Hello everyone, I'm having trouble deciding what hotel to stay in for our honeymoon in Hawaii. I've read some reviews on Hawaii hotels, but they were 3 years old. We are going next year in August for about 10 days. It doesn't matter which Island, I just want to have a great honeymoon without feeling I made the wrong choice of hotel.
Our top priorities are:
Good beach where we can swim that's very close to the hotel
Close to a area with restaurants and shops
Newer or recently renovated hotel
Please help me guys! I've read reviews on trip advisor and are lot of them are silly; if the ice isn't cold enough they give the hotel one star. I know you guys are way more knowledgeable...
welcome Bighomie. I'm sure the master of Hawaii, kharada46, will answer your post very soon as he lives there and can give you the insight as to the hotels closest to the best restaurants, best beaches, etc...
My personal experiences with two hotels I would recommend:
JW Marriott Ko Olina, Oahu keep in mind this was one of the best views of the ocean and great pool and private beach lagoon area but this was before Disneyworld went in next door. I have heard on the board that it is still a very secluded hotel and quiet in spite of this
Kauai Marriott, Kalapaki Beach: This hotel offers drink packages which will more than likely save you some money. Kauai is very secluded and not touristy so you won't find the same things here, but if you are looking for nice beach area next to hotel this could be the place. The pool is awesome as well, very big with 3 whirlpools attached, two you can reach without entering the pool and one you have to enter through the pool.
I hope this is a start to planning your wonderful honeymoon trip. Best wishes and God bless your new marriage.
The water is still clear. A lagoon is just an area separated by a larger body of water by reefs or sand banks. The lagoons are more shallow but still clear water. The good thing about them is you don't have motorboats or jet skis like you might see close to other beaches. Hope this helps.
Let's alert kharada46 to the post otherwise it might not be seen!!!!
My favorite Hawaii resort has been and always will be Maui and specifically https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hnmmu-marriotts-maui-ocean-club-lahaina-and-napili-towers/, Kaanapali Beach is awesome and the area is full of great spots to eat in Lahania. Staying in the Napili/Lahaina Towers you can get a 1 BR villa with a full kitchen to use and the grills make great spots to fix your own locally caught fish, oh so good.
Now if you want to be in an excellent hotel, the JW as mentioned by madmax is an incredible place. kharada46 was recently known to have used the resort and stayed there so he will chime in with more information and it will all be spot on!
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding and honeymoon. Keep us aware of your ideas as this site has a multitude of excellent folks to provide the best information around.
Thanks iahflyr for alerting kharada46 to this post. I don't know how to add the "contact card" as you did in your post.
Yes I forgot about the villas. That would be a great move if you would like to save some on eats and spend on other luxuries by fixing some of your own meals, or just like the ambiance.
Aloha thebighomie!! As IAHFLYR & madmax have said, I live in Hawaii. Specifically, I am from the island of Oahu and currently reside in Honolulu. Alright, so your top priorities are:
Our top priorities are:
Good beach where we can swim that's very close to the hotel
Close to a area with restaurants and shops
Newer or recently renovated hotel
Your best bet for this wish list will be to stay on Oahu. Kauai and Maui are both nice, but there isn't a whole lot to do on Kauai besides enjoy its natural beauty. Maui is up and coming, and feels like Oahu 20 years ago. There are decent shopping and dining to be had on Maui, but where it's really at is Oahu. Oahu is home to the Ala Moana Shopping Center, which is the largest open air mall in the nation and filled with national, global, and local stores. There are many other options, though, ranging from flea markets & farmer markets to malls. Oahu is also the culinary epicenter of the state and is home to pretty much all of the Hawaii Regional Cuisine celebrity chefs. Need suggestions? Just ask and I'll be happy to help!
Anyway, onto the hotel! Oahu is home to 4 Marriott properties: the JW Marriott Ihilani at Ko Olina, the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club, the Waikiki Beach Marriott, and the Courtyard Waikiki Beach. Three of these are close to the beach. The Ihilani and Ko Olina Beach Club are both on beautiful, secluded, but man-made lagoons in the Ko Olina resort. As said earlier, Ihilani shares its lagoon with Disney's Aulani, though the lagoon isn't packed like Waikiki Beach. The Ko Olina Beach club is at another lagoon, but is much farther from everything else in the resort. The Waikiki Beach Marriott is also close to a beach, but it's across the street. From the entrance of the property, it shouldn't take even 5 minutes to hit the sand though.
Of those three properties, two recently receive renovations. The JW Marriott Ihilani just completed a renovation with rooms being updated and even refreshes to public spaces. The property now has a fire pit near the pool and a Starbucks in the lobby. The Waikiki Beach Marriott, on the other hand, had one tower renovated, while the other just saw minor updates. If you choose the Waikiki Beach Marriott, request a room in the Kealohilani Tower for the most updated rooms. I've stayed at both of these properties this year and have experienced a variety of rooms over the past couple of years. Here's my albums for both properties:
Now, the biggest difference between the two is location! The JW Marriott Ihilani is located in the exclusive Ko Olina resort on Oahu's leeward coast. This master plan resort features its own golf course, has a small shopping complex comprised mainly of restaurants, and mostly timeshares. It's quiet, romantic, and much less crowded than Waikiki. You can actually see the stars out there! But there isn't much to do within walking distance, so a car is a must. It's located 20-30 minutes away from downtown Honolulu during non-peak traffic hours. During peak traffic hours, you're looking at a 1-2 hour drive.
The Waikiki Beach Marriott, on the other hand, is on the far east end of Kalakaua Ave, which is the main drag through Waikiki. You'll have a plethora of excellent shopping and dining options within walking or short driving distance of the property, but Waikiki is definitely big city feel. Lots of noise, tons of crowds, and near perpetual congestion. Being on the far east end of Kalakaua means the Waikiki Beach Marriott is quieter for Waikiki hotels, but most of the action is at least a 10 minute walk away. I like to go to both properties, but it really depends what you're looking for.
As far as the beaches go, in my opinion, Ko Olina is better for swimming than Waikiki. The sand is great and the water is calm because it's a sheltered lagoon. And there's 4 lagoons total. Most will be pretty empty. Waikiki beach gets VERY crowded and isn't all that big in certain areas. However, there's many dining and drinking options very close by. However, neither beach have great fish to see if that's what you're looking for. Your best bet for that would be Hanauma Bay, which is closer to Waikiki, but also gets very crowded.
As you can tell, I can go on and on, but I'm going to go out on a limb and recommend the JW Marriott Ihilani. It is a great property that is quite romantic. The property has enormous rooms standard, large balconies on each room, good on-site dining, a good spa (though I've never been), and great services. A new one is the ability to reserve the fire pit for a private dinner. There's special menus with one served room service style, and another that comes with its own server. Of course, these meals can also be had in your room. Next door is of course Disney's Aulani and all of its facilities. You won't be able to use the pools, but you can go to the restaurants and spa. In my opinion, if you're looking for a spa treatment, go to Aulani rather than Ihilani. Aulani's spa is Hawaiian themed rather than European like Ihilani's, and the hydrotherapy garden is co-ed so you can enjoy it with your spouse, while Ihilani's spa (sounds like it) is more segregated.
If you're a sushi lover, might have to sway your decision to the Waikiki Beach Marriott though... the property is home to the awesome Sansei Waikiki by local celebrity chef DK Kodoma! Main attraction there is sushi! Traditional and contemporary varieties, as well as other great dishes like dungeness crab ramen with black truffle butter dashi. I've got a review with pictures in Insiders if you're interested
Anyhow, I hope this all helps! Please let me know if you need any further explanations, pictures, tips, etc. for the properties, dining, etc. Congratulations & Happy planning!! Enjoy yourself and the process. My wife and I just got married at the JW Marriott Ihilani and are looking forward to our honeymoon in November
madmax is correct. The water here is clearer than in Waikiki. It's hard to tell here, but underwater you'll see that better. The lagoons are shallow too, but goes deeper the farther out you go. Most of Waikiki is pretty shallow, and the beach is crowded with surfers and canoes. Anyway, I think these pictures might help:
Here's the lagoon #1 as seen from JW's property.
And here's the same lagoon see at sunset from Aulani's property.
I can recommend the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort. There are two beaches immediately adjacent to the hotel that are beautiful. To explain, the hotel is located on a rocky point. But immediately on each side of the rocky point are beautiful beaches. Here is a photo of one, Ululu (I think is the name):
The Marriott is in the background. We spent a week and never saw more than a dozen or so people on the beach. There is a beach on the opposite side of the hotel, but never made it there!
I do not know when the hotel was renovated, but our room was really large and very nice
Room 4616 - super comfortable king bed
The "best" part of our room was the balcony and view from the balcony:
The resort fee (think it was $30 per day) included self parking which was very convenient.
The resort has at least three pools, the Serenity pool - pictured above - excludes children which my wife and I really appreciated.
Possibly not a concern for you, but I had to do some work while on vacatin was the internet connection and speed. It was excellent with download speed of nearly 5 mbs!
If you want to spoil youself, you can "rent" one of the floating cabanas for the day for (I think) $100. They are pretty awesome.
One "caution" about half of the rooms in the resort are in low, two or three story buildings. About half are in a tower. The rooms (ours included) were in the low buildings which had a much more "Hawaiian feel."
Our room had a small refrigerator and full size coffee maker wich we appreciated. There is a small shopping mall adjacent to the resort and we used Whalers General Store nearly daily. They had "everything" and the prices were not bad. We purchased Kona coffee and breakfast things to enjoy when we woke up - on our balcony of course - rather than going to one of the restaurants for breakfast.
Any questions about this one property, let me know.
Glad to see another Lakers fan in MI. I am optomistic about the season. I like Blake and Farmar - young and pretty fast. I think the addition of Kaman is also good. Hope that Nash's playing time is managed so that he is as effective as possible. And...Kobe...well he will do his share for sure.
Not to take over the OP's thread, but this was very helpful! We will be spending 7 nights at the Wailea Marriott and 4 nights at the Waikiki Marriott in a month. Thanks to the various posters for the photos, commentary, etc. FYI. We start our trip at the Manhattan Beach Marriott in CA for a little Breeders Cup action at Santa Anita before heading over to Hawaii...
What a great time to be going to Hawaii. I'm sure you will enjoy your trip as much as the rest of us have and as much as thebighomie will. I'm glad you have found this thread and other information from insiders helpful in your trip planning. Have a wonderful week of paradise.
Just to "help" everyone's decisions, heres a few interesting links:
Top 5 favorite places to watch a sunset: HAWAII Magazine Facebook poll results by Maureen O'Connell | HAWAII Magazine | Hawaii news, events, places, dining, travel tips & deals, photos | Oahu, Maui, Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai: The Best of Hawaii
5 must-see Oahu historic sites you haven't been to yet by Catherine E. Toth | HAWAII Magazine | Hawaii news, events, places, dining, travel tips & deals, photos | Oahu, Maui, Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai: The Best of Hawaii
Seeing Stars: A night on Mauna Kea volcano by Derek Paiva | HAWAII Magazine | Hawaii news, events, places, dining, travel tips & deals, photos | Oahu, Maui, Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai: The Best of Hawaii
Point Taken: Exploring Oahu's remote Kaena Point by Catherine E. Toth | HAWAII Magazine | Hawaii news, events, places, dining, travel tips & deals, photos | Oahu, Maui, Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai: The Best of Hawaii
Site seems pretty touristy, but I assure you it's a good site. It's affiliated with Honolulu Magazine, which is how I came across the above articles. Catherine Toth is also a well known local blogger/writer/educator, so her articles are reliable.
And for you adventure seekers...
you da man kharada46. Thanks for your knowledge and assistance for all the newbies who have not yet been to Hawaii and also for those of us who want to go back and see and do more.
I was there December 2011 to Kauai for my 40th wedding anniversary (ha you're not far behind right?????) and also back in 2005 when Marriott rewards graced me with enough points to grab an island hopper package to Maui and Oahu. Both times it was marvelous and made me want to come back. I would like to visit Oahu again and possibly the Big Island. It probably won't be next year but whenever we can fit it in, I will be looking for more advice.
Oh right be hind indeed! Congrats on over 40 years though! That's truly great to hear
Sounds like a great plan! Admittedly, I haven't been to the neighbor islands in quite some time, but am itching to go! Maui or the Big Island... maybe next year? We'll see. I do hope you're able to come back soon! And as always, hit me up for any help/advice when you're ready!
thanks kharada46 I will certainly do that. If you do go to the Big Island next year, don't forget to post your journey. I know nothing about it except for the volcano. Best wishes on your upcoming marriage...sneaking up quickly but I'm sure you are ready for it to be behind you to start a new chapter in your life.
Message was edited by: madmax sorry kharada1000. I got my sentences mixed up there a bit. What I meant to say was ...years sneak up quickly but I'm sure you will enjoy this next chapter of your life. Make a little more sense????? brain fade there I guess.
I sure will. I'll be sure to post reports from my upcoming trip as well! Still have to update my JW Marriott Ihilani album with a couple of pictures from our wedding too! But yup, makes sense! I'm hoping our neighbor island hop will be for our 1st anniversary. We'll see, money is tight and our honeymoon certainly will not help!
For a little more Oahu help, here's Ko'Olina as seen from the hills above (a friend of mine took this picture)
Far left (3 towers) is the Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club, the next two (smaller/similar looking) towers are another timeshare/apartments, the brown is Aulani, and the far right is Ihilani. Very sparse compared to the ultra cramped Waikiki.
Thanks IAHFLYR! I really gotta ask my friend where we went to take this picture. He's an avid hiker, though, so I fear this shot may have been taken on his hike up Mt. Ka'ala. Mount Ka'ala is the highest peak on Oahu and is home to the FAA tracking station, which can be seen from the hike
Here you go! Again, picture is from a friend of mine, not me. I'd probably die if I ever took on this hike
Well, I'm ashamed to say I'm out of shape! This hike for Mount Ka'ala is a level 4 or 5 on a scale of 5, with 5 being the hardest. I think it's an all day affair. Smaller hikes like Diamond Head or Aiea Loop Trail I can handle. Would like to get back to it, though, with my camera gear
And thanks for the info! That would explain why it has dedicated army guards provided by Schofield Barracks.