There's something glamourous about Waikiki. Think jetting in on Pan-Am being welcomed with a lei and Polynesian folk music humming in the air. A rapid growth in tourism has seen the strip gentrify with hip dining, retail giants and art galleries. But what about designer hotels? There aren't many. In fact, there's really only one. The Modern.
Seduced immediately with it's white on white design, my corner suite comes with two balconies: views over the harbour and to the ocean. Powder blue throws are perfectly placed over couches, a giant mirror stands up against the wall, loft-style and lamps warm the room. It's a big change from the traditional floral design that you find along the strip.
So do all the clean lines and beach chic lose the aloha spirit? With a ukulele casually placed at the doorway and floral arrangements dotted about the room, I say no and mahalo to The Modern for gently reminding me that I'm still in Honolulu.
Downstairs the lobby flows from reception to a space called The Study. An annex elegantly furnished with tan leather couches beckons avid readers with a side of people watching.
Come 6pm, the bookshelf wall opens up to reveal a sexy bar where artisinal cocktails are crafted. It feels very exclusive and in-the-know.
Despite The Modern not fronting Waikiki beach - that's a good thing, it's only a 5 minute walk before you're lapping up waves. If you're feeling lazy, head poolside. The adult's only lagoon is a piece of paradise, surrounded by Hawaiian sand, hammocks and sun loungers. Waltz down the stairs and you're at the heartbeat of the hotel, The Sunrise Pool. The outdoor space serves up food and cocktails while you hang out in style.
In house, The Modern does simple food focusing on clean, light dishes. Smashed avocado with poached eggs was balanced and the yoghurt cup was abundant with fresh berries. Save room for pancakes, they were OTT and delicious.
If you feel like splurging make a reservation at Morimoto Waikiki. The Modern is home to Iron Chef Morimoto's Hawaiian outlet and is a favourite for locals including President Obama for it's fresh Asian-inspired cuisine.
Celebrity watching aside, The Modern has achieved what few other hotels in Honolulu have done; put the boutique back in to Waikiki. Watching the sunset, sipping a martini, the old school glamour that was once associated with Hawaii is back in a new way. It's still Waikiki but it's modern. And it's exactly what the strip needs.
FEEL: A swank affair.
ROOM PICK: Ocean front suite.
WIFI: Yes, complimentary.
RATES: Starting from $309 USD
BREAKFAST: A la carte, poolside.
CHILDREN: Welcome but it's not a family-style resort.
I stayed courtesy of The Modern Honolulu.