It's official... The JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa will be closing early in 2015. According to Pacific Business News, the property will then undergo "extensive renovations" and will reopen "under one of the top luxury brands in the world."
For a while now speculation has been rampant that the Ihilani would be turned into a Four Seasons, especially since Four Seasons registered a new business called FS Ko Olina Resort.
If you were planning on using your points for a vacation at the Ihilani, the time is now to do it. This is certainly sad news for Marriott. Losing one of its premier Hawaii properties has to be a serious blow.
IAHFLYR, no kidding! Rumors have been circulating for at least a year of this, but then so were rumors of the FS opening at a new resort being developed nearby called Huakalai. Unfortunately, the JW rumor turned out to be true. I'm truly disappointed and will miss this property and it's employees. What puzzles me, though, is that they recently completed a pretty sizable renovation. And now to shutdown and gut the whole place? Makes absolutely no sense to me at all!
The specified item was not found., I do my best to keep the community up-to-date on all things Hawaii, good and bad
But you're correct. At least you still have the Waikiki Beach Marriott on Oahu. I wouldn't recommend the Courtyard Waikiki, as it's very noisy.
nuhusker, yup! Though Aulani didn't actually add too much more noise to the JW once construction was complete. Though it did add more business as guests from both hotels cross over for dining and what not.
rinny54, never been to MVCI Ko Olina yet, though I hear it's good. I believe a new portion opened up too since Aulani opened.
MVC Ko Olina is very nice. This is the insanely gorgeous path in a throw-away area of the resort near the bathrooms by one of the swimming pools. Great amenities, kids' club, restaurants, on-site luau, craft fair and gift shop, adult activities, etc. They are remodeling now and building a 4th tower. Highly recommend
Yes, many of the MVCI resorts that were started before the recession and before the sale of destination points are doing catch-up on finishing those resorts. Crystal Shores in Marco Island,FL & Lakeshore Reserve in Orlando, FL (where I am currently staying) are other examples of this.
You are very welcome missgee! Perhaps if your trip is long enough, you can split your stay up a little bit? Maybe do a night or 2 at the JW for some pure resort relaxation and then switch to Waikiki for the rest of your stay and enjoy all that urban Honolulu has to offer!
The first week we will be at the Waikiki Beach Marriott as my husband has business close to the airport. I had done oodles of research into where we would go from there, and finally settled on the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua... until today. I've just finished booking all the major flights and thought I'd move on to the side trip, but when I took a look at the RC the Club Rooms are no longer available. Aw, well. One can only cross their fingers and hope for cancellations.
The RC on Maui is one of my favorite properties. While you could eat somewhere different within Kapalua for several days, exploring outside the area is fun as well. We were upgraded to very nice accommodations each time we stayed there. Good Luck with the Club Room.
Thanks for that info shoeman1000! I really like the convenience of the club lounge but I am mulling over booking a regular room just so we can visit that property.
I don't suppose you or kharada46, or anyone else, have any tips on flights to Maui? It looks like I could get a puddle-jumper to the Kapalua Airport with Mokulele Airlines because there is shuttle service directly to the R-C property. But I am wary of the smaller aircraft because I plan on flying directly from Maui to HNL to catch a flight home (well... as close to home as I'm going to get... working a contract in Canada lol) and I know that if it rains we are grounded until it stops. Sheesh. Vacation planning is very stressful.
missgee, I've never been to the RC on Maui, but I guarantee it'll be better than the Wailea Beach Marriott! I'd highly recommend you go out of the property to eat as well. Maui's food scene is really improving! I love Star Noodle in Lahaina, while I hear Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop is also excellent.
But anyway, I'd stay away from Mokulele Airlines. They run only single engine Cessna Grand Caravans and their safety record as of late isn't so great. To aircraft fell out of the sky due to engine failures, which wasn't too bad. The only fatality from the two, though, was a person that had a heart attack after landing in the water.
I'd say fly on at least Island Air, though I'd recommend Hawaiian. Island Air operates all ATR turboprops, and in the future, Q400 turboprops. Hawaiian, on the other hand, operates Boeing 717 jets. So you'll have a quicker, more comfortable ride in addition to having more piece of mind. An engine failure won't mean you'll fall out of the sky. That and Hawaiian partners with a bunch of legacies like American and Delta, so you can always earn miles on your inter-island flights with them. Mokulele doesn't do that.
Awesome. That is just the kind of information I was looking for. Hawaiian it is! Thank you so much, kharada46.
Thanks kharada46 for keeping us updated for Hawaii. At one time, Marriott had only one hotel in Hawaii and that was in Maui. Then Marriott expanded a whole lot and had many. And then they started losing them and I don't see replacements. I wonder if Marriott has decided that Hawaii is not where they want to put more money in.
You're very welcome californian! I try my best
I wonder too, why Marriott is letting their business here slip away...? All while Hyatt continues to expand in Hawaii Nei.
Not sure if you've heard, but the long shuttered Coco Palms Resort (made famous in Blue Hawaii) will be renovated and re-opened. The management company will be Hyatt. Four Seasons may also be getting a third property on Lanai. While there's rumors that the new resort area on Oahu located to the East of Ko Olina called Huakalai may also receive a Four Seasons.
Then there's the fact that most Marriott properties left in Hawaii are poorly maintained. Especially when you compare them to those of Starwood and Hyatt, and to some extent, even Hilton.
It just all doesn't make sense, especially since I've heard that properties in Hawaii, much like routes to Hawaii for airlines, are very important part of their loyalty programs. Unless Marriott cares that little for maintaining a competitive loyalty programs, which is what we on the Insiders have been theorizing anyway.
Years ago when the Kaanapali Marriott was still a hotel, I was a regular guest and got to know many employees. I was told that that hotel had more award redemptions than any other Marriott. When the hotel was changing the final part to timeshare, there was a lot of noise from platinum guests who would use their points at the hotel. Many threatened to stop staying at Marriott's. As you know, they timeshared the rest. Another example of not caring about their elite. Marriott bought the Wailea resort but it never really took the place of the original.
I guess that hotels in Hawaii have high demand for some seasons and really bad lows for much of the year. It is hard to make money under these conditions. Marriott decided that it made more money with timeshare than hotels. Over the years, hotels are leaving Marriott but I don't see new ones in Hawaii.
californian, you are correct! Many hotels have been converted or are being converted to timeshares. It's been a major issue here in Hawaii, as this conversion then eliminates a ton of hotel jobs. Not too long ago there was talk of regulating the conversion of hotels to timeshares. Hilton certainly seems to be concentrating on timeshares in Hawaii rather than hotels.
But on the other side of it, I've heard rumors that Disney is looking to acquire the vacant lot next to Aulani and build additional hotel rooms there and further expand Aulani, as the resort is very overcrowded.
missgee, that seems to be a theme here in general. The Wailea Beach Marriott was probably the most disappointing Marriott property I've been to in Hawaii, though I haven't visited all yet. I like the Waikiki Beach Marriott, though the rooms do have a tendency to feel dated, and of course technology isn't so great. The Ihilani, while a great property that just completed a renovation, really could have used a more thorough renovation rather than just a re-fresh. I encourage you to look at the competition, though, as you may find something that's more in-line with what you're looking for. Of course, Oahu has some famous properties such as the Moana Surfrider (Westin), Royal Hawaiian (Luxury Collection), and the Kahala (Leading Hotels of the World and formerly Mandarin Oriental and Hilton).
If anyone wants to know, here's the latest on what's happening to Ihilani after it closes... The new owners are going to massacre the property! No longer will it feel uncrowded, and no longer will it be a wedding destination...