Wednesday 20th June, 2018

JW Marriott Ihilani Hotel Resort & Spa

This has to be one of the best hotel resorts in Hawaii. 387 luxurious guest rooms, each with it's own mini bar (stocked with beers, wines, spirits and confectionary), freshly made ice, safe, indvidual hallway, bathroom with separate toilet and beautifully appointed, spacious bedrooms with sliding white timber blinds which open to sweeping balconies. The balconies alone are a highlight. They are very spacious and feature timber tables and chairs and a lazy-boy. There is no nightly turn-down service, however fresh towels are delivered each night. The views from most rooms must be spectacular. International Hotel tried a 'Mountain View' room at $269 (USD) and then for the following night upgraded (for $30) to an 'Ocean View' room. The two rooms were basically the same with the only difference, the view. The 'Mountain' was very large but barren and there was a hint of road noise on that side of the hotel. The change to 'Ocean View' was somewhat disappointing. From the structure of the hotel most of the rooms on the ocean side, as indicated earlier, must have spectacular views. Alas our room should have been categorised as 'Ocean Glimpse'. It is unfortunate that some hotels take unfair advantage, and whilst technically correct in their positioning they are stretching a point. It doesn't auger well for repeat bookings, and especially in this case where a hotel chain is involved, for that chain. On the other hand it is commenable how some hotels in our system label rooms such as 'Partial Ocean View' which gives us guests an even break.

Anyway back to the Marriott Resort, view aside, it is a remarkable hotel. Set amidst beautifully designed, and kept, grounds and gardens. Occasional waterfalls, streams stocked with fish, a sizeable beach, pool, poolside bar and grill, terrace and fine dining restaurants, first level bar and all you would expect from a AAA rated 5 star facility. We found the restaurants fine. Service was excellent and the food presentation and pricing completely acceptable. The fine dining restaurant was a little on the expensive side, although this would be expected. The pool side bar and grill service was a little slow. 5 waitresses and two barmen struggled to meet the demand of only about 50 lunch time guests, which was surprising. Guests were competing to get their attention, although once they did, the service was swift. Costs were typical of a poolside service, hamburger and fries around $9 whilst a 'jumbo size' (misnamed) hot dog and fries came at $6.75.

One of the outstanding of the many features of the Ihilani Resort is the Ko Olina 18 hole championship golf course. This Ted Robinson designed course was opened in 1990 and is nominated in the "Top 75 resort courses in the USA" by Golf Digest.

The resort has six Kramer-surfaced tennis courts, an excellent gymnasium with it's own pool and pool-deck. The Ihilani Spa offers a superb range of services which include Swedish, sports, aroma, deep tissue, reflexology and aroma therapy massages, island floral herbal, Hawaiian sea salt, green tea detoxifying wraps, deep cleansing, anti-stress aromatherapy and abundant-c whitening facials. There are half and full day programmes, body polishes, muscle balancing and spinal alignments, nail care, waxing, hair salon services, fitness evaluations and so on.

The Ihilani Resort is a recommendable facility, easily accessed from Honoulu International Airport (about a half hour drive).

Surprisingly there is no big Marriott sign on the hotel, or it seems any Marriott signs. The hotel is a little difficult to locate as it is, and having no sign means you could miss it.

Just to make it easy, in case you ever want to stay at the hotel, we'll include driving instructions:

*From Honoulu International Airport, take the H1 freeway going west to Waianae.

*Stay on the freeway for approximately 25 minutes (17 miles) and exit at the Ko Olina exit.

*Continue on this road and you will see in the distance a 17 storey (un-named) white building.

*You guessed it - the 17 storey white building is the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort. Aloha.


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