It’s that time of the year—when fierce winter winds blow, snow falls (even here in Hawaii) and Travel + Leisure Magazine’s globetrotting staff return from far better climes to bestow its annual gift to hotels, inns, resorts and lodges worldwide: a spot on the pub’s annual 500 World's Best Hotels list.
This year, 23 Hawaii properties get the early Christmas present from T+L’s writers and editors, up from 16 on last year’s list. And the property with the biggest gift of 'em all is on sleepy Lanai.
The Lodge at Koele has racked up the T+L honors this year. In a July poll, T+L readers named the resort one of the World’s Best.
The Lodge is a unique property for Hawaii: an upcountry manor, nestled in the forested highlands of Lanai, yet just 20 minutes from the warm white sands of Hulopoe Beach, and sister property the Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay. Hunting, horseback riding, hiking, skeet shooting, golfing and laying about its lengthy veranda with a good book are its main activities.
Our online editor Derek Paiva documented a recent stay at the Lodge with adamant fondness.
Here are the other Hawaii properties that made T+L staff’s 2009 cut, ranked in order of their list placement:
1. Four Seasons Resort Lanai, the Lodge at Koele, Lanai
2. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Maui
3. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Big Island of Hawaii
4. Halekulani, Oahu
5. Hotel Hana-Maui & Honua Spa, Maui
6. Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
7. Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, Lanai
8. Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows, Big Island of Hawaii
9. Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Kauai
10. Fairmont Orchid, Big Island of Hawaii
11. Kahala Hotel & Resort, Oahu
12. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Maui
13. Royal Hawaiian, Oahu
14. Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui
15. Princeville Resort, Kauai
16. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Big Island of Hawaii
17. Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, Maui
18. Moana Surfrider, Oahu
19. Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, Big Island of Hawaii
20. Ihilani Resort & Spa, Oahu
21. Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa, Oahu
22. Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, Kauai
23. Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu
One interesting note: The Big Island of Hawaii's venerable Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, closed since Oct. 2006 due to earthquake damage, seems to have made in onto T+L's 500 list solely on anticipation of its Dec. 20 reopening. That's some serious love in our book.
Lodge at Koele gardens (top), photo by Derek Paiva; Lodge at Koele grand hall, photo by Dawn Sakamoto