aerial view of overwater villas at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa

Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa is located on an island in the Lhaviyani Atoll. (Photo: Marriott International)

Tips + Trends

The Inside Scoop: These 9 Properties Rank Among Marriott Associates’ Favorites

Like many people, Marriott associates often keep wish lists of where they’d like to travel next, relying on their expertise in crafting memorable stays for guests while choosing from Marriott’s expansive portfolio of hotels, resorts and vacation homes.

These insiders recently selected the following nine properties — including Marriott’s first-ever luxury safari lodgings — as among their favorites. Below, we share some of what draws associates to these destination hotels and resorts, which will quickly vault them to the top of your list, too.

As always, check for travel guidelines and closures before planning your trip.

Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa

Powdery white sand, shimmering turquoise water and lush green rainforest create a stunning backdrop for Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa. The pristine environment of Lhaviyani Atoll and reflection of European and Indian Ocean cultures offer unique opportunities for recreation, relaxation and regenerative travel.

Snorkel right off the deck of an overwater villa or over the house reef, where sea turtles may join you; spa lovers can gaze at marine life through a panel in their treatment room’s floor. Plant mangroves or learn about manta rays at the marine hub before dining at one of six restaurants and bars, supplied by the resort’s hydroponic garden.

The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

view of an elegant seating area in the Club Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo
Take in the city views from the Club Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo. (Photo: Marriott International)

Those seeking a truly elevated experience favor The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, which rises nine stories from the 45th floor of the 53-story Midtown Tower. Mount Fuji, Tokyo Bay, the Imperial Palace and city lights are all within view. An elegant East-meets-West style infuses the seven restaurants and bars, day spa with 20-meter indoor swimming pool and club lounge, where amenities include a nightcap made with Japanese craft gin.

Dive into traditional and modern Japanese culture such as manga, karate, sake-tasting and flower-arranging at the hotel, or walk to the nearby shops and sights of the Roppongi district, including the Mori Art Museum and the National Art Center, Tokyo.

Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

aerial view of the beach and beach-facing side of Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino makes a lasting impression with its private beach and multiple swimming pools. (Photo: Marriott International)

Two-mile-long Palm Beach awaits guests at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, who can swim, snorkel and paddle in shallow crystalline seawater, cruise on a sailboat or sunbathe until sunset paints the skies red and orange.

Vibrant nightlife also adds to the appeal, with a 24-hour casino onsite and numerous beach bars within walking distance.

All guests can enjoy the large main pool with children’s pool, while the adults-only Tradewinds Club offers a private pool and beach area, plus a lounge with complimentary food and drink and deluxe ocean-view rooms.

Don’t miss a gourmet ice-cream bar from Gelato & Co. or a five-star meal at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort

aerial view of The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort and the surrounding area
Adventure enthusiasts can use The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort as a home base for outdoor excursions, including scuba diving and spearfishing. (Photo: Marriott International)

Inside the exclusive Punta Mita compound, a balmy peninsula northwest of Puerto Vallarta, The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort boasts a long white beach, three heated infinity-edge pools, two Jack Nicklaus Signature golf courses, a Remède Spa and the brand’s signature butler service.

Marine life makes this a favorite, too: Migrating humpback whales play offshore December through April, while guests can help release baby turtles into the ocean December through March. Kayaking and scuba diving in the nearby Marieta Islands Marine Reserve, spearfishing excursions and fresh seafood at one of the resort’s five restaurants can be savored year-round.

JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge

a luxurious room at the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge
From the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, you can catch a glimpse of animals like lions and elphants who make the Masai Mara Reserve their home. (Photo: Marriott International)

The renowned Masai Mara Reserve in southwestern Kenya has for millennia been a haven for safari’s “Big Five” — lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros — and an annual summer migration of some 10 million wildebeest. In 2023, the reserve also became home to the JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, 20 luxurious and expansive en-suite tents overlooking a river where many animals congregate.

Game drives, guided walking tours and conservation talks provide fascinating perspective on the wildlife. Guests can also interact with local bead makers and other artisans, experience a Masai-inspired spa treatment in their tent, or learn to make a cocktail in the organic garden that also supplies the indoor-outdoor bar and restaurant.

Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini

view of a swimming pool, loungers, and umbrellas overlooking the sea at Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini
The villas and cottages of Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini offer visitors an enchanting place to unwind. (Photo: Marriott International)

On a Greek island famed for its sugar-white homes on rugged hillsides, Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort, Santorini is a modern hamlet of 59 similarly gleaming villas and cottages in a former medieval winery. A 400-year-old wine cave now hosts a restaurant, wine tasting room and art gallery, while a 100-year-old wine cellar has been transformed into a spa.

Two garden-lined swimming pools, served by a restaurant and two bars, share sweeping vistas. For even more breathtaking views, the concierge can arrange a private helicopter tour from the resort’s own helipad, a catamaran cruise, or a speedboat excursion to tour the picturesque islands of Ios and Koufonisia.

W Hotel Abu Dhabi — Yas Island

view of the the Yas Marina Circuit and W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island
W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island is a must-stay for guests who will appreciate the easy access to the Yas Marina Circuit. (Photo: Marriott International)

Those who like a mix of city and island life will find both at W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, a luxurious enclave on an isle in the United Arab Emirates’ capital. Soak up the desert sun at the beach or on one of the hotel’s two pool decks, or take a free shuttle to shopping, amusement and theme parks, and an adventure center that claims the tallest indoor sky-diving flight.

You can also try steering an electric Porsche or another amazing sportscar on the Yas Marina Circuit — a Formula 1 racecourse — directly below the hotel. Refuel at one of the hotel’s seven lively bars and restaurants, which span the globe in cuisine.

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection

aerial view of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Autograph Collection has lush landscaping and stunning ocean views. (Photo: Marriott International)

This lush oasis around Hawaii Island‘s best beach, a crescent of soft white sand between two rocky points, debuted in 1965. The open-air, midcentury-modern hotel with a priceless Asian art collection and a beautiful oceanfront golf course created by Robert Trent Jones Sr. remains iconic today.

Guests can lounge at the beach (which has limited public parking), play a game of pickleball at the Seaside Tennis Center or take a loaner Tesla to visit other Kohala Coast beaches and sights.

In the evening, view manta rays from the rocky point below Manta Restaurant or take a guided snorkeling tour with an expert on these gentle giants.

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

aerial view of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
You won’t run out of things to do at the 600-acre JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. (Photo: Marriott International)

The 600 oak-studded acres of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa provide plenty of diversions for all ages, starting with the nine-acre River Bluff Water Experience that includes a lazy river, four pools, body and tube slides, hot tubs, cabanas and a weekend food truck. Lantana Spa also offers poolside cabanas and a bistro, one of nearly a dozen restaurants and bars.

Get your cardio in with trail running, pickleball, tennis or basketball, or let your creative side out with craft sessions such as decorating birdhouses or wind chimes. Guests also have access to the two 18-hole championship golf courses at the otherwise members-only TPC San Antonio.