Islamabad Marriott is bigger and better than before. Their security measures have also been ramped up a notch since the tragic incident. My only previous experience with Islamabad hotels was Serena, which I loved. I was a little miffed our agent did not get us a booking there this time. But once I saw our room, boy, was I glad. It was large, modern and beautifully decorated. Although the bathroom had a shower stall, and not a tub, it was brand new and spotlessly clean. The free Wi-Fi was quite fast, by Pakistani standards, and a multimedia hub was provided to connect all sorts of electronic gadgets. And the view was beautiful, the city framed by the lush green surrounding hills. The room shown below from the Marriott website is an exact mirror-image for the one we had.
The hotel had both indoor and outdoor pools, so guests can swim in the winters, as well. There is a well-equipped gym with attendants on duty. With 8 restaurants and cafes on site, there is more than enough to keep you entertained and your stomachs full, if you do not want to step out of the hotel after a long day. There is even an Executive Lounge for those paying for the higher-priced rooms. We had the chance to try it out, and the setting was very comfortable to work or relax in. There were restaurant style tables to eat or work on, as well as comfortable sofa settings next to the TV, where you can have business meetings or just relax. Unlimited coffee, tea and non-alcoholic drinks were available, as well as a small buffet, whose contents varied with the time of day. They even keep take-away boxes so you can take a small snack up to your room.
All the facilities and amenities provided by Marriott were greatly exceeded by the helpfulness and concern of the staff. All the staff went out of their way to make us comfortable, rushing to open doors when they saw me pushing my niece’s stroller, trying to entertain her when they saw her crying. They immediately accommodated any requests we made from our room, or in the lounge. Now that was a distinct level up from our stay at the Serena.
The only thing the Marriott lacked compared to the Serena was a nice garden to take a stroll in.