A New York judge ordered the Modern Honolulu, formerly Marriott’s Waikiki Edition until the hotel owners unilaterally rebranded last weekend and kicked out Marriott management, to be returned to Marriott’s control by 2:30pm local Hawaii time Wednesday, August 31.  See Loyalty Traveler post: Divorce Hawaiian Style at Marriott Waikiki Edition (Aug 29).

About 60 former employees and managers of Marriott’s Waikiki Edition who had lost their jobs in the hotel owners move last weekend hoped to return to work yesterday. The team of Marriott executives who arrived to retake the hotel were greeted with the news that hotel owners M Waikiki had just filed for bankruptcy protection. Apparently this legal maneuver keeps the Modern Honolulu in place despite the New York judge’s order to reinstate Marriott management and the Waikiki Edition hotel.

The most recent chapter in the Waikiki Edition saga is certainly not the final chapter in the Battle for Waikiki.

News Sources:

Bloomberg – Marriott Says It’s Given Back Control of Waikiki Edition Hotel in Hawaii – Nadja Brandt (Aug 31, 2011)

Bizjournals.com Pacific Business News – Owners Bankruptcy filing blocks Marriott from resuming management of Waikiki hotel (Aug 31, 2011)

Hawaii News Now

Over the weekend the owners of the Marriott boutique brand hotel Waikiki Edition in Honolulu, Hawaii gave Marriott a divorce Hawaiian style by replacing the locks and rebranding in the middle of the night to become the Modern Honolulu.

M Waikiki LLC filed a New York lawsuit in May claiming Marriott failed to support the Edition brand development resulting in an underperforming hotel relative to the Waikiki competitive set, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Marriott COO Arne Sorensen claims the rebranding act, aka the divorce, is illegal and violates Marriott’s 30-year branding and management contract for the hotel. The attorney for Waikiki Edition owners alleges Marriott’s mismanagement of the property is causing the hotel to lose money and his clients have the right to terminate the Marriott management contract.

At the time of this post you can still see photos on the Marriott brand website of Waikiki Edition which just opened in October 2010, but no text description is shown on the page for the Waikiki property. Update 8/30: Webpage looks different today and I see the Waikiki property link is still available.  Istanbul Edition is currently the only other hotel in this Marriott boutique brand.

Edition Waikiki made Travel + Leisure magazine’s It List – Best New Hotels 2011. There is a 3-page article on the Edition brand in the January 2011 issue.

Marriott’s Edition brand came out with plenty of media fanfare in mid-2007 at the height of the hotel industry boom. Plans for building full steam ahead across the globe with hints of 100 branded hotels within a decade were reported. Basically the hotel concept aimed to place Marriott with a competitor brand to the Starwood W style boutique hotel that was commanding high rates among high spending travelers in the cash flow days before the real estate bust. Then came the financial crisis of 2008 and the hotel industry downturn of 2009 and 2010. After four years there were only two Edition brand hotels open.

And now there is only one.

Waikiki Edition signs were covered up yesterday August 28 when the hotel unilaterally rebranded early Sunday morning as the Modern Honolulu managed by Aqua Hotels & Resorts.

Marriott Waikiki Edition seems to have experienced divorce Hawaiian style.

No doubt this blue crush Waikiki fling will have to be settled and separated by the courts.

Marriott’s Edition webpage shows future hotels coming to Mexico City, Bangkok, Miami Beach, Barcelona and London.


Related post: M Waikiki’s Edition lawsuit against Marriott and Ian Schrager – an owner’s HMA dispute with Marriott from top hotel lawyer Jim Butler, author of HotelLawBlog.com is a good read if you are interested in the legal side of the lawsuit between Marriott and the hotel owners.


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