ttgood17

JW Marriott Marco Island

Blog Post created by ttgood17 on Apr 15, 2018

All - Didn't find much on this hotel so adding a full report for those considering it.   Hope it helps someone.

 

My wife and I stayed at this property for this past week.  The hotel has been recently renovated, and is clean and pristine throughout.  The restaurants are beautifully designed for their purposes (more later), and the public spaces are airy and comfortable.

 

 

Room Classes - Rooms are large.  We were lucky to get a corner beachfront room, which had a wraparound balcony facing the beach (west) and north.  There are only four direct beachfront (including one suite) on each floor, out of 69 rooms total.  The hotel grades rooms by proximity to the beach, and divides their buildings into thirds.  The 1/3 furthest from the beach is the basic level, the 2nd third in the centers of the buildings is the next, then the third third closest to the beach is the next.  The beachfront rooms are a tick up from there, then corner we were lucky to get is the next.  Notably, Marriott Platinum members cannot get complimentary suite upgrades - only room upgrades.  You may be offered a suite, but will need to pay for the upgrade ($150/night 2018).  That would have been a good deal, but we didn't get offered.  Rooms are really well soundproofed.  And wifi is fast and powerful everywhere - even restaurants and pools.

 

 

Buildings and Construction - There are two main buildings, separated by one of two pools.  A third building is under construction now, and has been for a while.  When I made our reservation, I tried to confirm that the exterior construction was complete, and that the teams had moved inside to complete finishes.  This was generally true at the time, maybe?  Major exterior work is really complete, but teams are currently finishing balconies.  This means lots of masonry drills.  Often.  The second (south) pool is almost unusable unless the crews are at lunch.  The south side of the beach is better, but the noise will still make it to you.  The north pool and north side of the beach are quieter.

 

 

Beach - The beach is like other west coast beaches - very deep and really spectacular.  Probably 300+ yards from the sidewalk to the beach.  Typical umbrella and position competition (same at the pools).  Folks get their spot early, then visit it once or twice a day, leaving toys and hats to mark their space.  The staff pays lip service to preventing this, but doesn't really care.  Inescapable, I guess - this place is no worse than most, just bigger.  They have apparent problems with locals and condo renters sponging chairs and hanging out.  This has spawned the need for "towel cards" - given at check in along with room cards.  Trade in your card for 2 towels.  Then clean up your towels, return them to the booth, and get your card back.   Oh - the beach booth closes early, so you may lose your cards and need to beg for new ones.  Not the best system.   They follow some wacky forecast about wind and often do not allow umbrellas or sailing.  Once the wind dies down though, sailing is allowed.  You can see the problem.  The beach also has a large white pavilion adjacent to the pools.  This is presumably for functions, but we never saw one using the space.  Once the new conference building is complete, I'd hope they take this down.  All it does is kill the breeze at the pools.

 

 

Kids - We have kids (not on this trip).  We love kids.  Crying babies on planes don't bug us in the least.  Couples, families and business people are all in this together.  That all said, be prepared for a TON of kids.  Both pools and the beach are full of kids of all ages.  Your only non-kid refuge is the spa pool (more later).

 

 

Groups - There was a wedding almost every day, and always one or two corporate groups.  These guys are REALLY good at events.  Setup, takedown, entertainment, food all looked first class.  And folks we met that were at one of these events were blown away.  I've seen, attended and run many of these, and the teams at this property were the best I've seen.  I would host an event here in a second.  Interestingly, the many groups and families mean that independent travelers with Marriott status will actually get more attention than at regular properties.  The Courtyards I stay at all the time are rotten with lifetime Platinums.  This huge (1400 rooms, more coming?) property had almost none.

 

 

Food - There are two beach bar/restaurants, two fine/finer dining (one sushi, one steak) restaurants, a pizza place and a breakfast place.  All do a solid job hitting their price points and fulfilling their missions.  The steakhouse is very solid.  The beach bars have local Florida beers on draft.  All in all, food and beverage is great.

 

 

Staff - There has been some chatter here and elsewhere about the efforts to change this property from its Marriott roots to the JW brand.  I think they can say that they've done that.  The staff is uniformly service focused, and is generally the level you'll get at RCs, Mandarin, and the like.  There were no bad apples in the over 100 staff we me over the week.  Management has built a great culture.

 

 

Spa - The hotel has a small spa, with treatment rooms and an adult only pool.  You can pay for a pool pass, or get all day access with a treatment.  We went for a couples massage, with only a few hours planning.  My wife's therapist decided that it wasn't a couples appointment, and took her to a single room.  My therapist and I waited for 10 minutes, then realized we had been blown off.  So we had separate massages, with me in the couples room alone.  The staff apologized for the mixup, and gave us pool passes for the following day, which we didn't end up using.  Neither of our therapists were up the the standards of other spas we've visited.  Nothing special here, I'd give it a pass.

 

 

Golf - Tale of two courses.  Marriott has bought a local club with two courses, or two clubs, not really sure.  The members have one course to themselves each day, and hotel guests have access to the other course.  They are about 15 and 20 minutes from the hotel, respectively.  The Rookery is windswept, with lots of scrub, water, and marsh.  Some real estate, but not that obtrusive.  Hammock Bay is back and forth Florida condo golf.  The turf is excellent on both courses, and the greens are true.  We played The Rookery with another guest, behind some members.  well under 4 hours, totally enjoyable.  Tough course, but very fair.  We played Hammock Bay the next day, paired with members.  The starter made us wait for extra members going before us, pushing our tee time back.  The front nine was really boring, and we waited on every tee and approach shot.  The pace was glacial, and we quit (so did the members we were paired with) after 9.  The ranger was nonexistent until #9, and he just drove by and waved.  We drove the back nine to get back to the clubhouse.   There were only 5 groups ahead of us, and 5 open holes.   If you really want a 6 hour round with staff that could care less, this is your place.  Go to the Rookery.

 

 

Once the construction is done, this place goes to 4 stars.  Once the spa and golf get fixed, it can go to 5.  Staff is awesome, location and rooms are great, food is wonderful.  We'll check back in a couple of years, but can't put this into the rotation yet.

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