96815 Travel Guide
The Modern Honolulu has only been open for a little over two years but already its undergone two management changes. The first happened when Marriott’s Edition brand was unceremoniously shoved out of the property by the hotel’s owners, M Waikiki, back in the summer of 2011. Now, the management company that took over for Edition, Modern Management Services LLC, which is part of Hawaii's Aqua Hospitality has been sold off.
Travel Weekly reports that Modern Management Services is now a part of TMH Operator LLC, a California-based independent hotel operator. Financial details were not disclosed and Aqua stated that the sale was voluntary.
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We labeled it one of ten hotel openings we were psyched about and voila, the previously unnamed JDV Hotel in Hawaii is now open.
The Shoreline Hotel Waikiki opened its doors on April Fool's Day but it is serious about welcoming new guests. The 70s-inspired boutique hotel sits in the middle of some of Diamond Head's best shopping and restaurants. (The actual ocean shoreline is just under a mile away.)
While the vibe may be 70s inspired, the 135 rooms are outfitted with some of today's best modern amenities like flat-screen TVs and free WiFi. Rounding out the amenities are a Cha Cha Cha Mexican restaurant and bar, 24-hour front desk hosts and a Welcome Lei upon arrival.
And rates are totally affordable too. The hotel is celebrating its opening with a special room rate of $159 a night. Regular room rates won't be that much more starting at $195 a night. Go here to book.
London Olympics 2012 seems so last year but Kerri Walsh brought back the buzz in Waikiki. Along with US Olympian Kevin Wong, she hosted the Hilton HHonors Beach Volleyball Challenge at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa. The free event pitted Team USA vs Team China, with familiar Olympic-volleyball-medal-winning faces like Todd Rogers, Phil Dalhausser, Jen Kessy and April Ross.
While it was super hot with the Hawaiian sun glinting off plenty of glistening eight-packs (and those wrap-around, polarized sunglasses athletes seem to love), Kerri signed autographs, waved Miss America-style to hundreds of fans and got behind the camera at a VIP tent with that big personality she's known for. You would think with all the gold medals the 6'3" preggers diva has racked up she would bounce quickly out of the 2,800-room Hilton. But, it turns out Kerri Walsh loved it! "I've never stayed at this property before and it's so beautiful. I love the village aspect of it: it's kind of a one-stop shop. It's basically my dream come true that Hilton would do something with beach volleyball."
Due to her busy schedule, short three-day stay and the fact she's in-the-family way, Walsh didn't get to try out many of the hotel's amenities. But she told us she'd eaten several times at the hotel's signature Tropic restaurant and was weak for thier coconut-crusted shrimp, ya'll!
It's been almost a year since the calamitous takeover of the Waikiki Edition Hotel in Honolulu, but the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (full story here at Chicago Tribune)reports that business at the hotel has improved by "nearly 70 percent" since Aqua Hotels and Resorts took over the property and renamed it The Modern Honolulu. Occupancy is also up 30 percent from this time last year.
The hotel's new general manager, Vittal Calamur, told the paper that the hotel is offering something not usually found in Hawaii:
"There are of lot of great hotels in Hawaii, and people have come to know them, but the Modern brings something that wasn't here before," he said. "You can get this kind of a hotel experience in London and in Paris and New York, but in Hawaii, until now, you couldn't get this."
Yet while recent guests have reportedly been enjoying their stays at the Modern, there are still some hurdles for the hotel to overcome. For starters, the bankruptcy proceedings are still happening on June 1 and the result could include an $800,000 a year repayment to Marriott Hotels for breaking their management contract.
We're big fans of Hyatt Place hotels mainly because of their free WiFi, spacious rooms, geeky tech panels and wallet-friendly room rates but now Hyatt Place is even more appealing thanks to the opening of their first hotel in Hawaii.
Formerly the Ocean Resort Hotel, the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach in Honolulu is comprised of two towers, the first of which, the Pali Tower, is now open. This tower has 191 rooms, all with balconies and views of the Waikiki Beach neighborhood.
Waikiki beach is a "three-minute walk" away, according to Hyatt Place, and the Hawaii Convention Center is just two miles away, making it a good spot for either business or pleasure guests, or both.
It's been about a month since the Edition Waikiki was kicked out of their own hotel and The Modern Honolulu ushered in but the dust from the fracas has just about settled down. More importantly, the Modern Honolulu has a real deal website now.
The site is chock-full of gorgeous photos, taken when the hotel was still an Edition, and while it lacks the sophistication of the old Edition site, the new site definitely feels more approachable with big easy to read fonts and exciting copy. (Ok, some of it does feel a little too cheerleader peppy.)
But perhaps the biggest improvement here is the room rate for the month of October. Rates at the Modern are just $195 a night all next month for city view rooms. Interestingly, that's how much the Edition offered as its special opening rate a year ago before jumping up to $375 a night. So, um...anyone up for a trip to Hawaii next month? If you are, just be prepared for some awkward employee interactions.
We mentioned last week that even though the Waikiki Edition has been unceremoniously replaced by The Modern Honolulu, employees were still holding out hope that Edition would one day rise again by creating a Facebook page.
And judging from this recent update, it looks like quite a few people are holding out hope that Edition will rise again. About 525 now to be exact. Compared to 59 for Modern Honolulu, an Aqua Hotels and Resorts property.
Sadly, we're not so sure when or even if this will ever happen. The hotel owners M Waikiki LLC filed for bankruptcy late last week which actually protected them from having to turn the hotel back over to Edition's parent company, Marriott, despite a New York judge's ruling to do so. Sigh. It could be a really long time before all this gets sorted out and we're just afraid the damage to Edition is probably already done.
Let's hope the upcoming Editions--Bangkok, London, Mexico City and South Beach--fare much better.
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We all had a three-day weekend thanks to the Labor Day holiday but down at the Waikiki Edition (or Edition Waikiki or Modern Honolulu, whatever team/side you're on), the employees were still working--both to serve guests and to fight against their new bosses, Aqua Hotels and Resorts.
As far as we know, Aqua is still running the hotel as the Modern Honolulu and Marriott is begrudgingly respecting the hotel owners, M Waikiki's recent bankruptcy filing. In the meantime, Marriott plans to sue M Waikiki up the wazoo, or for tens of millions of dollars in damages for breaking the management contract. As for the guests, Marriott is now urging them to call the Marriott reservations center and make reservations at other nearby Marriott hotels.
On the bright side, even though there are miserable employees on the property, the booze is free. The hotel is no longer selling alcoholic drinks because it needs to apply for a new liquor license in Aqua's name as the old one belonged to Marriott. That sounds crappy but reports say they are giving away the alcohol. Whee!!
Now onward with the next chapter in this story..
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It's not so peaceful here anymore.
All this week, we've been watching the drama of the Waikiki Edition Takeover unfold at a rapid pace. The hotel owners, M Waikiki LLC, fired the first shot by dumping the Edition brand and anyone affiliated with Marriott Hotels overnight on Saturday and installing a new brand, Aqua Hotels and Resorts to run the place with a new name, The Modern Honolulu.
Marriott struck back by winning an injunction from a New York court to reinstall their Edition brand. But so far no changes have been made. Except that M Waikiki filed for bankruptcy yesterday making it harder for Marriott to take any further legal action against them.
All week long we've been posting commentary from the hotel's Edition employees who were forced to sign with Aqua Hotels or else be fired. Needless to say it's not a happy place there. (The employee have also set up a Facebook Page called Save the Waikiki Edition. 347 likes and counting!
But today, we have a different perspective to share with you--that of a longterm guest at the hotel who has stayed nearly 110 nights at the hotel this year alone. They write:
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The takeover and the takeback of the Waikiki Editionis moving so fast that we're finding it hard to keep up with all the developments especially as we're attending a work conference in Vegas (for realz! and we are actually sober!) So we're sitting here trying to recap all that we can as we get the time. Fortunately, it's only 12:30pm in Hawaii right now so we're not too late!
First off BANKRUPTCY! M Waikiki LLC has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. No doubt they blame Marriott for their financial woes but the filing also prevents Marriott from filing any countersuits against them. Tricky! Marriott, meanwhile, has called the move "desperate." As it stands right now, the hotel is now an Aqua Hotels and Resorts-run place called The Modern Honolulu. But given the craziness of the past few days, who knows how long that will last.
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Some late-breaking news yesterday--a New York judge has ordered M Waikiki LLC, the owners of the The Waikiki Edition who dumped the brand in favor of The Modern Honolulu, to reinstall the Edition team which is owned by Marriott Hotels.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
On Wednesday, a New York state judge issued a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that stated that Marriott should be allowed to return to its management role at the hotel by 2:30 p.m. local time, replacing Aqua Hotels & Resorts, the management company installed by the owners on Sunday, according to a copy of the judge's order.
But despite the ruling, the WSJ said that by late Wednesday Aqua was still in place and that a bunch of Marriott executives had arrived but then later left the hotel.
Still Marriott says they are accepting reservations for the hotel through Marriott.com and over the phone as well as through "numerous online and other travel providers." (Also of note; anyone who booked a spa deal through PlayHawaii.com are welcome back as well.) But will it still be a Marriott/Edition hotel when you get there? That remains to be seen.
It looks like the takeover of the Edition Waikiki is not quite the "peaceful coup" the hotel owners has boasted about to the Wall Street Journal.
Just days after the owners locked out Edition's parent company, Marriott, and installed Aqua Hotels and Resorts as well as gave the hotel a new name, The Modern Honolulu, more employees are telling HotelChatter what's really going on behind the scenes.
We're keeping their names anonymous because while they might not like the new changes, they can't afford to lose their jobs either, which drives home the real frustration of this takeover situation.
Now, here's what an employee working the night the switch was made had to say:
First off I just want to say, is Hang in there Edition...
I was working the night when Aqua decided to come in and take over. It was such a shock to all the employees, and they had no information as to what was going on. All they told us was that it's under new management and if we didn't sign we would not be given our jobs back. So I signed on and was not happy about it, and told new management the guest deserve to have the same great service no matter who is running the hotel now..
To all my fellow coworkers and managers. Hang in there and never forget what you did for the hotel and the hotel did for all of us.. And to never forget your ETHOS!!