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daniela i

Escape from the hustle and bustle

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 May 2024
I booked and paid for this hotel before I read the reviews on tripadvisor, after booking I was desperate, I was afraid of what was waiting for me. None of what I read was true. The hotel is excellent, the location is perfect if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach, but again a 2-minute walk from the beach and the hustle and bustle. It is ideal if you are not a "resort type" of person. There are no shops or restaurants within the hotel, but everything you need is in the immediate vicinity, a 2-3 minute walk away. The room is not old-fashioned, it is comfortable, nicely decorated. We had a partial ocean view and Ala Moana Avenue, the balcony has a small table and two armchairs, comfortable to sit in the evening and in the morning for a coffee, there is a coffee machine and coffee in the room. The bed is comfortable, the room is extremely clean, cleaned every day. The bathroom is beautiful, comfortable, clean, in fact I have never seen so many towels for two people in a hotel. There is also a small fridge in the room where you can cool your drinks. At check-in, you get water coupons for each day of your stay, but there are also stations to fill your bottles with cold water. The reception is open 0-24 and the staff is very friendly and always smiling. The hotel has a restaurant that serves breakfast. The hotel has two smaller pools with deck chairs and umbrellas that are free for guests and sunbeds that can be paid for. There is also a bar at the pool where you can order a snack in the afternoon (we ate once and it was really tasty). The hotel has a garage that is cheaper than other garages in Waikiki. The only small, but really small, complaint is the elevators, which may be a little noisy, but they are not noisy during the night. We stayed at this hotel for 6 nights and I don't have a single complaint that I read in the reviews, I would come back again. As I wrote before, this hotel is more for guests who are not resort type guests. We had a car and every day we went to a different location on the island, we didn't stay at Waikiki beach because it's too crowded for me. Friday fireworks are practically in front of the hotel, just walk down to the lagoon and enjoy 😊
Date of stay: April 2024
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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Reviewed 30 April 2024

Arrived at 10.30 to be told your room would be ready asap and we would be informed. We'll at 4pm falling asleep on their couch we were finally able to get in. A spacious room but yes dated. Half of the hotel was getting upgraded and we were in the dated side. Still even though at the end of Waikiki Beach still a good position and next to the hilton Village. Not a lot of great eateries near by but an ok pub across road with a bit of history. A couple of small pools...nice garden around them. There could have been other amenities but we wouldn't know cause there was no paperwork or qr codes to tell us what was available there. A restaurant that only did breakfast, snacks around the pool and an occasional special dinner...no room service. Also unbeknown to us, as it was booked by the travel agent, it is connected to Hilton Vacation Club so we managed to get roped into a seminar... Our first experience with the Hilton and possibly our last.

Room tip: If you are overlooking the city it is very noisy and luckily the sliding doors seem to keep the noise out.
Date of stay: April 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank LEN3612
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Donald D, Owner at Hilton Vacation Club The Modern Honolulu, responded to this reviewResponded 1 May 2024

Aloha LEN3612,

Thank you for taking the time to review your stay with us. We sincerely apologize for the service shortfalls you encountered. Your comments and concerns have been shared with the respective departments to alter this type of experience. The hotel looks forward to future renovations to provide an upscale, condo-like setting.

Once again, we apologize and thank you for your patience.

Mahalo,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2024

We booked The Modern as a couple for our pre-wedding vacation to stay before reading any reviews as we got an excellent deal for our reservation. In saying this, we came extremely close to cancelling our reservation due to the number of negative reviews. I felt compelled to write a review of our experience to help others with plans to stay at this hotel as the fear mongering is astonishing.

From the moment we pulled up in our Uber to the hotel to our last encounter when leaving, every single staff member was unbelievably kind. The bellhops opened the car door for us (not just for check in and check out, every single car ride this was done). We had seen multiple reviews stating that staff were not pleasant to deal with, so this was a surprise for us from the start. Check out time is 10:00am, and our flight was not until 10:00pm. We visited the front desk the night before our check out and asked for a late check out. They allowed us to stay in our room until 12:00 complementary. The bellhops then stored our bags (which we needed to access throughout the day and was not an issue). Multiple staff members told us that we could stay on site and utilize the amenities while awaiting our flight. One of the staff members at the front desk even pointed out to us not to forget there was an outdoor shower that we could use to rinse off if we wanted to freshen up before heading to the airport. There are 3 elevators, we stayed on the top floor and never had to wait for an elevator. The hotel also provides a schedule of daily activities such as yoga, lei making and hula dancing lessons all free of charge.

We checked in and received the 2 water per day of stay coupons. This has also been mentioned in reviews saying it is impossible to only have 2 waters per day. These people forgot to mention that there are multiple water filling stations/ice machines throughout the hotel and outdoor areas (we luckily always pack reusable water bottles for the plane ride, we ended up using them daily). Access to cold, clean drinking water is not an issue.

The food on site is not something we availed of often as we had a long list of places to try. We had a few snacks and drinks during happy hour at the pool (great deal), all of which were delicious and served hot/fresh. This hotel was perfectly located for us. It is roughly a 10-minute walk to the Ala Moana Mall (large food court, and Foodland for poke), and 30 minutes to Waikiki Beach. There are fireworks every Friday night at 7:45pm that we were told to watch at Magic Island, not realizing that the hotel next-door puts off these fireworks and we also would've had a great view there!

We enjoyed the pools so much! The chair/umbrella set up is great, and we found the chairs to be much more comfortable and adjustable than most hotels we've encountered previously. Day beds are also available for rent but we chose to use the chairs provided. We spent most of our time at the first-floor sunrise pool, always clean and well maintained. We spent some time in the adult only sunset pool on the second floor as well, this is just a wading pool with some chairs to lay in. This pool wasn't our favorite as there is sand surrounding but may be more enjoyable for some! Again, kept clean and well maintained. Also to note there are staff members at the pool all day that provide clean towels. There were several days that we made multiple trips to the pool and were offered fresh towels every time.

Another common complaint I've read are regarding the cleanliness/upkeep of this hotel which was our #1 concern upon arrival. I absolutely agree that this hotel could use some upgrades. Is the bed the most plush and luxurious we've ever slept in? Absolutely not but coming from someone who is a light sleeper and prefers a plush bed, it was by no means a bad place to sleep. The pillows were comfortable (4 provided) and the bedding was clean. My main complaint with the bed is that they do not have fitted sheets, a normal sheet was tucked around. Also, there is no comforter/duvet. We requested extra blankets on night one and the staff brought us 2 different types of blankets (2 of each). Housekeeping was offered to us daily. Many days we didn't spend any time in our room aside from sleeping, so we'd keep the "do not disturb" sign on our door. The housekeepers who we came by in the hall each day asked us if we would like services every day. When service was provided our bed linens were changed, towels/facecloths restocked, garbage changed, and bathroom cleaned. The furniture could definitely use some upgrades, but there were no major concerns aside from normal wear and tear (chips in the wood, etc.). The balcony chairs are quite uncomfortable but again, not something to be too concerned about overall.

One complaint that we do have (main reasoning for the 4/5-star review) is the bathroom setup in the hotel rooms. The wooden shutters provide zero privacy and are right next to the bed. This bothered us on a daily basis. In saying this, there are very nice and well-kept bathrooms on each floor of the hotel. Another negative is that there is not much noise control, we could definitely hear all conversation happening in the hallway and at times we could hear the elevator, but we've never stayed at a hotel that has impeccable soundproofing.

Overall, we had an unexpectedly wonderful stay at this hotel. I am not here to discredit anyone's previous review, but I am here to share our experience and hopefully decrease the fear/anxiety that we had leading up to our stay. I guess this was our reminder that although reviews are helpful at times, always remain open to allowing your own experience to create an uninfluenced opinion. It was totally unnecessary and we're extremely happy that we decided to stay here. We would book another stay at this hotel in a heartbeat!!

Date of stay: April 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Brianna N
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 21 March 2024

I am going to be honest... I was terrified of the shutters, the bed, and the service from reading the reviews. All of them are silly and should be ignored as overly sensitive guests. This place has been amazing and I break it out below.

1) Location- It is an ideal location that has direct access to the beach, beach path, downtown, Hilton Village, and restaurants. I really couldn't ask for a better location.
2) Shutters- The shutters and complaints about them are ridiculous. First, you can close the shutters!! Second, they are a nice decor and add to the open-air life of the island. Please stop the shutter complaints.
3) The Service- everyone has been wonderful and always smiling.
4) The mattress- The bed is comfortable. Maybe if you prefer the softest mattress that will protect an egg then this place isn't for you. However, no hotels have beds that soft.
5) Restaurant- The food is great and you can watch the sunset.
6) Water- 2 recyclable water bottles a day is not the norm for Hiltons unless you are an elite member. They want to keep you hydrated here.
7) Elevators- There are 3 of them and I never had to wait long.
8) Hallways- They are a little dark and could use more lighting. Very minimal issue though.
9) Cleaning- They have housekeeping every day! I thought that was a thing of the past and I felt bad making them come every day. I finally learned to put up my privacy please tag so I didn't need to make the staff clean my room.
10) ABC store- The largest and best ABC store is right across the intersection. You can get it all here.
11) Safety- You are in Waikiki and the cops keep the homeless/crime out of this area. My only suggestion is to keep your walking/outings to Waikiki. I wouldn't turn left when leaving the hotel, cross the bridge, and enter the Ala Moano area. This hotel is so perfect in the location that I had zero problems. As a woman who was walking around alone, this was my preferred location in the city.
12) Decor- It is not outdated at all. Honolulu is very 80s in the atmosphere. This hotel is still clean, modern, comfortable and doesn't remind me of the 80s.

This was a hotel I enjoyed and I am glad I booked it. I needed to come for a conference and the conference block was booked up in the preferred hotel. I had to find an alternative and this was close to the Hilton Village Conference Center. I stressed about the previous reviews, but I had to hope they were wrong. In the end, I feel I did better booking this hotel compared to the conference hotel. It truly was a great hotel.

Or maybe it was the shutters in the bathroom that made the stay perfect.

Room tip: I stayed in room 836 which was in a corner room with a balcony. Go to the ABC across the street to get your wine, snacks, etc.
Date of stay: March 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank Wanderer07925566627
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 7 March 2024 via mobile

Great customer service. Amazing housekeeping. The furnitures need better upkeep as the veneers are peeling. The bathroom mirror is peeling as well. My room keys kept failing and needed to be replaced daily. The customer service told me not to place it with my credit card or with my mobile phone… which never happened to my key cards from other hotels. We questioned why our unit does not have a balcony… I was told units with 2 beds do not have balconies. Lastly the bathroom has twin shutters adjoining the bedroom. This poor design resulted in lack of privacy as you can see and hear everything in the bathroom… even if you try to shut the shutters.

Date of stay: March 2024
Trip type: Travelled with family
Thank limron
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Donald D, Guest Services / Front Office at Hilton Vacation Club The Modern Honolulu, responded to this reviewResponded 8 March 2024

Aloha limron,

Thank you for your time, and we appreciate your feedback. We apologize for not meeting your expectations and look forward to future renovations to provide an upscale, condo-like setting. Many of your comments and concerns will be addressed during the renovations. We hope to have the opportunity to serve you again.

Once again, our apologies, and we thank you for your patience.

Mahalo,

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2024

The Modern has been our go-to spot on Waikiki for years. From reviews, we understood that when Hilton took it over and converted part of the facility to time shares, things changed and it dropped a star in class/ratings. The hotel was just beginning to transition the last time we are here but we can confirm that is complete now and I can discuss the pros and cons.

The first pro is obvious, which is the pricing. That has stayed stable in the same market that the Halekulani’s (once budget) sister hotel has skyrocketed since their re-branding, despite not allowing guests to use Halekulani facilities.

The things that have changed: no Iron Chef or Celebrity Chef Flagship. Obama and family were being served dinner on our last visit. Now what is there at breakfast is self order at a counter with a facilitator to bring food to your table with the number you pick up on the way out.

Instead of the extended selection of outdoor seating once offered by the pool, the outside seating is harbor side and very limited. There was a line of people waiting for a table all the time because the picnic bench style seating inside was frigid and the music which sounds nice outside was way too loud.

On the boardwalk, I noticed a sign announcing the eatery was public for all meals, including breakfast. The location is unsuitable for that, imho. On this visit, the hotel was at full occupancy due to two area conferences. Perhaps some of the breakfast crowd were people who were leaving for the day because the pool area was never over crowded and the adult pool one floor up was empty.

About the pool: the lunchtime bar service was very good and so were the food and drinks. I had to have a cocktail re-made for me because it was way too sweet and it was no problem at all—-the server even gave me the option of replacing it and letting me drink it. I asked him to enjoy it for me and he laughed and said he wished.
All good signs. I recommend the burratta beet salad, which was huge.

The sound system and music selection is also good. Very mellow; classic Hawaiian and reggae. But, the extras are gone: forget about the free Sun Bum spf and the big towels. When the towel folks are there, they offer really skimpy things that don’t cover the chairs.

Inexplicably, there is no longer two way same-floor access to the adult pool deck, meaning you need to be able to climb stairs to get there. As I said, the upstairs deck was all but abandoned. It is really just a reflecting pool that you can sit in with a lounge chair to stay cool but, magically, you cannot hear the kids from below.

Also: the large sheet covered double mattresses that they charge for below, are free to use. This is great because it give plenty of room to position yourself in the path of the sun so you get even exposure. I found out the reason I was the only one up there. While you cannot hear the kids, you could hear the construction from next door (not the hotel) with heavy machinery, all day. I’m from the city, so this way just like home. Other people might want earbuds or whatever.

On the beach, the modern doesn’t have a lounge chair or umbrella or drink service. However, the Hilton property right next door does. Despite being a Hilton, they can not charge to a room at The Modern. This is their pricing. Lounge chairs $28 each and umbrella $50 each. Yo, I have never brought $100 cash to the beach in my life. And I grew up in a beach down and worked through college on Martha’s Vineyard.

The shop is gone, so buy magazines in the airport or you’ll have to risk crossing the highway to get to the mall.

On the other hand, in the rooms, they offer enough toiletries. They are kind of glued to the wall so you can’t hoard them and take them with, but there is an ample supply and the body lotion is extremely rich-which is great for after sun. Robes are gone. They even took down the hooks. We had an Ocean view King which was plenty of room in storage for eight days.

No bathroom scale but there is a Keurig a nice empty fridge without expensive minibar and a microwave to reheat leftovers. That comes in handy because supper prices are way higher right now than pre-Covid. The ice machines are on even numbered floors and the ice buckets keep that ice overnight with the lid on.

In our case, I asked for a room we’d had before when I made the reservation. We had to change our dates and there was some glitch (which may have been our fault since my husband made the new res—it’s really unclear) but it resulted in my original room request getting lost-which became an issue later on.

Also, it meant we were holding two stays on our card simultaneously. The result was that when we got a confirmation vm saying that they were looking forward to seeing us, I assumed it was two weeks early. I got vm when I called back and used the correct dates in my confirmation. I never got a call back. This call, apparently, was from Hilton Corporate in Las Vegas.

The Modern never got the heads up and I got a message the next day saying they were expecting us to check in. I told them we had changed the dates. They said they had our new dates but referred me back to the third party vendor to deal with them. Once I reached a person on Expedia, they said that I hadn’t cancelled within 48 hours so I’d have to pay for both reservations but they reached out to the hotel to see whether they were able to get a reduction.

The agent came back and said the hotel was willing to allow me to pay for just the first night-which was that night. I gave them my information and they appeared to be putting it through. I wrote to the hotel to confirm directly and they said they had waived the entire charge. I have no idea where that money went, if I was charged. Maybe it got refunded. Maybe Expedia kept it.

Whatever. When we arrived, our check in agent said that we had booked a city room and we’re upgraded to partial ocean view. I knew we had booked partial ocean view but seeing as the reservation was so screwed up, I wanted to double check before I said anything. Then my husband’s card was rejected. That was likely fraud support based on the two reservations-one being cancelled. He had another card.

The room was on a lower floor, across from the three very aCroce elevators, city side and you could only see the ocean by going out on the balcony. The HVAC might need to be serviced I got really congested overnight.

When we tried to keep the door open or sit outside, we found the real downside to this room: it’s low enough to hear and smell heavy daytime traffic. Because you can only see the ocean from the balcony, everybody is out in theirs. Because the street noise is loud, every body is yelling to be heard. If there is an argument or personal convo? You get every word.

I asked to see the manager about my lost room requests and whether we could change rooms and that’s when I learned they were at 100% occupancy. For the confirmation snafu, though, she gave us a $75 resort credit which I wasn’t expecting and was delighted with. She said that she’s prioritize us in case of a cancellation and I believe she meant it but we’re half way through our stay now, so I’m not holding my breath.

The nightclub is also gone. Also the Study Bar in the lobby which used to be buzzy and fun. There is a tiresomely conspicuous presence of timeshare agents all over. There is no more room service.

That ends the mixed review. The thing that has improved at The Modern is the staffing. Everyone we’ve encountered has been professional and knows how to do their job. Under previous management, the staffing was always very mixed with some great service and some so bad that I remember it years later: the time we waited over an hour for our breakfast despite being one of three tables. A single and another deuce. The girl just disappeared.

Another time (years ago) I came to to speak to front desk and there were five or six agents behind the desk, all together, casually talking and laughing and I stood right in front of their party and still had to politely say “excuse me” to get any attention. Despite eye contact from the two of them faced toward the lobby. If it isn’t obvious by now, I’ve spent years in service and am familiar with the standard. These experiences were perplexing. Meanwhile, other service at the old hotel was above and beyond.

I would say, at this date it is uniformly good. And the facility is still very clean and modern for those who don’t care for the chintz and wall art and throw pillows of so many resorts nowadays. Even staying the same, it doesn’t look dated or worse for wear. The eco-policy is awesome and I’m attaching a photo of the really good advisements on the bathroom mirrors in an inconspicuous corner. They offer free boxed water—local and purified at the desk and they have a dispenser at the pool.

My recommendations to management would be to offer a small selection of magazines, reef safe spf and the option of a large plush branded beach towel, for sale, on the bottom of the poolside bar menu. The reasons being: some people really want a barrier between the lounge chair somebody else just sweated on, some people who brought spf from home are not aware that the kind the use may be restricted in Hawaiian waters (the amount of dead coral washing up on the beach is insane). Lastly, without a shop or nearby magazine vendor, it makes it hard to come by a really basic poolside activity: reading in print instead of staring into a device.

Unless the hotel decides to offer beach amenities, I would also try to make some deal with the Hilton Towers so that guests can charge their beach amenities to their room at The Modern. Considering that it is now a Hilton property. Right next to another Hilton property.

Room tip: All in review, but return guests may want to know the amazing quality, cheap lobster roll at Red Lobster is gone and McDonalds has no spam.
Date of stay: March 2024
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank Islandsrgood
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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