MAUI, Hawai ’i – For an unprecedented 17th time, “Maui, the Magic Isle” captured “Best Island in the World” honors in the 24th annual CONDE NAST TRAVELER Readers’ Choice Awards. With a score of 92.1, Maui was also voted “Best U.S. Island” (formerly “Best Pacific Island”) for the 21st consecutive year. In the same category, sister island Kauai placed2nd (90.0) while third place honors went to Kiawah, South Carolina (86.6).
The Big Island of Hawaii and Oahu tied for 4th (85.8) and Lanai rounded off the top six with a score of 84.6. According to the publication, the Readers’ Choice Awards are a unique and trusted source of advice globally for its range and depth thanks to America’s most discerning and demanding travelers. “Maui continues to capture the hearts, minds and imaginations of visitors the world over,” stated Terryl Vencl, executive director, Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau. “Recent branding studies reveal our visitors seek variety, choice and adventure, planned or spontaneous.
They want to know lots of options are available, but want to have the freedom to be as active or relaxed as they choose. I believe this coveted award speaks to that.” The award was presented to Vencl by veteran actor Chris Noth (Law & Order, Sex in the City and The Good Wife) in a star-studded awards ceremony held in New York City last night. Noth shared his love for Maui and visits regularly. His mother, a former CBS television reporter, has made Maui her home. Other top island destinations worldwide included winners in the following geographical categories: Asia (Maldives, 87.5), Caribbean/Atlantic (Bermuda, 87.4), Asia/Indian Ocean (Bora Bora, 87.0), Europe (Bozcaada and The Turkish Aegean Islands, 84.2) and Canada (Vancouver Island, 81.5).
Maui’s score once again surpassed all other top destinations globally beating out every “Best City” category winner including Oceania (Sydney, 85.1), Europe (Florence, 85.0), U.S. (Charleston, SC, 84.7), Africa/Middle East (Cape Town, 83.9), Canada (Quebec, 83.0), Asia (Kyoto, 82.3) and Mexico (San Miguel de Allende, 79.8). Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa added, “Maui has so much to offer. It is an island of incredible beauty featuring unparalleled service, top-notch activities, excellent restaurants, a wide variety of accommodations and the friendliest folks anywhere.” Arakawa continued, “This is a proud moment for the visitor industry and our people of Maui.” In the “Top Hawaii Resorts” category, resorts of Maui and Lanai captured top honors as well. Leading the way was Travassa Hana (95.0) followed by Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (93.9). Oahu’s Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk (93.7) placed third and Hawaii Island’s Four Seasons Resort Hualalai (93.4) ranked fourth.
The island of Lanai captured fifth and sixth place respectively as Four Seasons Lanai at Manele Bay scored 93.4 and Four Seasons Lanai, The Lodge at Koele finished with 93.1. Other Maui resorts making the Top 20 included 11th place Grand Wailea (89.3), 12th ranked Fairmont Kea Lani (89.0.) and 13th place Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa (87.8). The Ritz Carlton, Kapalua (86.9), captured the 14th spot.Hawaiian Airlines also ranked as a Top U.S. Airline placing third (66.5) behind 1st place Virgin America (79.7) and 2nd place Jet Blue (71.0). The magazine’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards poll analyzes the travel preferences of their readership in various categories including cities, islands, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, spas, resorts and rental cars.
Ratings are based on the responses of CONDE NAST TRAVELER subscribers who participated in the 24th annual poll. More than 28,000 readers responded representing some 8 million individual votes. Complete results will be published in the November 2011 issue, which arrives on newsstands later this month. (For more information, check out www.gohawaii.com/maui)