I just became a Marriott Vacation Club owner and am trying to plan our first trip. My wife and I have chosen to visit Hawaii. We are in our early 50's and plan on traveling in May 2017. This will be our first and likely only trip to Hawaii.
Looks like there are five Hawaii vacation club properties.
* 3 on Kauai
* 1 on Maui
* 1 on Oahu.
Our plan is to stay the week at ONE of these properties. We'll probably day trip over to Pearl Harbor even if we do not stay on Oahu.
Its really critical that I make a good choice on our lodging. I would appreciate some current and relevant insight on the 5 properties. Pros/Cons, opinions on which might be most preferable or least preferable and why. I'm not really asking about the location, but more about the specifics of the properties.
Thanks in advance.
sdcinok, the only one I've stayed at in Hawaii is the MVCI on Oahu (Ko Olina Beach Club). This property is about 1/2 hour west of Honolulu on the leeward side of Oahu. You say you don't want info about location, but I feel like I have to mention that if there is bad traffic, that 1/2 hour could turn into an hour and a half. If you haven driven on Oahu before, you are probably aware of how bad traffic is, but we weren't and it caught us by surprise the first time we visited.
There are 4 (I think) high rise towers (called Hales). The layout of the rooms is similar to Aruba Surf Club if you've ever been to that MVCI. The one-bedrooms or larger have their own washer/dryer in the unit. The studios don't but there are shared laundromat facilities in the hales that you can use. The property has several restaurants, a nice gift shop and marketplace store, several pools, etc. - all the usualy MVCI amenities. There are many fun adult activities throughout the week, including yoga, crafts, water excursions, dinners, dances, etc. The kid's club is great and has lots of fun and reasonably-priced activities for kids. Disney's Aulani resort is right next door, and the Four Seasons is next door to that. The MVCI has a luau with fire dancers, etc., and there is another facility just down the street that also does a luau. The beach is one of the Ko Olina lagoons which are shallow and calm, but it's man made and not one of those expansive long natural beaches that you find elsewhere in Hawaii. There are 4 lagoons - one with public amenities, one at the MVCI, one at the Aulani, and one at the Four Seasons. You can use any of them. There is a Target, Costco, etc., nearby in Ko Olina but you'll need a car. Groceries are most reasonably priced at Costco. We shopped there and made some meals in our villa. There are the usual MVCI grills outside as well. There's a golf course and a few other restaurants in the Ko Olina hotel complex, including a Roy's.
The grounds on this property are beautiful. We enjoyed it and would recommend it. We used it as our home base for the week, and we rented a car and did excursions to Waikiki, North Shore, Dole Plantation, Pearl Harbor, etc. Oahu has a ton of stuff to do. The shopping is world class if you're into that sort of thing. If you want to avoid people, traffic, and city type stuff then choose one of the other islands. Oahu is crowded.
Not sure if any of this is relevant since you specifically said you don't want info about the location
YOu are going to have a beautiful time no matter what property you choose! Hawaii is beautiful, and the Marriott vacation clubs are very good about keeping their properties updated and comfortable. We have owned at Newport Coast for 12 years.
In Hawaii we have stayed at the two beachfront vacation clubs in Kauai. They are great! The Lihue property had much less children, and they have one bedrooms that are oceanfront and soooo close to the ocean! We had our windows open every night, and the crashing of the waves put us to sleep. It was wonderful. Each room has a king bed,mand then there is a Murphy bed in the living room. There is not a full kitchen, but i think there was a microwave and a small refrigerator. There is also a table, and you can eat with an amazing view right in your room. There is a delicious morning coffee bar that sells the most delicious pastries...the fresh pineapple turnover is soooo good! And it is open air, overlooking the massive pool. The pool is HUGE, and has four or five jacuzzis, which is nice, because at some VCs there are just a couple, and they get over run with kids. The beach feels almost private, and was not nearly as crowded as Poipu. There have a good bar and grill overlooking the beach, and there is a sushi restaurant on the property. Next door is a Duke's, which is where we ate most nights...have a Mai tai, fish tacos, and the hula pie! Yum! It is just very convenient. There are more restaurants within walking distance, too. We just never made it past Duke's. Lol. You also can rent surf boards, or stand up paddle boards right there for the week, which is a good deal and very convenient. The sand is soft, the water warm. It is nice, because the VC is connected to the resort, so you have the resort feel to it, not just the typical family vacation club feel. And, I am not anti family...we are a family of five! :-) I just want you to hear the differences between the two. D the best thing is that it is literally five minutes away from the airport, and there is a free shuttle, so you can be at the beach almost immediately upon arrival! Nice! We took the shuttle, and then lounged at the resort for a few days to unwind, and then hubby took the free shuttle to the car rental agency at the airport and rented it for the rest of the trip.
The other VC we went to on Kauai was the Marriott waiohai in Poipu. Another beautiful property. All of the units are two bedrooms. This is great for families. Very nice layout...I wish NCV were this layout. Big kitchen, big table, nice balcony. There is a small typical VC market that sells food there, and a bar and grill overlooking the beach(that's where they made us sign a waiver for a medium rare hamburger! Ha!). Also surf boards, snorkel rentals available there. poipu was very crowded, but still fun. Snorkling, surfing(a little walk away), and boogie boarding. But it was very windy(Thansgiving), so they wouldn't let us take out SUPs. The resort had great activities for the kids. For dinner, we drove the quick drive to Keoki's Paradise , and there are other restaurants within driving distance. We did stock up at Costco in Lihue before heading to Poipu, as we knew we would have a full kitchen. There are a couple of pools(I even saw kids in the adults only pool), but we honestly didn't even use them, as we did a lot more exploring, and they weren't as huge as the Lihue resort. We did use the hot tubs when we got caught in a downpour of rain! Lol. They were nice and hot. The major heads up I would like to give you, is that you must make sure you get an ocean view room. Do not get an island view, or you will end up looking at the parking lot. For me, if I am hauling my family across the ocean, I want an ocean view! So if you stay here, make sure you have an ocean view on the reservation, unless it doesn't matter to you.
I hope this helps you! Hawaii is gorgeous! And theses two properties were great. You can't go wrong!
One more thing, I almost forgot...my hubby and I stayed at the Maui Ocean club 10 years ago! We had a small studio suite, as it was just the two of us. We had an ocean and resort view that was beautiful! We had a microwave, small refrigerator, and a pullout couch, and living area all in one. The pool is very big, with different levels, and there is a waterslide. There is also a little kiddie pirate ship, water feature area for toddlers. It is on the beautiful, long Kaanapali Beach. Lots of restaurants within walking distance. Not sure how the rooms are now...I know they have all different sizes. And now they have added two other buildings with pools, and expansive grassy areas. This March we stayed at the gorgeous Hyatt Residence Club, which is next door to the MVC. Everyone both places seemed to be having a wonderful time! Beautiful sunsets on Kaanapali every night at both of these places. Snorkeling, surfing, swimming all at your feet. Maui is gorgeous, too!
You really can't go wrong!! Now I want to plan another vacation in the Aloha state! Please let us know what you decide!
Thanks so much for the insight. I had actually already kinda zeroed in on the Ocean Club property at Lihue as the property in which I was probably most interested. Your comments were exactly what I was hoping to hear from someone. Very helpful response. I read your reply to my wife and when I got to the part about "crashing of the waves put us to sleep" she was sold. I went ahead this morning and booked an 8 night stay!
By the way, I had not noticed the property at Newport Coast until you mentioned it. Looks like a very nice place! I might have to put on my places-to-visit-soon list...
This forum is such a great resource when people like yourself are willing to take the time to share. Thanks again!
You might want to look on oyster.com to get more pictures and info. And, at all of the MVCs I mentioned, there are lots of planned activities throughout the day. We made leis, took ukulele lessons, fed the koi, fished in the ponds(waiohai), etc.
ANd the drives from the airports are...Lihue MVC 5 minutes, free shuttle; Waiohai MVC on Poipu Beach 30 minutes, Maui MVC 35-45, depending on traffic.
Oh, and as for washers and dryers in the unit... Waiohai had them, which was great! The other two(Lihue and Maui) had washers and dryers on the property, but we didn't use them so I can't elaborate. I think the new towers in Maui have them in the units.