The wife & I had our wedding at the JW Marriott Ihilani in August 2013, two years after our first stay here. While the rooms are the same, the property added a fire pit near the pool and a Starbucks in the lobby.
The fire pit is open to all guests, but using it to say, roast marshmallows is prohibited! We found this out the hard way, though to be fair, we had permission to do so from an employee that didn't know. This area may also be reserved for a fee.
Last time we stayed, we were given a Deluxe Ocean Front Room. This time, however, thanks to my Marriott Rewards Platinum Elite status and to the wonderful banquet staff, we were upgraded to an Ihilani Suite! The room was HUGE! There was a long foyer with a powder room and a closet, along with the mini bar, safe and coffee maker. To the left of the foyer was the living room with a desk, tv, sofa and chair. To the right of the foyer, through a set of double doors, was the master bath and the bedroom. The bathroom had a insanely large walk-in closet, an ENORMOUS whirlpool tub that could fit 4 guys in it, a separate glassed in shower, a separate toilet, and two vanities. The bedroom contained some seating, a desk, a large mirror with built in tv, and yet another closet. The bedroom and the living room both had their own balconies as well, with the bedroom having views of the mountain and westward towards Waianae, while the living room had a great ocean view.
Service wise, Ihilani was as good as ever. Everyone was very friendly and always strived to provide the best possible service. The only negatives I can think of are the addition of a ridiculous resort fee ($30/day), increase in parking rate to $35/night, and as is the case with all Hawaii properties because they are resorts, lack of Concierge Lounge and/or complimentary breakfast for Marriott Rewards Gold & Platinum Elite members. Platinums do, however, receive a discount at Naupaka Terrace.
Nevertheless, the JW Marriott Ihilani is a wonderful property! This is especially true for a relaxing, luxurious, and even romantic stay. It's just getting much too expensive
Finally stayed at Aulani with the fiancee over the Dr. King weekend!! We've waited 7-months since purchasing our unit for this moment! And let me tell you, the resort lived up to our expectations!
Arrival: When arriving to check in, you are greeted with a flower lei for women & kukui nut lei for men. The bellmen then take your bags and you are whisked away to the front desk. There, you actually check in and are given your room keys, which doubles as resort charge cards.
Room: For our stay, we had a DVC Ocean View Deluxe Studio. Our studio came with a queen bed, a sofa (which doubled as a second queen bed), a desk w/two chairs and wood carved Micky lamp, HDTV w/Blu-ray player (good selection of channels), wet bar (w/coffee maker, water kettle, toaster, microwave, utensils, wine key, can opener, mugs, cups, ice bucket, etc), bathroom w/separate toilet & tub/shower combo w/rain shower head, h2o+ toiletries, a decent sized closet, ceiling fan, and a laughably small safe (can't fit a camera or laptop in it!). WiFi is pretty speedy and pretty fast!
Restaurants: We've eaten here before and generally have not been impressed. Makahiki (buffet) was good on opening day, but seems to have been declining in quality. 'Ama 'Ama is a decent upscale resort restaurant with some dishes worth checking out, though the rest of the menu is unremarkable. One Paddle Two Paddle is an average resort quick service restaurant w/burgers & wraps of decent quality. We haven't tried the Ohelo Room or Off the Hook yet. The shave ice stand is pretty good. Please see my 'Ama 'Ama review! yelp.com/biz/ama-ama-kap…
Waikalohe Valley: There's actually two pools here, the main pool with the lazy river & two slides, and the smaller "adult" pool tucked away by the spa. The adult pool often has kids in it, and as such, doesn't provide a quiet escape from the raucous. The main pool is actually pretty large, though only going to a maximum depth of 4 ft. The Volcano Vertical slide empties into the main pool and is meant to be like a lava tube. It is quite long and very fast, though pitch black all the way down. Keep this mind if you have any phobias! The Tube Stone curl, on the other hand, is an open-air slide that requires the use of rafts (single or double). The double is more fun, as more weight = faster, but be sure to have the heaviest person in front! The fiancee kept getting thrown off when we hit the bottom when she was in front. Lazy river is good, but often jams up and has a lot of rascal kids swimming under you and causing problems. Current isn't strong enough to move you itself.
Rainbow Reef: This is a great experience, as there are tons of reef fish. I know not as good as snorkeling in a good, natural location, but the fish here are really tame and will swim right up to you! It is $20 per person though....
Menehune Adventure Trail: This is a scavenger hunt that will have you running around the entire property over and over again! It reveals a lot of hidden features that are pretty cool. Be sure to allocate a lot of time for this, though, as it will take a few hours to finish the entire thing! Note: you need to pickup an iPod like device to do the hunt from the Holo Holo Hall I think it was called? And you need to leave your chargeable room key with them as collateral.
Laniwai: Disney's first spa is awesome! Please see my review: yelp.com/biz/laniwai-a-d…
Parking: As DVC members, we get free self-parking. If you're not a member, it's $35/day. If self-parking, you need to checkin before you can access the self-parking lot. Just leave your car with the valets as you check in. No problem.
So why 4 & not 5 stars? While a great resort, it's not the best. Restaurant capacities also are not enough for the resort. We made reservations for all restaurant meals, but walk-ins seem almost impossible. Note that only half the DVC unit are open and tons of locals still come here just to dine as well. There are others that are better, but they are largely luxury hotels/resorts. Aulani aims to be a luxury family resort, which it accomplishes well.
Nevertheless, we LOVED Aulani and will definitely be back! In fact, we've already booked our next stay! :)
Some how I never have much luck with the check-in process. Waiting in the Elite member line, I was asked if I was an Elite member (I am btw). Don't mean to sound arrogant either, but the person that assisted us failed to acknowledge Elite status and didn't bother to add our parking fee to our bill and our garage access to our room keys as is the norm.
Other than the check-in process, though, our stay was good as always. We had a premium ocean view room on the top, 24th floor of the Kealohilani Tower. The room was spotless and had nice, modern appointments. Much better than the last room we had in the Paoakalani Tower. There were a few minor blemishes, such as chips in the soap holder in the bathroom and an obvious patch on the wall in our room, but that was minor. The a/c was also a bit louder than the last room we had, while also being a little sporadic, but it cooled the room fine and wasn't too loud.
Unfortunately we were unable to get let check out because the property was filled to capacity. However, check out was smooth and pleasant. We had the same employee assist us this time as we did the last time we stayed. He was super friendly and courteous. He even went above and beyond the line of duty and waived our parking fee so we could walk around and enjoy Waikiki for a little longer. I only wish I could remember his name so that I could mention his always excellent service in Marriott's internal surveys.
Despite the hit or miss service, we will most likely return to this property for what is becoming our annual staycation. With the price of the premium ocean view room, though, perhaps we should consider Ihilani next time?
Stayed here again with the fiancee from 10/01/11 to 10/02/11. Like our previous stay, we had another free category 4 certificate from Marriott Rewards. And like last time, we also stayed in a one bedroom suite. If you stay here, the one bedroom suite is the way to go. It is the only room type that has a bathtub/shower combination rather than a tiny shower stall.
Unlike the previous stay, however, we were on the 15th floor rather than the 3rd floor. As a result, road noise wasn't as bad as our previous stay but was still quite pronounced. Our room was also next to the elevators, which meant that we could hear the elevators traveling up and down most of the time. Like our previous stay, the AC units were also noisy, though this time the unit in the bedroom shut off after a few hours and would not turn back on.
The AC, though, was not the only part of the room that had issues. When I opened one of the cabinets above our microwave, the door fell completely off. The sliding door in the bedroom also would not stay on its track. Nearly all the power strips in the room were also unplugged, which wouldn't be an issue, but one of the outlets was behind the bed. We did not notify the hotel of any of these issues, though, as we discovered them after we had returned from dinner and walking around, meaning it was already quite late.
Despite the issues, the staff at the Courtyard Waikiki Beach remains just about the best that we've ever dealt with. Like our last visit, the staff was extremely friend, courteous, and quick. They even remembered who we were when we went down to check out. The staff is also very personable and always talked story with us.
All-in-all, we had another decent stay. This property is growing on us and we love the location. However, the hotel could be a lot better. Many of the issues could be fixed with better care or even a renovation. Better seals on the balcony doors and the use of split AC systems could also help greatly to reduce noise.
|A list of places my fiancee and I love to go to for special occasion!|
Honolulu, HI, Vereinigte StaatenYelper seit
Juli 2011Dinge, die ich mag
food, travel, photography, & technology.Hier bin ich häufig anzutreffen
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I'm working, sleeping, stuck in traffic, or stuffing my face!Warum du meine Beiträge unbedingt lesen solltest
because I love to share my experiences! Good and bad... ;)Meine zweitliebste Website Was ich zuletzt gelesen habe
Alan Wong's Blue TomatoMein erstes Konzerterlebnis
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a truly great bowl of ramen!Erzähl's nicht weiter, aber...
I'm a total geekMeine neueste Entdeckung
Kua'aina finally accepts credit cards!