|By Allison Schaefers, The Honolulu
Star-AdvertiserMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
October 05, 2010 --The Waikiki Edition, the first hotel in Marriott International's long-awaited boutique brand, is open for business after three years in development.
Guests began arriving last Tuesday to fill the hotel's 353 rooms and suites. It's so new that pictures of the property have not been posted on the company's website, and there has been worldwide clamoring for a look at what Marriott expects will become an iconic hotel and brand.
The Waikiki Edition, which was created by boutique hotel maven Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott International, has transformed the former Ilikai Yacht Harbor Tower into a private oasis. There's no sign of the Ilikai's famous aqua exterior on the former annex, and the interior has morphed from tired '80s into something more reminiscent of a private beachfront home owned by someone young, posh and modern.
"People do not want something derivative. They want the real thing and this is the whole idea behind Edition," Schrager said in a statement. He is expected to be at the property's Oct. 15 grand opening along with Arne Sorenson, Marriott International's president and chief operating officer.
Conceived in collaboration with architects George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg and landscape designer Deborah Nevins, the Waikiki Edition is high-energy yet relaxing.
"It was refreshing. It felt like an extension of a luxury residence," said Myra Brandt, principal broker at Kahala Associates, who attended a party at the Edition on Friday night.
Guests who book rooms by Oct. 15 can stay in city-view rooms for $195 nightly, said Mark Aldridge, the Waikiki Edition's director of sales and marketing. Later, rates will range from $345 for a city-view room to $9,995 for a 1,400-square-foot penthouse with a 1,500-square-foot lanai, he said.
Guests will delight in the property's exclusive Sunset Beach, which comes complete with its own lagoon surrounded by 100 tons of neighbor island sand. The lobby, which is surfer chic by day, transforms into an elegant bar by night with the slide of a bookshelf.
The hotel's Surf and Bikini Boot Camps offer customized physical fitness, health and weight loss packages. There's a full-service spa, a Crazybox nightclub and a signature restaurant developed by television's famous "Iron Chef" Chef *---. Notable amenities include 24-hour room service, twice-daily housekeeping and an outdoor movie theater, which will play first-run movies on Thursday nights.
The second Edition will open in Istanbul, Turkey, later this year. The concept is coming soon to Mexico City; Barcelona, Spain; Bangkok; and Miami's South Beach.
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