WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Dozens of Waikiki hotel workers were in limbo Wednesday night when the ongoing struggle for control of the Modern Honolulu hotel (formerly The Edition) took unexpected twists and turns. The workers are caught in the middle of a corporate fight between the hotel's owner, M Waikiki, and Marriott International, which had been managing the hotel.
Marriott had 29 years left on its management contract when early Sunday morning M Waikiki ousted Marriott. M Waikiki brought in a new management team, Modern Management Services, a subsidiary of Aqua Hotels and Resorts. And it changed the hotel's name from The Edition to Modern Honolulu.
Marriott objected and Wednesday a judge in New York City ordered M Waikiki to return management duties to Marriott. The judge ruled Modern Management Services would have to be out by 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
M Waikiki, filed for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy which it says allows Modern Management Services to stay and keeps Marriott out.
M Waikiki released a statement saying "In our view, filing for bankruptcy protection is the only prudent option for protecting our investment in this asset. We look forward to reorganizing as a new corporate entity…"
About 60 Marriott managers and employees had either been laid off or had declined to align with Modern Management Services. Some of them waited outside the hotel Wednesday for that 2:30 p.m. deadline so they could get back to work when Marriott was re-instated ... but because of the Chapter 11 filing Marriott was not reinstated.
Some of those workers expressed confusion and concern over future employment.
Hotel guests told Hawaii News Now they are aware of the battle for control of the hotel but it has not impacted their stay.
"Our stay has been lovely. The staff has been great. The service has been great. Everything has been clean and fresh and nice," said guest Cameron Lewis.
"All the employees have been great. Everybody has been super nice helping us and making sure that everybody is taken care of," added Mark Shakarjian, a visitor from Los Angeles.
"They greeted me at the shuttle. They took my luggage in. They helped me out. They offered me water. They were very very helpful," guest Carol Steitz said.