Travel + Leisure Readers Love Hawaii, Too

image Travel + Leisure Magazine just announced the 2008 version of their World’s Best Awards per their 13th annual reader poll. As no surprise to us Hawaii lovers, the islands were well represented on the top lists. So let’s take a closer look at who won the kudos.

Where are the world’s best islands?
Three of Hawaii’s Islands are in the top 10 islands in the world. Here’s how they stacked up:

  • Maui is number 3.
  • Kauai is right below Maui at number 4.
  • The Big Island is number 7.

How do Hawaii’s hotels compare to the top 100 hotels in the world?

  • T+L really loves the Four Seasons Resort Lanai, The Lodge at Koele this year. This hotel tops all Hawaii accommodations coming in at the 15th best resort in the world. I might add that this is the least expensive Four Seasons in Hawaii. To be honest, I’m a bit surprised this resort was selected as the best in Hawaii considering it doesn’t even have a view of the ocean.
  • The next resort on the list is the Four Seasons Resort Wailea on Maui at number 26.
  • Yet another Four Seasons property is on the list with the Hualalai on the Big Island at number 27.
  • Honolulu’s Halekulani is number 44.
  • Maui’s Hotel Hana is number 68.
  • At number 85 is the Fairmont Kea Lani in the Wailea area of Maui.

The magazine also lists the top 25 hotels in Hawaii, which is worth a look. Here are some of my observations:

  • The sunny and luxurious area of Wailea is very popular. It seems that the declining economy isn’t daunting the most expensive place to stay in Hawaii.
  • The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is listed at number 15 even though it’s been closed to repair earthquake damage since December 2006. They plan to reopen at the end of this year.
  • Um, where are the other Prince resorts? I’m surprised the Hapuna Prince and the Maui Prince aren’t on the list as they have been in the top 25 in years past.
  • Also noticeably missing is the Kona Village Resort on the Big Island. This resort is Hawaii’s closest version of an all inclusive resort.
  • It’s nice to see that the Turtle Bay Resort made the list this year at number 22. This resort is really a gem, in my opinion.
  • Multi-million dollar renovations seem to pay-off, sometimes. The Waikoloa Beach Marriott snuck on the list at number 18 after not being in last year’s top 25. On the other hand, Maui’s Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua actually dropped a spot to number 13.

Are there any Hawaii hotels in the Top 20 Spa Hotels in the world?

The answer is yes! The Grand Wailea on Maui is number 11 and it’s neighbor, the Four Seasons Maui is number 16. I have to say that the Grand Wailea Spa absolutely rocks. Oh my goodness, I loved my experience there.

So now that we’ve looked at the Travel + Leisure’s opinion of what’s best, tell me what you think. Did they get it right? Any surprises for you? Let’s hear it.

  1. I loved this list when it came out. But more importantly I loved how much Hawaii was honored! Last year we stayed in the Mauna Kea Beach resort area (in a residence) and it was BEAUTIFUL! I am also surprised about the Hapuna Prince – it is beautiful too! – although a little 70’s ish.
    This year we are going back to Kauai for a week at the Outrigger Waipouli Resort.
    I was also happy to the the Turtle Bay Resort – I love it on Oahu!
    Great blog!

  2. @ Melanie – Thanks for sharing your favorites! I think you’ll like that Outrigger Waipouli. I’ve only heard good things about it. Now excuse me while I get green with envy. 🙂

    @ GOH – You know, you’re right, this would be a good starting point for someone who doesn’t know where to begin. I think we’ve all been at that state of confusion trying to pick an island and then a resort. One thing I really liked about the list this year is that more affordable resorts made the list.

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