Mauna Kea tops in Hawaii tennis resorts
THE BIG ISLAND'S Mauna Kea Beach Resort has made Tennis magazine's top 10 list, leading its top 50 tennis resorts in the nation. The list, available in the magazine's October edition and on the Web, includes the Fairmont Orchid and the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai among the remaining 40 resort, which were not ranked by number, but listed in alphabetical order.
Mauna Kea and Kapalua Resort were in the top 50, but not the top 10 on the 2005 list. While Mauna Kea moved up to the top 10 this year, Kapalua is not in the top 50 this time around.
"It is quite an honor," said Craig Pautler, director of tennis for the Mauna Kea.
"I've run a lot of tennis facilities over here for many many years, and this is probably one of the best, one of the highest honors we've received."
The Mauna Kea was in the top 50 for years but slipped in the rankings in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Pautler was hired four years ago, and a year later, "they included us again, but we were putting a lot back into the physical plant," he said.
Improvements include new fencing, windscreens, furniture, umbrellas for shade and lot of repainting.
"So the place really looks good. It looks sparkling," he said.
In addition to the facilities, "they took into account the programs we've put back into place," including courtside service.
Tennis-playing guests receive courtside service of water, towels to wipe off and "chilled ice towels" to cool down. Staff even will run for a visor or bottle of sunblock upon request.
Mauna Kea also ranked No. 4 among the Top 100 Tennis Resorts and Camps in the world, as announced by TennisResortsOnline.com earlier this year. The Web site, run by a former Tennis magazine editor, also ranked Mauna Kea at No. 1 for "Best Setting," No. 2 for "Best Game Matching," and No. 2 for "Most Romantic."
Coverage by publications read by avid tennis players and travelers make a big difference for resorts like the Mauna Kea, as evidenced by a recent tournament there, Pautler said.
Of the 130 participants, 80 were from the mainland. The upgraded facilities really helped the mainland players get through the tournament, shaded from the Hawaii sun, said Pautler.
The Mauna Kea's been around 40 years, but "it's not an old, run-down facility that's kind of the ugly stepsister of golf, or whatever. They treat us as if we're a fine restaurant," Pautler said.
"It's so great to have the support of the owners and management to give me the tools, the resources, to create one of the finest tennis facilities and operations in the world," he said.
New New Balance store
Hawaii's first New Balance store will open Thursday at Ward Centre. The store will invite Honolulu physicians and podiatrists to stage regular clinics for running groups, sports teams and leagues and others interested in fitness.
The 2,400-square-foot store, independently owned and operated by Joe Rossi, will supply shoes for walking, running, tennis, basketball and more, for men, women and children.
It will also carry other New Balance-owned brands including Dunham, known for rugged casual footwear, and Aravon comfort performance shoes as well as athletic apparel.
Grand opening activities from Thursday through Sunday will include a traditional Hawaiian blessing and chances to win a shopping spree. The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: email@example.com