7307 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 08:37 PM
  #16  
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The best I could find for the Courtyard was $199 aaa discount PLUS a $49 parking (plus tax. Looks like that is $250 plus tax. JW for $201 & pkg includes parking. I thought the jw would be best choice but was not sure about hassle if location is poor. Glad to hear I made the right choice.
txbluesky is offline  
Jul 15th, 2009, 02:46 AM
  #17  
 
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The aquarium is that good and the Monterey penninsula is that nice. I would include in the trip.
stumpworks73 is offline  
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