Hawaii has made a great showing in the annual Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards.
The annual Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards, one of the highest distinctions in the travel industry, are based on the opinions of Travel + Leisure readers, who rated hotels, islands, airplanes, spas, rental-car agencies, cities, cruise lines, and tour operators and safari outfitters, around the world to affirm the world's best in travel.
This year's awards will be bestowed in New York City on July 21, 2009.
World's Best Hotels
In the category of World's Best Hotels, Bushmans Kloof in the Cedarberg Mountains, Western Cape, South Africa was selected as the top hotel in the world, followed closely by Oberoi Vanyavilas in Ranthambhore, India.
Three Hawaii hotels/resorts placed in the top 100:
41 - Halekulani, Honolulu, Island of Oahu
63 - Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Kaupulehu-Kona, Big Island of Hawaii
83- Hotel Hana-Maui & Honua Spa, Hana, Island of Maui
Needless to say, those three resorts also ranked as the top three resorts in Hawaii in a separate listing of the Top 25 Resorts in Hawaii which included resorts on all four of the major islands as well as the island of Lana'i.
Celebrating its benchmark 25th anniversary year, Halekulani, which means "House Befitting Heaven," has established a superlative and impeccable reputation for luxury, gracious hospitality and fine cuisine.
Consistently ranked amongst the world's best hotels, at Halekulani excellence is not an aspiration, but an ongoing commitment.
A hallmark of Halekulani's tradition of incomparable personalized service is greeting guests by name upon arrival at the property and escorting guests to their rooms for registration in complete privacy. This is only the beginning of an unrivaled experience that embraces every aspect of a guest’s stay.
Situated on more than five acres on Oahu’s famed Waikiki Beach, Halekulani is also home to La Mer - one of Hawaii's two AAA Five Diamond restaurants, offering exquisite French cuisine in an impeccable oceanfront setting.
SpaHalekulani, amongst many others, earned the coveted Mobil Four-Star rating, the highest bestowed upon any spa by the Mobil Travel Guide, and was ranked the #2 Best Resort Spa in North America by Conde Nast Traveler.
World's Best Islands
Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards also recognizes the world's best islands. This year the island that came in second in 2008 rose to the top. The island of Bali was selected as the world's best island. Last year's winner, the Galapagos Islands, came in second.
Once again three of Hawaii's islands were ranked in the top ten islands in the world:
4 - Kauai
6 - Maui
9 - Big Island of Hawaii
The selection of Kauai as "Hawaii's Best Island" is a well deserved and pleasant surprise. The island of Maui had for many years held that position.
This is the second national honor that Kauai has earned in recent weeks, following Hanalei Bay being named America's #1 beach for 2009 by Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach.
Popular with travelers who love the outdoors, Kauai is green and flourishing with lush flora running from the mountains to the ocean. Kauai also offers more than 50 miles of white sand beaches -- more beach per mile than any other island in Hawaii -- and the state's only navigable rivers. Only four percent of Kauai is developed for commercial and residential use.
Kauai is rich in cultural history and filled with natural wonders for exploration. Two of the biggest highlights are the 3,567-foot deep Waimea Canyon, dubbed "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific," and the Napali Coast with its 3,000-foot towering mountain cliffs along the northwest shoreline.
Kauai's abundant natural beauty has made it a favorite of Hollywood productions, with more than 60 major movies and TV shows having been filmed on the island, including South Pacific, Blue Hawaii, Jurassic Park, and Tropic Thunder.
Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau (KVB) was clearly excited by the award in commenting "What makes the honor of being named 'Hawaii's Best Island' is the acknowledgment that Kauai's incredible beauty and diversity of activities matches the demands of Travel + Leisure's discerning readers seeking a memorable vacation."
If you're planning a trip to Hawaii, the island of Kauai is definitely worth strong consideration for part of your trip. Just check out our feature Top Things to Do on Kaua'i to see some of what this wonderful island has to offer.