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The Modern Honolulu

Hot. Hip. Happening.

Usually, not words associated with me. But DEFINITELY accurate descriptions for The Modern Honolulu hotel in Oahu, Hawaii.

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The Modern Honolulu

There are a lot of older, well-established hotels in Waikiki, and then there's the Modern. A single-location property, the owners have a singular focus: great design, and great service.

I am very fond of both.

When I arrived at the hotel, I knew it was going to be different immediately. The lobby area is very, well, modern. I am a big fan of minimalist design and neutral colors and The Modern Honolulu has that in spades.

I love their front desk, the design is unique, yet appropriate for the location.

The Modern Honolulu Lobby

Also, who doesn't want to be greeted with cilantro lemonade and a cool towel?

I had just flown in from Oakland thanks to Hawaiian Airlines and had enjoyed an excellent lunch at the Hawaiian Airlines Headquarters, so I was ready for a little rest. I went to my room to have a little downtime before my dinner event in the evening.

The room was just perfect. Designed exactly to my taste. Honestly, being the klutz that I am, I could not live in an all-white house full-time, but I really enjoy hotel rooms that are furnished that way!

The Modern Honolulu Room

[I have realized I need some tips from Katie and Andi P. on taking interior hotel room shots (theirs are always awesome!).]

You can't tell me that this bed doesn't look inviting? Besides sleeping in it at night, I took an afternoon nap on it the next day after a couple of dozen tastes of wine with Colgin Cellars and Kermit Lynch!

The Modern Honolulu Bed

I couldn't have asked for better views from my two terraces and bedroom windows! Hello Waikiki!

The Modern Honolulu View

The sky was delicious with beautiful clouds, the water was that gorgeous shade of blue you only get from being in a tropical location.

The Modern Honolulu View

Perfect and serene, this was a wonderful spot to drink my first coffee of the day.

The Modern Honolulu Morning Coffee

There are a lot of great little touches that brightened up the white and remind you that you are in Hawaii. How many times have you been to a hotel room, even a nice one, and you couldn't tell where in the world you were? Not here!

The Modern Honolulu room touches

Even the welcome amenities remind you that you are in Hawaii, pineapple, macadamia nut, ginger cookies, tropical drink, this isn't New York City!

The Modern Honolulu Welcome

The Modern Honolulu is known for a couple of things: its great design, hot night club (I didn't visit that), awesome pool, fabulous cuisine from Iron Chef Morimoto, and a really chill bar.

Here is a view of the pool from my terrace.

The Modern Honolulu Pool View

I went down Sunday morning to take some shots before it got too busy.

The Modern Honolulu Pool

Plenty of spots for both sun worshipers and shade lovers. Poolside service means you really don't have to get up for much. I wasn't there long enough to relax by the pool, but I did get a chance to try their signature drink, the coconut mojito…and I can definitely envision a day of doing nothing at the pool with a constant supply of them!

At 9:00 in the morning, these guys looked like they were on their way to do just that!

The Modern Honolulu pool

There aren't a lot of kids around, but if you desire a completely adult-only space, there is a wading pool on the second level where children are not allowed. They have awesome day beds that you can reserve for 24 hours (these can be reserved for hotel guests – you need to spend $150 on food and drinks and $250 for non-guests). Talk about being treated like royalty for the day!

The Modern Honolulu pool daybed

On my first night, I attended a progressive Modern Honolulu dinner. We started poolside where we enjoyed coconut mojito along with appetizers, like ahi tartare.

The Modern Honolulu ahi tartare

The evening atmosphere of the pool is very nice, and laid back, well, until the fireworks show! Every Friday evening they have a great display and The Modern Honolulu's poolside has an excellent vantage point.

For our main courses, we moved to Morimoto's, located in the hotel on the second level. We sampled several fish dishes all delicious and a melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu filet that was to die for! (The next day I had lunch at Morimoto's sushi bar and had an equally enjoyable experience!)

For dessert, we moved to the hotel's bar, The Study. During the day, the entry is closed off with what actually looks like the wall of a study. Then at 5 PM, it opens up to reveal the bar.

I was expecting a noisy, hip bar where you couldn't hear yourself think, but it is a very, very relaxed space, with live music and a great drink menu. We sampled a new dessert the pastry chef is working on, a white chocolate pannacotta with banana and dark chocolate. I am not a huge fan of white chocolate, but I ate every bite and say, “put that thing on the menu!”

I really was sad to leave, this hotel is fantastic. Great staff, great food, great space…and FREE WiFi everywhere!

I already knew there were amazing things to eat in Oahu, but now I knew that there were amazing hotels too! If you are visiting Oahu, I definitely recommend you stay at The Modern Honolulu. They are located at 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard Honolulu, Hawaii. And if you are looking for something unique to do, how about sharking diving without the cage!!?? My most irrational fear in life is sharks. Everyone keeps telling me I need to get over it, maybe shark diving with One Ocean Diving in Oahu will be the experience that gets me over that!

During my time in Oahu for the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, The Modern Honolulu was my gracious hotel host. The remainder of my trip was sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines and despite their generosity, all opinions remain my own!

How about you? What do you like best about your favorite hotels?

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  1. Wow Oh Wow! That place is incredible. I love the clean, sleek, modern look. Not to mention that wall that opens up to reveal the bar. That is so cool! I would love to stay there.
    I like to see happy, friendly employees where ever I go. After that, I want to stay somewhere that is super clean.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Lynda, it is an amazing property, you will love it!

  2. I have to say — that bedroom shot looks absolutely dreamy. I can almost smell the ocean air coming through those patio doors, and loving that glimpse of aqua through the curtains! Nice work! That place looks incredible.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Katie, your hotel shots are SO much better, it must be all that Apartment Therapy training!

  3. This all looks so tempting – funky + food = my kind of place! I’m sorry but I stole that ahi tartare pic for Pinterest… hungry now!

  4. Dorothy Boucher says:

    wow ‘ how nice is all that, please next time take me with you, just stuff me in your bag LOL actually I have never even been on a plane yet hehe, its on my bucket list…………. great review and thanks so much for sharing all this with us , great pictures

  5. Oh wow. I want to go and I love the adults only pool, Thank you for the review.

  6. What a beautiful place! And that front desk desk was so interesting looking! Wish I could go there. Maybe one day…

  7. the place is so beautiful

  8. Nuresha Perera says:

    ohh god this is perfect.

  9. Wow such a beautiful place!!

  10. What a gorgeous hotel in a spectacular setting! Love the entrance to the bar and that front desk…whoa! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Waikiki looks amazing, your views were beautiful! What I wouldn’t give to go there for a few days! Thanks for the hotel review, if I ever do get to go, I know where I would like to stay!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Meagan, there is so much to see, do and eat in Hawaii, really something for everyone. The hotel was really amazing!

  12. I think I’d find myself on that daybed with a good book and fruity cocktail all day long! Love how fun the decor is. Sometimes modern design is cold and unwelcoming. Not so in this case!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Rachelle, I couldn’t agree with you more on the design, the accents all scream warmth! And I am right there with you on that day bed!

  13. Dorothy Teel says:

    Oh wow, what a beautiful hotel, and the views of Waikiki beach are beautiful, I wish I could go back to Hawaii, was there in the early 60’s and I know things have really changed, but it was a beautiful place, I spent a lot of time at military beach Fort Derusy had a wonderful time. I love the décor of the room with the white cheerful, surf boards, and I would love to eat at Chef Morimoto”s

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Dorothy, you would definitely love it since it has been quite awhile! It is so convenient to get to these days and there is something for everyone.

  14. Admittedly it has been awhile since I’ve actually stayed IN Honolulu. I was born there and have returned many times but to visit different islands. It had begun to feel like Las Vegas on the sea, and much of that is the hotel scene. I loved reading this Andi; you have fully updated my thinking about Honolulu and are giving me an itch for a visit to update my clearly dated impressions!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Toni, I think that there is a place for everyone which is why I like going to the more unexplored area of Hawaii as well (like my trip this past March. I like to mix my visits with some of both the more established beachy area and getting off the beaten path – and in Hawaii there is still a lot of both. You come from a beautiful place with beautiful and amazingly friendly people.

  15. Looks amazing! Love the modern touches, I definitely need to go there!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Gabby, it is a great spot!

  16. Emma Haenga says:

    Hawaii / Honalulu are on my bucket list! Thanks for the amazing review and pics (ukulele one is my fave, I play a little) I am addicted to researching this beautiful place and I’m sure it has many surprises in store for me…. “one day” … *sigh*

  17. Wooww.. Lucky!!!!!! You get to experience the hotels D: and hawaaiii!!!!