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JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort Review [In-depth Review]

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Carissa Rawson
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Carissa Rawson

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Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...
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Who here likes Disneyland? Who here also likes fancy hotels? Well, you’re in luck, because the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort is a scant 12-minute walk from Disneyland’s entrance — and it does fancy exceptionally well. I recently spent 2 nights at this hotel so that I could share the experience with you guys.

How was it? A mixed bag. Let’s talk about it.

Hotel Choice

Anaheim is absolutely rife with hotels. You’ll find options with every major program, including Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy, IHG One Rewards, World of Hyatt, Wyndham Rewards, Choice Privileges, and Best Western Rewards. There are also tons of boutique hotel options to choose from. Types of hotels here also run the gamut — if you’re the type who hits the park at opening and doesn’t return until close, there are plenty of “clean bed” properties. Others still provide water parks and fancy rooftop bars.

The JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort is one of these. I’ll be honest; the hotel reached out to me offering a discounted rate during one of the nights of my stay and I definitely took advantage. I paid the full rate for my second night.

I’ve been to Disneyland a fair few times, so I’m ok with missing out on a few hours here and there in the theme parks. This is one reason the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort appealed to me. It’s within walking distance of Disneyland, so I could skip the major congestion at the end of the night, and offers a beautiful property to boot. What’s not to like?

Hotel Location

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort exterior
The hotel has done its best to revamp its image. Image Credit: Marriott

As I mentioned, the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort is a 12-minute walk from the entrance to Disneyland (via Harbor), thus making it one of the nearest hotels available. Of course, there are tons of other hotels in this area, so “near” isn’t exactly hard to come by, but I appreciated the fact that I got home quickly at the end of the night.

Booking

The room rate for the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort hovers at around $380 per night, but that isn’t taking into account the exorbitant taxes and fees.

The property tacks on a daily $25 destination fee in addition to taxes, thus bringing your actual out-of-pocket cost to around $485.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort room rate
Image Credit: Marriott

This doesn’t include parking, which costs $66.69 per night and is valet-only. You read that right; there is no self-parking. So if you roll up in an ancient Mazda 3 as I did, be prepared for some odd looks. They thought I was there to drop off food rather than check-in, but I guess I understand amongst all the Teslas and BMWs.

Hot Tip: The JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort has a discounted rate exclusive to Disneyland Magic Key pass holders that also offers 50% off the cost of parking. You’ll need to show proof of your pass when you check-in. 

Marriott Bonvoy ditched its award chart last year, opting to move to dynamic pricing. If I were planning on redeeming points for this hotel during my mid-August 2022  stay, I would have needed to pay 70,000 points per night.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort points rate
Image Credit: Marriott

Since I chose to pay cash for my stay, I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve® to complete my booking. There are a few different reasons I opted for this card over my Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, but the main one is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve card earns Ultimate Rewards, which I find extremely valuable. As a travel purchase, I earned 3x points per $1 spent by using this card.

We value Chase points at 2.0 cents each, which means that I earned a 6% return on my booking.

In contrast, had I used my Marriott Bonvoy Business card to pay, I would have earned 6x Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent on my hotel. We value Marriott points at just 0.7 cents each, which means I would have netted a 4.2% return had I used this card.

Checking In

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort lobby
The reception desk is located upstairs.

Here is where my quibbles begin. It was a funny (albeit a little embarrassing) experience to be mistaken for a delivery driver upon arriving at the hotel. That’s fine, really.

My main issue with the check-in process was that the desk agent was brand new. When I say this, I mean he literally told me he had just finished the training process. Unfortunately, it showed.

The check-in process was pretty slow overall, made slower by the fact that I had 2 separate bookings that needed to be combined and he had to get a manager to help.

Elite Benefits

I have Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, which is a mid-level tier that provides benefits including lounge access and free breakfast. At the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort, my status entitled me to:

  • Complimentary breakfast
  • Early check-in
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Increased bonus points
  • Late checkout
  • Lounge access
  • Room upgrade (including suites)

This may have been the desk agent’s first time working with an elite member. Normally I’d expect some information as to where the breakfast is located, what kind of meals it offers, how to find the lounge, and how they’re handling room upgrades.

There was none of that. Instead, I asked him each individual question about the benefits, and although he did know where things were, he also failed to code the room key for lounge access — even after I asked him twice to verify.

I’d also checked ahead on the app to see what types of room upgrades were available, including some with a fireworks view. I asked him for an upgrade to one of these rooms and was told that not only were these rooms unavailable, but the whole hotel was sold out. After pointing out the plethora of rooms still for sale on the app, he said he’d have to have a conversation with the “inventory” team because that information was wrong.

OK.

So no upgrade, just the base room I’d booked.

Imagine my surprise when we walked into the room and found out we actually had been upgraded — to a theme park view room — with a slantwise view of the fireworks.

Amenities

Despite its central location, the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort hosts a pretty decent variety of amenities, including a wine bar, gym, and pool. For the sake of science, I obviously needed to test each of these offerings — though some ended up better than others.

In return for your $25 nightly destination fee, the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort offers a few benefits, including complimentary wine tasting, yoga classes, and a $25 hotel food and beverage credit.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort benefits
I still think these fees should be banned.

Hot Tip: Give resort fees a miss with our handy guide: Hotel Resort Fees — What They Are and How to Avoid Them!

Executive Lounge

Let’s start with the executive lounge because it was my most frustrating experience.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort lounge entrance
Check out that gloomy entrance.

You know how I mentioned that the room keys weren’t coded for lounge access? We found this out only when walking down the long, narrow corridor leading up to the lounge. Knocking on the door didn’t get any help, and neither did picking up the phone directly to the left of the entrance and trying to call someone. Although the person who answered the phone stated that someone would come help, nobody ever appeared. After waiting about 10 minutes for anyone to pass by, we gave up and made the (absurdly long) trek back to the front desk.

Was it even worth it?

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort executive lounge
The lounge was completely empty.

While the view was nice — check out that Disneyland scene — it was also pretty empty of, well, everything.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort executive lounge dining
The executive lounge featured just 3 complimentary snacks.

Only at one point did a worker come out. She was as surprised to see us as we were to see her, though she recovered quickly enough to ask if we wanted to purchase any alcohol. Is this my biggest gripe with the lounge?

Yes, probably. I’m not looking to get hammered on cheap wine from the hotel lounge, but again, this is a flagship property running nearly $500 per night. Why are you charging $7 for a beer in your hotel’s executive lounge? The Priority Pass lounges manage to do it for free and you should, too.

Another gripe? The lounge hours.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort lounge hours
Has anyone seen a lounge closed on weekends?

I can understand, maybe, closing the lounge at a business-oriented property. But near Disneyland, closing during the weekend seems punitive to leisure travelers.

Pool

In the name of this review, obviously, I made it my mission to try out the pool and its accompanying poolside service. While expensive, the drinks were well-made and delivered promptly. I didn’t try any of the food, but snacks were offered.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort pool
The pool wasn’t too crowded.

As this is a city hotel, I didn’t expect much from the pool area. However, it sported nice cabanas, a decent shower spot, and good service. Pool hours lasted from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., which can be especially nice if you arrive after a long park day.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort cabana
Cabanas were available to rent.

The poolside showers were wide open and accessible.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort pool shower
The pool shower was probably the fanciest part of the property.

What was missing from the pool was overhead shading. While a few chairs had umbrellas, most did not. I (and everyone else at the pool) melted in the 100-degree heat and blinding concrete.

JW Garden

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort gardens
Guests can enjoy the Secret Butterfly Garden and Digital Forest.

The JW Garden, featuring the Secret Butterfly Garden and Digital Forest, is located on the second floor. The hotel has converted some unused low rooftop space and thrown in a few young plants for you to wander around in amongst bare concrete. Maybe in a few years it’ll be nice, but it wasn’t even worth walking outside for during my stay. If you are interested in accessing the sculpture garden’s augmented reality, download the Shimé app.

Wi-Fi

As a Platinum Elite member, I received complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi. While I didn’t get a chance to test the connection, it served me well during my stay. I was able to stream movies and videos without any drops in connection.

Even if you’re not taking advantage of the fastest internet speeds (for those without elite status), the internet at this property was good enough that you shouldn’t encounter any issues.

Fitness Center

I’m the type of person who always brings my workout gear and 1/100 times I’ll actually work out. This was one of those times. That said, the fitness center at the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort was pretty well-stocked with a variety of workout machines to choose from, including treadmills, ellipticals, and stair steppers. It also had free weights.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort gym
Not a bad fitness center for a hotel.

It also sported a separate aerobics room and lots of different equipment.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort gym
Workout essentials included kettlebells and balance balls.

I really enjoyed that they had vibrating foam rollers, which did wonders for my legs after a terrible decision to use the stair climber.

However, although the room was well-stocked, it was also pretty neglected. The water fridge was empty and the tap was turned off, so there was no access to water during my workout. The TV in the aerobic room was also broken, so any digital classes that the property offered were unavailable.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort gym
The fitness center water station wasn’t exactly refreshing.

An attendant came in later to refill the fridge, but it would have been nice to have water while I was sweating.

Parking

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort parking
Even the hotel entrance is fancy. Image Credit: Marriott

I mentioned earlier that there is no self-parking. It’s valet only and costs $58.50 per night. This is a shame, especially when you’re staying somewhere with as much space as Anaheim. Sure, it’s getting more crowded as time goes on, but there should absolutely be an option to park your car yourself.

My mom and I traveled separately to the hotel, which meant we both needed to park. While I was in my shabby Mazda, she was in a much nicer vehicle with a phone app that alerted her when the valet left her car windows down while parked.

We called the front desk and asked them to close the windows, which they promised would happen, but absolutely did not. Notification after notification rolled in over the course of the weekend (and through many phone calls), which leaves a pretty sour taste when you can’t trust the valet to secure your vehicle.

Bottom Line: There were plenty of amenities available at this hotel, but nothing was perfect. Something went wrong almost at every turn. 

The Room

The room was quite nice, especially since it had been recently renovated. This included a new bathroom, bedroom, and minibar area, which was spacious overall.

Bedroom

The desk area was more than enough for me to get my work done.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort queen room
Pretend I’m sitting at the desk doing a Level UP Live.

The closet contained a robe and an ironing board, which is nice for business travelers. As a Disneyland fan, I didn’t think my athleisure pants needed steaming.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort closet
But just 1 robe?

As for charging stations, the room included a wall outlet with USB connections, as well as a wireless charging alarm clock.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort outlet and charger
The outlet and clock made it simple to get charged up.

Complimentary coffee came in the form of a Keurig, with both creamer and sugar options available.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort coffee
The room had a nice selection of Keurig coffees to choose from.

Bathroom

Like the bedroom, the bathroom was freshly done.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort bathroom
You can tell the bathroom is new.

Toiletries were located in both the shower and on the counter and came courtesy of Aromatherapy Associates.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort toiletries
There was a nice selection of toiletries.

The toiletries were individually packaged, unlike many other hotels that have switched to refillable toiletry bottles.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort toiletries
These toiletries were almost worth bringing home.

Those looking for a bath could also take advantage of the large tub, though I skipped this in favor of more time exploring.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort bathroom tub
The tub was big enough for an adult.

However, the room’s recent renovations were more than a little visible; it was clear that no “white glove” treatment had ever approached this room, especially once I took a closer look.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort dust
Did anybody clean this room?

I know that it was very new and all, but at a flagship property, guests expect the best. Renovation dust everywhere is not the best.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort phone
This takes minutes to dust off.

Gross paint dust aside, I enjoyed the large shower and desk, as well as the welcome amenity of sparkling water and chocolate-dipped strawberries.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort welcome amenity
I did my best to eat all of these.

Bottom Line: While the room itself was nice, a lack of cleanliness made it seem neglected — a common theme throughout the hotel. 

Food and Beverage

One area where the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort really shone was the food. While I didn’t try all of the different restaurants, I did take advantage of the breakfast offering, the wine bar, and the Starbucks down in the lobby.

Tocca Ferro Italian Chophouse

Tocca Ferro Italian Chophouse doubles as the location for breakfast in the mornings, with plenty of seating and an easy-to-find location in the main lobby. This Italian restaurant’s hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and the food is served buffet-style.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort breakfast pastries
I loved the breakfast.

As chic as the rest of the hotel, the presentation for breakfast was good. And the food? Amazing.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort breakfast fruit
A lovely selection of fresh fruit.

Everything was fresh, flavorful, and delicious.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort breakfast food
You could order a variety of eggs as well.

There was a made-to-order omelet station featuring a variety of fresh vegetables.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort breakfast pastry
Donuts were brought in from a nearby shop and I ate more of these than I’m comfortable admitting.

Among all the pastries, fruit, and eggs, there were also options for potatoes, vegetables, bacon, sausages, and yogurt.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort yogurt
Check out that Chobani.

Even expensive bottled fruit juice was available, and I made sure to grab some.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort eggs
It’s not that photogenic, but you get the idea.

The breakfast buffet is expensive, with a cost for 2 people coming out to roughly $100. However, as a Platinum Elite member, I received complimentary breakfast for myself and 1 guest. As I stayed 2 nights, this benefit came out to almost $200 worth of free food. Makes up for the terrible lounge!

Citriculture

I didn’t eat at Citriculture, the wine bar located in the lobby, but I did visit for the free wine tasting included as part of the amenity fee. You won’t catch me missing out on any of that free stuff.

There were a few wines to choose from, though we were limited to tasting 1 wine per night.

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort wine tasting
This is not my usual pour.

While it wasn’t a ton of wine, I did appreciate the chance to enjoy something new.

Market Place

JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort Market Place
I used my entire credit here each day. Image Credit: Marriott

Was this my favorite spot in the hotel? Maybe, if you don’t count breakfast. While Market Place isn’t anything special, it does serve Starbucks coffee in the mornings. And since that $25 amenity fee included a $25 food and beverage credit each day, I spent plenty of time ordering ridiculous drinks from this place.

Parkestry Rooftop Bar

Parkestry Rooftop Bar is also located at the hotel, but you need reservations to get in and there weren’t any available during my stay.

Bottom Line: The food and drinks at the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort are a true stand-out. Make sure to take advantage!

Service

Overall, the service I received was less-than-stellar. I understand that the check-in agent was new, so I don’t hold any grudges against him.

But trying to get into the lounge, calling, and being told someone would arrive who never did was frustrating. As was asking for the valet to roll up the windows and that not happening. And so was the desolate lounge with only a random employee emerging for 10 seconds before disappearing again.

However, I will give a shout-out to all the food and beverage staff. They were great, whether I was eating breakfast, ordering complicated drinks, or doing a wine tasting.

Final Thoughts

Is the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort a nice hotel? There’s no doubt. Everything sparkles and it certainly has the potential to be one of the best options next to Disneyland. But it certainly has some hiccups that it needs to iron out, especially when it comes to making your stay pleasant. With such a high price point and tons of other options around the Anaheim Resort area, the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort needs to do more to differentiate itself. Until then, I won’t be paying $500 per night for a dusty room and weird lounge hours.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you walk to Disneyland from JW Marriott?

Yes, the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort is located just a 12-minute walk from Disneyland’s entrance.

Does the Marriott Anaheim have a shuttle to and from the airport?

For those flying into John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Santa Ana, The JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort has a complimentary hotel shuttle. You’ll need to schedule it with the front desk.

Does the Anaheim Marriott have complimentary breakfast?

The JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort does have a great breakfast service, but it isn’t free unless you have specific elite status. Expect to pay roughly $50 per person for the buffet.

How far is Disneyland from Marriott?

The distance between the Disneyland Resort and the JW Marriott, Anaheim Resort is 0.8 miles when walking.

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About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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