On our last trip to Kauai (about 13 years ago) we stayed at the hotel that hosted the conference my husband attended and we stopped to check out the Marriott and we fell in love with the grounds! So, when we decided to finally return to Kauai this year there was no doubt where we would stay, plus I'm Platinum Premier in Marriott Rewards - We stay nowhere else!
After a long day of travel from the east coast we arrived at the hotel in the early evening. We were promptly greeted as we drove up, and asked if we needed help with our bags. I told the bellman I wasn't sure just yet and he pointed me in the direction of the lobby. You go down an escalator and walk through the courtyard until you arrive at the lobby which contains a beautiful outrigger canoe. Fortunately no one else was in line as there was only one associate working at the front desk. I asked about the resort fee as I felt I would be paying for things I already receive at no cost (i.e. WiFi). I asked if there was a manager available to speak to and she immediately told me she could waive the fee, but I would have to pay the $16/day to park. I decided that was better than $25/day, but then discovered that locals and other tourists could park in the same lot that we parked in, and they didn't pay anything. She did tell me not to argue with the locals when trying to park! I asked if an upgrade was available and she said she could give me a two category upgrade which was nice - our room had a lanai and overlooked the pool area. She didn't tell me that I could park close to our building - the main parking is on the other side of the hotel. I felt like I had to drag it out of her that there was a parking lot right at our building. As I left the front desk she realized she forgot to let me pick an envelope for a "gift". In my envelope there was a card for an all-you-can drink cup, but no directions on how/where to redeem.
We were able to park right at our building most of the time, which was nice, especially when dealing with luggage. Our room was nice, and was probably recently updated. There was a large safe - nice that I could just put my entire purse in there along with everything else we wanted to lock up. There was a mini-fridge and coffee maker. The bathroom was nice and spacious and two of us could be in there without falling over each other. As others have mentioned, the a/c wasn't the greatest. Housekeeping was hit or miss. The first day they took my towel even though I hung it up, but they did not leave another towel. Turn-down service was only offered one night out of the four we were there. I'm used to Marriott resorts leaving ample towels and then having turn-down in the evenings to freshen things up and replace towels, etc. Most days coffee and toiletries were not replenished. I guess the level of service depended on which housekeeper serviced our room.
The hotel is close to the airport, but I only heard/saw an airplane once, and we spent most everyday at the pool. I did hear/see the occasional helicopter, but it was not disruptive. We rode the shuttle to the airport upon our departure and there is a "side/back" entrance from the hotel, so it took only about two minutes to get to the airport! I believe the shuttle will take you to other nearby locations upon request.
Most days, and evenings, there were local artisans on property selling their wares. I bought some beautiful items at great prices. Made shopping very easy!
The grounds of the resort are absolutely gorgeous! We loved the pool so much we didn't even set foot on the beach. But then again, the beach is not a swimming beach, plus there were volleyball nets set up on the beach, and we were looking for peace and quiet. There is an "island" in the pool and that is where we sat each day as it was a bit more secluded, and we hoped quieter. It was quiet most days, but there was one guest who decided he needed to play his music so loudly that when speaking to the people seated next to him he had to yell. I gave him a "look", but I think that just made him crank it up more. As we left my husband said something to the waitress and she did agree that the music was too loud. Maybe the property should allow their associates to say something to inconsiderate guests like this so that everyone can have an enjoyable experience. Kids would jump from the bridge, despite signs saying no diving. Marriott associates seemed to appear out of nowhere to put a stop to it - we even saw one associate seek out the parents to reinforce the rules. Maybe the property should put up other signs that say no jumping. Our stay was over Labor Day weekend and one day the pool was teeming with local kids and teenagers. I'm not sure, but it seemed that maybe the property allows associates to bring friends and family in to use the facilities. I have no issue with that, but these kids were out of control. They were climbing the walls - there are stone walls that are waterfalls around one part of the pool. Associates did put a stop to it, and had the kids go to the towel hut to determine if they belonged at the hotel as they were not wearing the wristbands that were distributed at the towel hut. They were soon back in the pool and no longer climbing the walls, but chasing each other. It appeared that whoever was "it" was on the island running around looking for their friends. I'm all for kids having fun, but parents need to make sure their kids behave so that others can also enjoy their visit. The pool is huge and there are five or six hot tubs around one side. There is a kiddy pool, with water slide. There are animal fountains spurting water into the pool. In places the pool is in need of repair/cleaning. The towel hut attendants were super friendly - offering either fresh towels or your towel cards back. The property does give you towel cards, which is nothing unusual for a resort of this type.
The property has a program called "linger longer" where you can keep a room (you may have to switch to another) until 1800 for $85, plus tax. I was able to get a late check-out at no charge (until 1300 or 1400), but we gave up our room before check-out and had our luggage held as the property has rooms available to shower and freshen up in before departure. We were given keys for two rooms - one for males and one for females. The associate at the front desk wasn't exactly sure as to the location of the rooms, which I thought a bit odd! The rooms were adequately stocked with towels, shampoo, etc. It was nice to be able to get cleaned up before going to airport! Fortunately no one was using the rooms and we didn't have to wait. If you have your luggage held and have chocolates you may want to see if they can put those bags in a room that is air-conditioned. The baggage room was hot and some of our chocolates melted!
I received a message to stop by the Marriott Vacation Club desk for a welcome package. I knew they would want us to go to the sales presentation, but we had no desire to do that, but I stopped by anyway. I had a nice chat with one of the ladies and she gave me my packet that included a card that had some discounts for restaurants and shopping, both on property as well as off. There was also a coupon for a BOGO drink which we were able to use poolside.
I had to stop at the front desk a couple times and most times there was only one associate working, so that meant there was usually a line. At a resort the size of this property, there should be more than one person at the desk, and at a minimum help should be summoned.
I noticed that there was a random $5 charge by the hotel on my credit card statement when I reviewed it. It was posted two days after I checked out. I called the property to ask what the charge was for. Someone looked it up and said it was for a bottle of water. I told her we didn't take, or even touch, the water in the room. She said she would have someone reverse the charge.
I didn't give the resort "five stars" because of the randomness of housekeeping, service at the front desk, the not-so-great a/c, the after check-out charge, the condition of the pool, and the repeated disruptions of associates having to reprimand kids. I was glad however to see that the property tried to keep things under control! If we return to Kauai we'll stay again, but maybe not over a holiday weekend - Maybe it will be a little quieter!