Best Places To Stay In Maui For Whale
Kaanapali, Wailea and Maalaea in between are the places in Maui for whale-watching.
Mauis whale watching season runs from November to May and peaks in February. Its the time of year where North Pacific Humpback Whales enjoy the safe and warm ocean waters to breed, birth and raise their calves. The absolute best whale watching site is the McGregor Point Lookout in Maalaea, located right in between West and South Maui.
In West Maui, the most popular viewing point is Kaanapalis Black Rock. In South Wailea, you have a good chance of spotting humpbacks from Point Mauis Wailea Coastal Walk.
If youre looking to see these friendly giants up close, then you can join a whale-watching cruise from Lahaina harbor.
- The whale-watch sail standard tour or whale-watch sail deluxe tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation include the company of a marine biologist.
- For that extra dose of adventure, go whale-watching by kayak.
Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas
Unwind and recharge yourself in the calm, tropical ambiance of the Aston Maui resort.
Aston Maui offers comfortable accommodation surrounded by serene tropical gardens.
Choose a Premium Suite for upgraded furnishing and amenities.
Youll have a designer bathroom and a full gourmet kitchen.
For a casual, beachfront dining experience visit the on-site Castaway Cafe.
It offers seafood, burgers, and other dishes inspired by the Pacific region.
Moreover, the hotel has a large pool area including a jet spa and lounges.
You can also catch some Hawaiian sun in your private cabana on the beach.
- Guest Rating: 8.4
Best Hostel In Wailuku: Banana Bungalow Maui Hostel
The Banana Bungalow wins our vote for the best hostel in Maui, ideal for travellers visiting Hawaii on a budget. Conveniently located in Wailuku, this hostel regularly hosts free tours, pancake breakfast and happy hour parties. Guests can enjoy comfortable and clean accommodations, as well as wifi, a jacuzzi, and a garden.
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Kaanapali Vs Wailea: Activities
Are one of these areas more convenient for all of the activities youre excited to do? While youll likely spend a lot of time in the car exploring the island , do one of these spots offer a better jumping-off point for your excursions?
Once you figure out where to stay on Maui you can start planning your things to do. Check out our free itineraries below as we specialize in Maui!
Why Should You Stay In Kaanapali
Built in the 1960s to be a resort community, Kaanapali offers five resorts and multiple vacation condo options. It stretches along three miles of coastline with golden sand beaches. Add in two golf courses and an open-air shopping center, Whalers Village, it is a self-contained destination giving you many amenities so you can fully enjoy your vacation without leaving. .
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Have A Drink At The Pool Bar
We love to sit at the bar, have a drink, and enjoy the view! If you come between December and March, you are likely to see whales! If you look hard enough, you can usually see the whales come up and spout water. Keep a close eye because after they spout, they usually breach out of the water or you can catch a glimpse of their tales. There are tours you can take to get closer to them, and if you scuba dive or snorkel, you can often hear them!
New Luxurious Suites With Full Kitchens $$$$$
If hotels were cars then the Marriott would be a Toyota, nice and dependable. The Ritz Carlton would be a Bentley, extravagant and braggy. The Honua Kai Resort and Spa would be a Lexus, top notch luxury but understated and restrained. If you like the good things in life but still want your resort to reflect the values of island life then this is your place.
Surrounded by lush landscaping and a plethora of pools, waterfalls and water features, you won’t be disappointed by the surroundings and location. Inside the rooms are modern and contemporary and feature studios and one to three bedroom suites, all with full sized kitchens with full size stainless steel appliances. OK, you probably figured out that this is more of a condo complex than a hotel but the rooms you rent are maintained by the hotel so you don’t need to worry about getting a throwback 80’s room like you do with some condo rentals. Dukes Beach House Maui, owned by the same people who own Hula Grill, Kimo’s and Leilani’s, is right on the property so there’s no need to leave the resort to get some great aloha dining. Top notch, luxurious, and off the beaten path.
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Spa Day At Black Rock Spa
The massages at Black Rock Spa are my favorite. Get hot stones, and enjoy some relaxation! We usually get a basic full body massage for 50 mins , but this last time we went for the 80 mins and it was worth every penny. The spa rooms are patio like with natural sunlight peaking from the top, complete with soothing Hawaiian tunes.
Water Activities on Kaanapali BEach
Staying In South Maui
Including Kihei and Wailea
The South Region of Maui, which includes the towns of Kihei and Wailea, is not as famous as the West side of the island, but still offers pretty remarkable options for visitors.
For starters, the weather here is even drier than West Maui, which means more sun and less rain during your stay.
The beaches, and corresponding parking, along this stretch of coastline, are also a lot less crowded than the beaches in West Maui.
South Maui Highlights
Kihei is about a 20-30 minute drive from Kahului Airport , and Wailea is another 10 minutes beyond Kihei .
Kihei offers a wide variety of condos, which can offer a much-needed price break from some of the most expensive properties in West Maui. Some of the condo rentals are newer than others, and not all are right on the beach, but most are a short stroll from the beaches that line the coastline here.
If money isnt as much of an issue, then we highly recommend the Wailea area, south of Kihei. This area includes several incredible beachfront resorts, some condo complexes, a nice outdoor mall, and several quality restaurants. The entire area is well maintained and wont disappoint visitors who can afford to stay here. Some of our favorite properties here are the Four Seasons Maui, Hotel Wailea, the Wailea Beach Marriott, and the Grand Wailea.
South Maui Caveats
- Great weather year round
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Kaanapali Vs Wailea: Honeymoon
While both locations are perfect for a honeymoon, resorts in Wailea feel like they are specifically designed to cater to the honeymooner. Especially when youre looking at some of the luxurious spots like the Grand Wailea, the Four Seasons, and the adults-only hotel Wailea. The hotels in Wailea are some of the most expensive on the island, and they provide a luxurious stay that is perfect for a romantic honeymoon.
Thats not to say that the hotels in Kaanapali arent nice they are. You will find fewer luxury resorts and more mid-range hotel options.
Bottom line: If you prefer a luxury resort honeymoon experience, Wailea is going to be the best choice for you.
Maui Eldorado Kaanapali By Outrigger Great For Golfers
Reviewed by Deb Steenhagen
Located just north of Black Rock in Kaanapali, the Maui Eldorado Kaanapali by Outrigger provides a combination of golf course and ocean views. These vacation condos are great for families looking to relax on a Maui vacation.
I stayed alone in a studio but there also are one and two bedroom units. Each has a full kitchen with full-size appliances including a dishwasher. The Hawaiian heat and sandy beaches tend to cause a lot of laundry, so the stackable washer and dryer in my unit got a lot of use as well.
This property is a golfers paradise you can walk out your front door almost right onto the green. The décor has a rustic Hawaiian feel that was missing from some of the larger, more commercial resorts.
Although many units face the ocean, there is about a quarter mile walk down to the beach around a portion of the golf course. Its worth the walk. But if you prefer, call the front desk to request a ride via golf cart. The private beach cabana building offers restrooms, towels and plenty of shaded areas and lounge chairs to relax and enjoy the view. If you prefer to swim closer to your unit, there are also three swimming pools on-site.
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Where To Stay In Upcountry
This is rural Maui, also in the middle of the island, just south of Central Maui. While its not a typical tourist choice for a base, youll meet more locals than tourists with easy access everywhere.
Upcountry Maui is locals Maui away from the beaches. In fact, Hawaiians have been farming taro and sweet potatoes in this fertile heartland of green rolling hills and drifting fog for generations.
Youll inevitably pass through here on your way to Haleakala even if you dont stay here as you pass rural outposts and goat farms. Upcountry is more than just a place its a way of life.
Pros and cons: Stay in upcountry if youre looking for a peaceful, authentic Maui experience. Skip it if youre interested in nightlife. The weather can also be cooler here .
Here are my picks for Upcountry:
1. Coast to Coast Views in Kula
Nestled on the slopes of Haleakala, the Haleakala Princess Estate is a unique property with sweeping views of both coasts! Its possibly the best view on island. Youll be wandering 3.5 acres of native Hawaiian gardens here and lounging in special outdoor nooks and watching the sunset around the gas fire pit or hot tub. A huge tile deck wraps around the whole house.
Best for: Groups of up to six people as both a main house and cottage are included.
2. Modern Cottage in Historic Wailuku
Best for: A couple or solo traveler on a budget.
Kaanapali Beach On A Budget
There are a couple of places I like on Kaanapali Beach that are great if youre on a budget. Theyre not on the same level as the Westin, Sheraton, or Hyatt, but theyre also quite a bit cheaper.
Kaanapali Beach Hotel: Located in between the Sheraton and the Westin, the Kaanapali Beach Hotel calls itself the most Hawaiian hotel and it is very vintage and charming. Its a full fledged resort though with pool, beach activities, restaurants, luau, cultural activities, etc. If you want the full resort experience, but the big 3 on Kaanapali Beach are out of your budget, this is a great pick.
Royal Lahaina Resort: This 25-acre resort is technically on North Kaanapali Beach , but its JUST north of Black Rock and the Sheraton and theres a walking path that connects it to the Sheraton so I feel like it still has that primo location. Its got everything youd want at a resort including three outdoor pools, two hot tubs, a full service restaurant, even a luau. But my favorite part is the tennis ranch. The Royal Lahaina has one of the best tennis programs on the island so thats a big plus for me. The Royal Lahaina was built in the 1960s and Im not going to lie its a little dated, but depending on the price and your expectations, its a good option. I would definitely book a room in the Lahaina Kai Tower though.
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Royal Lahaina Resort Its All About The View
Reviewed by Julie Thompson-Adolf
Im a sucker for a good show. My first introduction to the Royal Lahaina Resort involved its Myths of Maui luau, and it didnt disappoint. Touted as the islands oldest luau, the passionate performers engaged the audience, causing enthusiastic applause and even a few cat calls for the dancers. Apparently, only beautiful people perform in Myths of Maui!
The Royal Lahaina Resorts exterior reminded me of a stark high-rise from the 1970s. But then I walked inside. The lobby presents a charming homage to Maui, without being kitschy. Framed retro PanAm Airlines posters and island photographs add a lovely historical feel. Local artisans sell high-quality crafts in the lobby during morning hours, which is convenient for souvenir hunters.
When I opened the door to my room in the Lahaina Kai Tower, however, I caught my breath. The spectacular view makes the Royal Lahaina Resort a must-stay destination. Honestly, on my last morning in Kaanapali, I sat on my lanai, eating a pastry I purchased at the ice cream shop, trying to decide how I could move my family to the island so that I could enjoy that gorgeous ocean view every day.
In addition to the hotel, the resort offers cottages and suites, providing room for families to gather. The tennis courts will beckon tennis lovers to this spot, which ranks among the top 100 tennis destinations in the world.
What Part Of Maui Is Best For Families
There are two main areas families generally stay on Maui: Wailea or Kaanapali. Both areas have great weather, snorkeling, and beaches. Deciding what part of the island is right for your family comes down to budget, proximity to activities, and vibe.
Stay in Kaanapali if youre looking for a lively atmosphere, more kid-friendly restaurants, and a number of three and four star resort options. Stay in Wailea if you want a slightly quieter atmosphere, huge resorts , and five-star accommodations.
Still not sure what part of Maui is best for your family? We go into depth on Kaanapali vs Wailea in this article.
Maui Trip Planning: Kaanapali Or Wailea
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Maui is the second-largest Hawaiian Island and a dream destination for travelers around the world. Two main tourist areas, Kaanapali and Wailea, are home to most of the hotels on the island, along with lots of vacation rental properties. If youre planning a trip to Maui and are trying to choose where to stay, heres how to decide which resort area is best for you.
How To Decide Where To Stay On Maui
Before booking your trip to Maui, itâs important to understand the layout of the island, which consists of five main regions:
- South Maui
- North Maui
- West Maui
- Central Maui
Each area has its own unique beaches, towns, and atmosphere! There are also two major volcanoes on the island, with an impressive valley running between them.
There are plenty of incredible options places to stay in each of these areas, with all kinds of accommodation options for all budgets to choose from!
While I would personally recommend West Maui, as this is the most scenic region for a classic island holiday , there are many idyllic beaches that stretch all across the island, but the beaches around Kapalua, Kaanapali, and Lahaina are easily the best!
Read on to discover the versatility of the island, through the best places to stay, Maui.
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Kaanapali Alii Enough Luxury And Comfort For Longer Stays In Maui
Reviewed by Leslie Harvey
The Kaanapali Alii may lack the big name of a major resort brand, but that means it flies under the radar a bit. Offering luxury all condo accommodations, the Kaanapali Alii is ideal for family travelers who want full kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and higher-end accommodations for longer Hawaiian vacations. Units are individually owned but can be rented through the on-site property management company, Classic Resorts. That means they come with daily housekeeping and all the resorts amenities with no additional resort fee.
The property has multiple outdoor pools in a lush landscaped setting. These include a zero entry pool that is safe and fun for younger children as well as a quiet pool for adults. The resort is well-known for its Grill Master Service where a professional helps families prepare the perfectly grilled dinner at the numerous poolside barbecue grills.
In summer, the Kaanapali Alii has complementary activities for children ages 6-12. There is a sundry shop on property or the concierge can even arrange for a large package of groceries to be delivered via its butler service.
Kaanapali Where To Stay In Maui For The First Time
Located in West Maui this town is a top choice for everyone who is visiting for the first time. Ka Anapali beach is known for its three-mile-long stretch of pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, it was considered at one point the best beach in the United States of America, a place frequently visited by the royalties. I would highly recommend booking in advance as this place is a top travel choice for every person who wants to stay in Maui.
This west side town is a perfect place if you want to mix both city and beach vibes, Kaanapali has tons of restaurants and a shopping center. Royal Ka Anapali and the Kaanapali Kai are two great places if youre a fan of golf, you can even see a whale from the playing field. Golfing is a popular sport here, and who wouldnt love it since you have the perfect weather and most beautiful views.
Make sure you visit the famous Black Rock, a favorite cliff jumping site, on the Ka Anapali beach, for both locals and visitors. During wintertime many humpback whales flock to the waters of Kaanapali so whale watching can get pretty exciting during this time.
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