Best Island Hotels? Travel + Leisure says 5 of top 20 are in Hawaii

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Four Seasons Hualalai: Away from it all, with championship golf on site.

Whenever I see "Island" and "World's Best," I'm looking to see how Hawaii did. It usually ends with a smile on my face.

And so it was with Travel + Leisure's "World's Best Island Hotels" — the Aloha State garnered 5 of the 20 nods. The writer was particularly taken with the Lodge at Koele, kicking off the list with this accolade:
You’ll find rattan armchairs on covered porches, shaded forests and gardens, and the charming sensibility of an upland plantation estate. Although it’s not a beachfront paradise, the 102-room Lodge at Koele has its own trump cards: a tranquil vibe, world-class golf, and room rates below those found at five-star hotels on neighboring Maui. For those unwinding at the Lanai hotel in the island’s central highlands, the scene is indeed mai ka lani (“heaven sent”).
Here are the five Hawaii properties, and what T+L had to say about them. What's your experience? Are there others that should be on the list? Chime in:
  • No. 6 — The Four Seasons Hualalai: “Perfect,” “heaven,” and “the best vacation of my life” are just a few ways guests describe this tropical island resort where all 228 rooms, in two-story bungalows, have ocean views. Meanwhile, the grounds border the dramatic volcanic rock coast with seawater and freshwater swimming pools and an open-air spa teems with tropical vegetation. Be sure to schedule tee time: The private 7,100-square-foot oceanfront Jack Nicklaus signature golf course is carved right into the underlying black lava, which serves as occasional bunkers. Fly there in 3D »
  • No. 8 — The Halekulani: It’s all about service at this recently renovated 5-acre Waikiki Beach beauty, which has existed for nearly a century. Breakfast is a highlight: at the open-air dining room at Orchids restaurant, paddle straight for the Hawaiian specialties: pipi kaula beef jerky, marinated ahi tuna poke, lomilomi cured salmon, Waimanalo roast suckling pig, local Kula tomatoes, and Big Island goat cheese. The Halekulani kitchen also whips up the Pacific’s best popovers. Once you’re thoroughly stuffed, book a traditional Polynesian spa treatment like Lomi Lomi Hawaiian massage. Fly there in 3D »
  • No. 9 — The Kahala Hotel & Resort: This Oahu classic—fresh from a major renovation—now has thoughtful in-room details (Frette linens; chenille robes; oversize showerheads) in addition to a dolphin-filled lagoon and views of Diamond Head. But it’s the hotel’s storied history that makes this 1964 colossus such an icon. It was here, at what was then a Hilton and known as the Kahollywood, that Richard Burton and Liz Taylor hid out from the paparazzi in a private cabana. Fly there in 3D »
  • No. 10 — The Four Seasons, The Lodge at Koele: An English country manor sensibility pervades this 20-acre central-highland property on sparsely populated Lanai. The 102 rooms and suites have verandas, many fronting the perfectly manicured lawns where croquet and lawn bowling are played. Spend your days on jeep tours, hiking, horseback riding, or skeet shooting, then unwind by the enormous stone fireplaces in the hunting lodge–like Great Hall, sumptuous with dark rich wood, skylights, and libraries and sitting rooms in the wings. Fly there in 3D »
  • No. 19 — The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea: A favored hideout for Hollywood types in search of a Polynesian interlude, the 380-room resort caters to every pleasurable whim. Stroll in a traditional Hawaiian healing garden to the renovated spa, where you can soothe sunned skin with an avocado mask in a treatment room for two. The resort also customizes spa packages—think coconut, pineapple, and kukui nut–based therapies—for its guests. Those who are looking for a little more activity can snorkel, scuba, or take yoga classes for free, in a place where most resorts charge extra. Fly there in 3D »

Hawaii Hotels | Hawaii Resorts | Four Seasons Hualalai
Hawaii Hotels | Oahu Hotels | Oahu Resorts | Halekulani
Hawaii Hotels | Oahu Hotels | Oahu Resorts | The Kahala Hotel & Resort
Hawaii Hotels | Lanai Hotels | Lanai Resorts | The Four Seasons, The Lodge at Koele
Hawaii Hotels | Maui Hotels | Maui Resorts | The Four Seasons Maui at Wailea

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