Monthly Archives: February 2013

A Water Wonderland at JW Marriott Ihilani

A secluded cove. A nice pool. Palm trees. A warm tropical breeze. It doesn’t get much more relaxing than the JW Marriott Ihilani in Ko ’Olina, Oahu.

JW Marriott IhilaniWe stayed for a few days in January and it was the most relaxing part of our trip. Located in an area with an entry gate, you have other hotels, a luau, restaurants, a grocery store and golf course all within walking distance.

The hotel rooms are spacious, with a nice entryway, desk area and a huge bathroom with separate tub and shower. The toilet also has its own door, which can be a lifesaver when you’re sharing a room with family. The wooden blinds slide all the way open on one wall and you’re rewarded with a sweeping view of the pool area and the cove’s beach, shared with the Disney Aulani resort next door, and the Marriott timeshare a little further down. The balcony has its own reclining lounger and a table with chairs, perfect for warm, lazy days with the warm Hawaiian breeze. JW Marriott Ihilani beach

When the kids were ready for some downtime, I was able to recline on the balcony with a book in hand while the kids played some games and recharged for our next adventure.

On the beach, you can rent kayaks and water hammocks. We chose a water hammock, which I don’t have a photo of because we were busy out on the water having a fun time. It’s like a circular trampoline for the water, although guests are discouraged from jumping on it. The kids were trying to knock their dad off of it and I was just trying to stay put.

JW Marriott Ihilani poolSpeaking of warm, lazy days, one day we chose to stay put and had lunch poolside. The chicken basket was homemade, which pleased mom, and the Caesar salad was huge and refreshing.

For dinner choices, one night we headed down to Roy’s Ko ‘Olina and were treated to a wonderful dinner. Starting with edamame and moving through delicious seafood, we ended the meal with Roy’s famous pineapple upside down cake, definitely worth the wait! We also tried Monkeypod, right across the street from Ihilani, which had great fish tacos. JW Marriott Ihilani starfish

JW Marriott Ihilani sharksBesides the pool and the ocean cove, the most striking feature at the JW Marriott Ihilani are the small ponds just down from the lobby. In one, you find stingrays. In another, you find baby hammerhead sharks. And the last is full of colorful ocean fish and sea life. The hotel has a program where the kids can feed the sharks, enter the pool and learn about and touch creatures like a sea cucumber and starfish, and get up close with the manta rays and stingrays, feeding them and feeling their bodies brush past your legs. JW Marriott Ihilani stingrays

It’s an experience that my kids will remember for the rest of their lives. And we’ll remember the JW Marriott Ihilani as the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure.

Disclosure: My husband received the hotel stay as part of business. This review is my personal opinion and no compensation was received directly by me.

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Surfs up in Oahu

Having never created a bucket list, I never thought I’d be one to try surfing. Although I have to say, a few years ago, I never thought I’d zipline, either.

You live, you learn and you try new things.

We recently went on a family vacation in Hawaii and were at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s famous North Shore. You wouldn’t go to Mexico and not have a margarita, and you wouldn’t go to Hawaii without getting in the water. So, we had a family surf lesson.

Kids surfing OahuWhat I didn’t know is that yoga is essential to surfing. You need to have a strong core to flex and get up on the board – and squat. Of course, my kids with a lower center of gravity and natural flexibility were up on their boards almost instantly. Surf lesson in Oahu

My husband and I? Not so fast, although we each managed to make it up briefly. I did enjoy a saltwater mouthwash at one point, though.

Surfing is cool and all but how about surfing with Crush? It’s called Turtle Bay for a reason. We paddled and surfed alongside the green sea turtles. Huge and majestic, I had a big smile on my face after paddling past them.

And finally, you learn that a spa treatment would be a really good idea the day after surfing, because the next day your stomach muscles will be sore, as well as various other body parts.

But you also learn that trying new things together as a family can make a lifetime of memories.

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