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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, October 26, 2002

2 Hawai'i resorts ranked at top of Zagat's survey

By Kelly Yamanouchi
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i resorts top the first two spots in the latest Zagat Survey of top U.S. hotels, resorts and spas.

The Four Seasons Hualalai on the Big Island is ranked the top U.S. resort, keeping its title from last year, and the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea is ranked second.

Nine other Hawai'i resorts also are listed among the top 50, including the Lodge at Koele on Lana'i, the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on Maui, Manele Bay on Lana'i, Mauna Lani Bay on the Big Island, the Kahala Mandarin Oriental on O'ahu, the Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui, the JW Marriott Ihilani on O'ahu, the Hyatt Regency on Kaua'i and the Grand Wailea on Maui.

Only one Hawai'i property made the list of top 50 hotels with more than 100 rooms — Halekulani on O'ahu, ranked No. 3 behind the Peninsula and the Four Seasons in Chicago. The Hotel Hana-Maui, the only small hotel listed among the top 50, ranked 18th.

The Four Seasons at Wailea this year edged out the Lodge at Koele on Lana'i, which fell from second to fifth in the resorts ranking, behind the Four Seasons in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Four Seasons in Las Vegas.

The rankings, which will be officially announced next week, are considered some of the most prestigious and are based on ratings and reviews by 7,722 frequent travelers and travel professionals.

"We're delighted," said Radha Arora, general manager of the Four Seasons at Wailea. Arora said he believes the hotel has been successful because 30 percent of the hotel's staff has worked at the resort since it opened in 1990 and it has maintained its staffing levels despite the shaky economy.

Last December, chef Wolfgang Puck opened a Spago at the resort.

Reach Kelly Yamanouchi at 535-2470 or kyamanouchi@honoluluadvertiser.com.