AAA diamonds dazzle and departures decided
HAWAII'S AAA Five Diamond club will get a wee bit smaller next year. The Kahala hotel, no longer managed by the Mandarin Oriental chain, lost diamond No. 5, but did make the AAA Four Diamond list, as did the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina for year No. 7 and Waikiki's Halekulani hotel for year No. 6.
La Mer, a luxe restaurant at Halekulani, retained its 5-stone-status, stretching its stretch to 17 consecutive years. It boasts the greatest diamond-rating longevity of any Hawaii property on AAA's top-tier.
Among Hawaii lodgings earning five diamonds from AAA's expert assessors are two Four Seasons properties, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, now on the list for 16 years, and the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, at nine years. The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, at 11 years, is Hawaii's other AAA Five Diamond Lodging winner.
Maui rocks with four four-diamond lodgings: the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa for 12 years; the Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa for eight; the Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui, for five years and the Hotel Hana Maui for four.
The Big Island's Kohala Coast has been represented on the four-diamond list by the Fairmont Orchid for 16 years and by the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows for eight.
Kauai's Princeville Resort, making the roster for the 13th consecutive year, is Kauai's only four-diamond-rated anything.
There are 11 Hawaii restaurants gracing the 2007 AAA Four Diamond Restaurant list.
Bali By the Sea made it for an 18th year; Orchids, at Halekulani, for 12; Azul, at Ihilani, for 11; Chef Mavro, seven; and at the Kahala, Hoku's won its fifth year and Tokyo Tokyo Restaurant got its first.
The Big Island and Maui each had three four-stoners.
Pahu i'a and Hualalai Grille at the Four Seasons Hualalai, have been listed for seven and two years, respectively. It is the third year for the Grill at the Fairmont Orchid.
Maui's bling-winning gustatory gateways include, for a fifth year, Spago at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea and the Banyan Tree at the Ritz-Carlton. The 2007 listing makes year No. 4 for Sarento's on the Beach in Kihei.
Standards return to radio
The Hawaiian music format of KHUI-FM 99.5
and morning show host Tiny Tadani are about to bid "aloha."
Effective tomorrow, they will be replaced with a format known as adult standards -- and there will be no live morning show for a while.
The format features classic artists like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett as well as more contemporary names such as Michael Buble, Norah Jones and yes, Rod Stewart, since one of his more recent self-reinventions included a recording of old standards.
Owned by California-based Salem Communications Corp., KHUI's ratings and its morning show were tied for No. 19 overall in the last rating period. "We weren't showing a whole lot of traction with the KHUI format," General Manager Steve Miller said.
Conversely, the dominant Hawaiian music stations on Oahu, KCCN-FM 100.3 and KINE-FM 105.1, are consistently in the top five. Both are owned by Georgia-based Cox Radio Inc. KDNN-FM 98.5, which plays Hawaiian and reggae music, is a strong top-10 player owned by Texas-based Clear Channel Communications Inc.
While there is hearty competition for Hawaiian music listeners, "there's an obvious hole in the market for some adult standards," said Miller.
The music will come from Dial Global, a Colorado-based company that provides services for the radio industry, "but we plan to augment the format with ... Hawaii standards," Miller said, such as "Over the Rainbow" by the late Israel Kamakawiwoole.
Tadani is the only employee to be displaced by the format flip, since other staffers have duties at other Salem stations.
"He was looking to do some other things as well," Miller said. Tadani has many irons in many media fires, including a large presence on OC16 on TV.
Meanwhile, longtime Program Director and air personality Michael "T" Shishido, who has resigned, served his last day on Friday.
"Michael was doing a lot for us ... I wish him well," Miller said. Miller is seeking a new program director for KAIM-FM 95.5 and KHNR-FM 97.5. John Matthews, program director for the oldies format of KGMZ-FM 107.9, has been assigned watch over KHUI.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org