The Modern Honolulu

by | Mar 16, 2012

The hotel used to be part of the Ilikai Hotel next door. In 2010, after $240 million worth of renovations, it reopened as The Modern. They tout themselves as “luxurious, yet brilliantly laid-back,” and we agree. This is one of the few places where internet photos just don’t do it justice, and we’ve never said that before. From the moment you enter, you immediately feel welcomed and relaxed. The color scheme is taupe and white mixed with dark browns and wood tones. The resort can be very busy, yet it never feels crowded because there are so many places to hang out. They have two pools and decks—one for families and one for adults only. The family saltwater pool has a lounging area poolside, and both pools have bars with poolside service for food and drinks. It’s not on the beach, but it embraces the Ala Wai Boat Harbor so well it seems almost part of it. Extensive landscaping also helps keep the area from feeling stark and urban like many other Waikiki resorts. The music that plays throughout the resort is even piped underwater in the main pool. The adults-only pool on the upper deck is a dark blue, 8- to 12-inch-deep wading pool with some chairs in the water and fine white sand circling it. An abundance of large, cushy daybeds are scattered around to lie on. Reserve them for $100 per day. The rooms are very modern (hence the name) and white, which is a cleaner’s nightmare, but the room carpets were changed to a pale gray, much more practical, yet still in keeping with original design. So far they have maintained it very well. The view designations seem fair and are shown off well against the decor. Most bathrooms have showers only—a few tubs available (so ask)—and we wish they had a hand-held option for the showerhead, which is mounted up pretty high (a problem if you have small children). They bring in a variety of live music and mainland DJs for their nightclub venue, one of the more popular clubs in Waikiki. Their 9,200-sq.-ft. ballroom is impressive. Various specialty suites with large lanais can be used for weddings and special events. Someone even got married in the wading pool. Their Lather Spa has a very extensive menu of pampering treatments from your feet all the way up. There is yoga by the pool three times a week. The staff is exceptional and welcoming. This is one of our new favorites in Waikiki, but it’s a pretty long walk to the center of Waikiki, so you’ll either want to hop a bus or drive. It’s also about a 10-minute walk to the beach along the shoreline. Rooms (340–390 sq. ft.) are $309–$569. Suites (373–1,383 sq. ft.) are $489–$5,000. Those rack rates are way too high, but discounts and packages are easily available. Be aware that if you book through an online booking company, they may tack on a resort fee for your stay.


(855) 970-4161 or (808) 450-3379
1775 Ala Moana Blvd, Waikiki
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