The Modern Honolulu
A fairly new addition to the Waikiki waterfront, the seven-year-old Modern was a dream come true for those young urbanites who never quite felt at home in the more traditional Hawaiian resorts. It’s not directly on the beach—the closest is the lagoon and expansive beach in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, a quick walk on the hotel’s ramp—and instead overlooks the picturesque Ala Wai Boat Harbor, where many of the island’s boating excursions depart. Designed by George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg, celebrities in the world of fashionable hotels, the look is warmly modern, all whites and creams and luxurious wood, and some striking art pieces, including a large surfboard installation in the lobby (titled “Wreck-tangles”). There’s a fun nightclub and some seriously good restaurants, though the real scene is out on the Instagram-worthy two-tiered teak pool deck, lined with lots of cushy chaises and shady corners to curl up. Upstairs is the adults-only pool—less a pool than a shallow water prop for frequent DJ-hosted dance parties. But for as much as the Modern is a hipster haven, the service is surprisingly good at making sure guests never feel like they’re crashing someone else’s party.
By Deborah Dunn, AFAR Contributor
On the balcony of our hotel, the Modern Honolulu (formerly the Waikiki Edition).
By Bora Kim
Slick Stay: The Modern Honolulu
Here is a picture of the check-in desk at The Modern. It already looks interesting right? And it is. Waikiki has so many options and yes even kama'ainas ( locals) do venture there now and again. I think its best to stay on either end of Waikiki to stay out of the traffic fray- there always seems to be some roadwork on the main drag of Kalakaua Ave. There are two directions on this side of the island: Ewa and Diamond Head. So here is a fantastic place on the Ewa end of Waikiki. Do you remember the opening for the old Hawaii Five -O show? Steve McGarrett is standing on the lanai of the newly built Ilikai Hotel ( curiously the real name of the developer was Chin Ho). The Modern is in what was part of the Ilikai complex. It boasts 353 rooms and suites, a Morimoto Restaurant, a fantastic sandy shallow “Sunset Pool” and has a hip night spot “ of the moment” if you like that. Opt for the Penthouse if you are feeling flush. A large deck provides a perfect place to sun yourself. With dining room, entertainment space, ocean and marina views you'll feel like a prince or a certain now- local T.V show star does when staying here. Order in something from the menu at Morimoto's for a private deck party. It's casual and elegant but still beach-y here. Just the feel you'd instruct your designer to give you if you owned a pied-a-terre on the Diamond Head gold coast not far from here. And it's yours for the asking.
By Michelle M. Winner, AFAR Local Expert
1603, 1775 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA