We recently finished a 9 night stay at the Big Island and since we stayed at both Hilton and Marriott I thought I would provide a little insight into our visit. We are both Diamond for Hilton and Platinum with Marriott and both hotels we used points.
First stay was Hilton, 4 nights cost us 156,800 pts @ 39,200 a night (if we had used five nights the cost per night would have gone down).
The property is often compared to a Hawaiian Disneyland because of a monorail and boat system provided for guests to get from one side of the property to the other. This resort is huge!! The pools are to die for (there are several)as well as a man made bay for snorkeling, dolphins to swim with and the grounds are wonderful for walking. We booked a King room, ocean view, and directly after booking was given the opportunity by email to upgrade to another side of the resort for free. The room was ready. At check in I did ask about a free breakfast for Diamond and they had an envelope ready for us with $80 dollars in food and bev credit and some free water. Note...I did have to ask! Was not happy with the location of our room as we had to walk along a pond that smelled really bad to get to and from. The view from the lanai was nice except that it was low so we looked out through a few palm trees! It did not obstruct too much but still a bit annoying. Also had a view of the dolphins from our room. The room had a desk, chair, flat screen tv, and the usual amenities. Bath room wasn't anything special. It was nice and would stay again however would be much more specific on the view and location of the room. They had a number of restaurants to choose from. We could sit on our lanai and hear the music coming from one of them. An area of shops to cruise through when you were done at the pool. Had a zoo like area with flamingos and a few other critters to look at. If beach is important to you this resort has none but will transport you for free. All in all a nice stay.
Next 5 nights was the Marriott. 200,000 pts @ 40,000 a night. Ocean front, king room.
The resort is much smaller but nice. It did not have as much Hawaiian flavor that the Hilton had. They had a salt water pool that was small but nice and another pool more for the kids with a slide and a sand bottom area for the tots! Our room was ready and when asked about a free breakfast for platinum we were given nothing! We did receive a card that allowed us a bogo coffee and $20 off on a cabana. They also had some wonderful nightly specials at the restaurant for dinner as well as a 3 to 6 happy hour with specialty drinks that would change daily. The room wasn't so nice! Had a king bed that was very low to the ground for some strange reason, some dark rattan furniture with cushions that sank down into the pull out mechanism when you sat on it and an old school TV! We had to move the chair every time we wanted to watch TV from the bed, so we were constantly rearranging the furniture! We had a to die for view from the lanai as we were ocean front. The bathroom had a strange look to it, almost as if it was under construction but wasn't. Nothing but tile and a small pic about the toilet. Walk in shower, no tub, one sink. The toilet was scrunched up against the wall so it was hard to pull the tp, The floor did not seem clean and the edges of the floor molding were filthy. The bathroom was large but that was due to the fact that there was no tub! Why we got this room I can't imagine! I have to admit we were disappointed! The resort has preserved some ancient fishing ponds and they provided some great walking areas and paths. The beach is one of the better on that area of the island. Walking to the store and Kings village was easy as it was directly across the street.
Bottom line.......Hilton won! I realize its not an apples to apples comparison but it seemed to us the value for the points just wasn't there for the Marriott. Had we been given a nicer room, maybe something that would recognize our platinum status we would have felt a bit better. I have such trouble believing that when you use points you aren't put at the bottom of the chain of rooms. This angers me as I have worked very hard to earn these points and have stayed loyal, I wish they would extend that courtesy to me. Long winded I know....but I hope this might help someone else looking to visit the Big Island. Sorry I don't have pics...I just never think of taking them!!
Sounds like another disappointing Marriott stay..Did you ask for a suite upgrade. When I was on the big island, they gave me a suite upgrade, but I had to ask. I did visit the Hilton property while there and was impressed with the layout. I will post your comments in the Marriott Customer Compliant posting I just set up. Thanks for your info!!
I had the mis-pleasure of staying at the Hilton (have not experienced Marriott) and was one of my worst hotel stays. I am very surprised your were so enthralled with the Hilton as I had Diamond status and PP with Marriott while on the BI. Though this was about 5 years ago, when I checked in (even after calling in advance to request a suite - not guaranteed on points back then), the front desk told me, "do you think you are the only Diamond member here this week? All of the finer rooms are taken by our elite members." and was given a room that faced the groundskeepers' golf-cart recharging station (yes - you could hear the buzz of the chargers at night). I was so far from the concierge that I had timed my walks: 5+ minutes to navigate that huge complex!
The good news - they did not refund my points but gave me a hotel-issued certificate for a free week's stay (though I had spent 10 days' worth of points there). So even the good news is bad news.
Ohhhhh, trust me! I would not be singing praises if that had happened to me. Hopefully the person that gave you such a snide remark isn't there anymore! Our stay certainly wasn't perfect but I would definitely give it another try. But I need to include a disclaimer of sorts. We were there in Oct/Nov. If it was the high season.....Dec to April/May I might be singing a different song right now as well. I understand it's quite packed that time of year. I'm sorry for your bad experience. Guess this goes to show that no hotel chain is without it's problems. It's really a matter of how it's handled that makes the grade!