You Might Want to Book This Kauai Marriott Now -- But Don't Stay Until 2020
Hawaii is a massively popular destination for people traveling on points and miles. Unfortunately, because of the high demand and remote location, hotel rates in Hawaii can be high, both in dollars and points. For example, on Kauai most points hotels in the Marriott family go from 50,000 to 60,000 points per night. That can still be a better deal than spending cash, but it's a lot of points, since you probably aren't in Hawaii for just a night or two.
There is, however, one Marriott option on Kauai that is just 25,000 points per night, the Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach. This Category 4 Marriott property is located about midway down the island, is close to the airport, and is within reasonable driving distance of virtually anything you would want to do on the island.
We tried out the Courtyard Kauai on our June two-week trip to Hawaii, and I walked away with two distinct thoughts:
1. Do not stay here right now, unless all you need is a decent room.
2. Book this hotel with your Marriott points now for 2020 travel.
You see, when we visited, the Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach was in the middle of a massive renovation that has left it without a real lobby, pool, restaurant, some of its elevators and just about anything else you might expect from a Marriott-flagged property.
The beach is still there behind the hotel, but don't expect much else from the property other than a room (and construction noise that starts early and can be heard from pretty much anywhere).
Before we talk about the construction mess, here's the renovated room, which was shockingly nice compared to everything else going on around it.
Many hotels in Hawaii are a bit tired. Even the nicest resorts aren't always modern and updated. When you find a nice room for just 25,000 Marriott points per night in Hawaii, you consider booking it, even if only for a night or two in that part of the island.
Things have hopefully improved a bit since our stay, but ultimately, if the rest of the hotel is redone to the standards of the room, the hotel's Kauai location will likely knock it into a higher Marriott award category when the dust literally settles. I hope I'm wrong, but I could easily see Marriott charging 35,000 points per night for this property a year or so from now. The fact that the hotel is rebranding as a Sheraton in the near term only bolsters that belief.
Here's a peek at what the pool area should resemble when complete.
As a Marriott Platinum member, I was given a waived resort fee (though charging anyone a resort fee here right now should be a crime), parking was free, there were some free mai-tai drink coupons and a $20 credit for breakfast served in the makeshift meeting room being used as a restaurant. This was by far our cheapest award or cash stay in Hawaii, other than the night we spent in a cabin without indoor plumbing, internet or air-conditioning.
For an overnight, the hotel was 100% fine as we transitioned from the north side to the south side of the island and enjoyed the Smith Family Luau just a five-minute drive from the Courtyard Kauai.
But if we had booked this property for the duration of our vacation, it would have been a disappointment. There was no shortage of unhappy guests as I overheard at the Courtyard. The potential for a quality but still budget-friendly property is there, but the situation was seriously limited and without sufficient warnings at booking. I knew there wouldn't be a functioning on-site pool when I booked, but didn't realize the full extent of the situation until I walked in.
Although I've heard the massive renovations might be done sooner, I would personally give the Courtyard Kauai through most of 2019 to complete the work before expecting a full-service stay. You can certainly stay there in the interim if the rate is right and you just need a good-for-the-price room for a night. I have no regrets about doing that. But if you want to stay at a fully functional, budget-friendly property, consider making a refundable 2020 award booking on points now. It's rough at the moment, but spending just 100,000 Marriott points for a five-night stay at an updated Courtyard (soon to be Sheraton) on Kauai could prove to be a solid deal for travel in 2020 and beyond.
Update: The hotel reached out to TPG and said they are on track to complete renovations by Q4, so perhaps a late 2019 stay not be the worst idea.
All photos by the author.
Story updated to state that the hotel is set to become a Sheraton.