Paradise Found A review of JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa
The Ihilani is located a 20 minute drive west of the Honolulu airport in the Ko Olina resort development. Originally this development was to consist of at least one hotel, a golf course, and a large housing development. As the Hawaiian economy collapsed, this development was cut back and consists now of the Ihilani Resort & Spa, a beautiful Ted Robinson designed golf course, four beautiful lagoons, and a small housing development several miles away from the resort. A Marriott timeshare, consisting of three buildings, is under construction about ½ mile away. One building has been completed, so there is noise at the timeshare, but it cant be heard at the Ihilani. The lobby is a beautiful and quiet atrium and the entire resort has a wonderful calmness about it. While the hotel occasionally has some group functions, you dont find the noisy crowds which are normally found at Waikiki hotels. The hotel consists of two sections: a 15 story tower and a 4 story beachfront wing. We have always stayed in the beachfront wing as we like being close to the beach and hearing the roar of the surf when we leave our sliding glass doors open during the night. We stayed in a deluxe oceanfront room which consisted of a bedroom (129 x 19), an all marble bathroom with his and hers vanities and a stall shower and tub (10 x 92), a separate toilet (5x3) a foyer (86 x 4), and a lanai with a chaise lounge and two chairs and a dining table (68 x 19). The rooms are beautifully decorated in heavy rattan furniture. There is an automated system next to the bed which controls all lighting in the room, air conditioning, your alarm clock, and the electronic do not disturb sign outside your door.The hotel sits on a beautiful ocean-fed lagoon with a semi-circular beach about 1000 feet long. A breakwater keeps waves out, making it an ideal place for young children. I dont know where everyone goes every day, but in the many times we have stayed at this resort, there have never been more than 50 people on the beach- and given its immense size, you can spread out and be a hundred feet away from the nearest person. If thats not private enough for you, there are three other almost identical lagoons which can be reached via a paved jogging/walking path or by a 2 minute drive in a car. We went over to one of the other lagoons on one day of our stay and there was only one other couple on the entire beach! .Snorkling equipment is available for rent for a small charge. This is not a resort for those looking for beach volleyball or surfing, nor for singles looking for some action.A five minute walk from the hotel is Paradise Cove where a nightly luau is held. There is also yet another lagoon here, in case you still dont have enough seclusion in one of the other four!The service at the resort is impeccible. The staff is mostly Hawaiian and just the sweetest people imaginable. They will do just about anything to make you happy. While their room service and restaurant menus are fairly extensive and the food delicious, they will be more than happy to make you anything you want so long as they have the ingredients. Potential guests should be aware that meals at the resort can be outrageously expensive. Breakfast buiffet is $17.95 plus tax and tip. Dinner entrees average $25 and there is no inexpensive restaurant suitable for a family there or even nearby.It is about a 40 minute drive into Waikiki and the Ala Moana Shopping Center. For those needing supplies, there is a Safeway and a Longs Drugs about a 5 minute drive from the hotel. The very large Wakalai Shopping Mall and Outlet Mall is about a 10-15 minute drive. The hotel also has a huge and well recognized spa with an extensive menu of services.I cant recommend this resort highly enough. Although you are still on Oahu, it is like being on a separate island.