Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Edition Shop by BASE

No stone was left unturned when Marriott and hotelier Ian Schrager joined forces on The Waikiki Edition Hotel. This even includes the often dismissed hotel gift shop. The basics are still there tucked into the corners of The Edition Shop but most of the space is devoted to an eclectic hip collection of merchandise from retailer BASE.

The merchandise includes BASE's one-of-a-kind clothing selection to whimsical books and deliberately visual merchandise. Where else in Hawaii can you purchase a Medicom Spock that measures two feet tall or a limited edition Blue Metallic Piggie Bank cast from a pig that died of natural causes.

Some of the merchandise here is high end in line with the luxurious hotel. For many the experience will be to window shop, get a kick at the stuff and move on unless you really need a pair of pistachio colored Urbanears headphones.

Visit for their online store.  This post is one in a series in review of the Waikiki Edition. Click HERE to view the entire series of posts.

The Private Sunset Beach At The Waikiki Edition

From photos or the description on The Waikiki Edition website, I still could not picture its Private Sunset Beach. I knew that the hotels located on this corner of Waikiki lacked a beachfront and backed onto the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and wondered where this beach was located. A preview last night to cure my curiosity after dinner left me with sand in my shoes.

The unusual concept of the Private Sunset Beach came into clearer view this morning. Rather than trying to manufacture a poor facsimile, the design captures elements to give guests the essence of relaxing at the beach overlooking the ocean that is dramatic in daylight and even more so at dusk. Located on an upper deck accessed by stairs from the hotel's Sunrise Pool, guests find a shallow circular lagoon surrounded by a sandy landscape of palms and dune plants. It's a tropical oasis where guests can relax, lounge or celebrate. Like in the Sunrise Pool, some of the lounge chairs are set in the lagoon. Last night candles turned the place into a romantic retreat. In the quiet of the early morning it is an idyllic realm.

Check with the hotel for special events including movies projected onto a scrim installed against the hotel building. The Private Sunset Beach has its own bar and can be reserved for special events. Note: Always inquire if any resort fees are incurred whenever enjoying recreation spaces at any hote.

This post is one in a series in review of the Waikiki Edition. Click HERE to view the entire series of posts.


The manmade Duke Kahanamoku Beach (along with the Duke Kahanmoku Lagoon) is the nearest ocean beach to the Edition in Waikiki. Inquire with the hotel about directions and access to the nearby beach fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Hale Koa Hotel. Otherwise guests can head west to Ala Moana Regional Park & Beach.

Duke Kahanmoku Beach in the distance viewed from the Ala Wai
Marina. Front and center is the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon.

The Waikiki Edition: The Sunrise Pool & The Passage


Many hotel guests including myself usually don't include a visit to a hotel's recreation or fitness facilities. However the Sunrise Pool at The Waikiki Edition is unavoidable with its easy access and inviting atmosphere. This recreation deck can be viewed as outdoor rooms to be enjoyed by all guests regardless if they plan to get wet or not.

The pool deck and planters are all wrapped in worn wood panels hiding the hard concrete surfaces beneath. Furnishings range from picnic tables, chaise lounges and daybeds surrounded by trees and flowering plants.

Many passing by will notice the lounging chairs placed in the water and daybeds, which can be reserved, is an opportunity to people watch or to gaze at the marina.

The wooden tables at the bar beneath a pergola wrapped in vines becomes another retreat to be enjoyed at all times of day. The bar at the pool offers libations such as a Frozen Coconut Mojito or a Deconstructed Mai Tai. A full menu is available offering favorites such as Fried Calamari, Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs or a cooling Caesar Salad. Click HERE for the Sunrise Pool menu.

Last night a walk around the pool after dinner reveals the space transformed into a romantic and lush oasis lit by candle lanterns. See the next post for pictures of the adjoining space the hotel terms The Passage which overlooks the Sunrise Pool.

Note: Always inquire if any resort fees are incurred whenever enjoying recreations spaces at any hotel.


Deemed The Passage by The Waikiki Edition, this long long lanai cooled by wooden ceiling fans overlooks onto the pool deck. It recalls the days of large plantation homes surrounded by an extra wide veranda. Comfy couches and chairs creates another inviting space. With fern plantings along the wall and greenery in every corner, the Passage is a perfect place to enjoy a drink and converse with friends at the end of the day.

One thing I have to mention whilst I was exploring the Edition. The friendly staff prepping hotel grounds for the day all offered a greeting of hello or good morning and a smile. In fact the staff was pleasant during my short visit here. This kind of acknowledgement of the hotel guests is not common even in some of the best hotels and resorts.

This is one of a series of posts about the Waikiki Edition. Click HERE to view the full series of posts.

The Waikiki Edition: The City View from Room 636

So what kind of scenery does a city view room give you at The Waikiki Edition. Because of the position of the hotel to the ocean, almost all of the rooms have some sort of ocean view even those classified as city view. The angle of your ocean view largely depends if the room has a terrace.

Here are photos from from this room's terrace. Where there are pairs of the same view, the top photo was taken on Friday afternoon and the bottom photo taken on Saturday morning. Naturally the higher you are among the hotel's eighteen floors, the more dramatic your perspective.

This is one of a series of posts about the Waikiki Edition. Click HERE to view the full series of posts.

Above & below: View of the Marina and ocean

Above & below: View looking west Hawaii Prince hotel (left) and the
Ala Moana Building (center) with its iconic former revolving
restaurant in the distance.

Above & below: View looking north east of Ala Moana Boulevard
and the Discovery Bay condominium across the street.

Above: the view of the parking garage across Hobron Lane.
Below: The intersection of Ala Moana Boulevard & Hobron Lane.

Morimoto Waikiki in the Morning: Design for Dining

Restaurant entrance.
Inside dining room.
Outside dining space.
(all images: TheHopefulTraveler)
In a first for a Chef Masaharu Morimoto restaurant, the location at The Waikiki Edition is also open for breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner. Even for the first meal of the day Morimoto Waikiki applies Chef Morimoto's contemporary Japanese cuisine to the menu unlike high profile restaurants of celebrity chefs at other hotels which dispenses a standard morning menu. Of course with this restaurant being the only on-site dining facility, it was probably a mutual agreement to be open for all daily meals for the convenience of hotel guests.

In the brightness of the morning sun, I had a clear view of the entire restaurant compared to the dimmed lighting for dinner the night before. Hardwood floors extend from the inside dining room to the outside dining area which overlook the Ala Wai Marina. White table tops almost seem to float over lucite bases. The floor-to-ceiling windows gives a flow between the two dining areas. Coral floating below light fixtures, sheer curtains and two walls with a unique orchid artwork completes the sophisticated design. Private dining spaces are created through the use of curtains, coffee tables, fire pits, sofas and coffee tables. For many of us who have witnessed Chef Morimoto in the frenzy of Iron Chef and Iron Chef America, enjoying his food in this alternate atmosphere is welcoming.

The restaurant bar.
Sofas for guests waiting at reception.
Of course for those wanting to stick to a traditional menu, the eggs and bacon are still there. But this is one of the few restaurants where guests can enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast of grilled miso cod, onsen tamago (egg poached in the shell), tsukemono (Japanese pickles) and miso soup ($30) . In his esthetic of using local ingredients, the menu even offers a Hawaiian Fruit Pizza with lilikoi sabayon ($13).

Chef's Loco Moto.
Iced Coffee & OJ.
Before ending my stay at the Waikiki Edition, I ordered the Chef's Loco Moto ($18, wagyu beef, sunny side up egg, fukujinzuke pickles and hayashi gravy) which is a take on the local favorite called the Loco Moco which is a hamburger patty over a bed of rice topped with brown gravy and a sunny side up egg.

It was not what I was expecting. The version that arrived at my table was a deconstructed dish with the strips of tender beef smothered in gravy on one side, rice on the other and a perfectly prepared egg that with a poke of my fork oozed its yolk over the separated ingredients one I. With the red pickles serving as an accent color it was part art part meal. The Chef's Loco Moto is also offered during lunch and dinner. Accompanied with an iced coffee ($4.50) and orange juice ($5) I was ready for the day. Seated in the outside dining space with a clear view of the ocean and marina, I can't remember the last time I had such a relaxing breakfast.

This is one of a series of posts about the Waikiki Edition. Click HERE to view the full series of posts.

Behind The Waikiki Edition: The Ilikai Story

Before it was The Waikiki Edition the building on the corner of Ala Moana Boulevard and Hobron Lane in Honolulu, Hawaii was dubbed the Yacht Harbor Tower in the 1960s. It served as an annex to the Ilikai Hotel which opened in 1964.

For almost three decades the 782-room Ilikai hotel remained an icon marking the entryway to Waikiki. Thanks to the original television series version of "Hawaii Five-0" (1968-1980) the hotel made a weekly appearance as Jack Lord (in the role of Steve McGarrett) stood on a penthouse balcony in the opening credits. The same sequence is repeated in the updated CBS series (2010) starring Alex O'Loughlin. Videos of both openings posted below.

As one of the first luxury high-rise hotel in Hawaii, the property attracted celebrities and political dignitaries to locals attending functions in the 15,000 square foot ballroom. The hotel is recognized for its distinctive Y-shape tower with aqua blue accent railings and the glass elevator which whisks visitors to the top floor (now Sarento's On Top of "I" restaurant). The designer of the hotel, John Graham, also designed Seattle's Space Needle.

The hotel lost much of its luster in the 1980s as newer more luxurious hotels opened in Waikiki and on the neighbor islands. In what appeared would be a rebirth in 2000, the two towers (Ilikai and Yacht Harbor Tower) were reflagged under the Marriott banner and renamed the Renaissance Ilikai Hotel. An extensive multi-million makeover of all guestrooms and public areas revitalized the property. It should be noted the original developer of the hotel sold the property to Marriott in 1974.

By 2006, Marriott no longer owned the property and the hotel was operated independently with no affiliation. A $40-$60 million dollar renovation never materialized and the new owner faced foreclosure. Retail and restaurant tenants closed their operations at the Ilikai during this turmoil. In 2009, New York-based iStar Financial acquired the hotel and owns the 203 hotel rooms which today are managed by Aqua Hotels and Resorts as the Ilikai Hotel & Suites. The remaining rooms are individually owned as condominium units.

The Ilikai (left) and former Yacht Harbor Tower (right).
(image: The Honolulu Advertiser file photo)
The same year the Yacht Harbor Tower portion of the Ilikai was purchased by San Diego-based development firm eRealty Companies for $80 million. ERealty promptly closed the 360-room tower and cut off the connection with the Ilikai which included the shuttering of a wedding chapel and Tanaka of Tokyo restaurant on its ground floor.

As early as 2007, Marriott announced its partnership with hotel developer Ian Schrager and plans to open hotels under the new Edition brand. It is guessed that about this time is when Marriott partnered with the new owners of the YHT.

The plans for the Edition brand was a worldwide rollout of openings in Paris, Madrid, Miami and Los Angeles. Due the the change in the economic climate, those openings failed to materialize. The refurbishment of the Yacht Harbor Tower in early 2010 to transform the property into the Waikiki Edition would be the first hotel under the new Marriott brand. Click HERE to see photos (such as the one below) of the construction of the Waikiki Edition.

This is one of a series of posts about the Waikiki Edition. Click HERE to view the full series of posts.

Construction of the entrance to the Waikiki Edition.

Friday, June 17, 2011

An Introduction to Waiwera Artesian Water

Perrier, Voss and now Waiwera. The battle for the high-end water market continues. A nice touch this evening upon returning to my room at The Waikiki Edition was a turndown service and two bottles of Waiwera Artesian Water with a full bucket of ice.

Hawaii is one the first markets in a multi-million dollar expansion of the water brand. Imported from New Zealand, the water is drawn from an artesian aquifer in that country's Waiwera Valley since 1875. Legend has it that New Zealand's Maori warriors would go to Waiwera to bathe in the waters to recover from the rigors of battle. The water is also known for its award-winning taste, health attributes and its iconic green bottle. The $8 million launch of the water continues into California with further expansion across the USA in 2011. Waiwera can be found at upscale hotels, restaurants and gourmet shops in Hawaii and California.

Yeah I didn't open either bottle. I'll probably bring them to office next week. Ask me then if it deserves the title as world's best water. More info at

This is part of the series of posts about the Waikiki Edition. Click HERE to view the full series of posts.

Morimoto Waikiki: The Chef Is In The House

(all images: TheHopefulTraveler)
Adding to the luster of The Waikiki Edition is the opening of Morimoto Waikiki. The restaurant serves as a new exciting dining option for locals but also is the primary restaurant for guests of the hotel. Tonight was my first opportunity to dine at Chef Masaharu Morimoto's restaurant and also the main event of my stay at the Edition. An unexpected bonus this evening was Chef Morimoto being in the house with an additional plus when our party was seated in clear view of him in action in the open kitchen. No doubt his celebrity status from appearances on Iron Chef and Iron Chef America guaranteed an dining audience from the moment the restaurant opened.

Morimoto Waikiki features a stylish dining environment and offers Chef Morimoto's signature cuisine which integrates Western ingredients with traditional Japanese culinary techniques. The menu features locally grown fruits and vegetables and a seasonal ever-changing selection of seafood from local waters and markets around the world. This includes Chef Morimoto's raw fish which is shipped directly overnight from Tokyo's renowned Tsukiji fish market.

Chef Morimoto preparing his signature dishes.
There was a definite buzz tonight as the restaurant hosted a full house of diners with some of them stepping up to the sushi bar to sneak in a photo of Chef Morimoto in the background.

To enjoy the best of the menu we opted for the Morimoto Omakase ($110 per person) or "chef's choice" which is a changing multi-course tasting menu which allows diners to experience the essence of Morimoto's cuisine. We chose to accompany our meal with a Barone Fini Pinot Grigio ($9 per glass).

Tonight's "chef choice" was presented and described by various servers throughout the evening in the following order:
1. Toro and Hamachi Tartare: Minced fatty tuna and yellowtail with condiments of wasabi, nori puree, Maui onion, rice crackers, creme fraiche, guacamole served with a dashi soy.

2. Hot Oil Sashimi: Topped with ginger, garlic, citrus soy, king oyster mushroom, shiso then seared with hot oil to seal the flavor.

3. Bagna Cauda: Seasonal vegetables and deep fried chicken thigh served with a dipping sauce of garlic, anchovy and olive oil. Garnished with Shichimi Togarashi powder (a Japanese seven-spice blend), house made foccacia.

4. Foie Gras Chawanmushi: Thinly sliced roated duck breast over foie gras infused egg custard, dashi soy, fresh wasabi.

5. Intermezzo: Konbu cha (sea kelp tea).

6. Seasonal Nigiri Sushi: Hand-molded sushi rice draped with a chef's choice of fish, tako or squid. Presented with wasabi and pickled ginger.

7. Surf and Turf: Pan roasted lobster with a garam masala (ground Indian spice mix), wagyu filet with Maui onion jus, ginger pork with a peanut sauce, pearl marmalade, macadmia nuts, creme fraiche.

8. Pre-desert: Kuro mitsu (Japanese sugar syrup) gelee over soymilk panna cotta.

9. Kabocha souflee cake: Candided kabocha (pumpkin) with haupia semifredo (coconut frozen dessert).

With a french press 100% organic Kona coffee ($10, photo below) to accompany desert, the overall experience was a satisfying dinner filled with layers of various flavors from Japan, the West and Hawaii. With main courses priced between $26 for braised black cod to $85 for a 16-oz wagyu ribeye, there was a value in opting for the multi-course meal.

The service this evening was especially sharp with each course presented in a timely manner without us feeling rushed nor waiting for the next course. There is both indoor and outdoor seating available and for dinner the restaurant lights are dimmed which helps to make the evening relaxed among the noise from a full-house of diners. Reservations are definitely recommended. Save the full course meals at Morimoto Waikiki for special occasions or gatherings. Otherwise a casual group of diners can simply partake in drinks and a variety of appetizers.

See the post "Morimoto Waikiki in the Morning" for photos of the restaurant interior.

Morimoto Waikiki is located at 1775 Ala Moana Blvd in The Waikiki Edition. Online reservations taken at or call 808-943-5900. Breakfast, lunch and dinner served daily. Breakfast 6:30am-10:00am; lunch 11:00am-2:30pm and dinner 5:30pm-10:00pm (Sun-Thur), 5:30pm-11:00pm (Fri & Sat). The restaurant bar and lounge is open from 5:00pm-11:00pm 7 days a week. Visit for more information and menus. Chef Morimoto prepares his dishes at his Waikiki restaurant about every three weeks.

Note that the food of Morimoto Waikiki is exclusive to the restaurant. All other food service for the Waikiki Edition's bars, lounges and room service is prepared by the hotel kitchen.

This is one of a series of posts about the Waikiki Edition. Click HERE to view the full series of posts.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...