More about JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa at Ko Olina
Best View of the Lagoon from this hotel.
The Marriott Ihilani had one of the best views I have ever seen. It rivals the view from our hotel room when we visited Bermuda. The Lagoon is right below the hotel and allows the kids to swim and also has an opportunity for you to snorkel in the same lagoon. The water is turquoise and very calm.
Great O'ahu Resort, Away From the Action
I'll just start out by saying this is one of, if not the most beautiful hotels/resorts that I have had the privilege to stay at in Hawaii. Even though my stay here was only for 1 day and night, it was definately enough time for me to realize how great this property really was. First off, I'll start by saying that normally I would not be staying at a place like this. As nice as it is, it is not my style to stay at such a posh resort so far away from the center of things. But since I have the wonderful friends that I do who work in the hotel industry, I was able to check this hotel out for basically nothing. I think the going rate for rooms here start at around $300, and go WAY up from there. So price was not an issue for me. Now, beginning with it's location, I thought that it was excellent. Other than being almost a half an hour away from Honolulu, I think the setting was great for people that like a little seclusion, and spectacular sunsets! Now it's seclusion does pose a problem for people wanting to go out within the area, whether it be for dinner, nightlife, or whatever. There presently is not much around these parts to accomodate this, but this is soon to change I am sure with more hotels scheduled to be going up in the area. The hotel and it's surroundings are amazing! An incredible entrance and lobby, fantastic pool and beach area, and wonderful recreation activities such as tennis, golf, swimming and snorkeling. Rooms are quite spacious, some with views of the ocean and sunsets, some with views of the mountains. Personally I would go for the ocean view rooms simply for the amazing sunsets that you can see, but I believe the mountain view rooms are a little more secluded and private if thats what you desire. Beds and linens seemed to be brand new, and bathroom was extremely clean with a very modern decor. The entrance and lobby of the Ihilani is one of the most interesting around. Japanese Coy greet you in small ponds at the entrance of the hotel, and towards the back of the lobby, there is a huge pond with sharks, stingrays, fish, and many others swimming in it for your viewing pleasure. Of the many restaurants, I actually only ate at the poolside grill, but it was excellent. A full menu is available while you relax by the striking pool, just make sure you wait 20 minutes before getting in again after you eat! :) The beach area is also great, with 4 different lagoons available to swim and snorkel in. The lagoon closest to the hotel had lounge chairs available as well. Many things that the hotel has I unfortunately did not get to check out during my brief stay, but what I did get a chance to experience was phenominal!
Palm Springs Style Resort on a beach!
We stayed in a beautiful condominium on the Ko'Olina property. It was a gorgeous, well manicured property, within walking distance to world-class golf and dining at the resorts.
PROS: gorgeous & very safe.
CONS: Waaaay toooo far from everything we wanted to see and do. Next time I would prefer humble accommodations on the Northshore. the pool is beautiful and there is a great snorkel/dive reef at the closest beach access.
If you have children or prefer a sandy cove or inlet, the hotels have 4 or 5 manmade sheltered coves that are safe for swimming
Oahu is not just Waikiki
We had a short stopover on Oahu. We had done a lot of flying so didn't want the hassle of connecting to another island, but Waikiki didn't really seem like what we were looking for. A search on the web took us to Kailua and Hale Ihlani, a self-catering cottage a couple of blocks from a beautiful quite beach.
The owner was surprised we arrived without a car. It is a limitation because all the tourist infrastructure centres on Waikiki (and because Hawaii has this much in common with other parts of the USA: it's just assuned *everybody* has a car!) but it's perfectly possible to get around by bus (ww.thebus.org) and the occasional taxi. Kailua is really a residential area with many residents travelling to Honolulu to work. It's therefore a bit more 'real' (and a lot more relaxed) than Waikiki, and if you search the web you will find holiday homes for rent in many such places around Oahu. The facility to cook uyour own meals is liberating (not to mention saving cash!)
You pay for the whole house so the cost per person depends on the size of the party. Hale Ihlani is located in the grounds of the owner's own home. The pool is for your exclusive use and is not shared with any other property.
AWESOME! The best place to stay on Oahu
11 of us just stayed 4 days (Dec. 2 - 5) at the Ihilani in 3 different rooms. We were traveling with five kids - ages 5 - 12. We had come from 7 days in Kapalua, Maui which was a huge disappointment. We couldn't have been happier with the Ihilani for several reasons. It's beautiful, the staff was wonderful, the pool, the sandy lagoon, the beautiful ocean views and sunset from our lanai, the shark and stingray pools all added to the excellent atmosphere at the resort. The entertainment at the pool in the evening was wonderful. We used the health club and tennis facilities extensively. The tennis pro was excellent - giving our kids private clinics twice during our short stay at reasonable prices for a resort club. The courts were in excellent condition in a very nice environment. The rooms were very clean and well maintained - the bathrooms were luxurious - for the price it was well worth it. The location of the resort is perfect - less than 30 minutes from the airport and the busy city of Honolulu. As someone else had mentioned, there is every restaurant/store/movie theatre you could ask for 3 miles up the road. It's only 40 minutes from the North Shore to watch the pro surfers. We signed the kids up for feeding the fish/sharks/stingrays and it was one of the highlights of their trip. We stayed during the week so I'm not sure how the weekend crowd would be - but during our stay it never felt crowded, we could always get chairs at the pool or beach. Our flights didn't leave until 10:30 pm Dec. 5. The front desk allowed us to extend our checkout to 6PM for only a fraction of a nightly rate! We'll definitely go back as soon as we can.
Overall good, but some annoying drawbacks
We stayed five nights at the Ihilani, December 3-8, 2003. Two of us, no kids. We enjoyed the comfortable rooms, great baths, good sunset views, and the big lagoon closest to the hotel. The staff was very pleasant and polite, lots of earnest young people. Our only disappointments came around the food--for the prices, the food was truly mediocre and the wine choices mostly very ordinary and priced like good wines elsewhere.
The exception to the poor food quality was the Japanese restaurant, Ushio-Tei, which was very good--and also expensive, much more than comparable places even in Hawaii. I guess you expect that at a resort, but the isolation of the Ihilani made it difficult to have a really good meal away from the hotel. It's true there are a lot of fast food and low-end places to eat in Kapolei three miles away, but to get a really good meal you have to drive to Honolulu, 30 minutes or more (MUCH more during the rush hour) away. Traffic in Honolulu is horrible from 4:30-7. The other things that were annoying were the lack of coffee- or tea-making ability in the rooms, the fact that they really discouraged use of the minibar for storage of outside purchased food (we bought tropical fruit and had to leave it out), and the lack of ice. There is ice service once a day, around 3:30, but other than that if you want ice you have to call room service. No charge, but of course you want to tip the server. If you move things in the minibar to make room for any food you bring in, they will charge you for the things that are moved--not consumed, just moved! All those things seemed unnecessarily cheap and chintzy, as did the $10/day parking charge. And the rooms overlooking the pool are pretty noisy, and there is a very bright floodlight at night on top of the hotel shining on the pool area. We had a sunset view room around the corner from the pool, but we could still hear the noise and the nightly music clearly with the lanai doors open. If you get a room facing southeast, toward the Ko Olina timeshare project, you can see a big industrial area that is pretty ugly. They might call those partial ocean views. We enjoyed our stay because of the comfort of the rooms, the good swimming in the lagoon, and the nice landscaped path running by all four lagoons--great for running or walking. But we are not likely to go back.
An Oasis away from Oahu's (waikiki's) busy mess!!
Best view of all our Maui and Oahu hotels and many of the others cost us double the JW. Great Luxurious rooms with large lanai and flower boxes with fresh cut flowers in bath. Classy decor with modern room controls - all from one control box. His and hers vanity with dual bath/shower marble/tile floors (we expected this in all our 4-5 stars but not the case). Nice dining but not cheap; both meals at 3 of the 4 places in the hotel were $80-100 except the poolside bar ($40 for 2) but agian they were all very good. Lagoon is nice for swimming and staying out of high surf but if you love waves or your kids want to body surf then this isn't the place. Very nice pools and no charge for the beach chairs and umbrellas like the Sheraton and others. VERY helpful staff!! Also, people say Maui is the place for whales but we saw many more surfacing out of our room in Ihilani than we have here in Maui at a high ocean-side room; even after a long rain storm. There may be more here in Maui but the boats full of people hovering all around them going crazy don't help the view or pictures from shore. Also some other people hovering around those boat whale watchers protesting - few extremest mess up the rest but they do get boats too close and pressure them for $$$.
A detailed perspective
Just got back (late November) and we had a wonderful time. The place is very well maintained and the service is terrific. We were there with our kids (2 and 4 years old) and found the place is great for families.
It is perfect if you like a quiet upscale hotel with good, friendly service and a relaxed family environment. On our last trip we were at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and we found this hotel much more relaxing. I did not have one dirty look from an adult at the pool because my kids were too loud or in some other way bothered them. On the other hand, if you are looking for a peaceful retreat away from kids, this is NOT your hotel. The pool is not very large so everyone interacts (like it or not). There is a small pool at the spa for people who want to get away.
People can also get away from the little ones (and anyone else) at one of the lagoons (which are essentially private). There is no beverage service on the lagoons and no alcohol is allowed on the sand either.THE SCOOP ON THE ROOMS. We had an ocean view on the fifth floor, which really is only two floors above the lobby. This is important because there is significant noise coming from the pool, kids club, and ground floor open space (weddings). I recommend a room on the higher floors.
ROOMS TO AVIOD. I noticed the valet's came up the driveway with their lights off (but guest's don't). This is because there are rooms directly in front of the driveway and the headlights shine right into the rooms! I would avoid rooms 321, 421, 521 like the plague (unless you want lights in your room all night!).It gets windy (really windy) so if you plan on playing golf don't put it off, take advantage when the weather is good! This is a resort so it is expensive (of course!), get a rental car there is a town 3 miles away with every fast food outlet, sushi, pizza, ice cream, movie theaters, blockbusters, and a supermarket. The Doorman Tommy was great! He can tell you where you can get anything inside or outside the resort. Between Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, R-C Huntington (Pasadena, Ca), R-C Phoenix, R-C Laguna Niguel, JW Desert Springs, and the Lodge at Rancho Mirage, this was our best vacation! We really loved it! High-end clientele but not snobby at all.
The mix was about 20% Japanese (non-english speaking couples and families), 30% couples (no kids), 50% families with kids (all ages).
Only recommendation is more elevators and a key access concierge level.
What a View!
Overall? I was pleased with what the hotel was all about. Being young, however, I found that my boyfriend and I ended our evenings earlier than we were used to... The fact all bars were closed by midnight was a shocker, but we made due and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Food was excellent, but definitely expensive - we spent close to $300 for a two day stay! The sushi bar was amazing and I loved the morning buffet.
However, at our next destination in Waikiki, I was able to buy a 5 day supply of cereal, milk and OJ at the local ABC store for the cost of one breakfast - much more economical.
We did have a small run-in with critters, but the staff moved our room and actually credited our upgrade charge for the inconvenience.
All in all? A beautiful place, but I think I am more of a city gal...
Wow. What a wonderful resort. We visited August, 2001 and will definitely be back! The resort is located in it's own little paradise on Oahu. Far enough away from the hustle of Waikiki, but close enough to drive into town each night if you want. A rental car is a must though. The rooms were just incredible - the nicest place I've ever stayed in my life. Marble bathroom, deep soaking tub, awesome terrace, impeccable service. The only thing missing was a luxurious pool - don't get me wrong, the pool was fine, but very basic. But because of the location - the resort is located on 4 private lagoons - you don't ever need the pool. We went snorkeling everyday, on and off the resort. There are walking trails along the lagoons. Had brunch at the clubhouse, and ate at the pool restuarant, but didn't try any of the others. The concierge service was awesome - they didn't steer us wrong at all. Very professional, and seemed to know exactly what we wanted! It's very quiet at night - so if you're looking for a party atmosphere, this isn't it. But if you're looking to relax and enjoy each other's company - this is paradise!
View out of the lobby of Ihilani
I am planning on staying in Oahu for a few nights in Nov. Has anyone stayed at the Marriot IIiahani (?) Resort. Wondering if it is worth the expense. Also is it hard to get to and then navigate the island from there? Thanks...........
Re: Marriot Hotel
We are staying at the Ihilani in the middle of February. I'd be glad to give you some into when we get back . We will be staying there on conference rates, so I don't know what the regular rates would be. You might also want to look at the website tripadvisor.com. You can enter JW Marriott Ihilani in the search area and see people's reviews of the resort. I've seen reviews at both ends of the good/bad spectrum, but you might find the comments interesting and helpful to your decision making.
Re: Marriot Hotel
We stayed at the Ihilani for 6 nights last week. We went there after 5 nights at the Princeville Hotel in Kauai, which is truly a nice place. So we were a bit jaded on our opinion of the Ihilani. The rooms are nice and quite roomy (especially the 2 double bed rooms). The bathrooms are great! We stayed for a convention rate, so I don't know what their regular rate is. It is a nice setting, but it is isolated. You definitely need a car, and if you plan to make numerous visits to the Honolulu/Waikiki area, this may not be the place for you. You have to fight a lot of traffic to get to Honolulu. The restaurants at the resort are very expensive, and your only option unless you hop in your car and drive a bit. The shark and ray pools are fun, and it is a very pretty setting. I'm sure it is more peaceful than any of the Waikiki hotels, but it almost seemed hectic after our stay in Kauai.
Hope this helps, and happy decision making.
Re: Re: Marriot Hotel
NW, thanks for the reply. We will be going to Kauai after our visit to Oahu. It will be our second trip to Kauai.
I believe we wil stay at the Ilihani in Oahu then it is on the the Kauai Marriott. Thanks again. Hope you have a lifetime of memories from your trip............
Lodging near Pearl Harbor
We will be visiting Pearl Harbor and we are looking for lodging NOT in Honolulu or on Waikiki. We are looking for something in say Pearl City or Waipahu, perhaps Ewa Village or Ewa Beach. We are not into the city much and prefer to stay away from all the bustle. We are budget conscious and choose to spend our money on other things, besides a room. As long as it's clean and bug free, with a comfy bed, we're happy. Not even necessary to have a view, as we like seeing our view from outside the room.
I'm not able to find anything by searching online, every search throws me into Honolulu. Any suggestions?
Re: Lodging near Pearl Harbor
They come up in Honolulu because they are suburbs pretty much surrounded by Honolulu however there are a few that are just outside of Pearl they can be found on yahoo. Harbor Arms, Harbor Shores and Wiki Wiki Hotel.
Vacation Rentals by Owner
Here's a place that you might like listed by Vacation Rentals by Owner
There are more options in the West Oahu section.
I was goint to suggest these Ko Olina properties. Then I noticed that you're looking for budget accomodations. I'll include it for future readers.
About 5 miles farther down the interstate than Ewa Beach is the resort area of Ko Olina where you will find the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa,
and Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club,
Re: Lodging near Pearl Harbor
I appreciate everyones advise. Getting close and we'll have to make a decision soon!
Can someone who has stayed at this resort recently answer a few questions. I had heard they may be in financial trouble and wondered if your stay was enjoyable or if you noticed anything out of the ordinary concerning cleanliness. and wether the staff was attentive. I will be staying there in Nov. so I still have time to change reservations.......
What is your impression of the resort? Thank you
Re: Ko'olina resort
I booked a room at the Ko'Olina resort which is managed by the Marriott chain on December 31, 2003. When we checked into our room, we found the room was way too small for the four of us in our family. As a result, we have to move next door to the Ihilani which is also another Marriott Hotel. I stayed at the Ihilani about 5 times in the past 3 years and I knew their rooms are huge. We booked the Ko’olina Resort first because it was brand new and we just wanted to try it out. If, for some reason you have to cancel your reservation at the Ko’Olina Resort, you should consider the Marriott Ihilani in Ko’Olina.
Although I did not stay at the Ko' Olina resort (I did spend 2 hours in my room looking for another hotel), I found the staff was very friendly and the service was excellent from the bellman, front desk, reservation staff and the room attendant. They were courteous and they even let me cancel my reservation without any penalty.
My understanding of the property was that they have two kinds of rooms. One of them is a suite with a big living room and a separate bedroom. The other one is just like a small hotel bedroom which is connected to the suite through a common door. If the common door is open, it could be rented out as a two bedroom suite. I have booked the smaller room by mistake and the resort was full on New Yesr's Eve. Anyway, I found the room was clean, the swimming pool was very nice and the property was brand new. It is a lot more peaceful and quiet than Waikiki. It is a shame if the resort is closed because of financial reasons. I knew the Kapolei and Ko’Olina area very well because I traveled there frequently on business. If you have any question, please ask.
Re: Re: Ko'olina resort
Thanks for the information..........
Re: Re: Ko'olina resort
One could avoid such surprises by perhaps doing a little search on internet. I would often do a check on the hotels, look at their 'info' page, and then book the room I find suitable. I do all this on
which offers great convenience as well as source of info.