We spent our final two nights on Oahu at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa. We were there for such a short time that we didn’t get to do much beyond skimming the surface of the resort. However, I’ll point out and discuss all that we did experience and see.
Background on hotel and location:
Waikiki is Honolulu’s premier beachfront neighborhood and is situated on the south shore of the island, the same Waikiki where a monthly rent or payment on an apartment or condo might come out to what some people put down as a down payment on a house; it’s that exclusive. The resort comprises two towers and is located across the street from the beach on Kalakaua Avenue. If you stay elsewhere on the island or are even coming from another island, Waikiki can seem a bit much-the noise, the mobs of people, the urban development. And yet, it’s an experience I think that everyone should have at least once, although I would not recommend making a stay out of a week-long “city beach” vacation. But as you’re right in the thick of things, as a guest you would be lacking nothing whether it be alcohol, drug store items, souvenirs, or eateries (mainland fast food establishments in addition to local spots abound here).
Just as with the Marriott Ko Olina, this left something to be desired although in a different way. The check-in at the Waikiki Beach Resort was your typical hotel set up. While they did have a separate line for Marriott Rewards Elite members, the line did not move that much faster. With the numerous people ahead of us in line and with each party seeming to take an absurd amount of time, we waited at least 15 minutes before we were greeted. We had also arrived fairly early (for resorts that is), so our room naturally wasn’t ready. We were given the option of using the Elite Members Rewards lounge, which we did for a time even though it was the most depressing room ever. It was windowless (perhaps to let people relax better?), had a TV but some very downtrodden furniture. It did have a shower for both men and women which we actually used on our last day after we had checked out since we knew it would be a long time before we would be able to do so again. But it would behoove Marriott to perhaps “modernize” this room and make it feel more welcoming and less unwelcoming.
We turned in our rental car once we arrived in Waikiki since we knew that between the traffic, steep parking rates, and our limited time there we wouldn’t need it. We rented a car through Hertz which actually has a drop-off and pick up location at the resort (you pay extra for this but the convenience factor was definitely a plus.) If you do have a rental car though, parking rates are $37 a day.
Since we had gotten such a good deal with our room at the Ko Olina Resort, I did decide to splurge and opt for an ocean view room in Waikiki. Best decision I ever made. Our room was located on the 24th floor, which for me was fantastic because in Waikiki with all the urban sprawl, the higher the better. When we first stepped in, the bell hop immediately went over to the balcony, opened the windows and then voila, there was all of Waikiki Beach in its glory in front of us. I could not get over such a view. The room was a generous size, with plush furnishings (I had read that the resort was renovated in 2008 so not “too” long ago). The sink area was separate from the shower/toilet. The latter was the only thing that looked “old” as there were some chips in the tile, rust along the edges, etc. I didn’t particularly care for the toilet/shower set up as the room was incredibly small and it was always awkward trying to step out of the shower, but for only two nights it wasn’t too big of a deal. The balcony, though, was probably my favorite part. It was extremely spacious and featured two regular upright chairs in addition to a chaise lounge. For dinner we actually did carry out both nights and just ate on the balcony. I figured when else would you ever be able to do this?
Our only full day on Oahu we were actually away all day on a tour so I have no idea when housekeeping came, but obviously by the time we returned around 5 PM, the room was all done up.
The resort has two pools, one in each tower. We used the one that was located in the tower we were staying in. It wasn’t large by any means and the couple of times we walked by during the day it was packed with people, but on our last night we went down slightly later in the evening and there were only a few people swimming. It’s located on the third floor of the resort, overlooking Kalakaua Avenue. At night it really was enjoyable to swim.
Save for swimming, we didn’t really take advantage of other recreational activities going on at the resort, although just like at the Ko Olina Resort, plenty were offered in addition to things like a fitness center. But we were there for such a short time, it was really hard to do more than a couple of things. The resort also has a shopping arcade on ground level, mainly geared towards tourists.
The resort has a couple of on-site restaurants including the Kuhio Beach Grill, Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar, and Arancino di Mare. We only ate at the Kuhio Beach Grill for breakfast one morning (as rewards members, we were given complimentary breakfast). For breakfast and dinner, it’s buffet style which is especially nice in the morning to get you going with the vast array of food options. There are two Seattle’s Best Coffee shops at the resort as well.
Just as at Ko Olina, in the main buildings, water dispensers were stationed throughout so you could refresh as many times as you wanted (and actually it was flavored water-cucumber, lemon, and lime slices were infused). This was really needed since I’m sure due to more buildings and less shade, the temperatures felt even hotter in Waikiki. Also, bowls of cut orchids were laid out along with bobby pins for women to fasten to their hair. I was forever getting my daily orchid.
Unfortunate experience: On our last night there, we encountered what many tourists dread-the obnoxious, a*** guests. We went to bed about 10:30 PM and a short time later we heard loud antics coming from the guest room on the one side of us. Hoping that it was just them getting back in their room, we tried to go back to sleep, but no. They decided to go out onto their balcony where they wanted to party complete with yelling, drinking, and the best, cigarette smoking. Our balcony door was closed obviously but the smoke was so bad that you would think people had been smoking in our room. The individuals I guess were with friends, and so it was made worse that there were four a** out there on the balcony. We finally called the front desk to complain and the attendant said that they would send security up. We heard someone knock on their door and while they were not “as” bad as before, they still carried on for hours and I did not fall asleep for good until I was basically exhausted. But the damage was done; I could smell the smoke for hours and couldn’t go to sleep. What’s sad is that I’m sure they denied they were smoking even though the next morning out on their balcony table was a pack of cigarettes and empty beer bottles. How I hope they were fined upon check out as the hotel is completely smoke-free. I don’t fault the Marriott for this since I know a** are anywhere in the world where you travel but it just disgusts me that people behave like this.
Conclusion: While I am not “as” keen to return to Oahu as I want to keep visiting the other islands, if I had reason to be back in Waikiki, I wouldn’t be opposed to staying at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort again.