Shane Nelson
Shane Nelson

InsightMarriott International President and CEO Arne Sorenson joined Ian Shrager, Studio 54 co-founder, to address members of the media at the newly opened Waikiki Edition on Oct. 15. The pair spent about 30 minutes answering a range of questions, including why the property had been developed with so much secrecy.

"It's a little bit like opening up a Broadway show or a new movie," Shrager said. "There's a groundswell that we wanted to create. ... I don't consider myself in the hotel business. I consider myself in show business, and so until we were ready to open it and unveil it, we kept things quiet."

Marriot has partnered with Shrager to develop the new luxury boutique brand and plans to open Edition properties in Istanbul, Barcelona, Mexico City and Bangkok. The 353-room Waikiki property, located in what was formerly the Yacht Harbor Tower wing of the Ilikai Hotel, hosted several grand opening celebrations over the weekend, including parties attended by celebrities such as Christina Aguilera and Vanessa Hudgens.

"The idea is really simple," Sorenson said of Marriott's new Edition brand. "And that is to combine the creative genius and inspiration that Ian brings to this and that expertise and to marry it with a service culture, to make sure that it's not only a really lovely hotel and a great experience but is one where you can have a restful night sleep, one where you can interact with a staff that really cares about you."

While the property promises to offer guests a vibrant nightlife -- the hotel's Crazybox nightclub is already earning rave reviews -- the Waikiki Edition seems to have been designed with something for everyone.

Waikiki Edition lobbyFree wireless internet throughout the hotel, along with a range of meetings spaces and state-of-the-art technology make the property a good place for business travelers.

Meanwhile, two elaborately designed pools; the newly opened Moriomoto's restaurant, owned by "Iron Chef" star Masaharu Morimoto, a full-service, in-house spa; harborfront vistas; comfortably designed rooms; and elegant suites certainly offer leisure travelers an excellent escape.

When asked about the kind of guests the hotel was designed to attract, however, Shrager avoided absolutes.

"I think it's going to appeal to a sensibility," he said. "I can't give you a demographic definition of it. It's a psychographic. People who will respond to this they could be 16 years old or 50, 70, 80. Miley Cirus, who my daughter likes, or Mick Jagger or Bill Clinton. It's a sensibility we're appealing to here. It's not about price point or location. People will seek this out because it responds to what they like. That's always been our customer."

Through the end of February 2011, the Waikiki Edition is offering oceanview rooms starting at $195 a night and oceanview one-bedroom suites for $500.

Visit www.editionhotels.com for details.

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