A quick getaway to Honolulu Hawaii to get some much needed sun!
Using our frequent flier points, we flew United Airlines via LAX on the outbound and SFO on the return. On the outbound we upgraded our seats to economy plus seats. Do not confuse this with any type of premium economy service, you get an extra 4 inches of legroom at the front of the plane behind the business class section. It is very nice to have the extra legroom if you are travelling with someone 5’11 or over. On the return we chose to stick with the seats we had, I was fine being 5’5” but my 6’ travelling companion was a tad squished. United charges for bags when you check them, I found that almost everyone had “carry on” luggage to avoid the fee. This caused a lot of issues when boarding, if you had an aisle seat and were issued a zone 5 boarding pass there was zero room for your actual “carry on” baggage. For those of us who had “carry on” bags we were told to put them under our seats (taking away what little leg room we had) to make room for the people who didn’t check their bags. Lesson one – if at all possible, fly direct.
Once we arrived in Honolulu at the airport we collected our bags and arranged for an Uber to pick us up. You can use an Uber driver if they have a permit, if they are going rogue and get caught they can face a $2000.00 fine and up to one year in jail. The cost with tip included was $28.00 and we were in a nice new Suburban to our hotel. Another option would be round trip shuttle transfers at the airport for around $18 per person each way. A cab will cost between $40-50 one way. On the return we downloaded the “Lyft” app and used the promo code “UnlockHawaii” and received a $50.00 credit that we used to take back to the airport. All we had to pay was the $6.00 airport fee. The “Lyft” driver was very nice and had a new Jeep Compass.
The Modern Honolulu Hotel
When we arrived at our hotel we were met by the doormen who helped us with our luggage. At the front desk we were welcomed by a very nice man who gave us a lovely welcome drink, lemonade with cilantro and proceeded to check us in. Check in was fast and efficient.
It was Saturday night and the lobby was buzzing with hipsters at The Study Lounge, a bar that is hidden behind a bookshelf in the daytime. They offer a happy hour from 6-8pm Monday to Friday and have live music nightly from 7-11pm. They also have one of the most happening night clubs in the city, Addiction, the door is located outside near the driveway. The club is open Thursday to Saturday so you could hear the music and see the club-goers dressed for a night out in and around the lobby. Guests at the hotel get in for free and do not have to wait in lines.
Once we made it up to our room (1010) corner one-bedroom marina view suite and opened the door we were blown away. We walked into a beautiful living room with a white sectional couch with a comfy white chair all slipcovered, a beautiful orchid, two patios, a yellow ukulele along with some colorful sarongs to use during our stay. The bedroom was furnished with a beautiful king bed and huge window that looked at the ocean, the bathroom was open concept (except the toilet, it was in its own room) there was a large wood screen that you could slide across for privacy if needed.
There is plenty of closet and drawer space in the bedroom and bathroom. In the bedroom you had an iPod/iPad dock it didn’t work for us because it was for iPad/iPod 4.
On our pillows were cookies from The Honolulu Cookie Company, and every night at turn down more would come. In the bathroom there were Lather products Lemongrass Bamboo scented. We were provided with four bottles of water daily free of charge. In the living room we had a mini fridge and a Keurig Coffee system, we were provided with four medium Hawaiian roast and four dark Hawaiian roast daily.
On the 1st floor you would find the Sunrise pool, a beautiful area that is for all ages. The pool was aglow with light and looked very inviting. This pool is the only actual pool, it had salt water in it and if you dove under you could hear the music.
Next to the pool was Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurant Morimoto’s beautiful hip place open for lunch and dinner, and according to the staff, one of President Obama’s favorite places. After eating there I could see why.
Outside on the far side of the pool are Passageway and The Grove, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner until 930pm. They have a good menu, they also do the pool service menu.
On the 2nd floor you have the Sunset “pool”. It is more like a wading pool for adults only. This is where we spent most of our time. The imported sand from one of the islands beaches and have hip soft music playing all day. In the “pool” they have lounge floats, when you get hot you could just roll off and cool down. They had some fun games at the pool a large Jenga, and a bean bag toss. At both pools there are bars that offer yummy drinks all day, if you want to rent one of the day-beds you can but must spend at least $150 on food and drinks. Both pools have Sun Bum lotion and product stations, with 30 SPF for the use of their guests.
There is a great gym on the 2nd floor with windows out to the Sunset pool. The machines are new and clean, the gym is bright and a good size.
The Modern Honolulu is located in the marina area very close to the Ala Moana Shopping Centre, a five minute walk away. At the Ala Moana you can find a lot of restaurants and shops. They have opened an amazing food store called Foodland Farms (similar to Whole Foods but better prices), with everything you would want, including a pharmacy, wine section, precooked meals, fresh pressed juices, cheese section, beautiful produce, and much more. If you are travelling with kids the Ala Moana has two food fair type areas one with all types of foods and one with only Asian restaurants.
Another ten minutes past the Ala Moana is the Ward Village, with a lot of cool local shops and restaurants.
If you walk another ten minutes, you will reach a new area called Kakaalo, in this area you have very cool hip restaurants and Hawaii Brew pubs. A few of our favourite places were here Arvo Café for amazing coffee and flatbread sandwiches, try the avocado on toast or the smoked salmon on toast.
At 9 BAR HNL around the corner they take coffee to a whole other level, true baristas here. They have amazing breakfast food as well. I had the breakfast burrito with homemade sausage, rice, fluffy eggs, avocado and salsa.
In Waikiki, I highly recommend a Restaurant called Bills Sydney, owned by famed Australian Chef Bill Granger. We went for dinner one night and were so impressed we went back for breakfast before we left for home. If you love coffee like I do, they serve Stumptown Coffee from Portland, one of my favourite places! He is famous for his ricotta honey-cakes with banana and honeycomb butter, they are amazing. For dinner we shared a few items but I would fly back to Hawaii just to have the Parmesan crumbed chicken schnitzel with creamed corn and fennel salad.
We spent one day on the beaches at the beautiful Kahala Resort located about ten minutes outside of Waikiki. Since 1964, the Kahala Resort has hosted world leaders and Hollywood Icons. Their rooms offer an old world elegance with a fresh clean Hawaiian look, all rooms have stunning views of the golf course or the ocean. The suites and signature suites have hard wood floors and classic furnishing. The resort offers four dining options including one of the best Italian Restaurants on the Island Arancino’s.
This is a fantastic resort for kids, they have golf for Dad, a beautiful Spa for Mom and Dolphin Quest for the kids. They have their own resident dolphins and they offer a variety of different (for a fee) experiences for kids and adults from a 30 minute swim with the dolphins to five-day training programs. They have complimentary bikes for guest to use for up to three hour periods. They also offer a free shuttle into Waikiki, the Ala Moana and the Kahala Mall. It leaves every hour from 930am until 900pm.
At the beach you can have surf, paddleboard or yoga lessons on the water (for a fee). They have one pool and seem to have enough chairs between the pool and the beach for all guests. We spent the day in a cabana (they rent it for a fee) but it provides you the option of sun or shade all day. They also provide you with an electronic device for service, if you need food, a new towel, water they will be there within minutes of you pressing your device.
With its secluded waterfront location it offers an unforgettable setting for weddings, honeymoons or just a romantic escape. They have an experienced dedicated staff that cater to your every need and can accommodate weddings up to 300 people.