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The Hawaii Island property known as Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa is going through a sea change. The south tower of the resort is being turned into the all-suite Marriott’s Waikoloa Ocean Club (MWOC), while the north tower — which will continue to operate as a hotel — is renovating its own accommodations.
The new MWOC, a vacation ownership resort comprised of 112 one- and two-bedroom suites, is scheduled for a May 5 debut. When travel agents book hotel-style stays there for their clients, they receive 10 percent commission.
Chris Laletin, resort manager for MWOC, recently gave me a sneak preview of the new suites.
“Hawaii Island was the only major visitor destination in Hawaii that was missing from our portfolio,” Laletin said. “Our owners and guests let us know that they want to come to this island.”
To make way for MWOC, the rooms in the south tower were gutted and rebuilt, and now feature all-new walls and hurricane-proof doors, he says.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of each suite is the kitchen, which boasts a refrigerator, a microwave, a coffeemaker, a toaster, a dishwasher, a sink and cupboards stocked with plates, glasses, cookware and utensils. The only thing lacking in the kitchen is a stove, but room service is available to suite guests.
Each MWOC suite also provides a washer/dryer, a dining area, a living room, LED televisions and a furnished lanai. Along with separate bedrooms, suites come with sleeper sofas, so one-bedroom accommodations can sleep up to four people, and two-bedroom units sleep up to eight. Daily housekeeping is also part of the deal.
All of MWOC’s suites serve up views of the resort’s compelling landscape, which is a dramatic study in contrasts. Green lawns and flowering trees flourish alongside black lava and ancient Hawaiian fishponds. The ocean extends to one side, while centuries-old volcanoes hover in the distance on the other.
MWOC guests have access to all resort amenities, including three swimming pools, a spa, a fitness center, golf, Hawaiian cultural pastimes and a luau. Thanks to the resort’s location next to Anaehoomalu Bay, clients can indulge in a long list of beach and ocean activities, from swimming, snorkeling and standup paddleboarding to daytime boat rides and sunset cruises.
“Marriott Vacation Club is big with families,” Laletin explained. “We will be adding a lot of new activities for all ages to the property.”
While rates vary by season, nightly rates in June start at $318.
“The cost to book a suite is higher than the hotel rooms by $70 to $80, but it’s a great value because it includes parking, Wi-Fi access and no resort fees,” Laletin said. “And with suites, you’re getting twice the size of a hotel room.”
As for Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, its 295 redesigned hotel rooms in the north tower will feature modern interiors and remodeled bathrooms. Room renovations are scheduled to wrap up this summer.
The resort’s public areas are going through a revamp, as well. The arrival experience is being enhanced with a new porte cochere and lobby with better views. The open-air Hawaii Calls restaurant is getting a facelift, and June will herald the opening of the lobby-level Akaula Lanai, a gourmet coffeehouse by day that becomes a contemporary bistro at sunset.