Best of Honolulu 2012: Services

Rick Barboza knows Hawaiian plants.

photo: david croxford

Editors' Picks

Best Men’s Indulgence

The old-fashioned straight-razor shave is something of a lost art (we’ve been searching for a good one in Honolulu for years), but, Mojo Barbershop owners Matt Leo and Marian Lee have brought it back in proper style. If the thought of a wickedly sharp blade held to your throat doesn’t sound relaxing, think again. This is closer to a spa treatment than a knife fight. Hot towels scented with mint and eucalyptus, rich lather, cooling unguents, a facial massage—the whole experience takes about 45 minutes, and you’re likely to bliss out from the cumulative effect of all the pampering. We did, at least. 1157 Bethel St., 927-8017,


Best Native Hawaiian Plant Resource

Rick Barboza and Matt Schirman are improving Hawaii’s ecology one native plant at a time. After scouring local plant sales for native species and keeping a look out for them during hikes, the two had amassed so many they decided to hold their own plant sale. It was so successful they went on to open Hui Ku Maoli Ola, a nursery in Kaneohe. Twelve years later, it’s still going strong. “I can really say I love what I do,” says Barboza. The nursery carries more than 150 native Hawaiian plant species. “Most people don’t know what native Hawaiian plants are,” he says. “So our mission is to educate people.” Barboza and Schirman also do residential and commercial landscape consulting. “We try to place plants that would have been growing near a house 1,000 years ago.”


Best Baby-Equipment Rental

Traveling long distances can be hard with a baby, especially when you have to go through airport security carrying a stroller, car seat and playpen, while your baby is crying in your arms and the TSA is reminding you for the second time that you need to take your shoes off. Next time your family is visiting Hawaii, tell them to leave everything at home and rent the cribs, toddler beds, bassinets, strollers, toys and high chairs online through Paradise Baby Co. They will even deliver it to your home, hotel or vacation rental. 561-1061,


Best Locally Made iPhone App

Whether you’re a Hawaiian language student or just trying to olelo Hawaii (speak Hawaiian) on your own, the Touch Hawaiian Pocket Dictionary app is the place to start. For $3.99, you’ll get access to more than 4,700 entries, including places and historical facts, which can be searched in English or Hawaiian. After the initial purchase, future updates are free.


Best Glass Refinisher

If you’ve ever nearly had an arm fall off trying to buff out vexing mineral deposits left by city water on your shower door, Blue Hawaii Window Cleaning can save you further pain. Unlike most of the glass-cleaning companies around town, owner Jamie Letterman always dispatches himself, rather than laborers. He’s been making glass gleam in high-end homes for more than 20 years, building a big-name client list that has included Tony Curtis. Your waterspots don’t stand a chance. “If I can’t get them one way,” he says, “I’ll get them another.”, 216-8712.


Staff Favorites

Christine Hitt:  At Heeia Fishpond, you can help rebuild an ancient Hawaiian fishpond, just as Hawaiians did more than 800 years ago.

Michael Keany:  McCully Bicycle and Sporting Goods’ warehouse, on Hausten Street, has become my favorite place for bike repairs—the mechanics are fast, good and always willing to share expertise and tips.

David Thompson:  Longtime Honolulu yogi Bharat Das teaches a free, daily yoga class at Kapiolani Park, unifying body, mind and breath for 90 transcendent minutes. Diamond Head end of park, weekdays 5 to 7 p.m., weekends 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Readers' Picks

Best Real Estate Firm

Prudential Advantage Realty, 4211 Waialae Ave., 738-3600,

Best Automotive Repair

Lex Brodie’s Tire, Brake and Service Co. ,  multiple locations,

Best Luxury Car Dealer

Mercedes-Benz of Honolulu, 818 Kapiolani Blvd., 592-5600,

Best Dry Cleaner

Hakuyosha Clean Living, multiple locations,

Best Pest Control Company

Terminix, multiple locations,

Best Cell Phone Service

AT&T, multiple locations,

Best Hair Salon

W Salon, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Second Floor, 943-2700,

Best Spa

Hoala Salon and Spa, 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Third Floor, 947-6141,

Best Home Security Service

Alert Alarm of Hawaii, 2668 Waiwai Loop, 521-5000,

Best Internet Service Provider

Oceanic Time Warner Cable Road Runner,

Best Storage Company

Hawaii Self Storage, multiple locations,

Best Insurance Company

First Insurance Co. of Hawaii, multiple locations, 527-7777,

Best Bank

First Hawaiian Bank, multiple locations,

Best Financial Advisers

Edward Jones, multiple locations,

Best Solar Company

RevoluSun, 748-8888,