Family vacations

Waikiki Marriott Beach Resort and Spa – The No Stress Kid Vacation

I was three months pregnant, and we were going stir crazy knowing that there would soon be a ban on travel in the USA (note: most travel insurance companies will not cover pregnancy because it is a “previously known condition” so make sure you check with your carrier). We decided on Waikiki.

I always feel instant “vacation” when I go to Hawaii, as soon as I step off the plane and the warm air hits me. And even better, Hawaii is great with kids…here is why:

1. The weather is generally great – not too hot and not too cold.

2. If it does rain you generally have lots to do to entertain the kids.

3. You feel like you are somewhere tropical but you are not travelling long distances to get there or requiring antibiotics and travel medication.

4. You can often find cheap flight deals.

5. You can easily purchase or obtain the comforts of home (unlike some resorts in Mexico where it can be difficult to pick up various sundries).

6. There’s shopping (when the toddler naps, the mama shops).

We stayed at the Marriott. And to be honest, I was disappointed at first. My husband booked the hotel but I specifically said I wanted to be “on the water”. I was thinking I was going to be staying at one of those large hotels located right on Waikiki beach. Jeff would go surfing, I could watch him as Danika and I could bob up and down in the pool. That was my vision, but what we got was actually better.

The Marriott is located at the end of the strip, and it is across from the beach. However, I think this was a superior spot for us and our 1 1/2 year old. Here are some reasons:

– We had a view of Diamond Head and the water (not bad when you are sitting in your hotel room for a afternoon toddler nap).

– Though you were across the street from the water, you are across from Kuhio Beach Park. If you have toddlers this is the place to go. There is a man-made reef that protects you from the waves so toddlers can swim with you safely.

– You are a 5-10 minute walk from the busy strip – close enough to find a good place to eat and far away enough to feel you are out of the hustle and bustle.

– The sightseeing and shopping trams are available out front.

– There is a coffee shop located in the lobby, as well as two ABC Stores.

– The hotel lobby has a large lobby with shops and a courtyard. Excellent for toddler entertainment early in the morning.

– The pool is kid friendly. Rent a cabana so your kids are out of the sun for a bit, and the food is not that bad.

– There is “entertainment” though generally geared towards the older generation.

In reading reviews, it seems that if you rent a car the hotel will charge you over $30 to park it. It is what I would expect downtown, but there is so much to do you might want to just look at getting a rental for a day at a time versus over a long stretch. To be honest, there is so much to do in the core that renting a car for a whole vacation might be a waste of your money.

The lobby does offer free Wi-fi but otherwise the wireless is quite expensive.

The only negative and frustrating experience was getting a crib for Danika. We had requested it online, but there was not one in the room. It took them over two hours with several phone calls to actually get one. We arrived at night so by the time we got it the exhausted toddler had cried herself to sleep on our bed, only to have her awakened by the bell person setting up the cot.

My suggestion is to (a) confirm that there is a crib ready for your child the day before you arrive (b) request a room higher up (less noise) (c) request an upgrade (sometimes people have reported that they received an upgraded room with a better view) (d) use the fridge and stock up on fruits and yogurt etc… to lower costs and take away the frustration of eating out with a toddler (e) get to know the pool staff (i.e. be nice to them). We only paid for the cabana once, the rest of the time they gave it to us if it didn’t seem like anyone was going to pay for one.

For babies and toddlers, I would rate this hotel a 4/5 for family friendly. For older kids, you just might want to be amongst the bigger hotels in the hustle and bustle so they can play in the waves.