Kona Hotel Review – King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel

Kona Hotel Review – King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel

Below is my Kona hotel review for the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel by Marriott.  This hotel is a 15 minute drive from the Kona airport.  It is located in Kailua-Kona near the Kailua Pier on Kailua Bay.  I booked my reservation 3-4 months prior to arrival using Marriott Rewards points.

Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel

75-5660 Palani Road  Kailua-Kona  Hawaii  96740  USA

 

Kona Hotel Review:

During June, I stayed for 2 nights at Marriott’s Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.  I felt like this Kona hotel had more of a busy, convention hall feel although it is located near the water.  There were quite a few Hawaii artifacts and locally made items throughout the hotel which added a nice vibe.

My hotel room was clean, beautiful and faced the street side with all the shops.  Again, it felt more like a business hotel rather than a tropical oasis but it was clean and inviting nevertheless.  Onsite, there is a gym, a pool, restaurants, complimentary wi-fi and beach or pier access.

You can also make a reservation for the luau which happens on specific nights on the beach.  Although I didn’t attend the luau, you can certainly hear and see some of the dancers from afar.  It appeared to be fully booked and fun.

 

 

Outside the hotel:

You can see the pier, boats and cruise ships in the water from the hotel and walking along the boardwalk / sidewalk along the water.  At the corner of the pier and sidewalk, people were snorkeling and swimming.  I am not sure that I would chose that spot to snorkel or swim.  The water looked a bit deep there as it’s not a sandy stretch of beach that you walk out toward the ocean.  As well, some were jet skiing and paddle boarding in the area.

From the hotel, if you walk outside, there is a lot of shopping.  Just follow the main road, Ali’I Road, and for a lengthy stretch, there is lots of shopping and restaurants along the way.  All have ocean/beach view as they are on the right side of Ali’I Road (with the sidewalk on the left side).

Shopping is mostly touristy so it’s a good place to pick up souvenirs.  As well, the hotel gift shop is really good place to find souvenirs and to get snacks.

Getting to/from:

The Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is 8 miles from Kona International Airport (KOA).  I used a rental car, which you can pick up at the airport, to get to this hotel.  It’s a really easy drive south on Hwy 19 with a right turn on Palani Road.  There is a parking lot with lots of spaces for self-parking.  However, there is a daily $17 USD fee to park.

There is also a Kona-Hilo public bus.  I’m including the link to it from the Marriott website.  But I didn’t use it while on the Big Island so I have no opinion to share either way.

Onsite, there is a Hertz rental car service.

Other:

For my 2 night reservation, I used Marriott Rewards points.  For this stay, 25,000 Marriott Rewards points were needed per night.  The 25K points represents point-saver award levels.  Thus, 50,000 points total for the stay.

Recommend (Y/N): Yes

I would stay here again and recommend this Kona hotel.

 

Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehamehea Kona Beach Resort

Kona Airport

Maui Hotel Review – Wailea Beach Resort

Maui Hotel Review – Wailea Beach Resort

Below is my Maui hotel review for the Wailea Beach Resort by Marriott.  This Maui hotel is located in the south of Maui and is beachfront on two beaches, Wailea and Ulua.  The property is immaculate, expansive and stunning.  Every view is beautiful and it’s very tranquil and calming.  I booked my reservation 3-4 months prior to arrival using Marriott Rewards points.

For more Maui info, check out my posts: Explore Maui in the Hawaiian Islands and Discover Haleakala National Park & Crater.

 

Wailea Beach Resort – Maui Hotel Review

3700 Wailea Alanui Drive Wailea, HI 96753, USA

 

 

Maui Hotel Review:

My 2 night stay at Marriott Wailea Beach Resort was during the month of June.  Upon arrival, you are welcomed by beautiful and large trees, a welcome drink and a gorgeous view of the ocean.

My hotel room was clean, beautiful and had a partial view of the ocean.  The floors were tiled which helped to keep it cool.  Onsite, there is a gym, multiple pools (including an infinity pool), restaurants and complimentary wi-fi.

This beach resort has expansive grounds where you can lounge out on the grounds by reserving or selecting a cabana or lounge chair.  It’s a short walk down to the beach which is also beautiful.  I can see why so many weddings take place at this resort.  The landscaping, scenery and views from all angles are stunning.

One thing I do recommend is watching the sunset (or sunrise) from the grounds or beach.  Bright orange, pink, purple and breathtaking.  The picture above really doesn’t do it justice.

Nearby is shopping, restaurants and retail at The Shops of Wailea.  Although beautiful, I found it to be very overpriced.  Therefore, if you’re on a budget or just don’t want to waste money, I would drive by/through but keep going.

Getting to/from:

Marriott Wailea Beach Resort is a 15 miles from Kahului Maui Airport (OGG).  I used a rental car, which you can pick up at the airport, to get to this Maui hotel.  It’s a really easy, relaxing drive.  Once you arrive at the hotel, there is ample parking.  However, the hotel charges a daily $25 USD fee to park.  I really disliked having to pay for parking at all the hotels I stayed at in Hawaii especially when there isn’t an alternative choice.  I mean, where else are you going to put your rental car?

Also, an alternate choice is the Maui public bus.  I’m including the link to it from the Marriott website.  But I didn’t use it while in Maui so I have no opinion to share either way.

In addition, onsite at the Marriott Wailea Beach Resort there is an Enterprise rental car service.

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maui hotel trees

 

Other:

For my 2 night reservation, I used Marriott Rewards points.  For this stay, 35,000 Marriott Rewards points were needed per night.  The 35K points represents point-saver award levels as this hotel recently went through a refresh/refurbish.  Thus, 70,000 points total for the stay.

I was charged only for parking but not sure if this hotel now charges a “resort” fee on top of the room rate.  When I used Marriott Rewards points, there wasn’t a “resort” fee added to the tab.

 

Recommend (Y/N): Yes

I would stay here again and recommend this hotel.

Rapid City Hotel Review – Fairfield Inn

Rapid City Hotel Review – Fairfield Inn

Below is my hotel review for the Fairfield Inn Rapid City Hotel in the Black Hills region of South Dakota.  I booked my reservation 2 weeks prior to arrival using Marriott Rewards points.

For more information on Rapid City & Mt. Rushmore, check out my blog post.

 

Fairfield Inn Rapid City Hotel – Hotel Review

1314 N. Elk Vale Road  Rapid City  South Dakota  57703  USA;   Marriott.com

 

Review:

My 2 night stay at the Fairfield Inn Rapid City Hotel was at the end of October.  This is considered to be off-peak season for Rapid City.  Their peak is during the summer– mid-May through mid-September.  You will see this reflected in the room rate which can get up to $200/night.  If you visit during Oct, your room rate can be as low as $46/night.  What a difference!

My room was a 2 queen bed room and was spacious and clean.  When I arrived, it was very late (because my flight was delayed) and very, very windy.  I’m not sure if that is common weather in Rapid City but the wind was howling and made the temperature freezing.  I could hear the wind from inside my room.  During the night, I wondered if the roof would be torn off and blown away.  To this hotel’s credit, however, when I awoke, all was well.  There appeared to be no debris or anything off its hinges outside.  Whoever built this hotel must have been good.  Solid is what I’m saying.

The hotel is a standard Fairfield Inn and includes a comped breakfast.  There is free wi-fi and a fitness center onsite.  As well, there is an on-site restaurant called Sliders Bar & Grill.

Nearby is a McDonalds and Arby’s.  You can probably walk there if the weather permits.  Within walking distance, there isn’t much else.  In addition, there are a few hotels nearby.  For me, a city & beach girl, looking out to see bales of hay and lots of open fields was wonderful and relaxing.

Next door is Watiki indoor waterpark resort.  You can purchase tickets at the Fairfield Inn Rapid City Hotel.  I couldn’t even contemplate water sports in October so I didn’t inquire.  Kids will like this activity.

 

Getting to/from:

Fairfield Inn Rapid City Hotel is a short 9 mile drive from the Rapid City airport.  I would recommend that you rent a car at the airport and drive over.  There is a Hertz car rental (and maybe others?) inside the airport terminal.  This is convenient in that you don’t have to take a shuttle to pickup your rental.

Parking is free at the hotel.  Alternately, the hotel has a complimentary airport shuttle that you can call and schedule ahead of time.

Downtown Rapid City is 3.5 miles away.

 

Other:

For my 2 night reservation, I used Marriott Rewards points.  However, since that time, Marriott has changed the number of points required for this hotel.  Currently, you will need 35,000 points per night.  I find this to be high.  If staying during an off-peak time, I would keep my points and use cash.  If staying during peak, consider using points and cash or points.  I still think 35K is a lot.  There are more hotels in Rapid City now than a few years ago so shop around before using all your points on this one hotel.

 

Recommend (Y/N): Yes

I would stay here again and recommend this hotel.

Hilton London Metropole, England – Hotel Review

Hilton London Metropole, England – Hotel Review

Below is my hotel review for the Hilton London Metropole.  This hotel was well located, accessible, modern, clean and luxurious.  Everything you would expect from a Hilton hotel.  I booked my reservation 3 months prior to arrival using Hilton Honors points.

 

Hilton London Metropole – Hotel Review

225 Edgware Road, London W2 1JU, United Kingdom

 

Review:

My 3 night stay at Hilton London Metropole was during the summer month of August.  This hotel has more of an international “business-y” feel and was busy and bustling during my stay.

My hotel room was clean, beautiful and overlooked Edgware Road.  There was not any outside noise that could be heard despite the Edgware Road location which is on a busy, trafficked street.  The room amenities are modern as is the whole hotel.  My favorite part of staying at this hotel was the Walker Shortbread cookies that were part of the complimentary coffee/tea offering.  Every day those Walkers were replenished and I just couldn’t resist.

Downstairs, there is a café where you can buy coffee, pastries, snacks, etc.  This was very useful and convenient.  There are some good grab and go options for breakfast in case you don’t want to sit down at the hotel restaurant or need something quick.

Onsite, there is a gym, pool, restaurant and complimentary wi-fi.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to try them out.

Nearby is shopping, restaurants and retail.  Marks and Spencer is across the street from the hotel.  You can’t miss it if you are walking from the metro station.  As well, along Edgware Road, there are a lot of different ethnic restaurants, Starbucks, Costa Coffee, a pharmacy, etc.  One of my meals was Middle Eastern/ kebabs from Halal Restaurant on Edgware Road.  I would recommend this restaurant.

 

Getting to/from:

Hilton London Metropole is located at the Edgware stop on the brown/Bakerloo line, the pink/Hammersmith & City line, the yellow/Circle line and green/District line for the Underground/metro (in zone 1).   From the underground stations, the hotel is a short walk away.

Because there are so many different underground station options, getting into the center of London (or anywhere) is very convenient and easy.  Also, there are many city buses that pass on Edgware Road.  I used to take the bus along Edgware to get a sense of the neighborhood and see what different shops were around.

If you are coming from Heathrow airport, you can also take the Heathrow Express train and get off at Paddington stop (brown line).  From there, you can walk or take the metro one stop over to Hilton Metropole.

 

Other:

For my 3 night reservation, I used Hilton points.  At the time, there was a promotion with Hilton Hotels to stay for 3 nights using Hilton points and get the 4th night free/complimentary.  Sounded good to me!  For this stay, 25,000 Hilton points were needed per night.  Thus, 75,000 Hilton points total for the stay.

I wasn’t charged a “city-tax” like my Italy Hilton stays – or other incidental fees.

To check how many points you will need for your stay, go to Hilton.  Since my stay, the Hilton points need for this hotel have increased a lot.  However, the British pound is now almost at par with the US dollar versus when I visited.   It was 2 USD for 1 pound when I was there.  This means you can now book this hotel for 50% off just based on currency.

 

Recommend (Y/N): Yes

I would stay here again and recommend this hotel.

 

**Feature photo by William Santos.

 

 

Hotel review: Crowne Plaza Hotel Verona, Italy

Hotel review: Crowne Plaza Hotel Verona, Italy

Below is my hotel reviews for the Crowne Plaza Hotel Verona (IHG brand of hotels).  I stayed at American hotels because I wanted to use points for award reservations and for more modern conveniences.  These hotels are not found in the city center (as most American International brands are not usually in the center of town) but they were all easily accessible, modern, clean and luxurious.  I booked award reservations 4-6 months out from my arrival and found availability.

For more information on what to see and do in Verona, Italy, check out my post: All the Lovely Sights in Verona, Italy.

Featured photo by Nik Lanus.

 

Crowne Plaza Hotel Verona – Fiera

Via Belgio 16, Verona – 37135, Italy 

Hotel Review:

The Crowne Plaza Hotel Verona claims to be the only international hotel brand in Verona (per the IHG website).  My stay was in May and I was very impressed.  Not only is the hotel very modern but it may be the cleanest hotel I’ve ever stayed in.  The rooms were spotless and even the coffee maker seemed like it had never been used.  The bathrooms were ultra-modern and clean.

There is an onsite gym, pool, restaurant and complimentary wi-fi.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to sample these.  However, based on my impression of the hotel, I can’t imagine it to be less than stellar. 

Getting to/from:

By taxi, it is $12 euros one-way from the train station (Porta Nuova Verona).  The hotel is not in the city center of Verona but is accessible by hotel shuttle bus or local bus.

The hotel shuttle bus has a schedule (3 times in the morning and 3 times in evening).  You may have to reserve a spot ahead of time in peak times.  It drops you off in the city center. 

The local bus #98 is almost outside the entrance.  From the front door/entrance: turn left, make a left at the first street (Via Francia), then right onto Via Roveggia.  The street you are looking for is Via Roveggia – take the bus heading northeast to go into town.  This street is kind of behind the hotel – just look for passing buses and look for the bus stop which will have a map of the different buses and where they are going.  From there, it’s less than 10 minutes to the city center.  While on the bus, I did pass by the train station.  Thus, I’m sure there is a way to take the bus from the station to Crowne Plaza but I arrived after 9:30p so I just took a taxi. 

The local bus #62 stops outside the hotel entrance but I am unsure if this will take you to Verona city center.  If in need, there is a Tesla super-charger station next door to the hotel.

Other:

This hotel charges a city tax.  However, I can’t locate the exact number on their website.  When I was there I paid around $2.24 per person per night.

Recommend (Y/N): Yes

I would stay here again and definitely recommend the Crowne Plaza Hotel Verona.

 

 

Crowne Plaza Verona

Hotel review: Hilton Garden Inn Venice, Italy

Hotel review: Hilton Garden Inn Venice, Italy

Below is my review of the Hilton Garden Inn Venice.  During my trip to Italy in the Spring, I stayed at American hotels because I wanted to use points for award reservations and for more modern conveniences.  These hotels are not found in the city center (as most American International brands are not usually in the center of town) but they were all easily accessible, modern, clean and luxurious.  I booked award reservations 4-6 months out from my arrival and found availability.

For more information on sightseeing in Venice, check out my post Navigate the waterways and top sights in Venice, Italy.

Featured photo by Nik Lanus.

 

Hilton Garden Inn Venice Mestre San Giuliano

Via Orlanda, 1, Venezia Mestre, 30173, Italy

Hotel Review:

The Hilton Garden Inn Venice is very clean, modern with a very international and upscale vibe.  I have no complaints about anything – the rooms, bathroom, etc were beyond my expectation.  The location is outside Venice but I can’t think of a better value.  It is only 10 minutes away by bus which picks you up right outside the hotel.  Best hotel deal in Venice if you ask me.

There is a snack bar downstairs which is a bit pricey but if you are in need as I was, then it’s there for you.  From this hotel, you can also take the bus to the airport which I did at the end of my stay.  That involves going up the stairs to take the overpass on the other side of the highway.  En route to airport, I noticed a McDonalds and other restaurants nearby (although not in walking distance).

Other:

Hilton’s loyalty program, Hilton Honors, will be changing in late February to include new perks.  One of them is variable pricing on award reservations as well as the option to pay with points and money.  That is great news for this hotel because you may be able to reserve this hotel for as low as 14,000 points (with $0 cash).  When I stayed the points needed were closer to 30,000 (40K is now the high range).  Not sure if May is considered a peak for this hotel but if you book in advance or in a non-peak time, you may be able to get a better deal.  This hotel is a steal at 14K points.  Check out how many points are needed here

There is a city tax of $3.10 per person per night at this hotel.

Getting to/from:

This Hilton Garden Inn Venice is accessible by local bus #5 or #19 from the Piazza Roma (bus stop/parking grounds), the last transportation stop in Venice.  If coming from the Venice train station (next to Piazza Roma) or Piazza Roma itself, take bus #5 or #19 north.  You will see the hotel from the bus (on the left side) – just ring the bell to get off.  Once you disembark, you will have to climb up stairs to take an overpass b/c the hotel is on the other side of a very busy highway. 

If coming from the airport to the hotel, you can take local bus #9 or #15.  Once you see the hotel on the right side, disembark.  You will be on the other side of the highway so no need to cross the overpass.  Just walk towards the hotel.  And vice versa, if heading to the airport from the hotel, use local bus #9 or #15 but you will have to cross on the overpass (to go North). 

Please note the differences in buses 5, 15, 9, 19.  Double check the correct bus and direction at the bus stop which has a map of the route.

Recommend (Y/N): Yes

In short, I would stay here again.  This hotel provides great value for the $ paid – and even greater value if you snag an award reservation.  Hotels in Venice are very expensive and this one is conveniently accessible by bus to both Venice center and the VCE International airport.

 

 

Hilton Garden Inn - Mestre Venice San Giuliano

Venice International Airport

Venice - Piazza Roma