TourismWritten by Jason Ubay On 15 October 2010

When it comes to chains or brands, rarely is Hawaii first in line, but today it got the very first EDITION. Designed by hotel designer Ian Schrager and managed by Marriott International, EDITION puts Marriott in the boutique hotel sector. The 353-room hotel is a luxury addition to the slew of recently redone hotels in Hawaii’s biggest tourist location.

Arne Sorenson, president and COO of Marriott International, says the company waited a few years to see if boutique hotels were a niche market or something the company would want to get into. They found it to be broadly appealing, decided to capitalize on it and teamed up with Schrager.

The hotel’s signature restaurant is Morimoto Waikiki. The newest restaurant from Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, the upscale restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves food for Japanese and Western palates. This location also has local touches, like Loco Moto, the chef’s take on loco moco.

Hawaii was Morimoto’s first overseas destination in 1970s and he’s excited to open a restaurant in Waikiki. He had discussions on other locations, but chose the EDITION because of its proximity to Ala Moana and downtown Honolulu, hoping to lure the business crowd and locals.

The dining room at Morimoto Waikiki, designed by Thomas Schoos of Schoos Design

Crispy fried fish from Morimoto Waikiki

Schrager also hopes the property “creates a new genre” for Honolulu nightlife. There’s two outdoor bars, a lobby bar, a bar at Morimoto and a nightclub. Schrager hopes (jokingly, (I think) that people come for the drinks outside, move indoors to the nightclub, spend the night, then roll over and have breakfast at Morimoto’s.

Schrager also emphasized there would be first class, personable service at the hotel. When I visited, I ran into workers at almost every corner and each was very helpful and knew where everything at the hotel was at. I was told the hotel employs about 300 people.

Although Sorensen says the market for EDITION is for people of all ages looking for a unique experience, the room rates are obviously for the well off. Cityview rooms start at $375 a night and an oceanview 1-bedroom suite going for $795. A 1,500-square-foot penthouse (with a 1,400-square-foot wraparound landscaped terrace) goes for $9,995 a night.

EDITION has more hotels planned for Istanbul (opening Q1 2011), Barcelona, Mexico City, Bangkok and South Beach.

Herbie Fletcher's Surfboard Installation in the EDITION's lobby. It's made from the broken boards of pro surfers.

Access to the lobby bar is through the rotating bookshelf.

There's hammocks at the private sunset beach and bar.

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About Author

Managing Editor, Hawaii Business magazine. He's also representing the mag on Facebook and Twitter at @hawaiibusiness. You can follow him on Twitter at @jubay.

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westbound leisure travel wholesale business, said Chris Tatum, general manager at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Clara Bar