Hotel Highlights

  • Innovative new take on the Oahu high-rise hotel scene
  • Waikiki's hippest restaurant, four bars, a nightclub and a spa
  • Luxury lounging by day, and the hottest parties by night

Overview

The Modern Honolulu hotel masters Hawaiian hipness: as well as the most in-demand restaurant in town, it flaunts four bars, a nightclub and its own tropical garden.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking The Modern Honolulu with us:

Tropical fruit plate and mineral water upon arrival.

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at The Modern Honolulu

4 nights for the price of 3

Facilities

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The Modern Honolulu hotel – Honolulu – USA

Need To Know

Rooms

353 rooms, including 31 suites.

Check–out

12pm, but flexible for US$100. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $269.00, excluding tax at 13.96 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude à la carte breakfast (from US$12).

Also

The spa has four treatment rooms, and separate mani-pedi stations. Everything is natural and neutral, including the plant-based Éminence Organic Skin Care products. Book in and have a muscle-calming Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage, which simulates the movement of ocean waves.

At the hotel

Spa, nightclub, gym and free WiFi throughout. In rooms, flatscreen TV, iPod dock, iPad and bath products by Lather.

Our favourite rooms

Room 911 (an Ocean Front Suite) is on the hotel’s eastern sea-facing corner, and this means two balconies: one above the pool, another looking out to sea. It’s another wonder in white, with earthy shades and a huge teak sliding door. If you’ve got it, spend it: the impressive Penthouse may come with a hefty price tag, but it’s super-sized inside and out, with a wraparound terrace, as well as panoramic Pacific views from the bedroom.

Poolside

The marina-facing Sunrise Pool is surrounded by teak decking and sunloungers, with giant squashy day-beds in a tropical garden, picnic tables and a cocktail bar. The oceanfront Sunset Pool is a lantern-lit adults-only plunge with an adjacent cocktail bar.

Packing tips

You’ll find essential Hawaiian gear (sarongs, a ukelele) in your room, but don’t forget binoculars for whale-watching, as well as heels and look-at-me clothes for dressing up after dark.

Also

Lightweight doggies (25lbs or less) can stay for US$50 a night.

Children

Cots for babies are free; extra beds cost US$65 a night. A local nanny can babysit if required.

Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

More details

Food & Drink

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The Modern Honolulu hotel – Honolulu – USA

Hotel Restaurant

Morimoto Waikiki is the island’s see-and-be-seen restaurant. Masaharu Morimoto, star of gladiatorial TV cook-off Iron Chef, heads up the team of elite sushi chefs. The Japanese menu has Western touches: at lunch, try the lobster melt sandwich with miso mayo, tomato and Swiss cheese, or the Wagyu mini burgers with pork kakuni, cabbage and Japanese mustard. The dinner menu includes tuna pizza and duck served three ways, including duck meatball soup. Inside, lime leather chairs, sleek wooden tables and suspended glass boxes keep it sharp; outside, comfy white sofas and fire pits await.

Hotel Bar

Five: the Sunrise Pool has a cocktail bar; adults-only Sunset Pool has 100 tonnes of sand on its home-made beach, plus its own lagoon, as well as staff who’ll wander past your hammock and spritz you with Evian if you’re looking a little sweaty; the Lobby Bar hides during the day behind the rotating bookcase in reception and only reveals its giant sofas, low lights and custom cocktails at 6pm; industrial Addiction is the hotel’s own nightclub – queues go round the block for people wanting to get past the rusty steel doors into the concrete club and listen to sets by hot international DJs; and Morimoto has its own bar.

Last orders

Breakfast is served between 7.30am and 10am; lunch is on offer between 11am and 2.30pm; dinner is from 5pm until 10pm Sunday to Thursday, 11pm Friday and Saturday. Lobby Bar is open till 1 am Sunday to Thursday, 3am Friday and Saturday.

Room service

The full restaurant menu is available 24 hours a day.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Flash your cash – labels won’t go amiss here. Avoid citrussy shades unless you want to clash with the chairs.

Top table

The tables are packed close, so be aware that any sweet nothings will be shared with your neighbours. Chances are it’s balmy, so head outside and dine on the lanai overlooking the marina or one of the poolside bars.

Local Guide

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The Modern Honolulu hotel – Honolulu – USA
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Foodies full up on Morimoto sushi should try Chef Mavro on South King Street in Honolulu (+1 808 944 4714; www.chevmavro.com), for some fine dining with artfully matched wine. On the same street, Alan Wong’s is another celebrity-cheffed eatery shaking up the Hawaiian scene; be sure to book ahead (+1 808 949 2526; www.alanwongs.com). Town on Waialae Avenue has a chef with a thing for field-to-plate freshness at its helm; expect seasonal, organic and local dishes such as pan-roasted chicken with tatsoi (a Chinese leaf), grapes and pancetta (+1 808 735 5900; www.townkaimuki.com). If you find yourself in the State Art Museum, have lunch at its little sister – Downtown on Hotel Street (+1 808 536 5900; www.slowdowntown.com). Make time for a sushi session at Chiba-Ken (+1 808 941 2800; www.chibakenhawaii.com) on Ena Road. The choice of fishy morsels is extensive, and the chicken and pork mains are not to be sniffed at, either.

Local bars

The best nightspots are in Chinatown, where old warehouses and low-rise shop buildings have been transformed into cool bars and clubs. Head to North Hotel Street and try The Manifest (+1 808 523 7575), Bar 35 (+1 808 537 3535) or Thirtyninehotel (+1 808 599 2552).

+ Enlarge
Buzzy Waikiki Beach

The Modern Honolulu

1775 Ala Moana Blvd, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815, United States

The Modern Honolulu is right beside Waikiki Beach, just behind its famous strip…

Planes

Honolulu’s airport is eight miles away. Taxis from the airport run approximately US$30. United Airlines (www.united.com) and Hawaiian Airlines (www.hawaiianairlines.com) have routes from across the US, including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland.

Automobiles

The drive from central Honolulu should take around 15 minutes. Valet parking at the hotel costs US$28 a day.

Reviews

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The Modern Honolulu hotel – Honolulu – USA

Anonymous review

by Sue Gough Henly , Pleasure-seeking scribe

For years, Mr Smith and I have avoided Waikiki for fear it would be littered with tourists in bad Hawaiian shirts and wilted purple leis. That, and the trend of area hotels resembling something between a shopping mall and Disney's Adventureland: in other words, the exact opposite of a tropical escape on one of the world’s most remote islands.

Then, we heard whispers of a ho...

Read more

The Modern Honolulu

Anonymous review by Sue Gough Henly, Pleasure-seeking scribe

For years, Mr Smith and I have avoided Waikiki for fear it would be littered with tourists in bad Hawaiian shirts and wilted purple leis. That, and the trend of area hotels resembling something between a shopping mall and Disney's Adventureland: in other words, the exact opposite of a tropical escape on one of the world’s most remote islands.

Then, we heard whispers of a hotel that was sexy and sophisticated, a minimalist haven with a beach-pad vibe. What sealed the deal was the fact that we could fly Hawaiian Airlines from Sydney to New York via Honolulu to enjoy a languorous few days lounging in laid-back luxury at The Modern Honolulu, a sleek high-rise hotel.

We swoosh up to the entrance in our dinky rental car and a friendly crew welcomes us. Check-in is a breeze, although Mr Smith can’t take his eyes off the collage of broken surfboards behind the pale oak reception desk ("Are the waves really that monstrous?" he whispers desperately). The boards, it turns out, were broken in competitions on Oahu’s North Shore by the champion likes of Kelly Slater and Andy Irons. Phew.

Our airy Ocean View room is awash with white linens and beige furnishings…a grey throw rug lies across the king bed, brown teak shutters partially screen the scalloped deck. Ian Schrager had a role in the hotel design and went for a look that was cool and cream, just like his house in the Hamptons (or so we hear); regardless, he certainly knows how to do casual beach-chic.

Within moments we are lounging on comfy chairs on our private deck, gazing out across the yacht-dotted Ala Wai harbour to the blue Pacific. Mr Smith strums a tune on the room’s yellow ukulele; I have donned one of the three, bright Hawaiian-print pareos thoughtfully left for our use. For those of you who don’t have access to the Hawaiian language translation app handily loaded onto our loaner iPad (also queued up with Hawaiian tunes), a pareo is a sarong.

We head to the Sunrise Pool (one of two pools – the other one, is the adults-only Sunset Pool), swooning on a couple of the wooden deck’s sunloungers and ordering two Frozen Coconut Mojitos from one of the super-cool staff. I spy on our fellow guests from behind my dark sunglasses: a couple is on a day bed with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, 20-somethings in string bikinis are talking on their iPhones, a toned surfer strolls in with his surfboard. French, English, Australian and New Zealand accents are sprinkled among the Americans. We stay long enough to enjoy some live acoustic music, and, as the bougainvillea-framed pool bar gets livelier, fairy lights in recycled wine bottles light up the trees.

We could’ve been easily convinced to partake in another potent round, but we have a dinner date to keep at in-house restaurant Morimoto, of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto fame, whose other top-notch spots can be found in Philadelphia, New York and Napa. The last rays of pink streak across the sky as we settle in on the deck and enjoy Morimoto’s original interpretation of poke, Hawaii’s raw-fish dish. This one is served with bocconcini, avocado wasabi sorbet and dashi foam. Then we indulge in a fishing fleet of sushi and a delectable dish of yellowtail, cooked tableside in a hot stone bowl with vegetables and rice.

Back in the room, Mr Smith wants a nightcap, but, upon opening the minibar, we discover only a note saying that we can order funky cocktail combos from room service. One that catches his eye is the Pleasure Package. All I can say is that the whipped cream is not for cocoa.

The next morning, we feast on macadamia waffles with caramelised bananas on a terrace behind the pool, its back wall decoratively decked out with hanging ferns. Perusing the hotel shop nearby, we are tempted by groovy swimwear, sunglasses and surfboard cheese boards – not to mention the bright blue piggy banks by LA artist Steve Allen. “They keep running out the door,” says the shop assistant, who Mr Smith notes is as sexy as all the other staff, and possibly even sexier than the clientele (present company excluded, of course).

Today we base ourselves at the round, cobalt-blue-tiled Sunset Pool, which has been enterprisingly landscaped with palm trees and fine white sand – a welcome addition since the Modern is not right on Waikiki Beach. It is, however, only a short and picturesque lagoon-side stroll away.

As dusk falls, we repair to the Study, a speakeasy-like bar off the lobby that appears after 6pm when the bookshelves are turned ajar. Sinking into leather chairs in a cosy nook surrounded by billowing cream curtains, we get literary, Hawaiian style. Mr Smith orders War and Peace, a Jack Daniels Tennessee sour mash, bruised to perfection with lemon, fresh mint, and Peychaud’s bitters. I choose The Scarlet Letter: Stolichnaya vodka, flash infused with fresh pineapple and orange, bound in cranberry and served over seltzer.

Clinking glasses and toasting okole maluna to another day in paradise, we settle in for the bookish night ahead.
 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Modern Honolulu's Guestbook below.

 

SilverSmith

Stayed on 8 Jun 2012

The Modern is sublime - wonderful staff, fabulous food, beautifully appointed rooms, very stylish decor, great ambience and is an absolute treat to retreat to from the pace of Waikiki.

Rating: 8/10 stars