Cheers! The MODERN Honolulu Granted Temporarily Liquor License, But Spa License Still on Hold

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BY MALIA ZIMMERMAN – As of Thursday, at 9:38 a.m., The MODERN Honolulu’s liquor license was on hold.

That meant the 335-room, luxury resort in Waikiki, with several trendy upscale bars, restaurants and a nightclub, could not legally sell alcohol. Workers who served alcohol were told by the City Liquor Commission that their servers’ card was revoked.


The hotel, owned by 75 investors through M Waikiki LLC, also lost its license to operate the spa.

But after a great deal of confusion among employees yesterday, today the hotel owners announced it fixed at least one of its problems.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission granted the hotel a temporary liquor license late Thursday, which “enables The Modern Honolulu to keep open its food and beverage outlets including The Lobby Bar, The Bar at Sunrise Pool, The Bar at Private Sunset Beach and the world-renowned Morimoto Waikiki restaurant.”

The spa license is still pending. Spa workers are off the job until the hotel resolves this issue. Russell Pang, spokesperson for The MODERN Hotel, said concierges are assisting guests with other comparable spa alternatives in the interim including contracting with an outside service to provide in-room spa service.

These problems came after the owners of the 335-room luxury hotel, M Waikiki LLC, threw out the Marriott International management company, changed the locks and renamed the hotel from The Waikiki Edition to The MODERN Honolulu, early Sunday morning.

The new management firm, Modern Management Services, an affiliate of Aqua Hotels & Resorts, took charge of the elite harbor front property.

The city licenses are under the name of the previous management company, so the new management company had to reapply for those.

The tug-of-war between the hotel giants has played out like a reality television drama this week.

Marriott International went to court in New York on Monday to get a restraining order against the owners and new management company.

The judge granted the restraining order Monday morning effective 2:30 p.m. Hawaii time until a lawsuit filed by the owners against Marriott International in May could be resolved. The lawsuit alleges that the owners are losing tens of millions of dollars because its management isn’t up to par.

But after the restraining order was granted on Marriott’s behalf, M Waikiki LLC countered by filing for bankruptcy that same day.

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing allowed M Waikiki LLC to ignore the restraining order, keep its new management company and reorganize its debt.

The MODERN Honolulu said today that it also closed the hotel’s nightclub because of a trademark owned by Marriott International. The nightclub will re-open under a new name, and in the meantime, will be used for private events.





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