Stay: A Review of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

Ocean Front Room at the Waikiki Marriott: view of the double rainbow in the morning

Last Updated: November 2022

The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is a massive 1,310 room property just across the street from Waikiki/Kuhio Beach. It is 1 of the 11 Bonvoy properties on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu and 1 of 8 properties in the Waikiki area. In this post, we share a detailed review of the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and the benefits for Marriott Platinum Elite members.

Property Overview:

The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is pretty similar to other hotels/resorts along this strip, most notably the Hyatt Regency. With two massive towers, it definitely feels more like a hotel than a resort but that’s how it is in Waikiki, even if you are directly on the beach like at the Sheraton Waikiki or even the Westin Moana Surfrider.

Paoakalani Tower at the Waikiki Marriott Resort & Spa
Paoakalani Tower at the Waikiki Marriott Resort & Spa

Since 2016, the hotel has been undergoing a massive renovation of its Kealohilani Tower and lobby and by the time all is said and done, Marriott will have invested about 100 million into this property that was built in 1968. The goal is to eventually have all guest rooms renovated but currently, only rooms in the Kealohilani Tower have been renovated with work underway for the Paoakalani Tower.

Hawaiian Art in the lobby at the Waikiki Marriott Resort & Spa
Hawaiian Art in the lobby at the Waikiki Marriott Resort & Spa

Check-in time is 15:00 and check-out time is 11:00. They charge a resort fee of $37USD daily and includes things like a reusable water pouch, high-speed Internet, free DVD rental, free Mai Tai (we didn’t get a coupon for this), free fitness and cultural classes, use of the gym and fitness centre, etc.  They also charge an additional $90USD + tax is there will be a 3rd or 4th adult in the room per night. Parking is $45USD-$50USD depending on if you self park or use valet. They do have 2 charging stations for electric cars for a fee. Not sure if you should rent a car? Check out our Getting Around on Oahu in Hawaii: Should you rent a car? guide.

Tip: You need to budget an additional $37USD per day to your room rate due to the mandatory resort fee. Even if you book with points, you are charged the resort fee.

As far as dining, the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa has the following options for guests:

  • Kuhio Beach Grill: This restaurant serves the breakfast buffet daily as well as dinner later in the day. They feature a prime rib buffet as well as themed nights like All-American BBQ, A Touch of Italy, Hawaiian Poke Bar, South East Asian Delights, Crab Legs Seafood.
  • Moana Terrace: This is the pool beach bar and restaurant open for lunch and dinner.
  • Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar: A Japanese inspired restaurant serving sushi and other seafood delicacies for dinner. This is actually a chain with locations throughout Hawaii and one location in Seattle.
  • d.k Steak House: A steak house open for dinner.
  • Arancino di Mare: An Italian restaurant located street level that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Starbucks: For coffee and snacks.
  • Room Service: Room service menu in the room.
  • ABC Store: There is an ABC Store right on site where you can buy snacks, beverages and souvenirs.

Onsite, there are two pools which means that there is one pool for 1,310 rooms when the hotel is at full occupancy. There is a family pool and an adult pool. While the pools look nice, we just went swimming in the ocean since it was so close and the pool was overrun with children. The pool area also has a bar and some lounge chairs for people to relax. They also have games like “cornhole” and also host movie nights.

Ocean Front Room at the Waikiki Marriott: the Kealohilani pool
Ocean Front Room at the Waikiki Marriott: the Kealohilani pool

There is one gym and it is quite large and well stocked which made it pleasant to workout. There was tons of cardio equipment like treadmills, elliptical machine, bikes, stair climbers and even two spin bikes in addition to free weights and functional training equipment. One would definitely not get bored or feel crowded from using the gym. In addition, the hotel offers fitness classes like yoga through Lululemon onsite a few days per week.

Room Types:

This is massive property; with 1,310 rooms, of which about 130 or so are suites. The Kealohilani Tower has 25 floors and the Paoakalani Tower has 33 floors and guest rooms start on the 4th or 6th floor if my memory is correct so it is very difficult to say what you will get, especially if you book a base room. Room categories are primarily divided into: Ocean View, Ocean Front, City View, Diamond Head Ocean View and Diamond Head View. Each room type has a choice between 1 king or 2 double beds. The following room categories are located in the Kealohilani Tower (which is the renovated wing): Premium Ocean View, Ocean Front, Ocean View Junior Suite, and Ocean Front Junior Suite.

Most rooms have pretty similar features, like a mini fridge, a coffee maker, a balcony, a small loveseat seating area, a safe, and from our research, rooms with 1 bed have a shower and rooms with 2 beds come with a bath shower combo which works better for those travelling with children. More information about room types and features can be found here.

Our Stay:

We got to stay in a nice top floor Ocean Front Room in the Kealohilani Tower with stunning views of the sunset which really made our stay even more special. We did not get this room upgrade as Platinum members but instead had applied a suite certificate 5 days before our arrival and selected an ocean front room. We do believe that our status did help when assigning us a room as a quick look at the other options and we quickly realized we really did have one of the best views in our wing of the hotel. Sure, we could have tried for an Ocean Front Junior Suite but we figured we’d have a better chance of having our request accepted with a lower category room and since it was just the two of us traveling, we didn’t need the extra space. We also found the room quite spacious already.

Our check-in experience was okay; we found the lobby nice and airy and appreciated the Hawaiian artwork it displayed but we didn’t get the “Aloha” vibe from our check-in agent who was a little weird to say the least. There were adequate elevators for a tower of this size but we can see that it could get busy during peak times like Christmas. They also have a water refilling station but only on the 1st floor, which means you need to be very dedicated in refilling your water bottle to make that trek.

As far as the room, we found it quite nice overall; comfortable bed, shower with decent water pressure that didn’t leak water everywhere, large enough vanity and sink area, the mini fridge kept things cool, the balcony had comfortable furniture, and the air conditioner wasn’t too loud. If there are a few things to nitpick about is that there was only one shower hook, the closet in the entrance had a sliding door that seemed weird in the sense it didn’t hide everything in the closet, the ceiling in the bathroom seems a little low and there are no screens for the balcony (the birds kept trying to come into the room). We really give the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa for putting two chairs, a lounge chair and a table on the balcony to enjoy the view!

For our benefit, we chose breakfast over the points; until Marriott starts offering about 1,500-2,500 per day, we will always choose breakfast. In the past, the the full-buffet was offered but now, only the continental (cold options) are included. The full breakfast buffet is about $42.95 + taxes and fees per person. Like most Hawaiian resort breakfast buffets, there is a made-to-order egg station, a miso soup and Japanese section, freshly cut fruit, pastries and breads, yogurt, cereal, cheese, deli meats, salad, bacon, scrambled eggs, rice, bread pudding, and a potatoes dish of the say and sausage of the day. If you want to upgrade to the full breakfast, they charge ~ $15 which is reasonable. Freshly brewed coffee and fruit juices are also available. Overall, we enjoyed the food and service at breakfast but missed the outdoor setting as it is all indoors (our favorite is still the Westin Hapuna). Had breakfast not been included, we would have gone off property to have it as there are so many options nearby that are much more affordable. Have a look at our Where to Eat and Drink on Oahu in Hawaii guide.

Tip: Go for the sticky buns, they’re delicious and worth the calories!

Tip: Bring small bills for tip money as there is a tip jar at the egg station and the voucher doesn’t include gratuities.

We didn’t really use the pool as it was a little crowded for us and we had access to the beach across the road. Maxine used the gym twice and really enjoyed. We also appreciate how you can grab towels by the pool here most hours of the day without having to sign your life away.

Overall, we really enjoyed our stay and having that amazing room and view really made the difference. Waikiki is loud and it is hard to get away from the noise even when you’re staying in the Ambassador Suite at the Hyatt Regency. We are willing to put up with the noise, the crowds and the general negative aspects to enjoy the nice weather, beaches, hikes, and food/beverage places we’ve come to love throughout the years. Since it is too hard to maintain Hyatt status in Canada, we’re committed to Marriott Bonvoy and we’d definitely stay at the the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa again, even if we didn’t end up with as nice of a room.

Have you ever stayed at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa? Is getting a renovated room important to you or just getting the cheapest option possible? Do you eat breakfast at the hotel or find other options?

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