Saturday, September 17, 2011

Honolulu's Bright New Thing, The Waikiki Edition

Hawaii...

Such a great getaway, but not my favorite destination for great hotels. Two things have happened, though, in the last year on the lodging front that have put the Aloha state back on my list of musts again. And honestly, you can't argue with this view coming into Oahu....


First is the absolutely gorgeous partial renovation of SOM's masterpiece on the Big Island, the Mauna Kea. I say partial, as they have only renovated the guest rooms in the main tower, (although these were the ones that hadn't been touched since the structure was built for Rockefeller, in the late "60's!) More on this on my next post, as this deserves it's own space, it is a masterful re-interpretation of that classic architecture. 


This week I'm all about the newest little thing to hit the tired hotel and nightclub scene in Waikiki, the hot little Waikiki Edition. Super little design gem, it's located right across from the Yacht Club in Waikiki, so it's easy to get to, and not buried inside the mess that is lower Waikiki....


As a side note, as of this posting, the hotel may be changing names to the Modern Honolulu, but that doesn't affect just how cleverly they have re-positioned the property to be a hip little place in Honolulu to grab a night or two before heading over to other islands....


Designed by a combination of Ian Shrager and Yabu-Pushelbergh (who did the seriously HOT Morimoto's Restaurant on the ground floor) this is my new favorite stop-over in Oahu. 




Check the desk...


Great reception area, with sharp staff, who were quite ready to please (I was a drop-in reservation, and of course, in my usual fashion I asked that they show me EVERY room type before I decided which one) 


Actually, loved the "broken surfboard" sculpture behind the minimalist white check-in desk...


To be expected, the rooms were "Shrager-esque" in their minimalism, but I found they were quite soothing done in all white, as Hawaii really does tend to drench the eye in color....




But note the pop of color and ornamental detail:




This also is a great technique to remind you that you're not in some anonymous white hotel room on the planet, in a clever way.


And of course, as Shrager always does, the public spaces were excellent. This is a shot from the reception desk of the "swinging wall" detail, that opens at night to reveal, what else, but a Bar!






This is the outdoor lounge space between the pool and the restaurant, and very inviting to grab a Mai-Tai while waiting for your dinner reservation at Morimoto's, where you simply cannot miss his stellar Tuna Tartare....




So, while not a place to spend your full Hawaiian getaway, this newest little spot in Oahu is a great stop-over. It's almost worth a day just for a little shopping and to indulge in some crazy amazing seafood...