Hawaii Hotels and Restaurants Are Sporting New AAA Bling

imageThirteen Hawaii resort hotels and eleven Hawaii restaurants have a bit more sparkle since they are showing off their top AAA diamond ratings. AAA has announced its 2008 Four and Five Diamond Resort Hotels and Restaurants. AAA conducts their thorough evaluations unannounced and they have a long list of criteria for evaluations. If you are looking for luxury and top notch service, you should consider these AAA Diamond award winners.

I’ve organized the winning properties by rating and by island. For your convenience and at no extra charge 🙂 I’ve linked to the official web site of each winner.

Five Diamond (The Best of the Best)

Hotel Resorts

Maui: The Ritz-Carlton at Kapalua; Four Seasons Resort at Wailea

Big Island: Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Kailua-Kona


Oahu: Halekulani Le Mer (at Halekulani Resort at Waikiki)

Four Diamond

Hotel Resorts

Maui: Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa at Kaanapali; Hotel Hana at Hana; Fairmont Kea Lani at Wailea; Grand Wailea Resort and Spa at Wailea

Big Island: Fairmont Orchid at Kohala Coast; Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows on the Kohala Coast

Lanai: Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay

Kauai: Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa at Poipu

Oahu: Halekulani at Waikiki; Kahala Hotel & Resort at Honolulu; JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina


Oahu: Azul (at the JW Marriott Ihilani); Bali by the Sea (at the Hilton Hawaiian Village at Waikiki); Chef Mavro (in Honolulu); Hoku’s (at the Kahala in Honolulu); Tokyo Tokyo (also at the Kahala in Honolulu); Orchids (at Halekulani Resort at Waikiki)

Maui: Sarento’s On The Beach (in Kihei); Banyan Tree (at the Ritz-Carlton at Kapalua)

Big Island: Pahuia (at the Four Seasons Hualalai in Kailua-Kona); Hualalai Grille (also at the Four Seasons Hualalai in Kailua-Kona);

Since I’ve been fortunate to have vacationed or dined at many of these resorts, I have some thoughts and observations worth sharing:

  • The Hyatt Regency Maui doesn’t deserve a four diamond rating, in my opinion. I’ve stayed there and quite honestly I wasn’t impressed. The bathrooms are direct replicas of those used on Noah’s Ark. Okay, perhaps, I’m exaggerating a bit, but a tiny tub/shower/commode bathroom with one sink outside the cramped room just doesn’t cut it with me. I’ll have my review of this property coming soon.
  • I’m glad to see the Four Seasons Manele Bay on Lanai make the list with four diamonds. I think if they can correct some inconsistent service issues, they could become five diamond. This property is phenomenal. I will have my review of it in the near future.
  • The Princeville Resort on Kauai dropped out of four diamond listing this year. Hopefully, the renovations they’re working on will help launch them back to the AAA prestige next year.
  • The Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua should be putting the finishing touches on an extensive renovation. If they rated at five diamond now, I just can’t wait to see how much better the resort is. To be sure, I’m going to be keeping my eyes peeled for a deal to check out the renovated digs.
  • The Halekulani at Waikiki racked up multiple awards for their restaurants as well as hotel.

Sources: Star Bulletin 1 & 2; USA Today

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