Finalists announced for aio Media and Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association’s Inaugural Awards Program

The aio Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards will recognize outstanding achievements of tourism operators across the state of Hawaii.

The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA) has partnered with aio Media (HONOLULU, Hawaii Business and HAWAI‘I Magazine) to launch an awards program that honors some of the top achievers in the industry. The awards are a nomination program covering 14 categories across the areas of accommodations, restaurants, events, music, culture and heritage, and agritourism to recognize the outstanding achievements of tourism operators across the state of Hawaii.

The aio Media Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Awards aim to publicly recognize and reward excellence within the industry; reinforce the value of the tourism industry; reinforce consumer confidence in the tourism industry; and promote an annual platform of celebration for the industry and offer networking opportunities for operators, supporters and sponsors.

Nominations were submitted by the public last fall, and three (3) to five (5) finalists in each category were carefully chosen by a blue-ribbon selection committee to be represented at an awards dinner taking place at the Hawaii Convention Center on the evening of Thursday, March 8, 2018. Finalists are listed below in alphabetical order:

1. Category: Agritourism / Agriculture Tourism Destination

  • Aloun Farms’ Annual Pumpkin Festival
  • Greenwell Farms/Current Events
  • Harvest Festival/Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

2. Category: Agritourism / Farmers Market

  • Blaisdell Farmers Market
  • Ka Makana Ali‘i Farmers Market
  • Kailua Farmers Market
  • Kapi‘olani Community College Farmers Market
  • Keauhou Hawaii Island Farmers Market

3. Category: Excellence in Food and Beverage / Fine Dining

  • Hau Tree Lanai at The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel
  • Orchids at Halekulani
  • Noe at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
  • Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill
  • Ruth’s Chris Waikiki

4. Category: Excellence in Food and Beverage / Casual Dining

  • Crackin’ Kitchen  
  • Duke’s Waikiki
  • Lava Lava Beach Club
  • Waikiki Yokocho Gourmet Alley
  • Yauatcha Waikiki

5. Category: Excellence in Food and Beverage / Local/Sustainable Dining

  • Ali‘i Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Azure at the Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort
  • Japengo Steak and Seafood at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa
  • Merriman’s Hawaii Restaurants
  • Ravish at The MODERN Honolulu

6. Category: Best Hotels/Accommodations – Luxury Accommodations

  • Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
  • Halekulani
  • Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows
  • The Kahala Hotel & Resort
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

7. Category: Best Hotels/Accommodations – Large Hotel

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
  • Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
  • Ka‘anapali Beach Hotel
  • The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
  • The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

8. Category: Best Hotels/Accommodations – Small Hotel

  • Andaz Maui at Wailea
  • Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
  • The MODERN Honolulu
  • The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel
  • The Surfjack Hotel and Swim Club

9. Category: Leadership in the Industry – Young Achiever

  • Anisah Ahakuelo, The MODERN Honolulu
  • Elizabeth Guthrie, Mean Mango Integrated Marketing
  • Jenny Kim, PacRim Marketing Group
  • Trevor Ozawa, Honolulu City Council
  • Will Song, Lights on Digital

10. Category: Leadership in the Industry – Cultural Advisor

  • Blaine Kamalani Kia
  • Clifford Naeole, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
  • Luana Maitland, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts
  • Thelma Keahulani Kam, Starwood Hotels & Resorts
  • Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat, Honua Consulting

11, Category: Leadership in the Industry – Outstanding Individual in Music & Entertainment

  • Henry Kapono
  • Jerry Santos
  • Makana

12. Category: Leadership in the Industry – Contribution to Tourism by an Individual

  • Denise Wardlow, The Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
  • Kamea Hadar, POW! WOW! Hawaii
  • Teri Orton, Hawaii Convention Center/AEG Facilities

13. Category: Best Tourism Events – Heritage and Cultural Event

  • Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival
  • Duke’s OceanFest
  • Honolulu Festival
  • Polynesian Cultural Center’s World Fireknife Championship
  • Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Welcome Home Event

14. Category: Best Tourism Events – Agriculture Event Using Locally Grown Products

  • Hawaii Chocolate Festival
  • Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
  • Kapalua Wine and Food Festival
  • Made in Hawaii Festival
  • Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Ticket sales will begin on January 8, 2018 and can be purchased at

The evening will promise top-notch entertainment and dining, along with a pre-function networking & cocktail hour. 



Categories: Hawaiʻi Lodging Tourism Awards, Oʻahu