To kick off our three-week trip to Australia, we decided to spend two nights at the JW Marriott Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise. Knowing that we’d be adjusting to the 18-hour time difference, my partner Ashley and I decided that relaxing in a nice hotel by the ocean would be the best way to overcome the jet lag quickly.
The hotel has only been open as a JW Marriott since December 2020, which is when the nine-month renovation from what was previously the Surfers Paradise Marriott Hotel was completed. The JW Marriott occupies the uppermost floors of the building, while the Marriott Vacation Club at Surfers Paradise fills the rest of the lower floors.
I’d heard some great word-of-mouth reviews about the property from family, and I was elated to spend a few days in style as we adjusted to the warmer weather and longer days on Australia’s east coast.
JW Marriott Gold Coast – Booking
In the lead-up to our stay, I kept an eye out for favourable travel agent rates at the hotel, which I am fortunate to have access to with an IATA card. It turns out that there was only one night available at a discounted rate, and I had to weigh out the options for the second night.
Cash rates for this property tend to hover around $350–450 (AUD) outside of holiday periods, and rise to $700–850 (AUD) during school breaks and the Australian summer months. A booking made with Marriott Bonvoy points can cost as few as 45,000 points and as much as 60,000 points, with some pockets of dates unavailable for redemptions.
With our valuation of Bonvoy points at 0.9 cents per point (CAD), there is a case to be made for reward bookings if the cost of your stay is on the higher side. For example, during the month of December, when cash rates reach up to $1,130 (CAD) per night, you can net a very satisfying 1.9 cents per point (CAD) by redeeming 60,000 points.
You can likewise get good value out of a Free Night Award for your booking, as long as you can top it up to the redemption value for your dates. Keep in mind that the Australian dollar tends to lag a bit behind the Canadian dollar, and even more so behind the American dollar, so your money goes a bit further in Australia than it does at home.
In the end, we opted to redeem 60,000 Bonvoy points for our second night, and while we didn’t necessarily get outstanding value from the redemption, we felt that it was a good use of the tidy sum of points we’d built up since our trip to the Maldives in the spring.
The JW Marriott Gold Coast participates in Marriott Luminous, which means that by booking through an authorized travel advisor, you can enjoy additional perks during your stay at no extra cost. You’ll receive elite-level benefits, such as free breakfast and a space-available room upgrade, as well as a $140 (AUD) hotel credit, while paying the same price as the best available flexible rate.
JW Marriott Gold Coast – Location
The JW Marriott Gold Coast is located steps away from the beach in Surfers Paradise on one side, and right on the edge of the Nerang River on the other.
As a tourist city, Surfers Paradise has a number of hotels and attractions that run along the coast. A beautiful beach stretches for miles, and is only a few minutes by foot from the JW Marriott Gold Coast.
The Surfers Paradise Esplanade runs parallel to the beach, where you’ll find plenty of walkers, runners, cyclists, and lifeguard stations, as well as beach access points scattered along the way.
You’ll find many tourist attractions, such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and restaurants in the heart of the city, which is just 10 minutes by car or a 20-minute walk from the hotel.
If you’re coming from the airport in Brisbane, you can take an easy combination of a train and a tram to get to the hotel in under two hours, which is the route we took. Driving cuts the time in half to around an hour.
The Gold Coast Airport is relatively closer, and takes around 45 minutes by car or an hour by transit.
JW Marriott Gold Coast – Check-in
After a 15-hour flight to Brisbane in Air Canada Signature Class, followed by a quiet two-hour trip by train and tram to the hotel, we strolled up to the JW Marriott Gold Coast in the latter part of the morning. Locating the hotel was quite easy, as the logo is easily seen from afar.
Outside of the main entrance, there are some bench seats available to guests who are waiting for the valet service or a ride to somewhere else.
The automatic doors open up to a beautiful lobby lounge, with a grand staircase that mimics a cascading waterfall as the main focal point.
Comfortable seating areas are easy to find, and the large space has benches and seats scattered throughout.
As we headed into the hotel, we were quickly greeted by the hotel’s concierge team, who offered to assist with our bags as we went through the check-in process.
I quickly took note of the sweeping overhead fans moving back-and-forth along the ceiling, which I later learned were taken down and stored away during a renovation in the 1990s, and subsequently brought back to life during the revamp into a JW Marriott.
We were invited to take a seat for the check-in process, which was completed in tandem by the hotel’s Guest Relations Manager and the check-in associate.
After going through the details of our stay, and having the benefits from my Platinum status explained, we were offered the hotel’s signature drink: a lavender & lemon iced tea.
The beverage turned into a soothing shade of purple when the two were combined, and we found the drink to be both refreshing and relaxing, setting the perfect tone for our stay. The lavender used in the tea is sourced from the nearby Scenic Rim hinterland region, and was the first of many instances of locally-sourced ingredients encountered during our stay.
Five days prior to our arrival, I was delighted to receive confirmation that our Suite Night Award had been approved. While we booked into a base-level room, we wound up with an Executive Suite for both nights of our stay, which is the highest-level room type available for upgrades.
Despite arriving in the late morning when many guests were still wrapping up breakfast, we were informed that our room was ready for us. This was very welcome news after a long journey to get there, and we clicked our heels as we headed to the elevators and up to Room 2601 on the 26th floor.
JW Marriott Gold Coast – Executive Suite
Prior to reaching our room, as we walked through a cream-coloured hallway with ocean-blue carpets, I already had the sense that we were in for a treat. Those feelings were instantly confirmed as I swung the door open and was greeted with a spacious suite that would become a perfect resting space over the next few days.
In the room’s foyer, there is an entryway table with a few vases underneath some artwork. After we had explored the grounds, we came back to the room to find a welcome gift of lavender tea and a bottle of sparkling wine in this area.
A spacious two-piece bathroom is located just to the left of the entrance, with plenty of counter space available.
The suite’s living room features a bountiful amount of real estate, where a large grey sectional couch rests atop a blue carpet in the centre of the room, with a circular coffee table nearby. The couch faces one of the two flat-screen TVs in the Executive Suite.
In the corner of the living room is a grey armchair, which sits next to a small table with another vase on it.
A four-person table is tucked between the divider to the bedroom and the first of the room’s two balconies, which offers great sunrise views. To my surprise, there was another bottle of sparkling wine delivered to us and placed on the table while we were out for a stroll, which we enjoyed during a sunset that evening.
The balcony faces towards the beach, and was a great place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee as the sun rose very early in the morning.
The living room is also where you’ll find a large buffet that is home to the room’s mini-bar, a sink, and the Breville Nespresso coffee maker.
The bedroom is separated from the living room by a dividing wall, with doors that can be slid shut. It was great to be able to separate the space when I was up early and started work, while Ashley slept in.
The bedroom features a comfortable king bed, with a grey bench at its foot. There are side tables on either of the bed, each with its own lamp and charging outlets.
On the opposite side of the wall from the dining table is a desk and a comfortable chair, with the room’s other flat-screen TV above. Next to here is the room’s other balcony, which also had a table with two chairs.
From the balcony, there is a great vantage point of the hotel’s pool area, which we spent a lot of time in during our stay.
On the other side of the bedroom is an armoire, which had plenty of space to hang clothes alongside the bathrobes. On the other side of the doorway, which leads to the main bathroom, is a bench that can also be used as a luggage rack.
The main bathroom is spacious, elegant, and well-appointed. A long white marble countertop spans across most of the room, and came prepared with amenities from Aromatherapy Associates.
A soup-bowl-shaped bathtub is nestled in the the corner of the room, with sweeping views of the surrounding hillside. It’s a perfect place to enjoy a sunset with a glass of sparkling wine in the evening, just note that it takes a while to fill up, given its hefty size.
The toilet and the shower area are housed behind frosted glass doors opposite from the sink area.
The rain shower had excellent water pressure, and also came with an abundance of space inside.
Turndown service is provided in the evenings. Staff draw the room’s curtains and place chocolates on the bed, which is a welcome touch.
Overall, I was very happy with the amount of space, design, and features of the room. I appreciated having plenty of natural light pouring in from all corners, as well as prime views of both the sunrise and the sunset during my visit.
Furthermore, I was very glad that the hotel confirmed the Suite Night Award request five days in advance for both nights, which took away any need to engage in “suite-talking“.
JW Marriott Gold Coast – King Guest Room
During my stay, I had the opportunity to take a peek at a King Guest Room, which is a base-level room.
These rooms, of which there are 200 at the JW Marriott Gold Coast, feature either a single king bed or two double beds. They come with many of the same features as the Executive Suite, but in a smaller area.
Note that rooms that have two double beds don’t come with a daybed, which you’ll find in the rooms with king beds.
Outside, you’ll find a single balcony with two seats, and on either side of the hotel you’ll have peek-a-boo views of the ocean and the surrounding hills.
The bathroom features a shower and separate bathtub, and doesn’t feel cramped whatsoever.
Guests can expect an upgrade to a mid-tier Junior Suite, as long as one is available, either through elite status or a Marriott Luminous booking.
JW Marriott Gold Coast – Breakfast
Breakfast is served in Citrique on the main floor of the hotel from 6:30–10:30am daily. The vast restaurant features a host of seating arrangements, and is decorated in a tasteful fashion that you’d expect from a modern JW Marriott property.
We enjoyed complimentary breakfast through my Marriott Platinum benefits, and we had the choice of the buffet or an à la carte menu. Naturally, we opted for the buffet, but the menu items also looked to be quite delicious.
We were also given a card to place on our table, which indicated that we could enjoy unlimited barista-made coffees during our meal. This was another benefit afforded to anyone with elite status, and we very much enjoyed sipping on cappuccinos and flat whites during our breakfasts.
The buffet area features a nice variety of hot and cold options, which were stocked up frequently by the many staff. The hot station had western classics, such as streaky bacon, sausages, hash browns, and several styles of eggs, as well as some Asian-inspired food, such as steamed buns, chicken curry, and noodles.
The cold buffet was equally as impressive, with options that include passionfruit or coconut yogurt, a donut rack, fresh fruit, cereals, and a salad bar. There’s also an entire gluten-free section of goods available.
If you’re travelling with kids or if you’re young at heart, be sure to enjoy the waffle and pancake station, with whipped cream and other sugary toppings nearby.
Close to the entrance is a drinks station, which had a number of juices, as well as iced chocolate and coffee drinks.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, be sure to check out the ice cream cooler at the end of your breakfast.
Staff will also come by and take any requests for custom-made egg orders. On the second day, I ordered an omelette complete with spanner crab meat, which was an outstanding dish.
We were thoroughly impressed with the breakfast offering at the JW Marriott Gold Coast, and I’d rank it amongst the better buffet offerings I’ve experienced throughout my stays at luxury hotels.
JW Marriott Gold Coast – Breakfast at Citrique
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JW Marriott Gold Coast – Breakfast at Citrique
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JW Marriott Gold Coast – Breakfast at Citrique
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JW Marriott Gold Coast – Dining
Citrique is also open at various points throughout the week for other meals, including à la carte dining during the week. On Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as on Sunday afternoons, there’s an immersive seafood buffet experience that is apparently both memorable and worth the price of admission ($109–119 (AUD) per person).
Chapter & Verse Bar and Lounge is open from 11am daily, and is located in the main lobby area near to the pool’s entrance. There’s also a spacious outdoor patio to enjoy on hotter days.
There is an extensive liquor selection available, as well as ice cold draft beers, served in a comfortable and classy lounge area. This venue also hosts the hotel’s high tea, which you must reserve in advance.
Next to the pool, you’ll find a food truck housed in an Airstream trailer, as well as Pavilion Bar serving cold drinks. The food truck wasn’t operating during our stay, but we enjoyed a drink from Pavilion Bar during an afternoon spent lounging by the pool.
On the third floor of the hotel is Misono, which hosts a live sushi table, teppanyaki dining, and a separate whisky bar. It’s only open in the evenings from Tuesday–Sunday, beginning at 5:30pm.
We had every intention of popping by for a bite or a drink during our stay. Alas, jet lag got the best of us, and we were fast asleep by 7pm each night.
I had also heard great reviews of Misono from family members who often stay at the JW Marriott Gold Coast, so be sure to check it out if you can.
Lastly, in-room dining is available around the clock.
JW Marriott Gold Coast – Pool
One of the JW Marriott Gold Coast’s main attractions is its sprawling outdoor pool area, featuring a saltwater lagoon with tropical fish, hot tubs, cascading waterfalls, rock grottos, plenty of lounge chairs, a waterslide, and a separate swimming pool.
Guests can access the pools from 6am–10pm daily, and towels are available poolside by using your room key.
We spent plenty of time enjoying the facilities during our visit, as did the many families who stay at the property. When the weather was hot, the area filled up pretty quickly, but it didn’t feel crowded or get noisy by any means.
Be sure to bring goggles or snorkels to check out the tropical fish in the lagoon. If you forget them at home, you can rent gear from the resort for a modest fee.
The hotel offers a fish feeding program daily at 9:30am, where you can see all of the lagoon’s different types of fish. Keep an eye out for the various lizards and birds that live by the lagoon, too.
JW Marriott Gold Coast – Other Facilities
As a resort property, the JW Marriott Gold Coast has a number of other facilities for guests.
The fitness centre is on the third floor of the hotel, and is accessible 24 hours per day. In a single room, you’ll find a handful of treadmills, elliptical machines, and cycles, as well as some strength-training machines and dumbbells.
At first, I was a bit surprised to see such a small fitness centre in a new hotel. I later learned that it’s undergoing a massive renovation, so I imagine it will be vastly improved by the time I visit again.
Just outside from the fitness centre is a two-story multi-purpose court area. On the upper level is a full-sized tennis court, while on the lower level is a basketball net and some smaller courts.
Gear is available free of charge through the hotel, and we found some scattered around on the lower level. Had it not been so windy during our visit, I would have loved to play a round or two of tennis with a great city view.
Similar to the fitness centre, the spa was undergoing a renovation during our visit. It was completely closed, but guests who wish to access spa services can book through the hotel’s concierge at nearby locations.
The spa is tentatively set to reopen in July 2023.
Along the Nerang River, the JW Marriott Gold Coast has a private marina, which also serves as an entrance for guests who arrive by boat. The hotel’s concierge can also arrange for a host of paid water-based activities that depart from the marina.
Attached to Citrique is the JW Market, which hosts an espresso machine and a handful of locally made goods. You can find products made from the hotel’s garden and a variety of local merchants here.
Tucked behind the hotel by the pool area is the JW Garden. Chefs from the hotel grow a handful of plants that can be found in many dishes, and there’s also a honey-producing beehive.
Our stay at the JW Marriott Gold Coast was nearly perfect. After a very busy week preceding our trip to Australia, and an 18-hour time difference to contend with, we needed a comfortable place to relax and rest.
The JW Marriott Gold Coast provided exactly that, and we soaked up every moment of our stay. The service we received from check-in to check-out was refined and genuine, with many thoughtful touches over the course of three days.
Moreover, I strongly felt that my elite status was recognized and valued, as evidenced by the generous suite upgrade, the pair of welcome gifts, complimentary barista coffee, outstanding breakfast, and late check-out. When I found an unexpected charge for bar drinks on my folio, the hotel amended it without any fuss, and apologized for the mistake.
I can definitely understand why my Australian family members have been frequenting the JW Marriott Gold Coast since its opening. Indeed, I can’t think of a much better place to work off jet lag, enjoy a romantic holiday with a loved one, or craft an epic family vacation.
Once the hotel’s renovations are complete, I can only see the experience becoming even better, and I can’t wait to return.