Last Updated on April 21, 2024

Scenic. Serene. Spectacular. Just a few ways to describe Marriott Waikoloa Ocean Club located on the Big Island of Hawaii’s sun-drenched Kohala Coast.

This property opened in 2017 and is located on 15 lush acres overlooking Anaeho’omalu Bay (known as A-Bay by the locals). The Kaulua-Kona resort includes ancient lava beds and Hawaiian fishponds teeming with sealife set along an incredibly picturesque bay with amazing beaches. Sunsets here are stunning.

My family enjoys the walkway through a verdant, fern-covered forest accessed by one side of the resort and the rugged, coral-lined path with wild wave action and tidepools on the other.

Waikoloa Ocean Club shares the grounds with the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa giving guests the benefits of both a hotel and vacation club property.

Mariott Hawaii Vacation Club Accommodations

The vacation club consists of spacious one-and-two-bedroom villas with pool views, pool/ocean views, or oceanfront suites, all with private balconies and lanais.

One-bedroom villas can sleep four guests and include a king room, full bath, and a pull-out sofa in the living room area, along with a kitchen and dining table. Two-bedroom units can accommodate up to eight guests and offer an additional 2-queen room with a separate bath. Both accommodations include a washer and dryer.

Unlike other Marriott vacation clubs, however, Waikoloa’s kitchens do not include a stove or oven.

The décor leans more to the modern side, although the colors blend beautifully with the aloha feel of the resort and offer incredible comfort and space.

During my family vacation, we stayed in a two-bedroom villa offering stunning pool and ocean views that also included three separate lanais (off the master bedroom, guest bedroom and living room).

Waikoloa Resort Amenities

Sunset over Anaeho'omalu Bay in Hawaii.
Sunset over Anaeho’omalu Bay in Hawaii. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

The Waikoloa resort offers three swimming pools, two children’s pools, three hot tubs, a full spa, and a fitness facility. One pool features a waterfall and waterslide. A sunset luau is also held on the property grounds behind the pool areas facing the oceanfront.

There are two restaurants on-site including Hawaii Calls, a full-service offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is usually our go-to lunch on the day we arrive as we’re waiting to check into our villa. If you dine here, don’t miss ordering a Mai Tai or other signature tropical cocktail.

Some of our top foodie choices include Island Nachos with chicken or kalua pork, a Spicy Shitake Tofu Bowl, and a Pu Pu Sampler. Lunch items also include a variety of salads, sandwiches and pizzas, so, lots to choose from.

For those into a big breakfast, Hawaii Calls offers a daily buffet with an impressive number of food choices along with a la carte entrees.

Another popular buffet here, the Second Saturdays Crab & Prime Rib Buffet, showcases a three-peppercorn alaea salt-crusted prime rib and delectable steamed snow crab legs. Dinner items also include locally inspired entrees, mussels, oysters, island-style poke, a baked potato bar, and a scrumptious assortment of mouthwatering desserts.

Aka’ula Lunai located just off the lobby operates as a coffee shop from 6 am to 2 pm before converting to a bar and bistro from 4 pm to 9 pm. Of note: happy hour is served here every day from 4 pm to 6 pm with substantial cocktail, wine, and beer discounts. Both restaurants offer ocean and pool views.

Book your stay at Marriott Waikoloa Ocean Club

Vacation Club vs. Hotel Stay

Pathway along the wild Pacific coastline on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Pathway along the wild Pacific coastline on the Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Noreen Kompanik

As Marriott Vacation Club owners and Marriott Bonvoy members, my husband and I have the choice to stay in either a hotel or a vacation club when we travel. In the case of Waikoloa or other properties that include both a hotel and vacation club,  staying in the vacation club offers many more benefits.

Not only do the vacation club villas provide more space and privacy, but in the end, it can prove more costly to choose the hotel side of a resort. Here’s why.

Marriott Vacation Club owners do not pay parking or resort fees. Parking fees at Waikoloa Marriott run $30 per day plus tax. In addition, guests must pay a mandatory resort fee of $40 per day plus tax. This includes high-speed internet (which vacation club guests receive automatically), a lei greeting, culture activity, daily one-hour snorkeling equipment for two, and a 10 percent discount on “select” beach rentals.

While these may be nice tokens, we find them unnecessary and certainly not worth the extra money given all the Big Island has to offer in the way of activities and complimentary cultural offerings. Consider that on a 7-night stay, these extra charges for parking and resort fee would add $490 plus tax to your room charge.

And because we enjoy preparing some of our meals, staying in a vacation club can substantially cut the cost of your dining expenses. We often have breakfast in our villa before heading out to the day’s activities or lunch if we’re hanging around the resort on a relaxation day.

For those who love to grill, the property offers barbeque grills with equipment to prepare your favorite seafood and meat entrees with plenty of grocery stores nearby. The in-room refrigerator allows you to  bring back restaurant leftovers to enjoy later.

The bottom line is the savings can be substantial if you’re traveling with a family or group of friends.

Location is Everything

The Big Island is, well … big. The island covers 4,050 square miles and is about the size of Connecticut. Considered the gem of the Pacific, the Kailua-Kona part of the island offers pleasant, sunny, and dry weather with salty ocean breezes. Beaches are plentiful and the area boasts numerous dining opportunities at some of the island’s top restaurants.

Marriott’s Waikoloa Ocean Club is only a 22-minute drive from the airport and close to many historic sites and cultural landmarks making it a great base from which to explore the island’s west side attractions. Even a trip to the waterfalls and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is doable within a few hours’ drive.

If you’re looking for a piece of Hawaiian paradise, this is it!

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