Daily fitness and cultural activities, plus a welcome drink, included with resort fee
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Room decor is plain and a bit dated
Pools are small and can be crowded
Most rooms have partial ocean views and look down upon busy side streets
Mandatory resort fee plus expensive self parking and breakfast buffet
Marriott Resort Waikiki beach is a three-and-a-half-pearl, 1,310-room resort located across the street from the beach, along the southeast edge of Waikiki’s strip. It's also just a block away from the Waikiki Aquarium and Zoo, making it a great spot to experience Waikiki but not be in the center of it. The rooms are a bit dated, but include necessities like Netflix-loaded flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. There's a nice gym and Aveda spa, plus a range of dining options from seafood to Italian. Excellent Diamond Head sunsets are on offer from the ocean-view restaurant and bar. For travelers seeking a straightforward family-friendly resort near the beach, this hotel is a decent value, especially when compared to other area options like Princess Kaiulani.
Big and bustling chain resort that draws families and business travelers
When it comes to style, there isn't much to set this resort apart from other Marriott outposts, and interiors range from fresh and modern to a bit dated. Of course, most of the activity here takes place outside. While it's a huge property, ostensibly with lots of space for guests to spread out, much of the resort has a bustling and lively vibe -- and that's in spite of being in the quieter part of town. The southern edge of the Marriott faces the ocean, and the Moana Terrace restaurant is a popular spot for guests to people watch along Kalakua Avenue, particularly with a drink at sunset. Though the hotel has two pools, they can be crowded due to its massive size. Luckily the beach is right next door (though that, too, was far from calm during our 2017 visit). Given the property's name brand, and almost prime location, it draws a wide swath of guests, from families and couples on vacation, to business travelers on-site for conferences and retreats.
At the Waikiki strip's southern end, a five- to 10-minute walk to heart of the action
Located on the southern end of the Waikiki strip, the hotel has unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean to the south, Diamond Head Views to the east, and the historic green-tiled St. Augustine church to the west. The beach and Beach Walk are just across the street, and there's plenty of shopping and dining nearby. Waikiki Wall, located a three-minute walk from the hotel, offers some unique views of the Waikiki Skyline as well as surfers catching waves alongside it. The Waikiki Zoo is nearly next door, just a five-minute walk away, while the Waikiki Aquarium is only 10 minutes down Kalakaua Avenue on foot. It’s a 10-minute car ride to Diamond Head State Monument, and a 25-minute drive to the Pearl Harbor Memorial. For visitors looking to visit the birthplace of modern day surfing on the famous North Shore, you'll need to drive about an hour north. If you’re only staying in Waikiki for a short period of time, consider taking a taxi or shuttle to your hotel as the Marriott charges a premium for parking. Budget up to 20 minutes to reach Honolulu International Airport by car.
Simple and a bit dated, with comfy pillow-top beds, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi
Situated in two large towers, the Marriott Waikiki’s 1,310 rooms offer a range of views, from full and partial ocean vantages to direct glimpses of Diamond Head or the city. Keep in mind that most fall into the partial ocean view category and often overlook busy side streets. The rooms themselves are pleasant, if simple and a bit dated. You'll see lots of light-wood furniture, soft green hues, and plenty of beige. Tropically inspired art offers a nod to the resort's location, but looks generic in the end. Pillowtop mattresses make for a comfy night's sleep, and king and double beds are both available. Standard features include 37-inch Smart TVs with Netflix, DVD players and free rental libraries, air-conditioning, coffeemakers, Hawaiian coffee, and CubieTime clock radios with USB connections. Wi-Fi is free, though technically part of the mandatory resort fee. Marriott's online newspaper subscription service is also part of the resort fee. If possible, try and reserve a room in the Kealohilani Tower, which was renovated in 2008, versus the Paoakalani Tower, which hasn’t been renovated since 2001. Also, the Kealohilani Tower is closer to the ocean, meaning there's a better chance of having nicer ocean and Diamond Head views.
Lots to see and do, from pools and activities to multiple dining options and a spa
Given the resort's size, the sheer number of features are expected, though unfortunately not all of them impress and nearly every common area is busy at most times. The main attractions are the two saltwater pools located on the Marriott’s third floor. They have ocean views, but are small relative to the hotel's size and can be crowded. There’s also an elevated hot tub located adjacent to the Paoakalani Pool. It’s a bit less crowded than the Kealohilani Pool, which connects to the Moana Terrace restaurant. Nearby are several boutiques and shops selling beachware and souvenirs.
The resort’s spa, The Royal Kaila, is an Aveda outlet and offers a wide array of services including body scrubs, wraps, massages, and waxing. Fitness classes like aqua zumba, yoga, and pilates are included in the resort fee, and there's a gym with modern cardio and weight machines. For those wanting to learn more about Hawaiian culture, the resort offers hula lessons, lauhala weaving, and lei-making courses throughout the week (part of the resort fee as well). The hotel can also arrange scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing lessons for an additional fee.
The Marriott offers five different dining options, including the Kuhio Beach Grill, Moana Terrace, Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar, D.K. Steak House and Arancino Di Mare. The Kuhio Grill and Moana Terrace offer ocean views. A generous breakfast buffet is available every day, though can be expensive, as it's not included in standard room rates. During check-in you’ll receive a coupon for a complimentary drink at both ocean-view spots, making them some of the livelier venues during our visit.
The business center is on the smaller side, featuring two printers and four computers. There are 19 events spaces, with the largest holding up to 1,000 people, making this a popular destination for business travelers, retreats, and conferences. Keep in mind that a resort fee is charged and includes free Wi-Fi, but that other extras -- like on-site self-parking -- will cost extra.
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