The Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is an archetypal ‘resort factory’ with friendly staff. It’s got a great location directly across the street from the beach. And the location can’t be beat when traveling with a four year old, from easy access to restaurants to a zoo just around the corner.
It was my second stay at the property because – though this isn’t how I’d have ever spent time in Hawaii in earlier days – it’s very kid-friendly. And we met family there from both the U.S. East Coast and abroad where it was a convenient spot for all, and ours wasn’t the only young child in the group.
Ultimately the hotel served its purpose well, and we had a great trip because we were visiting with family and taking advantage of the kids of activities that are available on Oahu and not as much on other islands. But the property doesn’t treat elite members well, and management isn’t proactive or even very responsive to issues.
Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort Check-In
I had two rooms reserved, and arranged with the hotel months in advance for connecting rooms. I was given two rooms and was told they were connecting. They were odd-numbered rooms two apart, so that made sense, but the numbering convention isn’t odd one one side of the hall, even on another. These two rooms were two rooms apart. They were connecting rooms, indeed, just not connecting with each other.
So after making it to our room with baggage, it was back down to the desk. We were given two other rooms, in the older tower (which is better – rooms are larger). However when we got to those rooms, the bathroom floor of one of them was flooded. There were black marks on the floor of the shower. It appeared that the drain had backed up.
I called down to the front desk. They were sending up maintenance. After an hour no one had come, I called down again. Maintenance finally came, claimed nothing was wrong, and called housekeeping. I had asked for a manager, none was available, and they promised one would contact me. None ever did.
The issue would come up again. A few nights later someone was showering next door, and water started rising out of the drain in our shower. It flowed over the side and all of the towels in the room were needed to contain it. I called down again, maintenance and housekeeping came, snaked the drain and cleaned up. I asked for a manager, but it was late in the evening, and you know what (didn’t) happen next.
Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort Fee
The hotel has a $50+tax daily resort fee, and it’s genuinely useless. Note that they offer free high speed internet access, though I didn’t always find it to be so high speed. Elite members receive free internet anyway, and Marriott’s terms say that when a hotel includes internet in their resort fee they’re supposed to offer an alternate amenity to elites. I asked about this, got a blank stare, and asked for a manager. I was told none was available, but one would contact me. None ever did.
Otherwise you get the ability to pay to rent a GoPro; a $10 discount off “premium golf club rentals and discounted tee times” at a place off property (the hotel probably earns a commission on this); 30% off electric bike rentals off-property; beach chairs; a lei upon arrival (who cares); and daily ‘pool delighters’ which I never saw on a six day stay along with fitness and cultural classes.
The hotel restaurant is a little bit sad. There are windows overlooking the street and the beach beyond, but those windows don’t really bring in much light or much of a view. The breakfast restaurant is really just a large room, and breakfast itself is uninspired – and pricey for what it is.
They offer ordering from a menu, and a buffet. The buffet costs $48. However Platinum elites and higher receive only a ‘continental buffet.’ That means a Platinum member can have pastries, fruit and cereal from the buffet – but if they take any hot items then that’s a $17++ upcharge.
There is no continental buffet on the menu. That’s not a restaurant menu option. Instead it’s a carve-out to offer a lesser experience to elites, and to charge elites for a part of their breakfast. The ‘continental buffet’ is valued at $31, but you cannot take this as a credit against other items on the menu, either.
Marriott’s terms for breakfast are a bit confusing and poorly written. When a hotel lounge is closed, they’re supposed to offer continental breakfast. However Marriott Resorts in the U.S., offering breakfast as a check-in amenity, are supposed to provide “breakfast in restaurant” (“per night of Stay for Member +1”).
Some people think that since the terms elsewhere specify where breakfast is supposed to be continental, the absence of that limitation implies full breakfast. I view it as poor drafting by Marriott lawyers. That’s the view taken by the Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort, apparently, because they offer everyone else a hot buffet (for $48) but offer elites cold items only because those items are ‘breakfast’ and they’re served ‘in restaurant’. Still, it comes across as subpar hospitality. No bacon or egg mixture for you!
And the breakfast itself isn’t really worth the price, and the hot items (like omeletes) aren’t really worth the upcharge. There’s little that’s Hawaiian about the offerings. There’s no fresh squeezed juice. It’s a standard hotel buffet, more or less, that you might find in an airport Marriott somewhere. That’s fine as far as it goes, but breakfast is priced only a few dollars less than what the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris offers – and that’s for truly extraordinary pastries along with cheeses, eggs, meats and more.
There’s nothing wrong with the buffet, other than being overpriced and mediocre and charging elite members for half of it.
Rooms in the older tower are larger than in the newer one, and have been renovated. They aren’t especially ‘Hawaiian’ but they’re quite nice. The bed wasn’t firm enough for my liking, probably time to be changed out, and the pillows didn’t provide much support. But there was plenty of space for a standard room. And I had a desk.
Rooms generally have balconies with chairs, a lounge chair, and a small table. The views from the hotel are magnificent, but you’re in a city so even ocean front means seeing plenty of activity besides the ocean.
The bathroom was large enough and functional, except of course for the shower which backed up when the room next door decided to use theirs.
Wall-mounted toiletries in the shower weren’t tamper-proof.
The hotel has its own Starbucks and a couple of ABC stores which are ‘more than a convenience store’ which is convenient, and of course it’s planted right on a main street easily walkable to plenty of dining and activities.
There are two pools. The one in the new tower is ‘adults only’ though the older tower pool was closed one day for a private event and so the adults only pool was opened to families. There were some unhappy adults.
Bottom-Line At The Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort
This hotel has a good location with friendly staff, but there’s little management presence or hint of apology when things go wrong. They don’t go out of their way for elites. Still, it suited our needs well for what it was.