The Modern, Honolulu, 1775 Ala Moana Boulevard
Is pleasant by day – overlooking The Modern's pool area and the neighbouring Ala Wai marina. But it is particularly good on fireworks night (every Friday at 7.45pm, plus additional shows for special occasions). We missed out on the Friday night show but discovered there was another display scheduled for the following night. We reserved a table closest to the marina and had the best seat in the house when the fireworks began.
The vibe: Is relaxed and tropical. The Modern is smaller than most of Waikiki's beachfront resorts and attracts fewer family groups. As a result, its pool-side bar is a lot less chaotic than some of its neighbours. You don't have to be staying at the hotel to frequent The Grove and it's worth a visit if you're looking to escape the bustle of central Waikiki. It's about a 10-minute walk along the beach and the cocktails are some of the best in town.
The chat: Like nearly everyone you meet in Hawaii the staff are incredibly warm and friendly and serve up plenty of banter along with your drinks.
The menu: The Modern's cocktail list is one of the best on the island and reason alone to stay at the resort. Their frozen coconut mojito is an ice-cold delight, while the Cucumber Spice (fresh lemon and cucumber muddled with gin, soda and chilli) is the perfect afternoon refreshment. If you're looking to eat, The Grove serves up reasonable bar snacks and pizzas but don't settle in for anything more substantial. Its selling point lies in the view and the cocktail list.
The expectation: It had been five years since we first sampled The Grove's cocktail list and we had fond memories of their unique and refreshing take on things. The resort has changed ownership since then and we weren't sure whether it would still live up to the memory.
The reality: The cocktail list remained unchanged and was every bit as delicious as we remembered. The standard of food has slipped a bit – but it remains a great spot to watch the sunset and fireworks before heading out for dinner.