Courtyard by Marriott is no Ritz Carlton, but it’s functional and usually well located. So here’s a functional review.
We don’t always need a fancy hotel when we travel. Comfort, yes, but the bells and whistles, sometimes. There is good value in having a top-grade hotel sometimes, but in some cities, a reliable, trusted property is all you need.
On this trip, Cologne is one such city, and Courtyard by Marriott served that purpose: no-frills, comfortable, fairly decent location and great value for money.
For those who are not familiar with the Courtyard brand, they are typically mid-tier properties offering a less frills experience as compared to the mother brand. These properties still have the necessary amenities as a full service hotel, but without the premium frills such as a spa or a pool. Think of it as like a full service economy class air ticket (probably a 3 or 4 star airline), rather than a low cost carrier.
The brand is predominantly found in US, with a small splattering of presence in other continents. In Europe, it has 77 properties across 20 countries, with the largest network here in Germany with 16 Courtyard properties.
Asia has 97 Courtyard properties, where China account for about half of them and India for another quarter.
A little orientation of Köln or Cologne: The heart of the city is split by the Rhine river into east and west. Most of the tourist attractions and where visitors will want to be is on the west side.
Cologne has two key train stations: the first being Köln Hauftpbanhof, or the Cologne Central Station, and another one further out called Messe/Deutz Banhof, which is located on the east bank of the Rhine.
Courtyard by Marriott Cologne is located in the city centre amid the famous Eigelstein neighborhood, within a reasonable walking distance to several key landmarks, including the famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), as well as a plethora of restaurants and shopping.
The hotel is about 1km away from Cologne Central Station. If you are arriving by train from another city, you are likely to be arriving at Messe/Deutz, which will require a change of trains to reach Central Station. Alternatively you can take the S-Bahn to Hansaring, and then weave through the smaller streets to reach the hotel, although I would strongly discourage you from doing so if you are carrying heavy bags.
At this property in Cologne, the hotel has 236 rooms housed within its six-storey building. Rooms are laid across floors 1-5.
The hotel only has 4 room types:
- King Guest Room
- Twin Guest Room
- Larger King Guest Room
- Corner King Guest Room
Courtyard by Marriott properties typically have a fairly standardised set of room types, as they are designed for business travellers who simply need a no-frills, full service hotels. The standardised rooms allow for the hotel to focus on a consistent set of experience without the need to go over the top in both service and product for top-end rooms and suites.
This works out well for leisure travellers as well who value price and location over the bells and whistles that the hotel may offer, as there’s also a sizeable group of travellers who minimise their time spent in the room.
The lobby is modest, which works well for properties like these. With only three check-in counters, There were hardly anyone else when we arrived just after mid day, around the usual check in hours, so we were attended to almost immediately.
The receptionist checked our documents and more importantly, our vaccination records, before speedily processing the rest of our check in. In less than 5 minutes, we were on our way to our rooms, located on the second floor.
For this stay we booked a Twin room. The room measures 22 square metres in size, which is fairly spacious by European standards. The corner rooms are slightly bigger at 29 square metres, but similar to the regular rooms in both form and function.
In the twin configured room, both twin beds are standard singles, and each comes with its own bedside table, reading light and set of power sockets.
On the far side of the room, there is also a glass work desk with an office chair, which is suitable for working in room although i wouldn’t recommend sitting in that chair for too long. There’s also a table lamp that is oddly positioned, with its stem awkwardly sticking out of the bedside table. I get that lamps need an electrical source but this arrangement is simply aesthetically off.
Across from the bed is a wall mounted flat screen television, above a simple console tabletop where the complimentary coffee and tea are placed.
The room comes with a simple wardrobe near the windows, in which you will find the in-room safe, ironing board and iron as well as the hairdryer.
During the time of Covid, housekeeping is only offered every third night, but you can always call up the front desk to request for daily clean up if you need it.
In another aspect of its functionality, Courtyard by Marriott Cologne offers a simple bathroom, with a walk-in shower, single vanity and sink and a toilet.
The hotel provides bath amenities which are branded Nirvae, which is found exclusively in the hotel industry. The amenities itself is nothing too exciting, but good enough for you to use without much concerns.
Note that the toilet does not come with a bidet or washing hose, so if that’s a concern, you may have to look elsewhere.
Restaurant – Bistro
In another aspect that reinforces its chain operations, the hotel’s restaurant name is also standardised across the brand: the Bistro. Opened for breakfast daily and dinner Mondays to Saturdays, the Bistro offers a good range of meals and drinks for guests.
|Day of week||Operating hours|
|Mondays to Fridays||6.30am to 10.30am|
3pm to 11pm
|Saturdays||7am to 12pm|
3pm to 11pm
|Sundays & Public Holidays||7am to 12pm|
Breakfast is charged at €18 per person and is served between 6.30am and 10.30am on weekdays, and 7am to 12pm on weekends. Marriott Bonvoy Platinum elite members and above enjoy complimentary breakfast, regardless whether their room rates include them.
While I didn’t have breakfast at the hotel, the restaurant staff kindly offered complimentary coffee in the morning when I had to get some work done. A quick glance at the breakfast spread saw a mostly continental spread, with some hot items including bacon and eggs. At EUR18, you will be better off walking out to grab breakfast, such as from this lovely little Italian place near the hotel.
The lunch and dinner menus looked a little more promising, although not a large menu. Most food items are reasonably priced: for instance, expect to pay €5- €11 for snacks and starters, €10,5-€13,5 for sandwiches, and up to €21 for main dishes.
Drinks wise, beer is your go-to option, with Happy Hour happening every Friday and Saturday, 5 to 7pm where you can get a glass of Kölsch for €2,50, with a free bite to go along. For the uninitiated, Cologne is home to the Kölsch, the local’s favourite brew and default choice for a beer.
Cocktails and wines are generally more expensive in Germany, but the Bistro prices them similar to many other restaurants. Expect to pay about €12,50 for a mixed drink, while a glass of wine goes upwards of €7,50.
Facilities & Amenities
|Fitness Centre||24 hours||Level 5|
|Business Centre||24 hours||Ground floor|
|Convenience Store||24 hours||Ground floor|
Fitness and recreation
Courtyard by Marriott Cologne only has a fitness centre located on the top floor. Accessible 24/7, the gym has an array of equipment, including cardio machines such as treadmills and ellipticals, as well as a rack of dumbbells and two benches.
Unfortunately, the hotel does not have a swimming pool, nor does it offer access to any swimming pools nearby.
The hotel does not have a business centre, but on the ground floor you can find a little business corner further in from the front desks, equipped with two Macs.
In the same corner you will also find an ATM (comes with a fee, on top of what your bank may charge you), as well as a cigarette vending machine.
The business centre comes with a printer, so it will be handy for printing the extra documents you may need.
Another distinct feature of Courtyard properties are the in-house convenience store, which they named the Market. I have seen this before in the US properties as well, which usually carry a variety of items from food, drinks, alcohol to other consumables such as laundry power, soap, dental care items and more.
The full price list is as follow:
Like I mentioned at the beginning of the review, travelling doesn’t always have to include a fancy hotel. There are several fundamental criteria such as comfort, safety, and location, all of which Courtyard by Marriott Cologne has met during my stay and I’m pleased with it.
If there’s only one thing to pick: the hotel doesn’t have a lively bar, and perhaps that’s the point. There are some nights where you just want a quiet glass of wine after a long day out, instead of a boisterous beerhaus, so the hotel fits the bill just for that.