We are looking to use our vacation points next year for one of these two properties and wanted an insider opinion on any preferences. We will be with a 9 year old boy and my parents. We are all acitve and in very good health, we travel often and well, and aren't chronic complainer types - we go with the flow no matter what. We have been to Maui before, so we have an idea of what Hawaii is like. We like to eat out and cook in, and enjoy the pool and beach. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Kauai Beach are converted hotel units and have a small microwave, small fridge and small dishwasher so cooking is limited. No w/d in room and you have to pay to use the hotels. The site is part hotel so you have all the hotel amenities. The pool is really big and the beach is adjacent to a harbor and park. I hove found broken glass while walking on the beach and this makes me uncomfortable.
Ko'Olina was built to be a timeshare and has a full kitchen and washer and dryer in the room (assuming you get at least a 1bd). It has some restuarants on site and you can walk or shuttel to more. It is on Ocean Pools which are neat. One can swim or play in the ocean without the fear of sharks and such. The pools are nice and have a side with a beach that kids like. There is a paved walkway along the pools that goes to the harbor at one end and the Marriott hotel at the other.
Another factor is air to Oahu is usually less than air to Kauai. Depending on when you will go, Kauai has more weather to worry about in winter. One way or the other they are both worth going to and you should have a good time.
The Ko Olina resort is a great family area. The man made bay is wonderful for kids to romp and play and not worry about the surf, its also wonderful for snorkeling. They have planned activities that you can join such as yoga, nature walks, etc. There are many walking/jogging paths connecting the hotels to the resort area and golf nearby. However, the the new Disney resort has opened there and I have no idea how this has changed things. You have choices for restaurants right there at the hotels and you can easily walk to them. Waikiki is about 20/30 minutes away.
If you choose Kauai you would probably enjoy the Waiohai Beach club on Poipu instead of the other. It is next to a very nice public beach and calm bay area. Great for snorkeling. It is a timeshare resort as well and laid out pretty much the same as Ko Olina just a little older. It was very nice when we were there but to be fair it has been a while. I have no idea how its built up now. I would suggest that you Google earth both resorts and get a" birds eye" view!
We really enjoyed the resort area at Ko Olina, but if you want something a little more low key then go for Kauai.
You have made a great choice! I have been to a lot of Marriotts both in US and overseas and I have yet to find one I enjoyed more than Ko Olina. I have been to Oahu and also Kauai. IMO Kauai is more for your leisure vacation with very little planned, mostly staying close to hotel and exploring scenery whereas Oahu has more touristy areas. Not to say you can't find things to do in Kauai, but a lot of the island is uninhabited or private residential and can only be seen by helicopter, catamaran view or hiking. With a 9-year old I think Ko Olina is your best bet. Have fun and enjoy.
Ko Olina is a very nice place and has a lot to offer right there in the area, including the new Disney Resort, but it is far removed from most anything else on Oahu. Most travel will be on H1, the most congested piece of highway in the US. You can make Waikiki in 20-30 minutes at 3am, maybe, otherwise count on at least an hour.
The time of year may be a factor on Kauai (weather wise) but mostly on the North Shore, Princeville/Hanalei, area. The East side should not be a problem and if you are still concerned the suggestion about the property in Poipu is a good one, climate would be just like Waikiki.
While I haven't been to either property, it really depends on what type of vacation you're looking for too. Kauai is very laid back and has tons of outdoor activities, but not much night life, shopping, dining, etc. Oahu, on the other hand, is home to Honolulu, which by definition is a large city. There is much more to do on Oahu, including outdoor activities, shopping, dining, night life, etc. but it is also more crowded and busy. That being said, though far away from the activity centers of downtown Honolulu & Waikiki, Ko'olina is a very peaceful, laid back area that I enjoy very much (despite being an Oahu resident).