The JW Marriott in Charlotte


I was either going to pay with cash or transferable points like Chase Ultimate Rewards as I have no loyalty to any one hotel chain.

Rooms started at $327 per night (plus an additional $50 in taxes and fees) or 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for the two nights I was aiming for. I made the decision that paying cash was preferable because it would allow us to accrue points for our planned trip to Argentina.

Without a Marriott credit card in my wallet, my best bet was to use my Chase Sapphire Reserve to make a reservation through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel website, where I would receive 10 Chase points for every dollar spent.


The JW Marriott Charlotte is situated in the heart of the city, a short distance from Bank of America Stadium (home of the Charlotte Football Club and Carolina Panthers, the city’s professional football and soccer teams) and Spectrum Center (the arena where the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA play), both of which are in Uptown Charlotte.

The location is perfect for a business trip because it is close to several corporate headquarters and has easy access to these venues as well as the Charlotte Convention Center across the street.

If you don’t have a car, Charlotte’s Lynx light rail system makes it easy to get to the hotel. A block to the southeast of the property is Stonewall Station, the closest stop. Alternatively, you can pay $40 per day for valet parking at the hotel.


You’ll be able to tell you’re in for an elegant, but business-oriented encounter the moment the hotel’s 22-story structure comes into view.

Sections of the svelte building have wall-to-wall glass. Its lobby is furnished with cool, dark hues, cozy yet contemporary furnishings, and brass and marble details. A modest seating area is surrounded by five little podiums where guests can check in.

Since there was no line, a staff person greeted us right away and started the check-in process. The procedure was simple, and the person assisting us made sure to make the reservation with my Bonvoy number.

I was granted a Saturday late checkout time of 2:30 p.m. because to my Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, which I attained as a result of having The Platinum Card® from American Express. I also received 500 extra points as a welcome amenity.

The room

On the 17th floor, on the north side, was the room that was given to us. We were a little underwhelmed by what we saw from our window because we opted to pay roughly $20 more each night for a city-view room on a higher floor (instead of a normal king room).

We had an up-close view of a construction site just across the street instead of expansive skyline vistas like what we observed from places on the south side of the building, while there were some skyscraper views beyond.

On the 17th floor, on the north side, was the room that was given to us. We were a little underwhelmed by what we saw from our window because we opted to pay roughly $20 more each night for a city-view room on a higher floor (instead of a normal king room).

We had an up-close view of a construction site just across the street instead of expansive skyline vistas like what we observed from places on the south side of the building, while there were some skyscraper views beyond.

A side chair and side table were located near the window on the opposite side, but we hardly ever utilized them other than to drop down our pockets or a cup of coffee.

I loved the huge desk and the fact that it had its own set of outlets because I worked remotely for a portion of our stay. However, the single-serve coffee machine wasn’t enough to satisfy my daily caffeine needs. It appeared more appropriate for a budget motel than a five-star hotel.

The room’s spacious marble bathroom was one of its best features. It has single-use Aromatherapy Associates bath products, automated motion-sensing lighting, a huge, dual-nozzle shower, and frosted glass doors for privacy.

The closets were next to the bathroom, but weirdly, they only included one robe and one pair of slippers, which my wife and I didn’t use.

Although the closet was small, it was adequate for our requirements because we only had clothing for two nights.

Food and drink

For a caffeine addict like myself, the basic coffee machine in the room wasn’t ideal, but The Counter at Dean’s, the coffee shop next to the lobby, was fantastic. Around the block from the property is a recently built Starbucks Pickup store, one of the first to operate in the South, should you find yourself in the mood for coffee from a more well-known brand.

Three eating options are available at the hotel: two restaurants and a rooftop bar serving lighter meals.

We had dinner at Dean’s Italian Steakhouse on the first evening. The restaurant was warmly decorated and unassuming, with rustic touches like rough stone walls, wooden tabletops, and a bar that was inspired by barn doors, even though it was undoubtedly an upscale option. Couples and business travelers made up the mixed gathering, and clothing choices varied from polo shirts and jeans to sport coats and cocktail gowns.

Although the food was excellent, it was expensive. Steaks ranged in price from $38 for an Australian Wagyu flat iron cut to $95 for a bone-in Wagyu filet.

Although the variety of domestic Cabernet Sauvignons was outstanding (45 choices), the average price per bottle was shockingly high ($176), with only five choices coming in under $120. The cost per person is probably greater than $100, even if you buy your own entrée and split an appetizer and a dessert (as we did).

Make time for a dinner at Caroline’s Oyster Bar if you’re craving seafood. We were pleasantly impressed by the entrees, even though we hadn’t intended to eat here on our second night (more on that later).

Named after the owner’s daughter, Caroline’s features a large circular marble bar with a metal liquor shelving system that serves as the dining room’s main source of light, as well as other upscale city accents to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the traditional seafood shacks on North Carolina’s coast.

Another bar with fresh oysters from all over the East Coast is located right inside the main door. Retractable doors lead to a patio for outdoor eating that is located beyond the indoor area.

We ate a dozen oysters at our supper, some from North Carolina and some from the Chesapeake Bay, where I was raised. After the intimidating steaks from the previous night, my wife’s Wagyu burger ($19) and my halibut fish and chips ($26) were the ideal informal dishes to savor.

We didn’t intend to eat supper at Caroline’s on our second night, as mentioned above; instead, we had our sights set on the bar at Aura Rooftop. To our astonishment, though, we were just able to look around because reservations are necessary to eat there.

Although there’s always something cool about a rooftop bar, this one was a little bit of a letdown because it’s only five storeys up on top of the hotel’s smaller wing. Perhaps I’m just picky about rooftop bars, but the proximity of this one to the street detracted from the ambience there.

There is also room service available, however we didn’t use it while we were there.

Amenities and service

Weddings, business meetings, and other large events can be held at the hotel because of its convenient Uptown Charlotte location. There were 14 event rooms in total, the largest of which could hold up to 700 people.

I made the decision to check out the Executive Lounge, another business perk, so housekeeping could reset our room without interruption. I went to the lounge to work for a few hours after the front desk agent had set up my room key to grant access there.

Even though there aren’t many private meeting spaces in the lounge, there was still enough of room for me and the other people who were already there to spread out and take our individual calls. I like that the lounge included a self-serve coffee station, a minifridge filled with a selection of drinks, and a range of salty and sweet snacks. The warm, two-sided fireplace was also a great addition.

Since a gym is my absolute must-have while visiting a hotel, I decided to use the facility’s fitness center while I was on vacation. Given how frequently I’ve been let down by hotel gyms, I had rather low expectations. A Peloton bike, combat ropes, and more conventional exercise machines like treadmills and ellipticals were all part of the JW Marriott Charlotte’s spectacular gym.

I never felt like I was rubbing elbows with others because there was enough of space to spread out.

My wife and I haven’t utilized the on-site spa, but I was amazed by the wide range of services it provides. (Consider massages for couples, pedicures, and Ayurvedic therapies.)

But what really grabbed out throughout our visit were the welcoming staff members. We thought the service at Dean’s was first-rate, from the kind receptionist to the attentive servers and extremely obliging barista.

Overall impression

As a resident of Charlotte, I’m overjoyed that Marriott choose my hometown for the JW brand’s ongoing expansion. For travelers to Charlotte who want to accumulate and spend Bonvoy points, it makes a great base of operations.

Since I live in the city, I don’t anticipate staying at the JW Marriott Charlotte anytime soon. But I’ll be prepared the next time I have a need for some oysters from my hometown.

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