Where's the Color?

April 5, 2015

Test room

There’s a famous 1980s hamburger TV commercial where a little old lady opens the bun of a hamburger only to find a dime-sized paddy and says, “Where’s the beef?” I recently opened the door to our test room and asked, “Where’s the color?” 

It’s no secret. I like red. Each morning I have a difficult decision about which red tie to wear. My kids give me a hard time, so every now and then I wear purple – it’s almost red, isn’t it?

Young people today don’t like the same kind of guest room that I enjoyed. They like hardwood floors, a very small desk. We used to have two desks. Now, Millennials have computers and don’t need all that workspace. What they do want is a big TV. They don’t need closets as their stays are short and they rarely unpack and hang their clothes. They want great Internet access and a great pillow and mattress.

So, I’m caught between what today’s customer wants - and we want to give them everything they want - and a little color.  How about throw pillows or something that’s got some color to it? 

Marriott’s brands have grown up through the years with colorful rooms. I was in one of our new rooms the other night with dark gray floors, and dark gray drapes. It’s like going into a cave and it’s very dark. I’m told that Millennials don’t like color. I don’t really know.

So, I’m not surrendering. I’m pushing for a little color. I’m not making much progress, but I’m still pushing for it.  

I want to know what you think.  Do we want the “Prince of Darkness” or some color in our rooms?  I know it’s a loaded question. Please leave a comment. 

I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move. 

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I love a bit of colour and red and purple are my favourite colours too. It doesn't need to be too much, just the curtains, throws and cushions on the beds. But then, maybe that's because I'm a Gen X!

Kind regards, Jayne

I am totally with you Mr Marriott, I like colour in a room, "Prince of Darkness" is not good. Grey in colour leads to "grey" in mood in my world so please do not surrender and keep pushing for some colour.

I agree with you, the room should have some color. Something as simple as a bed scarf. A touch of color brightens the room and makes it more welcoming.

I love soft earthly colors and natural light, but yes! colors defenetly!

Dear Mr. Marriott,
It's great to know that you love the color red. That explains why that color is mostly prevalent in the full service Marriotts. I've been with the Company for 23 years now and just like you, I am appalled that "drab" is taking over. I agree that at least a splash of color would enhance the decor. Otherwise, what's the use of having "color TV"? (smile)

Thank you, Sir, for allowing me to share my thoughts along with yours.

Carla E. McCue
Delighted to Serve

Color Mr. Marriot!! color!! Happy colors for fun destinations! like caribbean, sea locations etc. More business-like colors for big cities :)
romantic colors for special suites!
I am with you! We need color!

Mr. Marriott, as a millenial I can tell that I love colorful spaces!!
Of course we can't have each wall painted with one color, but a pillow or a sofa, may seem more like home than a hotel room.
I work at Renaissance São Paulo,for me a room more with more colors like our living bar area would be awesome!

I love color. Every time I stay at a new hotel and it is white I feel like I walked into a hospital and I feel so uncomfortable. Sure too much color isn't good but if you don't have something two give th eroom life why be there.

I'm Kyana and I work in Venezuela for Marriott Playa Grande.

Personally, I just turned 26 and I looooove color!

I do understand hoy a clean black & white bedroom can also be nice and elegant, but deep down I'm a collor person!

So, I hope my opinion helps somehow!

I agree Mr Marriott.I think some color would add character to the rooms. In society today us ladies like to wear a statement piece or a something to compliment our outfit. I feel like if we implement this thought in our rooms it would be more attractive and who wouldn't want to stay in a pretty room.

I love color! I'm 21 and I hate when I check into a hotel room and it doesn't feel like it has any personality. When I am staying somewhere I want to feel welcome and not like I am intruding on a showroom. Keep the color Mr. Marriott!

I like the neutral colors because it brings peace and tranquility but, I love RED too and would love maybe some fun throw pillows or a touch of color on the walls. I am not a millenial though, I am 50 years young.

Who says millenials don't like color?! Not true at all. We do like clean, crisp and modern decor but we still want color! It just has to be light, bright and vibrant colors. I've seen the test rooms as well and what I liked about it was the color teal. Colors like teal, blue or orange make the room upbeat and vibrant. Where rooms used to be for rest they are now used to "recharge" and work. As we have all grown to love Marriott Red, colors that warm might not ignite or inspire light, fresh,innovative and memorable experiences that millenials (such as myself) are known for craving. Thanks for begging the question and taking our responses into consideration!

Chandra Walker
Guest Relations Manager
Atlanta Marriott Marquis

I’m Millennia, but I always say that I have a Baby boomer soul! Because I enjoy listening from the Doors to Frank Sinatra

I do LOVE Red and I thing that the perfect room should have some color on it, I prefer white and clear spaces with a touch of an elegant and fun color.

Best Regards from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
And it is a pleasure helping you keep Marriott on the move

Adriana Osuna
HR Mgr

I agree, being an artist and operation manager at the Courtyard...I need color, if nothing else in the accessories or artwork!


I think all rooms can benefit from a pop of color. Why not a different color in each room so not every room looks the same? It would really add a unique touch to the rooms, and allow people who travel all the time to see the different things that Marriott can offer. Too frequently our guests feel as though the rooms look cookie cutter. Offering different decor in different rooms could really improve an experience!


I like to walk into a room that looks alive...colorful, relaxing and inviting.

I'm part of the "older generation" though.

Mr. Marriott I have to agree with you!

It is a nice feeling to be Zen but one color puts a smile.

Adding a touch of color can make all the differance for I would choose one bold color on either throw pillows or bed scarf.

Good Luck Mr. Marriott,
Beverly Spagnuolo

I am the father of three millennials and they love lots of color. The brighter the better. I will also mention that when it comes to chosing a hotel they consider 1) price 2) price 3) location.

Great topic for your blog Mr. M!

I totally agree with you. OUR generation like exactly what you're explaining but we better get with the new generation

I am on the fence on this one, myself being a millennial I do prefer a cleaner, smoother more simple look to my rooms but a pop of color is always a welcomed addition! Just last night when shopping for large throw pillows for my couch, (when did I become so domestic?) my husband preferred the browns and khaki colored ones that matched the couch, but I wanted either a bright turquoise or red, red is also my favorite color, who do you think won? So although our master bedroom is is in shades of gray, black and silver we have plenty of color in our living room thanks to the addition of our new red throw pillows! :)

I like color too, Mr. Marriott! A suggestion would be to keep these rooms with what our Millennials want, and let's add a bright red vase or something in the decor that pops out in your favorite color through this sea of gray...kind of like those black and white pictures that focuses on one item that's a bright color.

You haven't let us down throughout the years, so I support your push for "color"!!!

Warm Regards,
Art Aquino

A pop of color is a good thing. It doesn't take alot of color to stand out but when done right it can be memorable in the best way.

Hello Mr. Marriott,

As a Millenial, i have to say i dont like dark rooms, or dark styled rooms, but there is also a problem with too much color.

I think just a splash of Red is best for the rooms we want guests to know we care about their changing attitudes and taste but we want to keep them reminded that they are staying at a Marriott hotel.

Sash Doerksen

Hello, I agree with your argument, as far as I'm concerned new modern trends lack a little warmth with all those neutral colors, so a bit of color and texture goes a long way. I read this comment that I think describes my point: This is probably why hotel rooms are easily letting go of visually upsetting patterns and embracing texture instead. Giving guests something they can feel and even get lost in can result into a memorable experience, one they will probably want to repeat. Add a few bright colors to animate spaces and a soothing joyful atmosphere is created.