We just completed a reward stay at this Big Island resort, so I thought I'd share my experiences. In regards to the controversial new "mandatory" resort fee which is about to kick in, here's how it works here: Their $25/day "Resort Activities Program" includes these items, per the card handed out at check-in:
- Unlimited In-Room High Speed Internet Access (which Gold and Platinum get free anyway)
- Daily Self-Parking ($18/day by itself)
- Free Local, Inter-Island, Toll Free Connect and Long Distance Calls to the United States & Canada
Although it wasn't listed on the card, they also threw in a free Glass Bottom Boat ride (good for 4 persons per room). This was a decent enough 35-minute ride out by the local reef, with easy view of fish and some turtles.
Also, Platinum and Gold members get the following "Kama'aina" Benefits:
- Discounted "Resort Activities Program" - $15/day
- 50% Discount at the Kona Coffee Shoppe
- Discounted Poolside Cabana Rental of $30/day (regular $50/day)
- Special Luau Pricing (we didnt go, so not sure what the discount was)
- 500 Marriott Rewards Points for every Hawaii Calls dinner (their main restaurant)
Since self-parking is already $18/day, we just went with the "Resort Activities Program" at $15/day which included the parking.
When I booked this resort using points, I went with the lowest category room, "Mountain/Resort View" therefore using the minimum required points. Then I noticed about a month or so before my trip, they had upgraded my room to "Pool View". Then, upon check-in, they further upgraded me to an "Ocean Front" room, with a spectaular view!
Also, we used $1000 worth of Marriott Cheques (for food/drinks, resort fee, etc.) upon check-out without any hassle whatsover.
- I didn't have an issue paying the $15/day resort fee (including parking), if I was going to get hit with $18/day for parking anyway.
- At this resort, DO NOT book the higher category room using more points! You will almost surely get upgraded to the best available room!
- They definitely recognize elite members here.
This is a beautiful resort at a great location, within walking distance to great shopping and restaurants. Hawaii Calls has a killer breakfast buffet, and keep a lookout for their Dinner and Happy Hour specials, which can save a lot of $$ over their normally high prices.
That's about it! For more details, feel free to respond, or send me a private message.