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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

HAWAII: BEST OF THE BEST???

I picked up a copy of HAWAII magazine yesterday at Whole Foods.  I once subscribed to HONOLULU magazine, but never heard of HAWAII magazine.  Where have I been?  Hawaii has been around since 1983, for this issue, Best of the Best, was Volume 33, Number 2.  I did a bit of checking and learned that it:
  • is Hawaii's only national/international magazine.
  • has the largest paid circulation (68,000) of any magazine in the state 
  • has 200,000 readers/issue (comes out every two months, for $15-$20/year)
  • is owned by PacificBasin Communications, which also publishes HONOLULU magazine (35,000 paid circulation) and Hawaii Business
According to the magazine, the winners were selected by readers.  Something is clearly questionable, for Maui, with only 10% of the state population, got most of the awards.  For example:
  • Best Mid-range Hotel or Resort:  Sheraton Maui
  • Best Budget Hotel:  Kaanapali Beach Hotel
  • Best Boutique Hotel:  Travaasa Hana
  • Best Hotel or Resort for Romantic Getaway:  Travaasa Hana
  • Best Hotel or Resort for more than 5 nights:  Sheraton Maui
  • Best Vacation Time Share Property:  The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas
  • Best Hotel or Resort Spa:  Grand Wailea (right)
  • Best Hotel or Resort Pool:  Grand Wailea
  • Best Hotel or Resort with the Best Aloha Spirit:  Kaanapali Beach Hotel
  • Best Hotel or Resort Staff:  Kaanapali Beach Hotel
  • Best Golf Course:  Kapalua Resort 
  • Best Luau:  Old Lahaina Luau
  • Best Dinner Cruise/Sunset Sail:  Trilogy Maui
  • Best Annual Agricultural Festival or Fair:  Maui County Agricultural Festival
  • Best Zoo or Aquarium:  Maui Ocean Center
  • Best Surf Instruction Company:  Goofy Foot Surf School Maui
  • Best Wedding Spot:  Grand Wailea 
  • Best Beach for Hanging Around:  Kaanapali Beach
  • Best Island:  Maui
  • Best City or Town:  Lahaina
  • Best Restaurant costing more than $61/person:  Mama's Fish House (Paia)
  • Best Restaurant costing from $30-$60/person:  Duke's (one on Maui)
  • Best Restaurant for less than $29/person:  Duke's (also includes Maui...which is confusing)
  • Best Place to Get a Plate Lunch:  Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina
  • Best New Restaurant:  Frida's Mexican Beach House Restaurant (Lahaina)
  • Best Seafood Restaurant:  Mama's Fish House (Paia)
  • Best Restaurant for Breakfast:  The Gazebo Restaurant (Napili, yes, on Maui)
  • Best Farm to Table Restaurant:  Merriman's (one of Maui)
  • Best Romantic Restaurant:  Mama's Fish House (Paia...now, this is getting crazy)
  • Best Hotel or Resort Restaurant:  Duke's Beach House Maui
  • Best Japanese Restaurant:  Sansei Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar (one of Maui)
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant:  A Saigon Cafe (Wailuku)
  • Best Noodle, Saimin and Ramen Restaurant:  Star Noodle (Lahaina)
  • Best Deli:  DC's Deli and Diner (Kaanapali)
  • Best Pizza Restaurant:  Flatbread Company (Paia)
  • Best Craft Beer Pub:  Maui Brewing Company Brewpub (Lahaina)
Okay, how did a reputable company like PacificBasin Communications allow this to happen?  Clearly, some group or individual on Maui organized this effort.  I've been to most of those places above, and think some of them are fine.  BUT BEST IN HAWAII?  Heck, no!!!  I'll need to someday talk to AIO, which is the publications arm, and was founded by someone I know, Duane Kurisu.



For example, Honolulu has its annual Hale Aina award for Best Restaurants in the State of Hawaii.  You can speculate that write-ins (which would be the equivalent of 6th place or so) from Maui made some minor inroads:
  • Best Service:  Lahaina Grill
  • Best Sushi:  Sansei
  • Best Overall Japanese:  Sansei
Mind you, Maui restaurants here and there did well in this Honolulu list:
  • Best Wine Program:  Lahaina Grill got Gold for #1
  • Best Place to Take Visitors:  Mama's Fish House (Gold)
  • Best Seafood:  Mama's Fish House (Gold)
Also, the Best Maui Restaurants are:
  • Lahaina Grill (Gold)
  • Mama's Fish House (Silver)
  • Merman's Kapalua (Bronze)
  • Katana Kitchen (Finalist)
  • Star Noodle (Finalist)
  • Da Kitchen (Write In)
The Honolulu Star Advertiser has an annual Hawaii's Best, plus their Ilima Awards, but Maui hardly is mentioned in the former and the latter focuses on Oahu restaurants, with a Neighbor Island add on.

In short, I'm truly disappointed with this latest issue of Hawaii magazine.  Or, maybe, I need to re-visit Maui.  Read my experience when I spent the weekend there three years ago.  This one was bizarre, but worked out fine at the end.   And my breakfast view of Lanai from my Sheraton Maui room, the Best Mid-Range Hotel/Resort in Hawaii.


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