As you’ll recall from my previous Honolulu Marathon post, we stayed at the Waikiki Beach Marriott. So, today, I’m going to do an in-dept review of the property. A property we haven’t stayed at in at least five years.
The Waikiki Beach Marriott is one of the properties that tops my list of recommended hotels for Honolulu Marathon runners. Its location at the east end of the Waikiki strip gives it easy access to the shuttles to the starting line and to the finish line. And while the hotel is a bit long in the tooth, it’s the one I chose because I needed one more EQN to get me to Marriott Bonvoy Titanium.
Its location at the east end of Waikiki means the Waikiki Beach Marriott is in a slightly quieter area than all the other Marriott hotels in the area. And while not on the beach, there is a beach right across the street from the property. Plus, the hotel’s locations means there’s potential for excellent views of Diamond Head and the rest of the Waikiki Strip. Unfortunately, I didn’t get either of these views, despite having a Suite Night Reward clear for the stay. But, more on that later.
For my stay, I booked a kama’aina rate with an excellent rate and half-off the stupid expensive $45/night self-parking rate. The parking structure at the Waikiki Beach Marriott is insanely small, though, so I opted to pay the even stupider $50/night valet parking fee and throw away my discount. As a result, though, we pulled into the porte-cochere off of Ohua Ave., which you’ll need to access from Kuhio Ave.
Don’t be fooled, the hotel’s address is on Kalakaua Ave., but if you go down Kalakaua, you’ll need to make a left onto Paoakalani Ave, a left on to Kuhio, and a left onto Ohua to get to the valet or the garage.
Once the valets took our car, we walked through the open-air lobby to registration. The lobby, might I add, has a water feature, abundant seating, a few TVs, and even a Starbucks and ABC Store. Unfortunately, on this day, it was raining, so much of the seats were wet.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t check-in online because of my Hawaii-resident rate. As a result, I had to go through the full check-in process at the front desk. But, they did give us those weird bag reusable water bottles and an explanation of the rage-inducing $37/night
money grab resort fee. And once check-in was complete, we learned our room wasn’t ready yet. So, I took the bags over to bell by the valet and got our car bag to go galavanting.
About an hour later, I got a call informing me that the room was ready. So we headed back to the Marriott, got our keys, and headed up. With a Suite Night Award secured, my assigned room was an ocean front junior suite. Those rooms are all in the Kealohilani Tower, meaning a short walk past the shops to get to the elevators.
Now, I’m grateful I got an upgrade, but it was only up to a junior suite. So, our room was a larger, corner room with a nicer bathroom.
Upon entering the room, you’ll find a big closet to the left, which also houses the safe, iron, and ironing board.
Across from the closets is the bathroom, which is bigger than what you’d find in a standard room. Heck, the thing has a separate shower and tub, plus a dual vanity! And, strangely enough, the refrigerator is in there too… Between the tub and the door.
The rest of the room is a big open space with, in our case, a king bed, a sofa, a desk/dresser thing, and TV. Interestingly enough, you’ll notice a fixed window facing the ocean and a balcony facing the street too.
Man, the decor in here hasn’t aged well AT ALL. The Waikiki Beach Marriott is beginning a room renovation project this fall, and it can’t come soon enough!
So, remember how I discussed the views you’d want at this property and how I didn’t get either of them? That’s because I got an east-facing ocean front room. Don’t get me wrong, the view is still nice, it’s just not Diamond Head or a full view of Waikiki.
But, you know, this is the view I wanted. Thank goodness for drones, I suppose. Because this is sort of what the west-facing view looks like, albeit from a slightly different perspective.
Diamond Head view rooms, on the other hand are in the Paoakalani Tower, where the lobby is. That tower is closer to Kuhio Ave., but is taller, so upper level floors have an unobstructed view looking east. Again, another drone image to give you an idea what you’d see, though the drone is closer to Diamond Head.
Sleep + Bath Quality
The bed in our room is comfortable enough, and the ability of the air conditioner to regulate temperature leaves no complaints.
Street noise, even at the 10th floor level, though, can be noticeable. It isn’t as bad as the Courtyard Waikiki, for example, but it’s there. You can also hear others in the hallway somewhat clearly too.
As far as water pressure and temperature goes, these points were good too. I do wish the shower stall to be a little bigger and the shower head more enveloping, but it is what it is. The Waikiki Beach Marriott is just a Marriott, after all.
Since the Waikiki Beach Marriott passes out water bottles, they, naturally, have filling stations. I didn’t use the crap they gave us, though; I refilled a bottle I already had.
WiFi at the Waikiki Beach Marriott is mediocre at best and unusable at worst. Mind you, I’m using the premium high-speed option for Elites too. heck, at one point I was getting test results showing 0.15 Mbps down and 0.24 Mbps up. Can anyone say dial-up?
But, at least the TVs have Netflix and Hulu, which, as I’ve found out, isn’t always the case. Even in 2019! Oh, and our room did have a Blu-ray player! Though they could’ve hidden the power strip or organized the cords a little better, but I’m just nitpicking.
The Waikiki Beach Marriott does have a couple of pools too, though they’re small and I never go in them. Heck, I didn’t even bring any swimwear!
You want to know what I did after helping Mrs. Island Miler get ready and walking her to the shuttles? I crawled back into bed and went to sleep. That was at like 3 am. I arose again to the sounds of cheering on the streets about three hours later. So, I went down to check out the action, which is how I got the photos for my previous post in this series. But then I went back up to the room and ordered myself some breakfast.
They said they’d take 35-45 minutes, so I jumped into the shower at that point. Only, as soon as I got out of the shower 10-15 minutes later, they were already at my door. I did a half-ass dry off, put on some clothes, and welcomed my breakfast.
So, while Mrs. Island Miler was a third the way through the marathon and (probably) questioning her choices in life, I was enjoying a homemade corned beef hash with poached eggs.
I don’t recall how much I paid, but it wasn’t outrageously expensive. Plus, the food was quite tasty too! Which isn’t always the case with room service.
Waikiki Beach Marriott, Final Thoughts
Truth be told, I used to love staying at the Waikiki Beach Marriott. I’ve always had positive interactions with the team there, I’m usually treated well, and the rooms aren’t bad at all. But my expectations are changing, I suppose, and the hotel is beginning to fall below my standards. And it’s not the staff, it’s the bones. The Waikiki Beach Marriott is old and tired, while the technology needs a lot of help. The WiFi is borderline unusable, which is unacceptable nowadays.
But, thanks to the great location for the run, the dining options (more on this later), and my affiliation with Marriott Bonvoy, I’ll be staying at the Waikiki Beach Marriott for the Honolulu Marathon this year. And, no, I’m still not running. But with about 10 months left till the date, I may not keep my reservation here either. We’ll see, though.
The Honolulu Marathon Experience
- How to do the Honolulu Marathon Right
- Review: Waikiki Beach Marriott