An ideal rooftop for Disneyland's fireworks, but housekeeping was lackluster: the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort
The JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort is one of two new luxury hotels near Disneyland. As a Category 7 hotel, it's on the higher end of Marriott's award chart, requiring 50,000 to 70,000 points per night.
The hotel opened in August 2020 after delays due to the pandemic. Disneyland Anaheim closed down in March 2020 and didn't reopen until April 30, 2021, so occupancy hasn't been high. As a result, the hotel missed the mark on a few key aspects of the guest experience.
Here's a look at the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort and what you can expect on a visit.
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I booked the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort online and since there weren't any package deals, I went with the lowest standard rate. This is a Category 7 Marriott hotel, requiring 50,000 to 70,000 points per night. That's quite a lot, considering there are limited-service Hyatt hotels nearby for 12,000 to 15,000 points per night that include free breakfast and rooms with pullout sofas that are better suited for families.
If you're going to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to your Marriott account to book this award, it's worth considering those options. You may also get a better deal by either booking your stay through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal or with Capital One miles.
If cash rates go up and the award rate stays at 50,000, this might be a good place to redeem your annual free night award from the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.
The JW Marriott Anaheim is just off Disney Way, about a 15-minute walk to Disneyland's gates. The hotel is adjacent to the Anaheim Garden Walk, a shopping complex featuring a movie theater and restaurants, including P.F. Chang's and Cheesecake Factory. This complex can be accessed through a gate from the hotel gardens. It's quite convenient if you're traveling with kids and looking for easy dining and entertainment options outside the hotel.
Related: Where to stay at Disneyland: On vs. off-property hotel comparisons
Check-in at the JW Marriott Anaheim starts at 4 p.m., and my niece and I arrived about 30 minutes later. The hotel currently offers valet parking only, which costs $40 per day. Although a nearby lot charges $35 for self-parking, I don't think it's worth the hassle.
We handed the keys over and the valet asked if we needed help taking our bags up to the front desk. With just two carry-ons, we declined and headed up the escalators to the lobby.
The entryway and lobby are pretty stunning. There's a large chandelier hanging right in the middle of the entry and several glass sculptures brilliantly illuminating the space.
There were signs outside, by the hotel entrance, and the elevators advising guests to keep their masks on, wash their hands and keep six feet apart from others.
The signs in the entryway and by the elevators were also accompanied by hand-sanitizer dispensers. Their placement was convenient since they coincided with common touchpoints.
Three agents were working the front desk and only one was occupied. We were waved over by Michael, who was very friendly and welcoming. He asked how the flight was and thanked me for being a Bonvoy Platinum member.
He offered me a choice between 1,000 Marriott points and $10 food-and-beverage credit. Now, TPG values Marriott points at 0.8 cents each, so the $10 voucher would have been the way to go. But in that moment, I was tired and not thinking straight, so I went with the points. He still handed me a $10 voucher, which was very much appreciated. We later used it toward breakfast at the cafe downstairs.
Michael also informed us that the hotel would be celebrating the Disneyland reopening the next day with a little performance in the lobby. When we returned from the park that night, there was a woman playing guitar and singing Moana's "How Far I'll Go," with guests clustered on the couches, singing along.
Related: I spent 6.5 hours on hold to buy Disneyland tickets — was it worth it?
We were assigned room 1023, which had a view of the hotel pool. It was fairly large and featured two comfortable queen beds, a couch by the window and a small bar area with two free water bottles and a mini-fridge to store them in.
There was plenty of storage, with a closet across from the bathroom and drawer space by the desk and nightstand.
There was also a convenient charging port above the nightstand, offering two power outlets, along with USB ports in the alarm clock.
While the room was nice overall, I was disappointed by the cleanliness level. Sure, the remote control was wrapped in plastic to comply with COVID-19 safety protocols and sanitizing wipes were laid out. But there were crumbs on the table and a brown stain on the duvet.
As I later discovered, the cleaning standards at this property were not exactly up to par when it came to public spaces either.
The bathroom was spacious, too, featuring a separate shower and bathtub.
The amenities were from Aromatherapy Associates. There was the standard soap, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, plus mouthwash and a shower cap.
The hotel has a large heated outdoor pool, with plenty of loungers, an outdoor shower and a locker room. There were no instructions on how to use the lockers and I couldn't figure out how to set a password, so I ended up just taking our stuff with us to the pool.
Since no one else was using it, I felt OK letting my niece go for a swim.
While my niece went for a swim, I worked on my laptop and found the Wi-Fi to be relatively fast. I later had issues with streaming speeds on my phone, but it was perfectly functional for work.
The private cabanas feature a TV, overhead fan and include unlimited water and "some takeaway items" for $250 per day. The cabanas were in pretty rough shape on both days we visited the pool. There were crumbs, stains and streaks of dirt on the floor and upholstery.
We saw a couple of dead flies and bees on the regular lounge seats. I initially chalked it up to limited housekeeping, but when we returned the next day and it still hadn't been cleaned up; it was disappointing, to say the least.
The outdoor shower was conveniently located near the locker room entrance, with plenty of towels nearby to dry off. With no designated place to leave used towels, we left them in the locker room bathroom. When we returned the next day, they still hadn't been picked up.
Related: 29 of the most beautiful hotel pools around the world
The hotel gym was closed during our visit. There was a sign indicating it was a COVID -19 safety protocol. I'm not exactly a gym rat, so it didn't bother me, but it's worth noting that the gym at the nearby Radisson Blu (where we spent two nights after this stay) was open.
One of my favorite amenities of this hotel, if you can call it that, was the garden area. It was just behind the check-in desk and featured a beautiful selection of flowers and vegetables for the on-site restaurants.
Food and Beverage
As part of their COVID-19 safety protocols, the hotel pared down its dining options.
Room service was unavailable and breakfast was served in the cafe downstairs, which offered breakfast sandwiches, Starbucks coffee and plenty of fruit and yogurt options.
Parkestry rooftop bar
The hotel also has a rooftop bar called Parkestry. They have a separate seating area for families and those looking for peace and quiet, away from the bar and noise, which is a nice touch. The rooftop offers stunning sunset views, and once Disneyland resumes nightly fireworks, this will be a great spot to watch them.
My niece and I went up to the roof on our first day and took in the incredible views just before sunset. Dining is limited to 90 minutes, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The menu was accessible via QR code and was fairly limited in terms of kid-friendly options. The only kid-friendly item was the chicken fingers and fries, which my niece was not in the mood for, so we ended up leaving.
On our way to the elevator, the manager stopped us to ask if everything was OK. I told him my picky eater didn't like the food options, so we were going off-site. He apologized and said, "I hope we'll get to welcome you back later."
Right off the hotel front desk, there is a hotel's convenience store. It was one of the nicest I've ever seen. It was stocked with all the essentials you might have forgotten at home. There were toddler onesies, toiletries, skincare products and snacks. Everything was beautifully laid out.
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What the hotel lacked in amenities and cleanliness it made up for in service. The staff here were really top-notch. Whenever we ran into a staff member, they stopped and asked how our stay was and engaged in friendly chitchat.
When I needed a bottle opener for our DoorDash order, the front desk staff member delivered it within five minutes and it was wrapped in plastic. When I asked for late checkout on the last day, Michael responded, "Of course! When would you like to check out?" I ended up asking for 2 p.m., but he let me know that he'd be happy to extend it if I needed more time.
The JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort is a fairly new hotel and still has some kinks to work out. While the location is great and the hotel is beautiful overall, amenities are currently pared down and that includes housekeeping services. I was disappointed at the lack of cleanliness in both the room and pool area. The point rates at this hotel are also high compared to nearby options, though you might find it worthwhile for a luxury hotel.
The negatives aside, the service was great and I think this property has potential once it begins operating at full capacity.