Ala. hotel named #1 hotel for North America

Photo Source: Marriot Shoals Facebook page
Photo Source: Marriot Shoals Facebook page

One unexpected hotel had the best overall guest satisfaction, dining, golf and spa for 2012 within Marriott International for North America. This top location isn't along Miami's South Beach or in New York's Time Square or even on Chicago's Miracle Mile. Marriott's top hotel for guest satisfaction for 2012 was the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa in Florence, Alabama. Yes, Marriott's top hotel for guest satisfaction in North America is in Alabama.

Of the 336 full-service Marriott hotels in North America, the Marriott Shoals was the leader in overall guest satisfaction and 22 other categories. Ongoing surveys for Marriott guests are conducted daily by a third party research company and a tabulated each week to gage how individual hotels are treating their guests.

For all of 2012, the Marriott Shoals was the top hotel in North America for the following categories:  overall satisfaction; intent to return to property; intent to recommend in the future; staff service overall; high quality golf experience; spa service relaxing and enjoyable experience; quality of food and beverage overall; restaurant could be one of my favorites: atmosphere for drinks/hors d'oeuvres; in room dining quality of food; genuine caring; luxurious; offers touches of luxury; departure experience overall; comfortable room for meeting/event; property experience influences future brand stay considerations; compared to competition on staff service overall; secure safe environment; provided helpful information about the area; perfect hotel for someone like you; helped you enjoy your trip; engaging and offered all you need to accomplish business objectives.

"This is a real honor for our associates and our owners – the Retirement Systems of Alabama," said Larry Bowser, general manager of the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa. "Twenty years ago before the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail opened, people would have laughed if they heard Marriott's top golf was in Alabama. No one would have guessed Alabama had the top spa, dining and luxurious atmosphere within Marriott," said Bowser. "Now, Marriott's leadership and others in the hospitality industry are well aware of the Marriott Shoals and the other seven hotels in the Resort Collection on Alabama's Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. In addition to our honor, two of the top Renaissance hotels in North America for 2012 are along Mobile Bay – the Battle House and Renaissance Riverview Plaza." Renaissance Hotel, a division of Marriott, has similar independent guest satisfaction surveys.

Former skeptics are now believers and some of the hotel's best advocates, according to Bowser. "The Marriott Shoals has stunning views of the Tennessee River, grand architecture and a host of other amenities; however, it is our caring team of associates that makes this hotel come to live," he said. "The Retirement Systems of Alabama have invested in our hotels and collectively we are helping enhance Alabama's perception one guest at a time."

Florence/Lauderdale County Tourism Director Debbie Wilson says the good news has been spreading quickly. "It's really big news to have a hotel in your market to be recognized as the best of the year, especially coming from a chain like Marriott International," Wilson said. "It is big for our community and everyone should be proud of Larry Bowser and his outstanding team at the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa."

Wilson said she and her staff will be using the ranking as a marketing tool and has already spread the work throughout the hospitality industry and specifically at the Cincinnati Golf Show. "People see a hotel in your market that is recognized in this manner and they want to know more about your area," Wilson said.

About the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa

Overlooking the Tennessee River and historic Wilson Dam in Florence, Alabama, the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa continues to be the Marriott leader for exceptional golf, spas, dining, hotel rooms and guest satisfaction. The 200 guest rooms, including seven suites, have private balconies and riverfront views. The resort features Alabama's only revolving restaurant and more than 30,000 square feet of versatile meeting space.

The Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa is a short distance from two Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail courses – Fighting Joe and Schoolmaster. The Fighting Joe was named among the top 10 new courses by Golf Magazine and Travel + Leisure Golf. The Schoolmaster course opened in 2005 and approaches 8,000 yards. In addition to great golf, the Shoals area is internationally known for two things:  bass fishing and a rich musical heritage.

Swamper's Bar and Grill celebrates the area's rich musical heritage. Little Richard, Rolling Stones, Cher and others recorded in the Shoals and the area still has many songwriters and recording studios. For upscale dining, the revolving 360 tower restaurant offers remarkable cuisine and amazing views of the Tennessee River. The 6,000-square-foot European-style spa and salon helps make the Marriott Shoals Hotel & Spa the premier resort in the Tennessee River Valley.

EDITOR'S NOTE OF DISCLOSURE: The Marriot Shoals is part of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, which is an investment of the Retirment Systems of Alabama. The RSA is the primary lender to Raycom Media which is the parent company of this television station.