JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort Review: Rooftop Pool, Beach Bliss & More!

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Aerial view of the JW Marriott Clearwater private beach
The JW Marriott private beach viewed from the 11th floor rooftop pool. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

My husband and I needed a relaxing and convenient home base for our 4-day Florida getaway. We were visiting friends and family in Tampa and Gulfport and attending an Orioles/Pirates spring training game in Sarasota. The stunning beachfront location of the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach hooked me. And this luxury resort was affordable because I was able to book our stay using accumulated Marriott Bonvoy points and my annual free night award, Read on for a complete review of this new Clearwater Beach resort.

JW Marriott Clearwater Highlights

  • Luxe resort property, appealing for friend groups, couple getaways and families.
  • Private beachfront location near classic Clearwater attractions.
  • Posh but unpretentious vibe.
  • Rooftop swimming pool heated to 85 degrees with plenty of seating and umbrellas.
  • On-property spa and salon with delightful sauna and steam bath.
  • Pets under 40 pounds are permitted in rooms for a fee.

Things You Should Know Before You Go

  • Expect occasional service glitches at this new resort (opened in May 2023).
  • Be prepared for steep valet and daily resort fees.
  • On-property food and beverages are pricey compared to area bars and restaurants.
Valet entrance of the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach
Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

A New Clearwater Beach Resort Hotel

Florida’s Clearwater Beach is consistently named one of the top beaches in the state, most recently ranked #10 by US News and World Report. The white sand is soft, the waters are safely swimmable year-round and the panoramic Gulf of Mexico views are postcard-worthy.

Clearwater Beach is wildly popular with the Spring Break crowd, bachelor and bachelorette parties and families looking for safe surf and kid-friendly activities.

There are plenty of hotel options on both sides of Gulfview Boulevard, Clearwater’s main drag, including several other Marriott properties. But the new JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa, which opened in May 2023, promises and delivers something unique. Its location at the south end of the strip feels removed from the hustle and bustle of the area. The friendly staff eagerly meets your needs. And the rooms, rooftop pool and private beach are exquisite.

The JW Marriott Clearwater Beach has the amenities of a large resort in a space that feels intimate. There are 162 guestrooms and 36 Residences. Guest rooms are carefully designed with built-ins and balconies so they feel even bigger than they are.

If you’re ready to be pampered, you’ve come to the right place.

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First Impressions

We arrived at the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa in the evening after a long day that included our flight from NY, a visit with friends north of Orlando and the 2 1/2-hour drive from their home to the beach. We pitched our rental car keys to a friendly valet and whooshed through large sliding glass doors into the lobby…

…and started mentally singing “Under the Sea,” because I felt like a happy little mermaid who’d found her way home, a vibe inspired by the massive turquoise-tinged wave wall sculpture behind the front desk.

We received a warm welcome at check-in, a room upgrade thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status and two pink wristbands to wear when accessing the resort’s rooftop pool and private beach.

King guestroom with balcony at JW Marriott Clearwater Beach
Rooms at the JW Marriott are sleek and elegant. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

My Guestroom

The guest rooms at the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa are spacious and luxurious, exactly what I expected from the brand. The neutral decor has an Art Deco sophistication with brushed gold and silver accents.

Drawers are built into the large closet so there’s plenty of floor space. The mini fridge is built into the large desk. An oversized flat-screen TV is wall-mounted and a lovely chaise lounge is an ideal spot for reading.

There are plenty of outlets and USB ports on the nightstands and desk to accommodate a family’s worth of devices. The wide balcony with two large, comfy chairs was a great feature. My husband wakes up before me and he could quietly sneak outside to read in the morning so I could steal a few extra ZZZZs.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Hubby and I stayed in a King Room with a Balcony and an Intracoastal Waterway/Skyline view. The top 1/3 of the water view was lovely; however, we mostly noticed the large employee parking lot next door. If the view’s important to you, spring for a beach view room.

Guest Room Options

In addition to standard Two Queen and King rooms, the JW Marriott Clearwater hotel has 36 residences that feature multiple bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens for extended stays or stays with extended families.

I loved each of the unique light fixtures in the room, especially the linked elongated chains that dangled down the side of the TV mount. My only complaint? Even with all of the fixtures turned on, the room was too dim for reading at night. And the room lacked one of my favorite lighting features: reading lights next to the bed. It made me wish I had packed a clip-on reading light.

Room amenities:

  • Mini fridge
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Hair dryer
  • Toiletries by Aromatherapy Associates, an English luxury brand
  • Coffee/tea station with bottled water
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Plush robes and slippers
  • Room service available

SheBuysTravel Tip: The rooftop pool is located on the 11th floor. If you turn in early, do not get a room on the 11th floor. Grownups who have spent time sipping cocktails at the pool bar use their outdoor voices when they come inside to access the elevators. If you’re a night owl, by all means, stay steps away from the action.

Hotel Amenities

Navy and white beach cabana at the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach
The private beach is one of the resort’s best features. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Private Beach

A private white sand beach is steps from your bed at the JW Marriott Clearwater Resort and Spa. Blue and white striped umbrellas shading navy loungers are ready and waiting for your use.

There’s food and beverage service from the Eskape Bar and Grille. Sand toys are available for the kiddos who were having a blast playing in the soft sand and dipping their toes into the shallow Gulf waters.

Want to go luxe? Rent a beach cabana setup for the day. It’ll cost you – $500 during my visit in March 2024.

Rooftop pool at the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach
The pool has panoramic views and it’s heated! Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Rooftop Pool

My favorite feature of the resort was the 11th-floor rooftop swimming pool. The resort wasn’t crowded during our stay so I had the whole place to myself. I alternated plunges in the 85-degree pool with dips in the hot tub and then retreated to my umbrella-shaded lounger for chapters and cat naps. Glass panels blocked the bulk of the early spring Gulf gusts.

Friendly pool attendants will set up the complimentary loungers for you and retrieve additional towels and ice water throughout your stay. if you want the full beach club experience, pool pods or cabanas are available to rent for the day.

Relaxation room in the spa at the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach
Sip a cup of peppermint tea before or after your spa treatment. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Spa by JW

My sister lives locally and met me for a little “we time.” The entire experience hit all the right buttons. We were welcomed by Juliana with warm towels infused with the scent of lemongrass. She showed us to the locker room and told us how to work the sauna, steam bath and experience shower.

We each had a 50-minute Bespoke Massage with scalp massage add-on. My therapist, Alaney, delivered a relaxing treatment. My only regret? I should have splurged on the 100-minute treatment. In addition to body treatments and facials, the full-service spa has a nail salon for manicures and pedicures.

A fully-equipped fitness center is located next to the spa.

JW Kid’s Club

The Hideaway Hangout is the resort’s kid club. It’s a wonderful option for parents traveling with small children who can book a couples massage or enjoy a quiet lunch.

Check the resort activities calendar in the lobby for free kid-friendly activities. For example, during March, the resort is bringing in a variety of native critters on Wild Wednesdays from a local animal rescue organization.

Complimentary Activities

Check the resort activities calendar and brochure during your stay for the daily activities which may include:

  • Wellness/fitness classes like beachfront morning yoga and Quigong
  • Family-friendly dive-in movies at the pool
  • Kid crafts

The daily resort fee includes beach chairs (2) and beach umbrella (1) and 4hr. bike use for 2 people, plus the complimentary activities noted above. Basic wifi is free; enhanced service is available for a fee (complimentary for certain Marriott Bonvoy tiers).

Dining at JW Marriott Clearwater

Interior of Latitude 28, the fine dining restaurant at the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach
Pick a table that faces the beach when dining during the day at Latitude 28. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Latitude 28

This Mediterranean-inspired venue is the resort’s fine dining experience. Open for breakfast and dinner, the decor is chic and features both indoor and outdoor seating. The signature menu items crafted by Chef Indrajit Suryawanshi include Poached Lobster Pappardelle and a Mediterranean-spiced 32-ounce Tomahawk ribeye that we’d like to try on our next visit.

We treated ourselves to the restaurant’s breakfast buffet on our first morning, choosing a booth with a gorgeous beach view. It featured the expected – omelet station, fresh fruit and sweet treats. Individual yogurt parfaits and chia seed puddings were the highlights for me.

SheBuysTravel Tip: Resort breakfast is a once-a-vacation splurge for me. On subsequent mornings, we walked across the street to Speggtacular and ate hearty breakfasts for half the price.

Two cocktails and bar menu at The Deep End, the JW Marriott rooftop bar in Clearwater Beach.
Refreshing cocktails at The Deep End rooftop bar. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

The Deep End

The resort’s rooftop restaurant and bar is located next to the outdoor pool and features panoramic views. It’s a fine dining experience that leans heavily on Peruvian spices including aji rocoto, leche de tigre and aji amarillo.

We didn’t eat there on this visit, but we did sip cocktails one night to soak up the glittering view. I’d never tried pisco, the Peruvian spirit, so I gave the frozen Pear of Pisco a try. It was a delicious concoction featuring lapostolle pisco blanco, pear juice, ginger and lime.

Hubby had a Forbidden Margarita which he enjoyed. The price ($20+) made him wince.

Mahi mahi tacos at Eskape at the JW Marriott Clearwater Beach
Fish tacos make a great light lunch. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

Eskape Beach Bar and Grille

The Eskape Beach Bar and Grille is the resort’s al fresco dining option with ocean-view tables. There’s also beachside food and drink service if you don’t want to leave your lounger.

Choose from a variety of small bites including coconut shrimp, sammies and bowls. My hubby and I ordered the Gulf Mahi Mahi tacos and blackened Grouper sandwich to split. I finished my first 3 Daughters Beach Blonde Ale before the restaurant manager came to our table to let us know that the day’s delivery of grouper had not arrived. I switched to a Caesar salad with grilled shrimp. Both meals were fresh and tasty when they finally arrived, midway through my second draft.

Exterior of the JW Market convenience store inside the Clearwater Beach resort
Grab-and-go items are offered at the JW Market in the resort lobby. Photo credit: Cathy Bennett Kopf

JW Market

This convenient grab-and-go option in the hotel lobby is a great alternative to sit-down restaurant service. It’s well-stocked with a variety of snack items, fresh fruit and beverages.

There’s also a small gift shop section with items from the Curated by JW shop if you want to bring the resort experience home with you.

Things to Do Near the JW Marriott Clearwater

Clearwater Beach is one of Florida’s top Gulf Coast vacation destinations and there are a ton of fun things to do near the resort.

Get recommendations from the resort concierge who can assist with making reservations for activities, including:

Getting Around Clearwater Beach

You can walk to Pier 60, Clearwater’s top attraction, in about 25 minutes.

The resort fee includes bicycle use for up to four hours.

The Jolley Trolley runs daily. Check the trolley tracker for route info and daily pass info.

JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa
691 S Gulfview Blvd.

Located near the Sand Key Bridge. The JW Marriott Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa is less than 25 miles from both Tampa International and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International airports. There is no airport shuttle service.

There is on-property valet parking available for resort guests arriving by car.

Cathy Bennett Kopf serves as the Daily Editor of SheBuysTravel, reporting to Editor-in-Chief Cindy Richards. She began travel writing after serving as the unofficial (and unpaid) vacation coordinator for hundreds of family and friend trips. She launched her blog, The Open Suitcase, in 2012 and joined the SBT (formerly TravelingMom) team in 2016. A lifelong resident of New York, Cathy currently resides in the scenic Hudson River Valley. She’s a member of the Society of American Travel Writers, the International Travel Writers Alliance and TravMedia.
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