written by:
April 25, 2012

In early April I was invited out to Honolulu to give a talk at the Hawaii Build and Buy Green Expo, an offer I could hardly refuse. And wanting to be as close to the Hawaiian Convention Center as I could, I took up a two-day residence at the Modern Honolulu, a rather cool new hotel just on the other side of the Ala Wai Canal. The hotel has changed hands lately, it was an Ian Schrager property just last year, but much of the design by Yabu Pushelberg and landscape designer Deborah Nevins remains intact. I had a grand time in the sophisticated spot. Read on for my little tour.

Facade of Modern Honolulu Hotel

It was tough to get a decent shot of the white, thoroughly modern facade of the Modern Honolulu, but this back-bending perspective shows how the clean geometry of the building plays off the lush foliage. I took this photo from the entry of the hotel.

1 / 12
Modern Honolulu bedroom interior

Not my room, sadly (but not terribly different either), this unfussy bedroom shot gives a good idea of the accommodations. Neither too proper as to be sterile, nor too heavy on local motifs, the bedrooms offered a sophisticated understatement. I quite liked mine, though I immediately had the clothes I brought strewn about so I could not take a decent photo of it.

2 / 12
Modern Honolulu hotel pool area

There are two pools at the hotel, one for kids and one for adult lounging, both of which face south toward the ocean. I didn't take this photo, but it shows how the Modern manages to feel warm and tropical without screaming "Aloha."

3 / 12
This outdoor sitting area shows how just a few careful moves can create an inviting space. And when you're already warmed by the Hawaiian sun and cosseted by ocean breezes, restraint is about all you need.

This outdoor sitting area shows how just a few careful moves can create an inviting space. And when you're already warmed by the Hawaiian sun and cosseted by ocean breezes, restraint is about all you need.

4 / 12
Modern Honolulu Desk Area

The reception desk in the lobby has this rather charming broken surfboard sculpture just behind it. The neon yellows and busted edges of the boards—some of which are signed by the pro surfers responsible for their destruction—play nicely off the cool, neutral interior.

5 / 12
Bookshelves at Modern Honolulu

Just opposite the reception desk is this wall. Rather an ordinary thing, until...

6 / 12
Modern Honolulu bar entrance

You push it at either side and the center pivoting-door reveals a cool bar behind. I had drinks one night of my stay back there and for a Tuesday night just after dinner it was quite hopping. No revelers in this photo, though. I took it around 11:00 AM.

7 / 12
Modern Honolulu Hotel Shop

I've been to a few hotels now that pride themselves on their hip, design-forward shops. The one at the Modern is no different, with goods ranging from watches to shades to housewares to bikinis to (be still the architecture fan's heart) a Shigeru Ban monograph.

8 / 12
Masaharu Morimoto restaurant in Modern Honolulu

A number of designy-foodie types in Honolulu recommended the restaurant Morimoto to me before I even realized that it was in my hotel. Much less that Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto was behind it. I had sushi one evening and it was wonderfully fresh. The space itself can't quite shake that hotel razzle-dazzle that afflicts so much hospitality design, but I suppose one does want to put on something of a show for the out-of-towners.

9 / 12
Addiction Nightclub in Modern Honolulu

Crummy lighting here—but then, what nightclub photographs that well?—but I did quite like the rolling topographic installation of lightbulbs on the ceiling of the Modern's nightclub, Addiction.

10 / 12
Modern Honolulu Hotel marina

I didn't take this photo, obviously, but it does give an idea of the Modern's mid-century facade on the right.

Courtesy of 
11 / 12
Modern Honolulu 12th Floor View of the Marina

Here's the view of the Marina from my room on the 12th floor. I didn't have an unobstructed view of the ocean, but clearly the Pacific is still pretty evident. I also liked the very comfy chairs from Emu.

12 / 12
Facade of Modern Honolulu Hotel

It was tough to get a decent shot of the white, thoroughly modern facade of the Modern Honolulu, but this back-bending perspective shows how the clean geometry of the building plays off the lush foliage. I took this photo from the entry of the hotel.

1775 Ala Moana Blvd.
Honolulu, HI
808-943-5800
themodernhonolulu.com
City view rooms start from $239

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

W House living room
Our best reader reactions this week.
April 29, 2016
Vineyard house illuminated at night
Rammed-earth construction fuses this Portuguese house to the environment.
April 29, 2016
vintage Scandinavian furniture Kathryn Tyler
In southwest England, interior designer Kathryn Tyler built her home around her ever-expanding furniture collection.
April 29, 2016
steel facade home Seattle
On the sandy shores of Fauntleroy Cove in Seattle, renowned firm Olson Kundig Architects crafts a subtle home with striking steel accents.
April 29, 2016
seperate piece renovated guesthouse eames storage unit cork floor tiles living room
An architect and an interior designer put the tools to the test for this impressive renovation.
April 29, 2016
Ceramics by WrenLab
Manhattan doesn’t get to have all the fun during NYCxDesign. Brooklyn is set for the return of BKLYN DESIGNS at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint from May 6-8, 2016. Here are just a few exhibitors we are excited to see this year.
April 29, 2016
n0a6974 dxo
Architect Diego Revollo refreshes an apartment with a standout kitchen.
April 29, 2016
img 8652 1
The city of San Francisco has been eagerly awaiting the reopening of SFMOMA for years—and as the May 14th opening approaches closer everyday, the anticipation continues to build for art enthusiasts both near and far. This morning, we were given the opportunity to explore the newly expanded space before the crowds roll in. After a series of speeches, remarks, and tours, we left the grounds feeling thoroughly inspired and excited to share what we discovered.
April 28, 2016
Renovation of 1967 Hamburg apartment with Vipp kitchen.
In our April issue, we showcased an apartment in Hamburg, Germany, with a striking, matte-black kitchen from Vipp. The 77-year-old company became famous for its iconic pedal trash can before venturing into kitchens and other tools for the home. This isn't the first time that the Danish company's products have graced our pages, and here we've gathered additional examples from our archive that show how the brand's minimalist black kitchens are always a win in modern interiors.
April 28, 2016
Zafra residence living room.
A man and his wife make an emotional return to an apartment building he loved as a kid.
April 28, 2016
the garden inside concrete dining pavilion indoor outdoor custom cabinets thermador dishwasher refrigerator
A skylit conservatory doubles as a verdant dining parlor in Sonoma County, California.
April 28, 2016
Details of the Calico collection.
Calico Wallpaper founders Nick and Rachel Cope showed us through their home in our March Issue, now step inside their studio.
April 28, 2016
william krisel pow 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
April 27, 2016
Dwell on Design and designjunction at ArtBeam
It's all part of Dwell on Design + designjunction's three-day event, featuring a program of talks chock-full of leading figures in design, architecture, urbanism, and beyond—coming up May 13-15 at ArtBeam in New York.
April 27, 2016
seattles mariners floating house prefab facade exterior fiber cement panels
A prefabricated floating home drops anchor in the Pacific Northwest.
April 27, 2016
royan treatment living room stone fireplace vintage new furnishings
French designer Florence Deau effortlessly mixes the old with the new.
April 27, 2016
modern netherlands 13 noordeinde schoolhouse parquet herringbone floors stove
Take a lesson from this school-turned-home.
April 27, 2016
The sidewalks of Copacabana in Rio De Janero, Brazil, designed by Roberto Burle Marx
The Jewish Museum in New York City takes it outside with a celebration of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
April 26, 2016
Waterfront home in Belvedere, California
A 1960s home infested with powderpost beetles had to be sacrificed before this this Zen-inspired house could happen.
April 26, 2016
dialogue house
At the base of Echo Mountain in Phoenix, a geometric home by Wendell Burnette opens up to the surrounding desert landscape.
April 26, 2016
street smarts kitchen full view
A creative couple transforms an old Toronto storefront in Dundas West into a home and studio.
April 26, 2016
hald strand
This architect thinks of everything for his summer escape, pizza oven included.
April 26, 2016
gans turin residence living room
Thanks to a contemporary interior that she’s been updating for a decade, modern architect Abigail Turin has learned to love her traditional 1925 San Francisco home.
April 25, 2016
131
Johannesburg-based design studio Counterspace was founded in 2014 by young architecture graduates Sumayya Vally, Sarah de Villiers, and Amina Kaskar. Their projects are collaborative, research-led investigations into possible futures and ideas of otherness in Johannesburg.
April 25, 2016
through living room
A second-story addition and a new indoor-outdoor focus revive a nondescript house in L.A.
April 25, 2016
Modern living room with Flexform sofa and Jens Fager candelabra
An Antwerp home blurs the boundaries between art and design.
April 25, 2016
hillside haven  1
This backyard is its own modern retreat in the Berkeley Hills.
April 25, 2016
Two studios flanks a central volume at this home in Mexico
Art and life meet in the middle at a family retreat in Central Mexico.
April 24, 2016
natural instinct swedish family home kitchen table unfold pendants muuto lilla aland chairs stolab
With Alvar Aalto in mind, a renowned Swedish architect crafts a serene home on a long-held family plot.
April 24, 2016
clearing the table coffee tables boxinbox philippe starck glas italia storage
A half-century later, furniture designers are catching up to painter Yves Klein’s visionary Table Bleue.
April 23, 2016