Kauai ranked No. 2 in world for best isle
A travel magazine poll also ranks it as the state's top island
Everybody on Kauai could be saying "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" to the rest of us, but they're not. Except maybe that rascally uncle or auntie or cousin.
Kauai is the second-best island in the world and the best island in Hawaii, according to subscribers of Travel + Leisure magazine.
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
The world's top 10 islands overall, by rank, name, location and 2005 rank, as voted by subscribers of Travel + Leisure magazine. An NA designation means it was not on last year's list.
1. Bali, Indonesia (1)
2. Kauai (4)
3. Maui (3)
4. Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia (NA)
5. Mount Desert Island, Maine (10)
6. Tasmania, Australia (NA)
7. Big Island (9)
8. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador (NA)
9. Santorini, Greece (2)
10. Phuket, Thailand (NA)
On the Net
» www.travelandleisure.com/ worldsbest/2006
In its "2006 World's Best Awards," the magazine's subscribers also ranked hotels, airlines, cruise lines, car rental companies, tour operators and safari outfitters. The magazine's annual list, already posted on its Web site, will appear in its August print edition.
Bali, Indonesia, was voted the No. 1 island for the fifth time. Bali beat Kauai by just more than 2 points -- a bigger margin than the 0.26-point hair's breadth between Kauai and third-place Maui. The Big Island ranked No. 7. No other Hawaiian islands placed in the top 10.
Subscribers responding to a survey that was distributed between January and March ranked islands according to natural attractions, activities and sights, restaurants and food, people and value.
"Because this honor is voted on by travelers, being named 'Hawaii's Best Island' is a wonderful reflection on Kauai's communities and people and the aloha they share with our visitors," Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste said in a statement. He commends the isle's visitor industry for "its dedication and hard work on behalf of our island home."
Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, said the bureau is "ecstatic" about the Travel + Leisure honor, especially given the rain and flooding disaster that hit Kauai hard earlier this year.
"We were blessed in March with wonderful attitudes from visitors, despite the challenges we had. ... I was so amazed at how the visitors were accepting and understanding of our situation," she said.
"I think the fact that the award has come when it has is a blessing for the island and the partnerships that we all share. We work really closely with the county, the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the (Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau) ... and the reassuring message to us is that people love (Kauai) and, fortunately, come back again," Kanoho said.
Among Hawaii's islands, rankings fluctuate from year to year. "It really depends on who's been here lately, who's filling out the survey and what's been happening during that year that they traveled," Kanoho said.
That Kauai is not only the top Hawaiian island, but No. 2 in the world "is really setting us apart," Kanoho said. "Kauai is a full-fledged destination," so it is important for people to know the Garden Island is accessible through direct flights, she said.
Edie Hafdahl, director of sales and marketing for the Kauai Visitors Bureau, will accept the Travel + Leisure awards Thursday at a ceremony in New York City.
Some Hawaii hotels also got some glory from the magazine. Four are ranked among the 100 best in the world.
The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island, at No. 12, is up from 20 last year; Waikiki's Halekulani is at No. 19, up from 23 last year; the Lodge at Koele on Lanai, at 44, was down from No. 41 last year; and the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, at No. 91, is down precipitously from No. 38 a year ago.
Somehow, the California Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, a perennial favorite of Hawaii travelers, escaped a Top 100 ranking.
Hawaii was absent from Travel + Leisure's hotel lists of Top 15 for $250 or less, 15 to Watch and the Top 15 Small Hotels.
However, Hawaii got a category unto itself for hotel and island rankings; the top 25 hotels list included, well, 25 Hawaii hotels. The list included the four from the "World's Best" list, a bunch of usual suspects and five new entries that were not on last year's list. From No. 21 to 25, they are the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki; Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Big Island; the Westin Maui; Kona Village Resort on the Big Island; and the Sheraton Moana Surfrider in Waikiki.
Hawaiian Airlines maintained its position at No. 6 among the Travel + Leisure Top 10 Domestic Airlines.
Hawaii did not get any "Best City" nods on the worldwide list, and the short list of top spas by region did not mention any in Hawaii.
Subscribers were also polled about spas, but full spa results will not be published until October. Hawaii's spas are usually woven through those lists like so much gold embroidery on a terry-cloth spa robe.
BOASTING THE BEST
Subscribers of Travel + Leisure magazine honored Hawaii with rankings of islands and hotels that are among the world's best, and an airline that is among the nation's best. An NA designation means it was not on last year's list.
HAWAII'S ISLANDS, RANKED BY T+L
HAWAII HOTELS AMONG T+L'S WORLD'S 100 BEST
|Rank, name, location
12. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Big Island 20
19. Halekulani, Honolulu 23
44. Lodge at Koele, Lanai 41
91. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea 38
2006 ENTRIES HAWAII HOTELS LIST IN T+L NOT LISTED IN 2005
21. Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa, Honolulu
22. Hilton Waikoloa Village, Big Island
23. Westin Maui Resort & Spa
24. Kona Village Resort, Big Island
25. Sheraton Moana Surfrider, Honolulu
Source: Travel + Leisure magazine online