Yes, this is a new hotel and yes there were some simple issues to be worked out but I would rather start with the positive. It was stunningly gorgeous, amazing pool, beautiful room, huge tv, nice bathroom, great gym/workout area. For the price, you simply can't go wrong. How many JW Marriotts are in this price range around the world? We traveled with a 3 month old and spent 90% of our time at the resort as a result. The location was a bit isolated as others will mention.
We were upgraded to a family suite. Truthfully, there was not much difference in a family suite and a regular room, it was just a little longer and had two Thail day beds. One I used for laying out clothes, the other I used to change diapers. Unless you need the daybeds for kids, don't waste your money paying for an upgrade.
I used the babysitting services and wanted to bill it to the room since I had a limited amount of cash however was requested on several occasions to pay them cash. I can only assume it was off the books. Considering these people were going to watch my infant that made me a little nervous. I probably should have given them better instructions since they tried to give my 3 month old baby juice! It all worked out in the end.
I had a pool access room and it was really difficult to get in and out. I found I would get in from my room and then get out at an official ramp. This way I could grab one of the fantastic soft towels. The only negative with that was the super duper hot ground walking back to the room. It would be nice if they improved this.
If you go with a stroller be prepared for tons of steps. One step up, two steps down, two steps up, four steps down, 5 steps up, one step down and on and on. The staff will help you when needed, but just be prepared. Probably close to impossible with a wheelchair.
The staff couldn't have been any more friendly, however there were some bouts of cluelessness. The concierge was borderline useless. I booked a scuba trip with the office, when to the shop the night before I was scheduled to go to find out there was no reservation?? It's a learning process, but certainly not what I would have expected from a 5 star hotel. I am sure they will get better. The food outlets had the best servers that would help watch my fussy baby and let us get a meal in peace. There were some other comments about poor English, catering to Germans/Russians, I didn't find this to be true. English was the common language and although it was not perfect it was fine.
The food was just OK. I am sure some will rave about it. Personally, I would have liked some more chicken dishes. I liked the grill the best. I tried everywhere at least once and kept returning back to the grill. Great sandwiches and great waitstaff. Breakfast was good, not fantastic, but with the low occupancy I can understand why it was thin.
The gym equipment was top of the line, however it was quite small. I was the only person in the gym each time I went so it wasn't a big deal. If you ever need to get some extra bottles of water you can go to the gym and swipe some there.
I used the car service to pick us it. It was a brand new van and cost around $80US each way. It was worth it since we had a TON of stuff including my husband bicycle. I requested a car seat (which I was told they had) and they showed up with a booster seat more suited for a 3-5 year old. Needless to say, that didn't work and I had to hold the baby. On the return trip they provided me with a better, more suitable car seat. Be careful to be specific if you need a car seat.
If you are Marriott Gold then this is the place for you. You will receive a ton of discounts and freebies. We were there for 10 days and probably received more than $500 in drinks, discounted food, and the spa (which was amazing). We could have probably upped it to $1000 if my baby was on formula! That being said, the alcoholic drinks are expensive!!!
I just checked marriott.com and saw the rate is $100 a night. So, I reserved it again for May. Obviously I must have liked it a lot if I am willing to go back.