I have never vacationed in Hawaii, and am thinking about taking a Hawaiian vacation next Spring. I think we are interested in exploring the Big Island for some adventure, as well as one other island. For the 'other' island, we are interested more in what the resort has to offer than the surroundings. As a first timer, I need help, and would appreciate any answers to the following questions:
1) Your favorite Hawaiian Marriott (any brand in Marriott family) resort, and why?
2) Interested in Wailea Beach Resort on Maui. Anyone stayed there? Feedback, please.
3) I've read some stories here about folks who were very disappointed in their room location, ie. view of dumpsters, or ocean view ended up being only if they stood on a barstool at the corner of the balcony, etc. Our stay would be a paid stay, not a points stay. I see room rates for 'Ocean View' (lowest rate), 'Ocean Front' (medium rate) and 'Ocean Facing View' (highest rate of the three), so I would assume that 'Ocean Facing View' would be the best, but how can one be reasonably certain that one will get the room with the view (or something fairly similar) in the photo on the hotel's website?
Your input is much appreciated.
I stayed at the FS Marriott on Ka'anapali Beach, which now has a new name and is a Marriott Vacation Resort, and enjoyed it very much. The common areas were great! Beautiful lobby, pool, beach, restaurant. Rooms were standard FS Marriott rooms then. Not certain if it was remodeled when it became a vacation resort. The Hyatt was next store, and also had beautiful grounds with Asian antiques, and a great restaurant. Between the two properties there was a lot to do. Went into Lahina a couple of times for dinner but restaurants were very expensive. When my dad went to Hawaii to get remarried, and was on a tight budget, I got him one of our corporate Condos there, much more reasonable than a hotel. They had a happy hour with drinks and shorties on the lanai, and there were some inexpensive restaurants nearby.
I would be interested in hearing feedback on the Wailea property on Maui also. We had the review a short time ago from a very disappointed poster. They are running the 'special' there and wanted to go, but would like to hear some 'good things' about the location and service before traveling all that way.
I wonder if you are referring to the post, http://www.rewards-insiders.marriott.com/thread/10625, where the poster, a Platinum, not only didn't get a room upgrade, but the front desk team member didn't even pretend to check on the availability of a room for upgrade. And then the rewards member was ultimately assigned a room in what was referred to as the basement (with view of a grass embankment, I believe?) Not a good story. I think I even read somewhere where another poster stated that they received a room with a view of a parking lot, and a dumpster. We don't know for sure all of the details of their experience, but regardless, I agree with you that I wouldn't want to travel all that way, spend the time and money, and arrive with the expectation that I am going to be receiving a room with a view that looks just like the room photos on the website, only to end up like one of these unfortunate members. In looking at the room rates for the Wailea property, I noted three different rates/descriptions for Ocean View, non-suite rooms, going from least expensive to most expensive:
If I reserve a deluxe ocean front guest room, according to the photo of the deluxe ocean front guest room, this is what I would expect, and nothing less, agreed? But there is no photo for Ocean Facing View, Balcony. I can only assume that at the higher price, it must be better. With what I read both here and on the hotel website, it can get a bit confusing. I called C/S and asked about it, and was told that there should absolutely be no surprises, that what you reserve is what you can expect to get, and yes, according to the pictures, absolutely. Made me feel good, but from all that we've read, we know that once you get to a property, you are at the mercy of that property. In my case, I wouldn't expect an upgrade (and that's just me), but I would expect to get the beautiful view that I think I am paying for (not going on points).
I too have been checking out the Wailea Beach Resort on Maui. The "redeem 4 nights, get 3 additional" promotion they've got there right now is very intresting to me. The thing that frustrates me is this...
When my wife and I travel, we typically pay up for the best ocean view room. The wife loves to set on the balcony in the morning having her coffee and watching the ocean. So to do what I typically do at the Waliea, I have to use my "points" for the 7 nights at the base room rate, then pay an additional $150 per night to have the ocean facing view. And I'm fine with the idea of paying more to get the good view even on a "points" stay. BUT, if I were paying cash the difference in cost from the base room to the ocean facing room is only $120. And if I use my AAA Card, the upgrade rate is just $102. So why the heck are they charging $150 per night upgrade fee when it would only be $102 to me if I were paying cash?
I thought the "points" we get are supposed to "reward" us for being loyal Marriott customers. Why do they penalize us (cash and room views) for being the kind of customer that Marriott seems to want us to be? I don't quite get it I guess....
All Marriott and RC properties in Hawaii are in excellent locations and have great amenities.
As to views,most all hotel and timeshare properties of all brands in Hawaii classify and price their rooms (whether in dollars or points) by view with respect to the waterfront. If the classification says, "garden view", you will have a view of landscaping; if the classification says, "island or mountain view", that is what you will see; if the classificaiton says, "ocean view", you will have at least a partial view of the ocean; and if the classification says, "ocean front", you will directly face the ocean and may or may not see much of anything else.
My preference is "ocean view" because it generally means you will have a view of both the ocean and some surrounding scenery.
Keep in mind that while Hawaii is nice year-round, the highest visitor traffic is in summer and over the holidays. I also expect that the Wailea Marriott fall 2012 MR promotion will generate extra visitors to that property.
As to upgrades to better view categories, that depends upon availability of better views and whether you do point upgrades or depend upon an upper tier elite MR card. If available, using points would give you a confirmed upgrade, whereas additional available upgrades for a property would - if available - be granted first to Premier Platinums, followed by Platinums and then Golds and Silvers.
While I suppose there could be some less desirable views around some properties, there are not many of those. One year, for example, we stayed in a beautiful "island view" room at Maui Ocean Club - from which you could look out at a great view of the West Maui Mountains, or - if you wish - you could look straight down at the resort entry driveway. It all depends on perspective: Whether you see the glass half full or half empty. Frankly, the beauty of the mountains overshadowed everything else.
Thank you for your input and perspective. I do appreciate all that you wrote. You know, yesterday, as I was looking at an aerial view of a property, the light bulb went on for me regarding the varying ocean views, and I felt pretty stupid. The property was the shape of a squared off horse shoe, and it finally hit me that the rooms at the end of each leg that directly faced the ocean were the 'ocean front' rooms (duh for me), whereas the rooms on the inside of the 'shoe' would have an angled view of the ocean, so it's all making a little more sense to me now. Sometimes I think 'ocean view' might mean partial view of the ocean, partial view of the building, but as you expressed, it depends on perspective. For me personally, I want the full ocean view - or ocean front. I think that I would be willing to pay full price for that, as it would seem to be more of a guarantee for me (as a mere Gold, and who knows, maybe a Silver in the future, no expectation of ever being Platinum), and then save my points for the luxury hotels elsewhere, where the room and the property location means more than the view. And I'm earning points on the Hawaii spend, so it's all okay for me.
As far as the Wailea property, we wouldn't be going until next year, but I can't find the fall bonus anywhere anymore. I wonder if they sold out.
I have to admit, some of the properties look rather dated, but hopefully they have been renovated where it counts, and as you say are well located and have great amenities.
We were thinking of staying on Hawaii near Kona the first 4-5 days to visit some friends and see some of the scenery in the north, plus the volcano national park. Have you or anyone else stayed at the Courtyard or the Marriott there? I'm wondering about those properties, and how easy it would be to travel from that area over to the volcanoes and back.
Thanks again for your input.
Hi all- don't overlook Kauai. It is the most Hawaiian of all the islands. Buildings are not much taller than a palm tree and you can actually find a beach with nobody on it. The Waiohai Beach Club is in a great area (Poipu), usually sunny all year. Have not stayed at the property, but took the "Vacation Club" tour while staying near by. Beautiful...and a great protected beach. Link below picture...
I have a buy one, get one free voucher for first class airfare on Alaska Air that I need to purchase before it expires. They don't fly to Asia. We also want to combine our trip with a visit to our friends in Kona, hence the interest in the Big Island and it's neighbor, Maui.
I like it a lot, but probably not for universal reasons. I fly to WA and ID to visit family often, and also enjoy escaping to the Puget Sound/BC area (not often enough, however!), plus Alaska flies in/out of the airport where I live (Fresno), so it's a perfect fit for me. They also serve complimentary wine from Pacific Northwest vineyards on all flights too, which I enjoy. They do fly in and out of the east, Boston, NY, DC, Atlanta, but only to Seattle/Portland (their hubs) from these originating airports (DC flies to LA also, I think). And they fly non-stop to 5 Hawaiian destinations from Seattle/Portland, Bay Area and San Diego. So they are a good fit for me, but not for everyone.
Just did a wine tasting on my last cruise, and the Cellar Master said that in his opinion the best wines were from Oregon because the weather encouraged them to develop to their full potential.
As for Alaska Airlines, are they completely independent or do they work with partner airlines? I may want to ttry them one of these days, and just want to make sure the points get added to an existing account. I have never been to Oregon, and all the talke about the properties there is intriguing, plus some are in the cat 1-4 category. I may try something new, like Alaska Air to Portland and use up my 3 Cat 1-4 certificates.
They partner with the same airlines that Delta partners with: Air France, KLM, Qantas and the like (AA and BA too.) Being new to airline mileage programs, I have a lot to learn. I was under the impression that one could combine miles, but it appears, no. I can't use my Delta miles to combine with Alaska miles to get a free Alaska flight and vice versa. Apparently all it means is that if I am Jonesing for Alaska miles, I can use my Alaska number on a Delta flight, or vice versa, if I am looking to accrue Delta miles. Still learning.
p.s. was just doing a little reading on Icelandic Air for a possible trip to Iceland, and it turns out they are partners with Alaska Air. Unfortunately no Marriotts in Iceland? So will be stuck with Hilton, Radisson or something local. Any recommendations from anyone having traveled to Iceland?
Marriott and Hawaii go together. Lots of choices and all are excellent. Yes you get what you pay for in terms of view. Be careful with ocean view versus ocean front. Personally not a big deal to me since I infrequently find myself in the room during the day. The best part is being up a few stories so you can leave the windows open at night to smell and hear the ocean. If you have never been be sure to do a few nights in Honolulu. (Kolina is really nice) Yes be sure to go to Pearl Harbor. (everyone should be required) Then spend the rest of your trip on one or two of the out-islands depending on how long you have.
If you are a golfer and really want a treat check out the Aloha Team Classic Pro/Am, a three day amateur tournament in Maui that includes playing one day with LPGA Tour Professionals. What better way to enjoy golf. World class courses in Maui, fantastic food, great company and all the Aloha Spirit found only in Maui. Marriott Hotel, Marriott Vacation Club and the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua (Alohat Team Classic Pro/Am Accommodations Partner) are all options during your visit. www.AlohaTeamClassic.org Call or email for additional information.
Sorry for the confusion. There is no business here. The Aloha Team Classic Pro/Am is a charity fundraiser held by an all volunteer organization. Any money raised is all given to agencies across Maui that support youth based activities. Maui is now home and Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to visit. You are in the US but like no where else in the 50 states. Just looking to share our thoughts and love for the island with others. The Aloha Team Classic is just one of a number of unique experiences that people can enjoy while here in the islands. The best part is that Marriott is well represented and we have always been a Marriott fan. Between lots of Marriott Hotel stays when I was working to the 4 weeks of vacation club that we own, Marriott has always been our choice.
Alaska Airlines - most that fly it enjoy it as much as you can enjoy flying today. Low price with nice service from their inflight and gate teams. Really good options to and from the islands to the west coast. Definetly worth a look.
Have used them once from Honolulu to Bellingham, non-stop. Planes are 737 which are a little small and slower than the bigger planes. Coach was a little tight and don't forget to bring your own food. But then again it was $178 oneway and it did arrive safely and on-time.
Thanx Kapalua-Dream for the info on Alaska, and on golf in Hawaii. Will pass it to my sister as she is the golfer. My trip to Hawaii was with my sister as she made her sales numbers and was not married at the time, so brought me along to socialize with the wives of her colleagues. They were all golfers and went golfing as one of their outings. Don't remember which course it was, but she really loved it.
On my Norway cruise, met some folks who live near St. Andrews, so was trying to get some info, on how I get get her out on that course. Makes a great bday or xmas present.
thanks - appreciate your passing on the info
in regards to St. Andrews. we did that trip two summers ago. to get reserved times on the Old Course you have to book with Old Course Experience. otherwise when you go there you put your name in the evening before for a drawing for a tee time then next day. it is called the lottery and there is no charge to be in the lottery. you just pay if you are lucky enough to get a spot. by the way it is worth the try as it is the most amazing golf experiences.
if the folkes you met are golfers and they have a membership then they can take guests out. if they are golfers they will know how to get onto the course.
by the way the old course is closed every sunday. it becomes a public park
I most certainly agree with all of you Alaska Airlines fans. I lived in Nome, Alaska for 10 years where - of course - Alaska is the home-town airline. Nowadays - amazing as it may seem - Alaska Airlines provides more flights from the mainland to Hawaii than any other airline (and that includes Hawaiian Airlines)! We now live near San Diego from where Alaska Airlines flies two round-trips to Maui and one to Honolulu every day.
Incidentally, are you aware of Alaska Airlines $99 annual companion fare available to holders of the Alaska Airlines/Bank of America credit card? Every year, you can buy a round-trip ticket to anywhere Alaska Airlines flies - including Alaska and Hawaii - and get a second ticket for $99 plus tax for a companion travelling on the same itinerary. For info, look at the Bank of America website under airline affinity credit cards.
Yes, some of us are aware of the $99 companion ticket, and have been lamenting the fact that as of tomorrow, Aug. 1st., Alaska will no longer issue $99 companion tickets for first class airfare. So if you are holding on to a $99 companion ticket voucher and want to use it to fly first class, better complete the purchase today before that aspect of the companion ticket benefit forever goes away.
From what I'm understanding, it can still be purchased for first class after August 1, if the voucher was issued before August first, and that you will be able to get a First Class ticket until that voucher's expiration date. Better check with them to make sure, though.
1. Our favorite would be the Kauai Marriott. We booked a "Garden View" room on points, and were upgraded to a great Ocean View room. A close second would be the Waikaloa Marriott on the Big Island. Once again, we booked a "Garden View" room, but were upgraded to a fantastic "Ocean Front" room. If you like sunsets, this is the resort for you! Maybe we were just lucky with the availability of the better rooms when we went.
2. We've also stayed at the Wailea Marriott on points. Not knowing any better, we used points for the "Ocean View" room on the upper floor. Great room, location. Their "use point for 4 nights, get 3 nights free" promotion does look intriguing.
3. Ask for a higher room in their "tower". we really loved the view.
The best property in the Hawaiian isles that can only be The Ritz-Carlton on Maui. If you want laid back pure luxury then the The Ritz-Carlton is it. JW on Oahu is very nice too. The problem with the JW is that it is on Oahu, enough said.
Now a middle of the road Marriott would be the Waikoloa Resort on the Kolala Coast, Big Island that is not on the list. And, for good reason. Marriott Waikoloa Resort it maybe a 3 ½ stars out of 5. Service leaves something to be desired, pool but not fancy, nice but not fantastic beach but ask the hotel and they will do about anything to make you happy. Restaurant, forget it, but within 3 miles are some of the best in the islands, Ruth Chris’, Roy’s, Tommy Bahama's, etc. Up the road to Waimea don't leave without going to Merrimans, likely the best restaurant on all the islands.
But, if you really like to get out and have adventure and fun you cannot beat the Big Island. It has everything all the other islands have and more. Volcano Park, rain forests, fantastic waterfalls, surfing, black sands beaches, green sands beach, the top of Mauna Kea (snow too), Waipio Valley, whale watching in Feb and Mar, great hiking, zip lines, off road adventures and great biking. Five world class golf courses within 4 miles. One of the best is the Mauna Lani course, which was the first course the PGA Skins played on. Lush green grass with jet black lava all arournd.
Little known areas like the North Kohala coast, Hawaiian Paradise Park and Hawaiian Beaches on the east side of the island, Captain Cook and the south west side of the island. And don’t forget the Kona Coffee. Not much more that you could want.
As they say ‘Try it, you’ll like it”. We love the Big Island, we have been coming to that island at least once a year for over 20 years and we still find new things to see, do and enjoy.
Finally, any place in Hawaii is better than most any other place.
Our sunset view at the Marriott Waikoloa
This picture from the beach at Marriott Waikoloa
Sunset atop of Mauna Kea
Well it is hard for me to disagree about the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua. Unfortunately we have never stayed there, but have in fact spent many, many hours there. Reason being we live about a 5 iron from the hotel. As I am working in my office this moring I actually look out the window to see the hotel and the sun rising behind it. Fantastic hotel with a great pool area. We have frequented the pool often. Kai is one of the best sushi restaurants on the island. Banyan Tree one of the best restaurants anywhere plus it has great views. Even the hotel restaurant, the Garden Terrace has a unbelievable breakfast buffet. But the really best part are the people that work there. From the GM to the bellhops they are all driven to provide the absolute best service. And located in Kapalua it is cooler (low 80's versus high 80's) and much greener than other spots on the island. Yes we get more rain, but most of that is in the evenings or early morning. And we definetly see fewer people, yet still close enough to everything that the rest of Maui has to offer.
Rain in Maui is very much related to where you are at and how the trade winds are blowing. The trades come from the east / northeast so they blow the moisture on island and it goes up the mountain slopes where it condenses as the temp gets lower and thus rains. If the trades are blowing very strong then the rain will actually blow over the tops of the lower mountains and thus we will get some rain on the west side. The taller the mountains the less rain.
The reason it rains usually early morning and early evening is that during the day the overall temps go up as the sun hits the island so the condensation level goes up.
So Hana gets lots of rain. Kapalua can get morning and evening rains since the mountains to the east are not too tall. Wailea is usually very dry since the mountain to the east is very tall. Same with Kaanapali and Lahaina. The interesting part is if it is raining in one area it is usually dry just a few miles down the road. Obviously if we get a large rain system that covers the islands it will be wet ever where, but this is actually very rare.
Other bit of weather related info is that the temps are usually very stable. Rarely much change. Day time temsp are - winter low 70s to low 80s, summer mid to upper 70s to mid to upper 80s. Lows get down to low 60's as the lowest and that is in the very early morning which makes for great sleeping. In the summer the lows again in the middle of the night get down to low 70's upper 60's. It is very rare for us to get much humidity since the trades keep it down.
We live in Kapalua and have no air conditioning or heat. Couple of ceiling fans are all we need. We decided on Kapalua since the temps are usually a few degrees cooler with the trades and the additional rain we get keeps us green all year long. Green is what paradise is suppose to look like. Besides it is good for the golf courses.
On a side note, the Ritz is not as pricey as you might think. Some of the hotels down in Wailea are actually more expensive; ie Four Seasons & Grand Wailea. Easier access to the south end from the airport and hotter / dryer attract those that only have one week and want to be guarenteed to come home with a dark tan. We think anyone coming will enjoy either end of the island, but we think that ultimately the Kapalua area will leave you with more of the paradise feeling but that is just our opinion.
Here is a picture out our front window as well as some other views we thought you might like.
The Big Island's Marriott is not the best of the Hawaiian Marriott's. It is very nice and is located at the Waikoloa Village Resort on the Kohala Coast. The best area on the Big Island to stay. As far as exploring you cannot beat the Big Island. My wife and I have been going to the Big Island for over 20 years about once a year.
If you want adventure then the Big Island is it. There is everything that you have on the other islands and Much more. Please check out our pictures of the Big Island under Hawaii in the photo section.
And have fun!!