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Review by Shelley Seale, 2019.
A refreshing, tiki-style Mid Century Modern vibe hits you the second you walk into The Laylow. Fun and retro, stylish and whimsical — this hotel brings plenty of unique, personal touches and a casual, “at home” feel that instantly envelope you.
The Laylow is slightly off the beaten path, yet in the midst of everything Waikiki has to offer. Waikiki Beach is a five-minute walk, and all the shopping, dining and entertainment of the area can be found within a short walk (or ride the complimentary cruiser bikes that the hotel provides!)
Style and personality virtually ooze from every pore of The Laylow. The design aesthetic incorporates the clean, classic lines of the mid century era, while putting a 1970s, Don Ho, Hawaiian tiki-bar spin on it. The second-floor open-air lanai serves as reception, lobby, concierge and bar/restaurant area, with cool ocean breezes flowing through. A collection of classic hula dancer dolls greets you at check-in, and The Laylow’s striking blue and pink palm tree signature motif is placed strategically among the whites, warm natural textiles, and pops of orange throughout the hotel.
Service & facilities 9/10
Staff are engaging, casual, and attentive. Everything feels like team spirit here, in a low-key way. The main common area on the second floor serves as the lobby, with casual settees and wicker swing chairs for lounging. On one side are the coffee and cocktail bars and restaurant; and on the other side you’ll find the swimming pool, surrounded by cabanas and large lounging chairs. Adjoining the pool is a fully-equiped fitness room. Cruiser bicycles are available on loan, and fun touches like daily shave ice and poolside drink samplers are served. Regular cultural events also take place, including free ukulele lessons three times a week — just bring your own personal ukulele from your room and join!
Each of the 251 guest rooms welcomes with calming white walls and neutral flooring as the perfect backdrop for the furniture, made of warm woods, rattan, industrial metal and rich textiles. The Laylow signature tropical motif adorns some walls, while pops of original art and vintage photography are on others. The gorgeous shelving units are filled with books about Hawaiian living and style, along with high-tech, pairing entertainment systems. Bathrooms are well-stocked with fantastic-smelling lemongrass and ginger toiletries, thick bathrobes and towels, and deep-brown faux-wood walled showers with multi-function rain showerheads. The daily destination fee of $29 (£23) includes a nice “E Como Mai” welcome basket with local snacks and two pairs of Laylow rubber sandals.
Food & drink 9/10
The Hideout at The Laylow continues the retro-modern décor in a restaurant and bar space. The menu starts with modern Hawaiian breakfast featuring omelettes, benedicts, pancakes and a la carte items, with the coffee bar serving Stumptown products. The lunch and dinner menus offer everything from burgers and tacos (with Chef Bryan Byard’s Hawaiian spin on ingredients, such as squid, pineapple and local seafood), to classic Hawaiian staples including Kalua pork and Ahi poke. A full pupu (appetizer) menu delights with guacamame dip (a combination of avocado and edamame), chicken satay, Kalua egg rolls and poke tacos. A slightly limited menu is available in-room, poolside, and as takeaway picnics. Nightly live music happens in the open-air Hideout every night, as well as during weekend brunch.
Value for money 10/10
Double rooms from $319 (£250) in low season; and from $349 (£274) in high. The hotel welcomes one dog guest per room weighing up to a maximum of 50 pounds (25 kilograms), with a one-time, non-refundable fee of $150 (£118). The hotel offers valet parking at $39 (£30) per day. Breakfast is not included but available at the restaurant from $10 (£7) and up.
Access for guests with disabilities?
Yes, with elevator access to all floors and rooms that are mobility accessible and roll-in showers. Hearing accessible rooms are also available, with visual alarms and notifications for door and phone.
Yes, the hotel accepts all guests. Cribs are available upon request, and many rooms have daybeds that would work for children. The hotel offers free ukulele lessons and lei making and these activities are also open to children; and the concierge can set up family activity packages and suggestions.
2299 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815, United States
Phone: (1)(808) 922-6600
X Small group
X Hen do
X Stag do
X Room only
Bed and breakfast
X Fitness Centre
X Room service
White sun-washed sand stretches for miles, against a backdrop of brilliant aquamarine ocean. You might think this is the Caribbean, but the Gulf Coast shore of Florida has some incredibly beautiful beaches that can give Caribbean ones a run for their money.
One of the most fun and relaxing Gulf Coast Florida getaways is Marco Island. This six-by-four mile island is the largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, stretching south from Naples through the Everglades and to the Florida Keys. Situated along the white sand beach is the island’s premier resort, the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort. This large, full service resort has everything from amazing pools, the beach, top-notch dining, a full wedding and event location, private golf course and spa. The Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort is the place to come for romantic getaways, family vacations, friend get-togethers or a special event. It’s one of those places that has something for everyone, and enough variety that you may never feel the need to leave!
There is space for everyone in the resort’s 726 guest rooms including 63 suites. Most have private terraces with amazing ocean and/or pool views, and the décor is inspired by South Pacific style. Plush, sink-into-them beds, spacious bathrooms and state-of-the-art technology make relaxing in the rooms a pleasure.
Suites treat guests to an exceptional experience, offering awe-inspiring Gulf Coast views in a luxurious tropical oasis. Junior Suites range from 800-2080 square feet, and Presidential Suites are 1800-3000 square feet of sanctuaries in the sky, bathed in natural light. The Presidential Suites were fully renovated in 2013.
The pools are pretty amazing here. There are two, and both are outdoor, large and heated. In particular, the Tiki Fantasy pool is a wonderland for kids, with a grotto, splash zones and a water slide. A poolside bar with basic food offerings such as burgers and sandwiches at both pools makes hanging out for hours enjoyable, and there seem to be plenty of lounge chairs even at peak times. Towels are provided at the poolside cabanas.
Speaking of kids, the Tiki Tribe is the Marco Island Marriott’s supervised children’s program, available for ages five to 12. The fee is $70 per day.
For golf aficionados, look no further than the Rookery at Marco, an award-winning private golf course just a 15-minute drive from the Marriott (which offers a complimentary shuttle). Designed to embrace the native surroundings of Naples, the prestigious course offers a driving range and putting green, clubhouse and restaurant, lessons and rentals, and a Kids Golf-4-Free program. The course is set to undergo a $4 million dollar renovation soon.
On the beach just in front of the resort, a host of activities are available (most at an extra fee) including volleyball, tennis, sailing, kayaking, jet-skiing and boating.
The Spa at Marco Island Marriott offers a relaxing environment with a Balinese style, with a full menu of treatments available. There are also plunge pools, therapy baths, a steam room and fitness classes here. The spa is adults-only, so if you tire of too much commotion at the outdoor pools you can always buy a $35 day pass and enjoy the spa facilities.
Other facilities include:
As you would expect with a resort of this size, there are a lot of options that range from poolside casual to upscale gourmet. The informal Tropiks offers a sumptuous, expansive breakfast buffet ($26). 400 Pazzis is casual, serving pizza and paninis for lunch and dinner. Tiki Bar & Grill is light fare set poolside, open at lunch and dinner.
Also open for lunch and dinner, Quinn’s on the Beach specializes in Caribbean dishes and inventive tropical cocktails; a tradition is to watch the sunset here and toast it with a Green Flash drink. A highlight of my dinner at Quinn’s was the fire dancing that occurred just outside on the beach, and easily viewable from most tables in the restaurant.
Korals just off the lobby provides a place to grab some sushi and a drink in a very nice, lounge-like atmosphere. For me, the sushi was a bit hit-and-miss; but some other dishes – such as the lobster rigatoni – were amazing. Kurrents is the most upscale restaurant at the Marriott, with prime steak entrees and seafood dishes such as a Chilean Sea Bass.
At the golf club, you will find the Rookery Grill and Hammock Bay Grill serving casual breakfast and lunch.
One of the perhaps most surprising facts about Marco Island is that it contains one of the largest prehistoric archaeological site in the Eastern United States, just south of the main island on Key Marco. Long before tourists arrived, the Calusa Indians established a highly developed society which left more than a thousand wooden artifacts discovered to date The area also features highways over large shell mounds over 40 feet high from the period of the Calusa Indians.
The area is also a prime spot for frolicking dolphins and fascinating sea turtles. In fact, during the turtle nesting season the Marriott Resort imposes a light blackout ban at 9 pm; if your guest room lights are left on without your blackout drapes drawn, staff will go in and close them. The minimal lighting is to protect the nesting turtles and their eggs. Other local wildlife includes many species of birds, and Everglades National Park is very nearby, which makes a wonderful day excursion. Fishing and other water sports are top draws here, and if your tastes run more to shopping or sophisticated city life, spend a day or evening in nearby Naples.
Good to Know
At this time, there are no adult-only floors. During my stay, I was next door to a family with several loud children who woke up very early, and I could hear them clearly. Definitely a slight dent in my aura of relaxation. This was over Fourth of July weekend, a prime family time and outside summer, there are generally far fewer children at the resort. However, I would highly recommend that the Marriott implement a simple policy of guest room floors for families and separate ones for adults only.
Internet in the guest rooms is not provided as a courtesy, which I believe should be standard in all hotels. Expect to pay $9.95 a day for it, or $16.95 daily if you want enhanced high-speed wi-fi access. All public areas of the hotel do provide complimentary wireless connection.
The onsite parking fee is a reasonable $12 per day, or $22 for valet parking.
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort
400 South Collier Boulevard
Marco Island, FL 34145
Phone: (239) 394-2511
Rates: $189-525; Suites $759 and up
But if you’ve ever wanted to experience that, you can!
There are a number of homes that have been previously owned by famous actors and other show biz people, and spots where many celebs have taken their own vacays, that are actually available for anyone to rent.
Here are a few places where you, too, can live like a rock star – at least for a few days!
Once owned by the legendary Elizabeth Taylor, this Palm Springs home is a sanctuary for object d’art, photography, oil paintings and is complete with priceless possessions and objects d’art which belonged to the iconic actress. It's the only home ever owned by Elizabeth Taylor in Palm Springs. Renovated and furnished by Kathy Ireland, this estate is frequently called, ‘The Jewel of the Desert’.
Monroe/JFK Mountainside Estate
Did you ever think that you could stay in the home where JFK and Marilyn Monroe used to tryst — for only $120 a night? This storied 4-bedroom home was designed by a student of Frank Loyd Wright and very recently was exquisitely remodeled. This modern masterpiece is located in the best area of metropolitan 'Phoenix'. Just minutes from the Biltmore and Scottsdale shopping areas, it is a great place to travel from. The Frank Lloyd Wright design, completed by one of his students, is timeless. Large glass windows and door allow the visitor to feel as if they are living out-of-doors. A 1000 sq. ft. view deck give the visitor a breath taking 240 degree view of the city lights of Paradise Valley, Mummy Mountain, Camelback Mountain and the Paradise Valley Country Club Golf course.
Elvis Presley’s Former Beverly Hills Home
The King’s former Beverly Hills estate boasts 3-bedrooms, 4-baths, and spans 5,367 square feet, with floor-to-ceiling windows and walls of glass in every room. 4th Bedroom and 5th bath are located in the guest house. This Trousdale property, perched on a small cliff, was one he shared with wife Priscilla and daughter Lisa Marie in the late 1960's. The backyard features expansive lounging and entertaining space, including a large pool and spa. This magnificent property still has the original gates that Elvis used to come and talk to fans through.
Set far back behind gates and mature trees, a long driveway and four-car motor court lead to the newly renovated 5,400-square-foot mid-century residence and attached guesthouse. Spacious interiors are magnified by high ceilings, warm hardwood floors, and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in abundant natural light. Features an incredibly luxurious master suite, skylights, fireplaces and coffered ceilings are complemented by contemporary updates.
Ample outdoor lounging and entertaining space is offered throughout a large patio featuring a fireplace, custom pool and spa, as well as lush lawns, set against breathtaking panoramic vistas. Only minutes from the best shopping, dining, and entertainment of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Trousdale is a celebrity enclave within Beverly Hills and is currently the most desirable neighborhood in the City of Beverly Hills. Most homes are designed by some of the most notable names in architecture. Some of the other notable personalities have lived in this neighborhood include Richard Nixon, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Jennifer Anniston.
17-Acre Celebrity Hilltop Estate in Jamaica
This property has seen a host of celebrity guests, including Meryl Streep and Tracy Ullman. In fact, Oscar Hammerstein wrote 'The Sound of Music' from the terrace, overlooking the beautiful hillside!
This villa is filled with history and is very private; located about 5 minutes from the beach and 20 minutes from the airport. The home is fully staffed with a chef, butler, housekeeper, gardener and laundress. A van and driver can be arranged for any size group. Private spa treatments are available on site. The home also has a tranquil pavilion ideal for yoga retreats and the like.
Luxury Estate Flamingo on the Mexican Riviera
If you REALLY want to splurge (to the tune of $18,000 per night!) – you can stay at the same over-the-top home where the Kardashians have stayed. With 12 bedrooms and 14+ bathrooms, this magnificent beachfront retreat is nestled amid acres of lush tropical gardens in Punta Mita, Mexico. Located just below the Tropic of Cancer on the Pacific Mexican Riviera, it combines natural beauty, warm tropical weather, priceless seclusion, warm ocean water, a five-star chef, world-class service, and unparalleled luxury accommodations into a getaway destination unlike any other place on earth.
This house provides a carefree environment for relaxation and recreation that is the very definition of paradise. A discrete, but attentive staff is available around the clock to accommodate any request with an array of amenities to satisfy the most discriminating wish list.
Additional home vacation rental tips:
The Garden of Eden in Bocas del Toro is a hidden, pristine and very private getaway, that feels very remote in this archipelago of ten islands on the Caribbean coast of Panama - yet it is easily accessible. Only a few places around the world have been able to retain the particular atmosphere and authenticity of Bocas del Toro: seductive, primitive and unforgettable. It is a haven for snorkelers and divers, with crystal-clear impossibly turquoise waters and rainforest ecology; it's also one of the most multi-cultural places in Panama. In Bocas, you have the option of staying on the main island, Isla Colon - the site of the only real town, Bocas Town, and its selection of bars, restaurants and shops. Although Bocas del Toro has become quite popular with indie travelers in recent years, relatively low-key development has left an authenticity an unpolished vibe that is highly appealing to those looking to escape beach destinations full of mega-resorts.
Or, you can take a water taxi out to one of the other islands which are quieter and more secluded - some more than others. A 20 minute water taxi ride from Bocas Town will bring you to the Garden of Eden on Isla Solarte - a small three-room property that offers a true getaway-from-it-all in paradise. Technically, Garden of Eden is not even an actual part of Isla Solarte, but its own tiny island connected to Solarte by mangroves.
Stepping out of the boat onto the Garden of Eden dock, you will likely be met by Kip the owner and Zeus, the exuberant dog. The grounds are small but lush and gorgeous, with little paths that wind up to the rooms, dining area, pool, game room, and also down to a boat dock on the back side that is good for swimming and kayaking.
The three rooms are simple but comfortable, and offer private decks with that essential island item: hammocks. At Garden of Eden you can have all the remote downtime you want; but it's also relatively easy to make your way around the Bocas archipelago to do activities. Keep in mind that it's a 20-minute water taxi ride to Bocas Town if you want some shopping or nightlife, and you need to arrange for a ride ahead of time. You can also take boats to neighboring islands for beaches and other restaurants, or if you're up to a 30-45 minute kayak trip you can take the property kayaks across to Isla Bastimentos where there is a marina, restaurants and several beaches. Isla Bastimentos is also home to the Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos, Panama’s oldest marine park. Tours of all sorts are available for snorkeling, diving, fishing, jungle exploration and cultural experiences with indigenous villages.
And of course, just hanging at the peaceful Garden of Eden or swimming in the pool are laudable pastimes. The property is Adults Only, and with just three bungalows it's easy to rent the whole place with a few friends. The Garden of Eden offers quiet, upscale accommodations , free hi-speed internet access, and a full service bar and restaurant. Two cabanas are located adjacent to the pool, with queen size beds and a futon that can open to a full size bed; private bathroom with hot and cold rain water showers; and a veranda with a hammock and chairs to enjoy a fabulous panoramic view of the bay. The third room is a suite with both a king and a queen sized bed, private bathroom with hot and cold rain water shower, and a large deck with a hammock, lounge chairs and a ceiling fan.
Rates are $150-170 per night for two people, including continental breakfast.
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