Maui is again voted best isle in U.S., world

Readers of Conde Nast Traveler again have voted Maui the top island in the United States and the world, according to the magazine’s website,

Maui’s scenery received a rating of 98.1. The island’s atmosphere was rated 95.8. Its beaches were 95.6, activities 95.2, “friendliness” 92.6, lodging 92.1 and restaurants 88.9.

The website reported that Conde Nast “readers rave about this ‘veritable paradise,’ calling it a ‘combination of tropical ambience and American comforts.’ ”

The magazine also said that with Maui’s abundance of activities, from whale-watching to nature hikes to water sports, “you will never have a dull moment.”

“To experience Maui’s unending natural beauty, drive along the road to Hana, a 68-mile scenic route featuring awe-inspiring waterfalls and ending at the breathtaking Seven Sacred pools,” said the magazine, which misidentified the pools at Oheo in Kipahulu.

Four other Hawaiian islands were in the top 10 in the United States and the top 20 in the world, the magazine said.

Those ratings were:

* Kauai, No. 2 in both the U.S. and the world.

* Oahu, No. 5 in the U.S., 8th in the world.

* Big Island, No. 6 in the U.S., 10th in the world.

* Lanai, No. 7 in the U.S., 17th in the world.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Terryl Vencl, executive director of the Maui Visitors Bureau. “This is a very coveted award. It means a great deal to our community.”

This is far from the first time Maui has been loved by the readers of Conde Nast, which has a circulation of 800,000.

This is Maui’s 20th year as best island in the United States, Vencl said. And, it’s the 19th year for Maui to be named by Conde Nast as best island in the world in its annual readers’ survey.

“We are once again honored as a destination to win this prestigious award,” she said. “The score has increased over last year’s score and our beauty, scenery and friendliness – all in high 90s – are the reason we continue to gain this award.

“We know that visitors love the many choices that are available from accommodations to activities, cuisine, retail and that wonderful aloha they feel when they visit,” she said. “With an (overall) score of 93.9, it points to the experience a visitor has when coming to Maui. That is all thanks to our wonderful communities and residents.”

Vencl said she also was pleased to see the acknowledgment that visitors have an “abundance of things to do” on Maui.

“They love us because of choices,” she said. “They’re very satisfied with the experience that they have here.”

She added that she understands Conde Nast had a “record year” in terms of the number of surveys it received from readers.

“They had an enormous turnaround of their surveys,” she said.

Vencl said she had no doubt Maui’s highest ratings will translate to more visitors coming to the Valley Isle.

Readers of the magazine watch to see “who’s doing what and where’s the best place to go,” she said.

Mayor Alan Arakawa said that “everyone on Maui should be proud of this award.”

“For the last 20 years, Maui has set the standard with our hotels, beaches, restaurants, activities, natural beauty and our aloha spirit,” he said. “It is reflected in our visitor numbers and among Conde Nast readers.”