Covering 15 acres with ancient fishponds, historic trails, and petroglyph fields, the Marriott has rooms with sleek modern beds, bright white linens, Hawaiian art, and private lanai. The hotel has three pools: a heated infinity pool, a pool with a sandy entrance for kids, and one with a waterslide for the young and young-at-heart. The resort offers only one restaurant, Hawaii Calls Restaurant & Lounge, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the Kona Coffee Shoppe is in the lobby. There are also many restaurants within walking distance at the Kings' Shops and Queens' MarketPlace. The hotel's Mandara Spa offers a full range of treatments in a spacious wellness center. Bordering the white-sand beach of Anaehoomalu Bay, the hotel offers a range of ocean activities through Ocean Sports Hawaii, including stand-up paddleboards, hydro-bikes, kayaks, and wedding-vow renewals on a catamaran.
There are 14 types of rooms to choose from, ranging from a standard to suites, all with their own private lanai. Most rooms are spacious (though the basic rooms are a little bit of a tighter squeeze), with bright, clean décor that is a bit more generic than most island hotels.
If you really want a nice view, be sure to get an ocean front, not an ocean view room.
Bathrooms are sleek and contemporary, with shower/tub combos. Tubs are average size, but the large mirrors and sinks give guests plenty of room to get ready for the day. Bathrooms are stocked with Thann products.
The expansive, partially open-air lobby is decorated with warm tones and comfy chairs, but is also somewhat missing the welcoming island feel.
The pool area is what you’d typically think of for an island pool – a children’s pool and an infinity pool, as well as three hot tubs, are surrounded by lounge chairs and palm trees with a few cabanas peppered about. The two pools have unique shapes and fit together almost like puzzle pieces with a small lounging area between them.
Find a full service spa at the Marriott’s Mandara Spa, including waxing, lip treatments, and even kids services.
The 24/7 Fitness Center features cardio and weight equipment and a sauna. There are also outdoor tennis courts and additional ocean sports add-on options.
There is one primary dining facility at the hotel that features breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Hawaii Calls Restaurant & Lounge features Pacific Rim meets American with a Tuesday night lobster dinner and Thursday night Hawaiian-style seafood boil that you won’t want to miss. In addition, the Marriott recently unveiled Aka’ula Lanai where guests can snack on small plates and cocktails in the evening and get grab and go food and coffee during the day.
In-room dining is also available, and the hotel hosts a sunset luau every Monday and Wednesday evening.
Aka’ula Lanai’s signature cocktails include a variation on the mai tai, as well as a vodka, a tequila, and a whiskey cocktail. They also serve three types of Kona brews, a variety of other beers, and a few wine by the glass options.
YOU SHOULD KNOW With really only one main restaurant at the hotel, you’ll want to plan to venture out to try other food that gives a better variation and value. Since the cocktail bar menu is also very limited, find a nearby happy hour so you can really enjoy those west Hawaii sunsets.
You will need a car to get to the hotel and around the island, but there are plenty of things to do within walking distance.
At Lava Lava Beach Club (11-minute walk) you’ll find a menu that includes happy hour specials, daily fish preparations, and island twists on classic foods like hamburgers and ribs all right on the beach. The bar is also a huge draw, with delicious and strong cocktails (the “Big Bamboocha” will definitely get your vacation started well) and a nice wine menu. Holuakoa Gardens and Cafe (44-minute drive) is a slow food restaurant that sources lots of its ingredients locally (most within five miles of the restaurant) and changes its menu regularly based on the season and available ingredients.
With lava flow and mai tai flights (they have 10 different kinds), there’s plenty to love at Don’s Mai Tai Bar (45-minute drive). Thursday nights are particularly fun as they host a weekly Hawaiian music series. The Big Island’s newest brewery, community-owned Ola Brewery (32-minute drive), offers brewery tours and tastes. Be sure to try the White Pineapple Cider!
WHY WE LIKE IT
The hotel is cozy and the staff is particularly friendly. It’s also fairly quiet, which is a nice feature when you’re trying to relax.