JW Marriott Anaheim Resort is a new luxury hotel near Disneyland–one of only a few AAA Four Diamond hotels in Southern California. This review features room photos, thoughts on amenities, and pros & cons of booking at this hotel versus its competitors.
Anaheim is nearing the end of a construction boom, which has lasted over a decade and brought with it dozens of new hotels, billions of dollars expanding Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, infrastructure investments, revitalization projects, and more.
The theme park side of that development is well-documented. Not just the blockbuster additions like Disney California Adventure 2.0, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, or Avengers Campus, but also the smaller stuff like Project Stardust, Pixar Pier, Grizzly Peak Airfield, and more. Much has already been written about how Cars Land accelerated expansion plans around Anaheim, and the rousing success of the Diamond Celebration kicked it into high gear.
Then last year happened. Just as many projects were wrapping construction or had recently opened, the world essentially shut down. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure closed for over a year, and the schedule of events at the recently-expanded Anaheim Convention Center was wiped out. The collective basis for most overnight stays in the city, it was obviously a dark time for hotels. And definitely not a good time to open a new property, which is exactly what happened with one luxury resort.
Debuting last summer, the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort boasts a location at GardenWalk, roughly equidistant from Disneyland Resort and the Anaheim Convention Center. Of course, that’s a prime location during normal times and not so much last August when virtually the entire city’s hospitality engine was dormant.
We stayed at the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort just as the engine was firing back up in Summer 2021. In many ways, it was clear that the hotel and city were emerging from a long slumber, with visitors slowly returning.
The JW Marriott Anaheim Resort is probably seeing a slower rebound than other hotels around the city.
It is very clearly geared towards conventioneers, and the calendar of events at the Anaheim Convention Center is still pretty sparse.
Earlier this summer, we stayed at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, an on-property hotel at Walt Disney World. While it also caters to events (mostly weddings, it would appear), the differences in anticipated clientele are apparent.
Many of the JW Marriott Anaheim’s nicest spaces are on the ground level in its many meeting rooms and events spaces. All told, the JW Marriott Anaheim has 40,659 sq ft of event space spread out across 16 different rooms. It’s doubtful anyone reading this cares about any of that, but just in case you do, this hotel looks like it’d be a gorgeous setting for a wedding.
The target audience of executives and corporate leaders can be felt throughout the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort.
Whereas other family-friendly hotels opt for more “durable” furniture and finishings, the JW Marriott is high end through and through, with sophistication and polish everywhere you look.
This is not to say that the JW Marriott Anaheim is poorly suited for families, or “unfriendly” to kids. Marriott was undoubtedly cognizant of the fact that Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are a short walk away when choosing this location–that’s a big reason why they paid so much for the underlying real estate.
Additionally, there was a musician performing Disney songs in the lobby on evenings during the weekend we stayed at the JW Marriott.
We’re simply pointing out demographic differences because there are little touches at the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort that you’re unlikely to see at many other nearby hotels–fresh cut flowers on end tables, high end vases and other glassware, and classy furniture and upholstery that probably wouldn’t hold up to much abuse.
If you’re accustomed to luxury hotels in real world locales, this all might sound expected. As people who regularly review hotels near theme parks, I can tell you that it’s fairly uncommon in these locations.
Turning to the expected amenities, the JW Marriott Anaheim has a range of dining options from a quick service marketplace serving Starbucks coffee (pictured above) to a rooftop bar.
The view from the bar is stunning, offering views of Disney California Adventure and (to a lesser extent) Disneyland. However, the food there was absolutely abysmal. Despite the hotel being almost empty during the day, this bar filled up at night with locals dropping in for a nightcap.
The hotel also features Tocca Ferro Italian Chophouse, the signature on-site restaurant.
This and a couple other restaurants were just gearing up to open when we stayed at the JW Marriott Anaheim. Check out the resort’s dining page for the full lineup.
There’s also a poolside bar which, obviously, means that there’s a pool.
The pool itself is unremarkable, which is consistent with other hotels in the area. Perhaps there’s an Anaheim ordinance of which I’m unaware that pool areas at hotels in the city must be a disappointment. (I’m joking–there are a handful of hotels with more ambitious pool areas.)
The pool seating area is considerably more impressive, with a variety of comfortable lounge chairs and other seats.
There are also private cabanas that you can rent for $250 per day. I’m sure these will be popular at some point, but it was mildly amusing to see these when there was literally not a single other person around. Literally the entire pool was our “private” space, no $250 upcharge necessary.
For those tracking new Marriott properties across coasts, this puts the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort one level above the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort, which is a Category 6 property. It’s also higher than the Swan & Dolphin and JW Marriott Los Angeles.
We paid out of pocket, as that made considerably more sense than using points. Due to lack of demand, our total rate was under $250 per night. I’m slightly hesitant to even post that number here, since anyone reading this a year from now when conventions have come back in full force will likely be paying at least double that.
For now, prices are still reasonable (I’m seeing even lower rates than what we paid for August and September 2021). If you’re considering the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort as part of a Disneyland vacation, you can book a hotel + ticket vacation package via Get Away Today to save more money. In addition to the package discount, some hotels have ‘4th night free’ promos. In addition to their normal discounts and special packages, you can save an extra $10 by using code TOURIST at checkout.
The JW Marriott Anaheim Resort has a variety of standard guest room options and suites.
There are also several different view tiers, including city views, theme park views, and fireworks views. I’m not entirely sure why there’s a distinction between theme park and fireworks views, unless the fireworks are those at Angel Stadium? (That still wouldn’t make sense as that direction would be the city.)
We really liked the standard guest room, both in terms of comfort and aesthetics. The bedding is top notch, with a plush pillowtop mattress and head-absorbing pillows.
The decor is sophisticated, but more on the subtle side, with smart use of woods and textures to convey a clean-but-elevated aesthetic. (I absolutely loved the wood paneling flanking the headboard.) There are little touches everywhere, from patterns on the light fixtures to the blackout curtain, to convey the room’s higher end quality.
The spacious bathroom features a walk-in rain shower as well as a large bathtub. The vanity is large, lighting abundant, and finishings are high end.
Lots to like about the bathrooms at the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort. My favorite detail is the shelving, complete with decorative vases. The art above the tub is also a nice touch.
Sarah has gold elite status with Marriott and that coupled with the hotel’s low occupancy meant that we received a nice room upgrade.
We booked a standard guest room and were upgraded to the executive suite.
This is essentially a standard room plus a lock-off living room, so simply disregard the larger area if you’re considering booking a base category room.
We enjoy having the space to spread out, and it’s always nice for one of us to be able to get up early, make coffee, watch the morning news, and work without disturbing the other.
It’s also nice having a conference or dining room table in the event that you want to have breakfast in room or collaborate on some spreadsheets, as the case may be.
I was mildly surprised that there wasn’t a sleeper sofa in the living room. That should further underscore the target audience of the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort. Most other hotels near Disneyland with separate bedrooms and living rooms have pull out beds in the latter so the kids and parents can sleep in different areas.
The biggest advance offered by the suite was that it offered a second full-sized bathroom, even nicer than the one in our main room. Lots of marble in here, toilet, shower, and bathtub (directly on the opposite side of the room, with a window overlooking Anaheim and the San Gabriel Mountains.
For a better look at the layout, here’s a video tour of our room at the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort from Sarah:
Ultimately, there’s a lot to like about the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort, especially if you’re looking for luxurious accommodations where you’ll be spending a fair amount of time. Dining options are abundant and the indoor common areas are upscale. Other amenities include yoga and zen rooms, and a formidable fitness center. In terms of outdoor spaces, there are a number of great areas for lounging, including the pool area and bar, and the surprisingly nice JW Garden.
However, the JW Marriott is not for everyone. In particular, we have a more difficult time recommending it to families. It’s not that the hotel isn’t kid-friendly, it just doesn’t go out of its way to cater towards families. Similarly, anyone who will spend most of their time in the parks and is primarily concerned with location should probably opt for somewhere else. The big advantage of staying at the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort is the JW Marriott itself, which makes sense given its status and quality.
Have you stayed at the JW Marriott Anaheim Resort? What did you think of the hotel? Highlights and/or lowlights? Doe the accommodations look appealing to you, or is this not to your tastes, preferences, or needs? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!