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November 4, 2009

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    Marriott Airport Campus

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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the grand re-opening of the Marriott Miami Airport Hotel Campus. There was a huge celebration with VIPs like Mr. Marriott himself and Tito Puente juniorís salsa band played, complete with dancers. The campus is a unique concept; it has three different Marriott-branded hotels and a cool $70 million was spent on the transformation. The three hotels comprise a 366-room, full-service Marriott, 300-room Courtyard by Marriott and 163-suite Residence Inn.

DID YOU KNOW? J.W. "Bill" Marriott is still putting in 10-hour days at age 77.

The campus is located right near the Miami International Airport (MIA) so when I landed, I went straight to the departures level (itís where all the hotel/rental cars and buses stop), and jumped on the Marriottís free shuttle. I timed it right because the shuttle arrived within five minutes but it only runs every 30 minutes, so call for the updated schedules. If youíre in a hurry, a taxi will charge you $10 for the five- to 10-minute ride. The bus stops at each hotel entrance and the Residence Inn is the last. FYI: The shuttle bus has annoying, loud advertisements making it tough to make phone calls.

Marriott created this revolutionary concept of putting three different category hotels in the same complex so they can all share some of the amenities such as: restaurants (the most popular is the Cane Fire Grille, serving spicy Nuevo Latin cuisine), bars (thereís a modern Champions Sports Bar with a new menu and 23 HDTVs; itís only one of two in the world that it doesnít have the cheesy Cheers feel). There is a Starbucks, a 2,600-square-foot modern fitness center, a central pool and Jacuzzi and meeting rooms, 17 in total with over 12,500 square feet of meeting space.

Each of the hotels offer complimentary high-speed Internet (wired or wireless), sleek new LCD flat-screen televisions with the Marriott Plug-In feature, which allows all types of electronic devices, from laptops to gaming systems, to feed into it. And thereís a hypoallergenic air filtration system called PURE room, which removes up to 99% of pollutants from the air. As a former asthma sufferer (I was cured by a Chinese doctor in Malaysia), I really appreciated this feature.

One of Marriottís newest advancements for customer experience is a modern and welcoming lobby. All three of these hotels have them, which are intended to get guests out of their rooms and mingling Ė either to socialize or work. Of the three, The Courtyard had the most impressive, with mini open meeting round tables with a TV and an interactive GoBoard, which displays regularly updated local information, weather and maps.

I spent the night at Residence Inn Ė the full name is Residence Inn Miami Airport South Ė which is geared towards extended-stay travelers. The design and color schemes donít feel like a typical Marriott and instead of one big front desk, they have pods for check-in to give a more personal touch. The associate (Marriott doesnít like calling them employees) who checked me in was smart when giving me the directions to my room. He handed me my key and said to take the elevator to the third floor and keep taking a right until you get to your room number, which is written on your envelope. He didnít say out loud the room number for obvious safety reasons. Good job!

Out of the three, the Residence Inn is the only one in a brand new structure. All 163 rooms are suites and they feature a fully equipped kitchen and offer complimentary grocery shopping. They had three room categories available: a studio for $119 a night, one bedroom for $129 (this is what I was in) or a two-bedroom suite for $169 a night. Keep in mind these are the introductory rack rates, which will go up but I bet you can get an even better deal surfing the web Ö ahem, Priceline. Hereís Auction Advice.

My one-bedroom suite was huge! It had two flat screens, a beautiful kitchen with a full-size fridge, microwave, stove and dishwasher, plenty of closest space and a living room with a dining room table for two.

GOOD TO KNOW: I was there on a Sunday night, which was really quiet but the clerk informed me that Mondays and Wednesdays are usually the busiest.

I loved the fact that they had complimentary wi-fi, free breakfast (served til 9:30am) and mini bottles of Purell at check-in; they also have full-size dispensers by the elevator.

My window wasnít completely soundproof but I only heard two planes take off so it wasnít annoying. Iím getting picky but the door in the bathroom opens inwards and thereís not a lot of room to get out of the shower with the toilet and door so they should flip those hinges around. Since the Residence Inn is for extended stays, I think they should take a more environmentally friendly approach and replace the mini toiletry bottles with shampoo/conditioner dispensers.

Unless youíre a business traveler needing long-term housing or are on a tight budget, you wonít want to stay at the campus for more than a night. Itís comfortable and is a fine place to stay but itís by the airport Ö in Miami. I would think you would want to be by the action down by the beach Ė at least I do. Marriott Miami Airport Campus, 1201 NW LeJeune Road, Miami, FL; Tel.: 1-305-642-8570.

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Note: This trip was sponsored in part by Marriott Miami Airport Campus

Copyright 2009 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Shuttle Bus




Tito Puente Jrís


Mr. Marriott


Marriott Lobby


New Design


2,600-square-foot modern fitness center


Front Desk Crew


Free Purrel


Hotel Market




My Room


View 2




Pure Room






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