We just completed a reward stay at this Big Island resort, so I thought I'd share my experiences. In regards to the controversial new "mandatory" resort fee which is about to kick in, here's how it works here: Their $25/day "Resort Activities Program" includes these items, per the card handed out at check-in:
Although it wasn't listed on the card, they also threw in a free Glass Bottom Boat ride (good for 4 persons per room). This was a decent enough 35-minute ride out by the local reef, with easy view of fish and some turtles.
Also, Platinum and Gold members get the following "Kama'aina" Benefits:
Since self-parking is already $18/day, we just went with the "Resort Activities Program" at $15/day which included the parking.
When I booked this resort using points, I went with the lowest category room, "Mountain/Resort View" therefore using the minimum required points. Then I noticed about a month or so before my trip, they had upgraded my room to "Pool View". Then, upon check-in, they further upgraded me to an "Ocean Front" room, with a spectaular view!
Also, we used $1000 worth of Marriott Cheques (for food/drinks, resort fee, etc.) upon check-out without any hassle whatsover.
This is a beautiful resort at a great location, within walking distance to great shopping and restaurants. Hawaii Calls has a killer breakfast buffet, and keep a lookout for their Dinner and Happy Hour specials, which can save a lot of $$ over their normally high prices.
That's about it! For more details, feel free to respond, or send me a private message.
We have a trip booked there for the end of October. Also using points but decided to book the Ocean Front w/paid upgrade. It is certain that if we booked the garden room we would get the garden room next to the parking lot! Just our kind of luck! It would be great to get an upgrade like that!! How did you know that you got upgraded before the trip? Where were you able to find that info?
Any tips? Local places not to be missed? This is our first trip to the Big Island. Golf is definitely in the plan!!
Every now and then I check the status of my reservations on-line, as the upgrades USUALLY show there ahead of time, for example it'll say "Concierge" or "Club Level" under the room type, or in this case, "Pool View". For that trip, there was also some strange point activity, like the deduction and re-addition of points for upgrades, so it was obvious that the hotel was doing something.
My recommendation would be to cancel, and re-book the Garden View, then use the points (or money) you spent for the upgrades on Marriott Cheques, for food, drinks, etc. I know late October would definitely be off-season there, so occupancy rates should be low, and there would be no reason for them not to upgrade you.
As far as tips, I would definitely see as much of the island as you can . Not sure how long you'll be there, but I would consider staying a night or 2 in Hilo, as that side of the island is completely different (very tropical/green). You'll be amazed at the geographical diversity of the island. The Volcanos Nat'l Park is also a must see. But, that's all up to you. After all it is a Big Island, so lots of driving would be required if you want to see it all.
I could go on and on, so if anyone has any specific questions, feel free to send me a private message.
We just reached gold elite for the first time and were considering points and paid nights at this resort. We will be there during peak season (Feb). I was trying to find out if points or certificate nights are upgraded for elite and could not find the answer. Were you using reward nights and what time of year did you go?
This was a great hotel. I was there in 2008. I used points for ocean view with paid upgrade. When i arived i asked if there were better rooms and they said yes but it would cost. I declined and said i do not want to pay extra. The guy when in the back and then came out and said that he would not charge me for any upgrade. So all i used was the points and they upgraded me to the beach front cabannas. They are just a 2 story building in the front left of the hotel.
You can snorkel right off the beach there. I sall a sea turtle almost every day right at the waters edge.
I would do the helicopter tour of the volcano. That was great.
We drove around the island 3 times while we were there.
We were upgraded from Garden View to Ocean Front on a 100% point stay, but I'm not sure what the rule is. We've also been upgraded the same way at the Wailea Maui resort. I would say it's pretty safe that you'll be upgraded in Feb. See my orignal post in this thread for the details.
A lot has changed since you went. We are Platinum members and were charged $25/room. We stayed in February and were not upgraded even though the hotel was not at capacity, half was empty. Think that was due to the ant infestation they were trying to take care of. Management was scarce and would never come forward to the front desk when asked for. We never received the 500 miles for dining at Hawaii calls and they no longer offer a glass bottom boat ride.
The Island is absolutely gorgeous and we loved it and can't wait to return but not to this hotel.
We went to the luau there and it was great! That is were we are thinking of staying for our next trip. We like the location as we went to Bongo Ben's quite a few times for breakfast. Thanks for the tip....we appreciate any feedback on Hawaii as it is our favorite vacation destination!