There are many who question the value of what has previously been known as “turndown service” in higher end hotels, and is now more appropriately termed the “evening refresh”. There are some who wonder aloud what the point of having the sheets of the bed turned down and adorned with a chocolate is.
I’m currently in residence at the JW Marriott Austin, and the JW Marriott brand is best described as “art luxury”, in which the upscale, bespoke architecture of the property and its design, plus somewhat more personalized service is the hallmark of this luxury brand, perhaps quite without the old world fussiness of a Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis branded property. An evening room refresh is that extra little bit of service that separates the mere renting of a room from a luxury hospitality experience; a gentle reminder that hospitality is continuous throughout the stay – not just at the employee touchpoint during check-in, checkout, and dining interactions.
At this level, a good turndown service should have elements of surprise and delight, and elements of practicality. Aside from the actual turndown of the sheets and preparation of the bed for sleep, bathroom towels should also be folded and replaced as needed, in-room coffee and/or water amenities replenished, shades drawn, light pickup of trash and folding of discarded clothing articles. Those are practical matters. Then there are the self-actualization bits that really make turndown a treat. At especially high-end properties, robes will be placed on or near the bed, slippers placed on the floor next to the bed, and water and chocolate amenities placed on bedside tables. Lighting should be at appropriate settings for bedtime, chocolates or other amenities placed (at JW Marriott Austin it’s dark chocolate with ginger and passionflower), and a good-night sign off (often an inspirational quote or information on the next day’s weather) placed.
In short, turndown is the difference between coming back to a hotel room in which the tranquil harmony has been disturbed by the guest and never mended (who wants to climb back into sheets already mussed from an afternoon nap?) and coming into a room refreshed and ready, almost like new, as the prelude to a peaceful night’s slumber. Many luxury properties offer evening room refresh as a matter of course (another popular parlance is “twice daily housekeeping”) but many upper upscale properties will also offer the service upon request.
It’s just one more way for hotels to demonstrate a bit of extra hospitality that keeps guests coming back time and again. JW Marriott Austin has certainly fit the bill quite nicely in this instance.
Accommodations were furnished by JW Marriott Austin.