Hawaii continues to be one of my favorite destinations in the world. And Kauai, in particular, is my favorite island. It’s simply drop-dead gorgeous everywhere you look.
Now, here’s a tip from a reader that will especially appeal to those with 25K Marriott free night certificates or category 1-4 travel package certificates. There is a 25K per night property in Kauai that is awful at the moment, but may be great (or at least pretty good) by the time you check in.
The Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach: Awful now
This Courtyard by Marriott hotel currently gets awful reviews by those who have stayed recently. The reason? It is undergoing massive renovations. Recent reviews describe giant machinery everywhere, constant construction noise, a giant pit of dirt where the pool should be, etc. It sounds perfectly awful.
The only good news for current guests is that all of the guest room renovations are already complete. As you can see in the photo above (from the hotel’s website), the rooms appear to be decent: certainly not luxurious, but not bad.
I called the hotel to ask when the renovations would be completed. That’s when I learned that the guestrooms are already done. And I was told that they’re hoping to be completely done with renovations by September. I wouldn’t count on that. Construction always takes longer than expected. That said, you might be safe if you plan to go in December or January.
Soon to be a Sheraton: maybe pretty good?
When construction is complete, the Courtyard hotel will be rebranded as a Sheraton resort. This is good news for those with Marriott Platinum Elite status, or higher: It means free breakfast one way or another (Courtyard hotels only offer up to $20 per day in food & beverage credits). If the Sheraton has a lounge, you’ll get access. If not, you’ll be able to choose free daily breakfast for two as your welcome gift choice. Additionally, the Sheraton is expected to offer suites so you may get a free upgrade to a suite if you’re lucky. It may also be a great use of your Suite Night Awards if you have any (details here).
There’s no way to know how good the Sheraton resort will be. In my experience, the Sheraton brand is all over the map in terms of quality. That said, for only 25K points per night, it will probably be good enough. Plus, the resort is in a great location on the east side of the island. There, you’ll have easy access to rugged Princeville to the north, the airport in Lihue, and sunny Poipu on the south end of the island. The only downside I see is that it’s nearly an hour drive to the entrance to Waimea Canyon. It’s worth the drive though. Trust me.
Lock in 25K plus ocean view today
As I write this, free nights are widely available even over Christmas break (a time that usually books up full in many Hawaii resorts). Even better, they’re allowing ocean view rooms to be booked at the same price.
If you’re considering booking this resort (ideally for December or later when construction will likely be complete), I’d recommend doing so now. If you don’t have enough points you can book it as a points-advance. If you do book this prospectively, make sure to set yourself a reminder to cancel no later than 7 days before the stay.
Prediction: the award rate will increase in March 2020
Each March Marriott updates hotel category assignments. Some go down a category, but more properties usually go up. I expect that this one will go up to category 5 in March (35K points per night standard). That’s still not bad, but if you’re sitting on 25K free night certificates it’s definitely worth booking before this happens.