During Black Friday, Expedia had a great sale for vacation packages at the Modern Honolulu. So I decided Honolulu would be a great place to spend Spring Break. I have never tried the Modern Honolulu before, so it was a good opportunity to try it out as well!


I checked in around 11 PM on Saturday night, and there was no one in line so it was pretty quick to get our room. Outside the hotel was crowded and rowdy as they do have a nightclub that runs Thurs-Sat.

The vibe of the hotel is modern and boutique which is unique in Waikiki as Waikiki is home to many mega resorts. The Modern doesn’t give the “Hawaii” feel though. I feel like I’m in a boutique hotel in Midtown Manhattan. I personally don’t want to feel in a basic city hotel when I come to Hawaii, but some might not mind at all.

The Room:

I booked a Partial Ocean View Room and it directly faced a building, but looking off to the left was a nice view of the harbor. I expected this, so it wasn’t a surprise.

a large body of water with boats in it

View from an angle

None of the views from this hotel are any good frankly. It’s not in a great spot to see the ocean as it’s on the Marina and only 17 stories. If you want goregous Waikiki views, opt for the Hilton Hawaiian Villages’ Rainbow Tower Ocean Front, or Hyatt Regency Waikiki’s Ocean View. I’ve stayed at both of those hotels and loved the views.

I booked the room with 2 Double Beds and they were nice and firm as well as the pillows. The insulation could have been better as I could hear a lot of the conversations in the room next to mine. Bring some earplugs.

a room with two beds and a desk

The major problem was with the sheets. It was just a thin flat sheet and some thin economy airplane like blanket. For a 4.5 Star hotel, I would expect better sheets. My friends were staying at the same hotel and that was the same complaint they had. They decided to call housekeeping for extra sheets, which on second thought I should have done too.

a hand holding a white blanket

Sheets super thin


The bathroom was a good size for a standard three piece bathroom. Lots of counter space and a large walk in shower. Only pet peeve would be the toilet paper holder. It was not a roll holder but rather just the holder most hotels use for extras so it was super difficult to get out the TP. A minor, but annoying design flaw. They gave shower caps, vanity kits, shoe mitts and slippers which were a nice touch.

Shade Problem:

The shade design was annoying as it only opened from left to right, which sucked because my view was only on the left! So the curtains covered a lot of my view…I had to put the lamp to hold the shades away from my view!

a window with a lamp and a marina in the background

Fixed the problem!

The room had a mini fridge which was nice. On another note, considering Modern is in the name, I was hoping to see USB charging outlets but sadly no luck. Oh well.

The resort fee was $30, which included the typical stuff. WiFi, coffee maker in room and 2 bottles of water a day.


My floor had some minor construction going on the opposite side and they were converting a room into a condo with a kitchen which was interesting. Diamond Resorts has announced they will be converting this hotel into a timeshare.

History Time:

The Modern Honolulu used to be a part of the adjacent Ilikai Hotel which opened in the 1960s. The Marriott EDITION brand then revitalized the hotel and the Waikiki EDITION was opened in 2010.

drama drama drama

Just a year later in 2011, the owners of the hotel tried to terminate the management contract with Marriott citing poor management. Marriott took the hotel back for awhile, then the owners filed for bankruptcy and later appointed Honolulu based Aqua Hotels and Resorts as the new management firm while changing the name to the Modern Honolulu. Aqua later sold the Modern, and that company later sold the Modern to Diamond Resorts last year, and Diamond is the owner and current operator of the hotel. Wowza.


There are 2 pools at the hotel. The Sunrise Pool located on level 1 which is open til 10pm, and the adults only Sunset Pool located on level 2 which is open til 6pm. Both are quite small.

Modern Honolulu

Sunrise Pool

I did not visit the spa, but there is a full service spa located on level 2 called Lather. The fitness center is located on the 2nd floor as well and is decently equipped for a boutique hotel.

a gym with exercise equipment


When I was checking in on Saturday night, the nightclub Addiction was in full force with plenty of rowdy drunk humans outside and in the lobby. Apparently it’s one of the only nightclubs in Waikiki (or the whole island for that matter) It runs til 3am on Thursday-Saturday nights. I would definitely recommend getting a room on a higher floor. We were on the 12th floor on the other side of the club and thankfully we didn’t hear anything. It’s free entry for hotel guests, and I was thinking of checking it out but I was pretty tired from the late flight.


Housekeeping cleaned our room nicely. The concierge only called our room once, and it was to convince us to sit through a timeshare presentation. I’ll pass thanks. In terms of the front desk, they could have been more efficient and welcoming as we had some room key issues but they weren’t the most helpful in assisting.


Personally, as someone who has been to Waikiki numerous times, I love the location because it’s right in between the central Kalakaua Ave. area, and the Ala Moana Mall/Ward Village with both areas being in walking distance. It’s not in the center of the action, but I like the ease of going to both sides of Waikiki.

It’s not beachfront, but the beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a 5 minute walk away.

The Verdict:

For the right price, I could consider giving the Modern Honolulu another try. But, it’s a bit disappointing for the 4.5 star hotel caliber and feels more like a basic city hotel rather than one in paradise.

Have you stayed at the Modern Honolulu before? What did you think?

Happy travels,