Catherine E. Toth

Correspondent

  • Oahu, Hawaii, USA

Catherine E. Toth is a correspondent who lives in East Honolulu and covers Oahu for Forbes Travel Guide. Born and raised on the island, Toth has been chronicling her adventures in her blog, The Cat Dish, for almost a decade. She worked as a newspaper reporter in Hawaii for 10 years and continues to freelance — in between teaching journalism, hitting the surf and eating everything in sight — for national and local print and online publications. She earned her master’s degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 1999. Toth lives with her two dogs, Sunny and Indy, and has an extensive collection of surfboards.

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  • On February 13, 2014
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What is the scene like at Ravish?

    The scene at The Modern Honolulu’s Morimoto Waikiki varies throughout the day. The morning crowd that starts marching in at 7:30 a.m. for breakfast is often gearing up for a day of sightseeing around Honolulu. The midday vibe can range from businessmen conducting lunch meetings to girlfriends celebrating a birthday. Dinner is a bit more formal than the other two seatings, though resort wear is still the only dress code at the restaurant. It’s busiest for dinner between 6:30 and 8 p.m., as a mix of families, couples, travelers, friends and downtown urbanites eager to feast on Morimoto’s signature Asian fusion dishes or sip handcrafted cocktails at the bar piles into the restaurant. Owner and chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef fame visits Morimoto Waikiki between six to 10 times a year, often working at the sushi bar or chatting up patrons in the dining room.
  • On February 13, 2014
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    What is the dress code at Ravish?

    The dress code for Morimoto Waikiki, which is located inside of The Modern Honolulu, is resort wear. Since the restaurant is located in the hotel, which is just outside of Waikiki, the attire tends to be a bit more casual than other fine-dining restaurants in Honolulu. Breakfast and lunch aren’t as formal as dinner though there are two dress requirements at all times — proper footwear (no flip-flops or slippers, as they’re called in Hawaii) and no swimsuits. You will find just about every other measure of style at Morimoto’s, including men dressed in Aloha shirts and slacks to women in flowy dresses and flats. The pau hana (after-work) crowd tends to arrive in business attire. But overall, the atmosphere at Morimoto Waikiki is fairly casual and relaxed.
  • On February 13, 2014
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    Where is Ravish located?

    Morimoto Waikiki is located inside of the über-chic The Modern Honolulu just outside of Waikiki. The hotel is a 15-minute drive from the Honolulu International Airport, walking distance from the beaches of Waikiki and just a few miles from popular attractions such as Iolani Palace and Aloha Tower. Morimoto Waikiki is on the makai (ocean) side of the hotel, facing the Ala Wai Harbor. The spacious establishment, dressed in cool white and moss green tones, seats 130 guests inside and another 90 on the outside patio facing the harbor. Sheer curtains shelter semi-private dining rooms and the expansive bar, with its stellar wine list and oversized sofas, to offer a relaxing lounge seating.
  • On February 13, 2014
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What restaurants does The Modern Honolulu have?

    The Modern Honolulu boasts four kinds of dining options for guests. The hotel’s signature restaurant is Morimoto Waikiki, founded by the world-renowned chef and star of Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto. His menu boasts a seasonal and ever-changing selection of raw fish preparations that feature local seafood and ingredients when possible. Dishes such as Morimoto-style poke (cubed raw fish with bocconcini, avocado-wasabi sorbet and dashi foam), oyster foie gras with uni and teriyaki sauce, roasted lobster from Keahole on the Big Island with lemon crème fraîche, and crispy whole fish with a spicy tofu sauce and pickled papaya salad are as delicious as they sound. Morimoto is a unique restaurant space, blending fine dining elements with the lively open kitchen and sushi bar, which the celebrated chef often mans personally.

    The Modern Honolulu also has three more dining options: the two pools feature separate alfresco dining (The Grove and Passageway) and The Study in the lobby boasts small plates and an impressive wine list, with two happy hours and handcrafted cocktails named after classic novels (think vodka-based Huckle Berry Fin or piña colada-inspired West Thai Story). The luxury hotel offers in-room dining, too, 24 hours every day.
  • On February 13, 2014
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What are the rooms like at The Modern Honolulu?

    The rooms inside The Modern Honolulu are contemporary and very comfortable. The hotel features 353 guest rooms, 30 suites, and a penthouse to die for. The luxurious guest rooms range in size from 340 square feet for partial ocean view rooms with European terraces to spacious 665-square-foot suites that boast separate living rooms, two private bedrooms and an oversized terrace that opens to vistas of the ocean and harbor. These rooms are adorned in natural tones and rich woods with pops of color in the form of a beautiful pareo (sarong) and ukulele that hang on the walls like functional art pieces. In every room you will find custom beds with down comforters, custom-woven leather and teak desk chairs imported from Indonesia, and cast terrazzo sink basins with extra large countertops and glass-enclosed showers in the bathrooms.

    The 1,500-square-foot penthouse, though, is the hotel’s signature unit, with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean from its expansive 1,500-square-foot wraparound landscaped terrace. This luxury one-of-a-kind apartment comes complete with original artwork, its own private dining room, kitchen, entertainment center, library and bedroom.
  • On February 13, 2014
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    Where is The Modern Honolulu located?

    The Modern Honolulu is located on Ala Moana Boulevard, just outside of Waikiki. It’s a 15-minute drive east from the Honolulu International Airport and about two minutes from the world-class shopping at Ala Moana Center. The hotel, which sits just behind the Yacht Harbor, is within walking distance of the white-sand beaches and slew of shops and restaurants of Waikiki. The property sits between the Ilikai Hotel & Suites — it was actually one of its towers, built in 1964 — and the Hawaii Prince Hotel.

    Ala Moana Beach Park, with its jogging paths and surf breaks, are just a block away, and the iconic Diamond Head (Leahi) State Monument is about two miles to the east. Its prime location is near visitor attractions such as the Honolulu Zoo (one-and-a-half miles), Fort DeRussy Military Reservation (half mile), Kapiolani Park and the Waikiki Aquarium (two miles), Iolani Palace (four miles), Honolulu Museum of Art (four miles) and historic Chinatown and downtown Honolulu (five miles).

    While the hotel may not be located directly on the ocean, it’s just steps from the blue waters of the Pacific, with long stretches of sandy beach where you can rent surfboards or jump in an outrigger canoe and catch the rolling waves in Waikiki.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    Does Anara Spa offer couples treatments?

    Anara Spa offers a variety of couples treatments that are now done side-by-side in the new couples hale (bungalow), a relaxing haven that comes complete with its own private garden and shower. You can get anything from couples facials and pedicures to a luxurious five-hour treatment that includes a gourmet lunch. The Kauai Ku’uipo (Lovers) Escape takes about three hours and includes a salt-and-clay scrub in a lava rock shower and wild ginger grotto, a couple’s massage, a bath in an orchid-strewn soaking tub and a choice between custom facials or pedicures. But the Anara Pilialoha (Romance) Journey is the ultimate pampering experience. Lasting five hours and including lunch, this service features a warm stone and kava body scrub, side-by-side massages using Kauai clay, and facials and pedicures for two. Just about any treatment offered at the Kauai spa — from the tropical papaya body polish to the foot massage using warm coconut milk and volcanic pumice — can be offered as a couple’s service upon request.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What kinds of massages are offered at Anara Spa?

    There’s a massage for everyone at Anara Spa. Following the philosophy of lokahi (harmony and balance), the spa offers a personalized massage where the therapist can address imbalances and target specific areas on your body to induce relaxation. Or try the traditional lomi lomi massage that uses long, flowing strokes to soothe tense muscles. The spa also offers a sports massage that applies sports therapy and deep-tissue techniques to relieve muscle soreness, an aromatherapy massage that uses essential oil blends of Hawaiian plants, and a pohaku (warm stone) massage that relaxes muscles and employs organic Hawaiian oils. One other unique offering is the bamboo massage, where the therapist uses warm, smooth bamboo stalks to ease tension with rhythmic movements. The Kauai spa also offers a maternity massage for the needs of mothers-to-be. All of these treatments are done in individual rooms that open to private gardens.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What kinds of skincare products are used at Anara Spa?

    Anara Spa at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa uses some of the highest-quality skincare products available such as the California-based Epicuren Enzyme Skin Care System, which incorporates luxurious natural ingredients such as tea tree oils and sugar cane; the Hungarian handmade and organic skin care line Eminence; and the clinical skincare brand SkinCeuticals. The spa also features locally made lines such as the Kauai-based Malie Organics, which uses only indigenous and local Hawaiian flora. But the signature product at Anara Spa is Coco Mango, a blend of tropical fruit fragrances and soothing aloe that is unique to the Kauai spa. This line can only be purchased at the hotel (or online) and comes in a bath and shower gel, shampoo and conditioner.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What restaurants does Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa have?

    Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa boasts several different restaurants and cocktail lounges across its 50 acres of oceanfront property in Poipu. And these establishments don’t just lure the resort’s guests, either.

    Ilima Terrace serves breakfast and lunch in a casual open-air setting right off the hotel’s lobby. Most guests gather here in the morning for a cup of Kona coffee and day-starters such as traditional eggs Benedict, kalua pork hash with Molokai sweet potatoes or custom-made pancakes with roasted macadamia nuts, fresh fruits or shredded coconut.

    Seaview Terrace also serves breakfast, though the offerings are more of the grab-and-go variety (see: bagels, scones, fruits, croissants and assorted coffees and teas). Dinner here is a bit more comprehensive, with lighter fare such as hand-tossed pizzas and sandwiches paired with cocktails and wines perfect for lounging and viewing the sunset.

    The signature restaurant at the Kauai hotel is Tidepools, located near the saltwater lagoon. This restaurant, which comes complete with thatched roof bungalows floating on a koi-filled lagoon at the base of a waterfall, serves contemporary Hawaiian cuisine for dinner nightly. While its specialty is fresh fish — from the volcano-spiced opah (moonfish) to the ahi paired with foie-gras-infused forbidden rice and a truffle-miso eggplant sauce — Tidepools also serves certified Angus cuts of beef, slow-roasted prime rib and Jidori chicken with mushrooms from the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island.

    Another dinner-only restaurant, Dondero’s, is the hotel’s Italian eatery with both indoor and outdoor seating. Dine alfresco with a view overlooking the Pacific Ocean or enjoy the intimate indoor seating surrounded by murals and floor tiles reminiscent of an Italian villa. The contemporary Italian menu complements the setting with items such as calamari fritti, wild mushroom risotto, housemade pasta with crab and lobster, and Kurobuta pork milanese.

    Stevenson’s Library is the resort’s late-night spot, open from 6 p.m. to midnight daily. This converted cigar bar retains its warm décor and Victorian-era gentlemen’s club vibe through an impressive 27-foot, hand-crafted koa wood bar stocked with an extensive collection of whiskeys, cognacs, ports and wines. There are bookshelves with classic titles and replicas of boats encased in glass. Play pool, backgammon or chess — or simply relax to the sounds of live entertainment. Appetizers, salads and burgers round out the menu, and there is a sushi bar, too.

    Conveniently located near the pools and lagoons, The Dock is a full-service restaurant serving everything from Kauai fish tacos to tropical smoothies to panini. There are also two pool bars — Captain’s Bar and Shipwreck Bar — which offer various libations and views of the ocean or the lagoons. Most of the restaurants at this island resort offer a children’s menu. Of course, the luxury hotel also has in-room dining.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    What’s the best time to visit Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa?

    Peak seasons for travelers to Kauai and Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa are summer and winter, and room rates will reflect the demand. The last two weeks of December are particularly busy on the island. If you plan to travel during these times — considered the high season — book your reservations as early as possible. Expect to pay higher rates for airfare, accommodations and car rentals. Hawaii’s weather tends to be consistent throughout the year with the average temperature between 75 and 85 degrees. Winter months — between December and March — are generally a bit cooler and wetter; Poipu, where the luxury hotel is located, is usually sunnier than other spots on the island. The endangered humpback whales migrate to Hawaii’s warmer waters from late December to early May and winter brings monster surf to Kauai’s northern shores, making these times popular to visit the island, too.
  • On December 11, 2013
    Catherine E. Toth answered the question: Catherine E. Toth

    Where is Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa located?

    Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is located on the south side of Kauai. It is at the east end of Poipu Road, a three-mile-long stretch of hotels and resorts, and about 30 minutes south of Lihue Airport. The resort sits on 50 oceanfront acres right in front of Keoneloa Bay and the popular Shipwreck Beach. Beyond the resort is the Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course, a 210-acre, links-style golf course and driving range designed by famed golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. and ranked as one of the top courses in the state. There’s also a riding stable adjacent to the Kauai hotel that offers guided trail rides along the ocean.