Maui Business

Maui Still Nō Ka ʻOi Despite End to 20 Yr Reign as Top Island in World

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Maui rainbow, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui rainbow, file photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The Island of Maui was dethroned from its top spot as the best island in the world after earning the accolade for 20 consecutive years between and 1993 and 2013 in the annual ranking conducted by Condé Nast Traveler magazine.

The publication released a new list today as part of its 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards, ranking 30 of the top islands in the world.


Replacing Maui at the top spot was Palawan in the Philippines, followed by Kiawah Island in South Carolina, according to the report compiled by Condé Nast Traveler magazine writer Jenna Scherer.

In here report, Scherer touts Palawan’s climb to number one, saying it is home to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, “now listed as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.”

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa responded to the report saying, “I’ve heard from several people that the southern islands of the Philippines such as Palawan are remarkably beautiful.  And the fact is, there are hundreds of vacation destinations out here now that weren’t there 20 years ago.”


“Maui’s visitor industry has had great success but we work hard for it, and we need to keep upgrading and evolving if we want to remain #1. Not just in the minds of Conde Nast readers but among travelers from all over the world. I sincerely believe we can return to the #1 spot, but it will take a lot of hard work from our community. Working together I know we can do it,” Mayor Arakawa told Maui Now.

The good news for Hawaiʻi is that four major islands in the state were in the top 16 including: Maui at #3; Kauaʻi at #4; Hawaiʻi Island at #10; and Oʻahu at #16.

The publication still ranks Maui high in other areas on its Reader’s Choice lists.


Despite the drop in the publication’s island list, Maui is still nō ka ʻoi (the best) in the category for Top 25 Resorts in Hawaiʻi.

The publication lists a host of Maui resorts among its elite list. In fact, 13 of the top 25 resorts selected for the list are in Maui County, including the #1 ranked Wailea Beach Villas, #2 Four Seasons Resort Lānaʻi, The Lodge at Kōʻele; #3 Honua Kai Resort & Spa; and #4 Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, according to the publication.

In addition to topping the list for resorts in Hawaiʻi, the Wailea Beach Villas also appeared on the national list of Top 25 Resorts in the US, with the publication ranking the 98-room Wailea Beach Villas at #14.


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