By John Wogan
July 08, 2020

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on Mar. 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come—whenever they may be.

America’s 50th state is mythologized by the visitors who go back year after year. There are, of course, the hundreds of pristine beaches across its most visited islands (the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu). Other draws include the Polynesian-rooted culture that dates back over 1,500 years and the lush, jungle-covered valleys and mountains that thrill hikers from around the world. But maybe the most enticing thing about Hawaii is its incredible range of resorts, which are diverse enough to have something for everyone.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Courtesy of Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani

The Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, is one reader favorite. “The ‘old Hawaii’ feel of the hotel is what has always brought us back,” said one guest. The resort ranked No. 2 this year, as the legendary Big Island escape also celebrated the completion of a top-to-bottom renovation and rebranding. A tropical-modern aesthetic anchors the property now, though the signature restaurant, Canoe House, still has the same iconic views of the Kohala Coast that have made it a favorite for decades.

Over on the tiny island of Lanai (population: about 3,100), the Four Seasons Resort Lanai impresses with “world-class restaurants, breathtaking golf, the quaint nearby village of Lanai City, and a staff that thinks of everything,” one reader wrote. The resort, No. 4 this year, “is hands-down perfect,” said another.

Read on to see the other 18 best resorts in Hawaii, including Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani, the newcomer that captured the top spot.

1. Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani, Oahu

Courtesy of Halepuna Waikiki by Halekulani

Score: 94.32

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Although it opened only last fall, this Oahu newcomer shot straight to the top of the list — a testament to the enthusiasm readers have for the sister property of the legendary Halekulani, across the street, which took No. 5. “Staff is so friendly, and the property is impeccably clean, functional, and stylish,” one reader said. The hotel has also quickly become a popular dining spot for locals and guests alike, thanks in large part to its wonderful bakery, which does incredible breads, pastries, and viennoiserie. (The head baker, Tatsuhiro Kaneshiro, was recruited from Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.) The location in the heart of Waikiki is another asset: Halepuna is within walking distance of some of the best restaurants and shopping on Oahu.

2. Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Big Island

Courtesy of Auberge Resorts Collection

Score: 94.07

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3. Hotel Wailea, Maui

Courtesy of Glenn Parry/Hotel Wailea

Score: 93.98

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4. Four Seasons Resort Lanai, Lanai

Courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 91.55

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5. Halekulani, Oahu

Courtesy of Halekulani

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 91.42

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6. Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui

Courtesy of The Fairmont Kea Lani

Score: 91.26

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7. Montage Kapalua Bay, Maui

Courtesy of Montage Kapalua Bay

Score: 90.71

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8. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Big Island

Courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 90.47

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9. (tie) The Kahala Hotel & Resort, Oahu (tie)

Courtesy of The Kahala Hotel & Resort

Score: 90.37

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9. (tie) Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort at Poipu Beach, Kauai

Courtesy of Ko'a Kea Hotel & Resort

Score: 90.37

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11. 'Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Michael Kleinberg/Courtesy of Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach

Score: 90.36

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12. Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, Oahu

Courtesy of Four Seasons

Score: 90.32

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13. Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, Maui

Courtesy of Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort

Score: 89.78

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14. Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii, Big Island

Courtesy of The Fairmont Orchid

Score: 88.98

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15. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Big Island

Courtesy of Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Score: 88.77

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16. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, Big Island

Courtesy of The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

Score: 88.00

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17. Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Kauai

Courtesy of Grand Hyatt

Score: 87.96

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18. Travaasa Hana, Maui

Courtesy of Travaasa Hana

Score: 87.60

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19. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Maui

Courtesy of Four Seasons Resorts

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 87.38

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20. The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Maui

Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton

Score: 87.21

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See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.