Mauis Coolest Hotels For Local Vibes
Luxury: Lumeria, Maui
You cant find a cooler accommodation than this luxurious retreat center in Upcountry Maui. Surrounded by lush vegetation, the center offers longer retreat getaways as well as daily classes that are popular with locals. Enjoy fresh farm-to-table meals at the retreat restaurant and mingle with other students and visitors. Unwind at the wellness spa or in the saltwater pool and hot tub. Check out the best local spot for surfing on the North Shore and really get a feel for what life on Maui is all about.
Mid Range: Kula Lodge
This rustic and quaint lodge blends in with the natural surroundings leaving you feeling connected with nature rather than far removed. We are fans of how close it is to some of Mauis best natural attractions like Haleakala National Park. If you want to explore Maui by foot or by bike, there are beautiful trails nearby. The lodge grounds are covered with lush gardens and the outdoor terrace is ideal for relaxing and enjoying the panoramic views.
Budget: Maui Seaside Hotel
Located in the heart of Kahului, Maui Seaside Hotel blends local city vibes with oceanfront living. Youre close to local favorite pastimes like windsurfing at Hookipa Beach, hiking in Iao Valley State Monument, golfing at Maui Nui Golf Club, and visiting the Valley Isle. Enjoy island life to the fullest with the hotels outdoor pool, sundeck, on-site restaurant, and pet-friendly vibes!
Faq About Staying In Maui
You may have questions about the best areas to stay in Maui. Here are the most common questions so you can make the best choices for your family vacation.
When is the best time of year to visit Maui?
It depends on what you want to do! Come during the dry season if you plan to be on the beaches. November through March is the best time to go whale watching. If you plan on visiting the mountains in the winter, it can get pretty cold. Make sure to bring a jacket and long pants!
Whats the best time to see whales in Maui?
You may see whales as early as October, but the peak whale sighting season is January through March. They love the shallow Auau Channel and can be seen at all times of the day.
Are there any all-inclusive resorts on Maui?
Theres only one all-inclusive resort on the island. Youll find the Hana-Maui Hyatt Resort at the end of the Road to Hana in East Maui. Be aware that its an over 2-hour drive from the airport on a good day! The best area in Maui to stay at resorts is the West Coast.
What about areas to stay on Lanai and Molokai?
While theyre technically part of Maui County, the islands of Lanai and Molokai are more geared towards residents and there arent many hotels or resorts there. However, these smaller islands are a great option if you want to take a day trip to explore them.
Kaanapali: Where To Stay In Maui For Honeymoon Romance And Buzz
On the west shore of Maui , Kaanapali was Hawaiis first planned resort area.
A strip of first-class hotels and condominium villages line a beautiful three-mile-long stretch of gold sand beach Kaanapali Beach.
Its won all sorts of awards over the years for being the best beach in America. In fact, we think its one of the top beaches in the world!
Kaanapali is also home to Whalers Village.
This attractive open-air shopping and dining complex features more than 90 different shops and restaurants. Aloha shirts? Island-inspired pearl jewelry? Macadamia nut gelato? Hawaiian carvings and other authentic Hawaiian souvenirs? Bring out your wallet!
A beach boardwalk stretches in front of the Kaanapali hotels and restaurants we love it for a walk at sunset or in the morning before the sun gets too strong.
Its easy to get around without a car if you stay in Kaanapali. Apart from using the boardwalk, the free open-air Kaanapali Trolley trundles back and forth between the hotels, Kaanapali Golf Courses and Whalers Village.
While the Kaanapali area is family-friendly, its also a favorite honeymoon destination.
Its not uncommon for couples to get stuck choosing between Kaanapali and Wailea never fear, both are excellent picks.
Wailea is better known for being glitzier and more expensive, but the reality is that Kaanapali still has some of the best honeymoon hotels in Maui.
Heres a more in-depth look at where to stay in Kaanapali.
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Where To Stay In Maui: 12 Best Areas
Where to stay in Maui? Where you stay in Maui is more important than it is at other destinations because the public transportation system in Maui isnt ideal. That means that youll likely want to gravitate to a certain region for most of your stay or rent a car.
Fortunately, there are areas that can suit practically any taste so whether youre hoping for an intimate honeymoon getaway, an opportunity to learn more about the local culture, or a chance for a high octane outdoor adventure, you can find somewhere to stay thats perfectly tailored to your needs.
Apart from the unique personality that each neighborhood brings to the table, the various regions of the island itself tend to have their own vibes as well.
One of the most delightful aspects of visiting Hawaii is that each island in the archipelago has its own unique identity to offer visitors. And while there are many reasons to visit Maui, it remains so persistently popular largely thanks to its biodiversity.
Any ecosystem youll find within the island chain can be found within Mauis boundaries, and that naturally makes it home to some of the most beautiful landmarks in the Pacific.
That makes it one of the perfect destinations if you only have time to visit one island but those with shorter time or a more extensive itinerary on other islands may have to be pickier with how many different places they stay in Maui.
Staying Upcountry On Maui
Including Haleakala and Kula
Like Central and West Maui, Upcountry offers a way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busier parts of Maui.
Why Should You Stay In Upcountry?
It offers excellent proximity to Haleakala National Park. You can see breathtaking views of the area.
Why Should You Not Stay in Upcountry?
The area doesnt offer much in the way of shopping or dining. Expect to drive a bit to access many places to eat and shop. Theres also no beach access in this part of Maui.
The Pros and Cons of Staying in Upcountry
- Great scenery and proximity to Haleakala
- Lack of accommodation options
Other Factors to Consider
Weather is a factor to consider when deciding where to stay, though, for the most part, the primary accommodation areas of Maui are relatively dry since they exist on the leeward side of the island. Around Lahaina and Ka’anapali, West Maui is slightly more lush than South Maui, near Kihei. During the onset of the winter months , Maui experiences more clouds and rain across the island. For more information about Maui’s weather, check out our Maui Weather article.
Suppose you plan to drive the majestic Road to Hana and visit Haleakala National Park, both of these attractions can be seen by travelers staying in West and South Maui on a single day. When it comes to the Hana Highway , we recommend spending at least one night in Hana town or a B& B near the start of the drive.
Best Places to Stay on Maui: The Ultimate Guide for Every Type of Traveler
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Best Airbnb In Kaanapali: Pohailani Crashing Waves Condo
This open plan condo with generous bedrooms would be great for a relaxing getaway. The beach is right outside the front door, as well as some of the islands best snorkelling spots. Youll find a range of restaurants and supermarkets a short walk away. The condo also features tempur matresses, a rain shower and outdoor deck with a dining table.
Final Thoughts On Where To Stay In Kihei
Maui is full of exceptional places to stay, and Kihei is one of them! Full of fabulous beaches, awesome wildlife and plenty of nightlife, its the ultimate destination for your trip to Hawaii.
While there are loads of options to chose from, figuring out where to stay in Kihei doesnt have to be time-consuming! If its your first visit, centrally-located South Kihei is a top option. If youre with a family, the luxury resort town of Wailea will be your best choice. Because all of the resorts cater directly to families with kids, the parents can also live their best lives.
North Kihei is our top recommendation for where to stay in Kihei. Its quieter and more chilled out than other areas and offers more budget-friendly accommodation.
Wherever you decide to go, you should consider getting some travel insurance. Hawaii is safe to visit, but its always a good idea to be prepared should anything go wrong!
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Things To See And Do In North Kihei
- Snorkel in an underwater volcano crater to see an incredible array of marine life.
- Hit up the Maui Brewing Company for a sampling of local beers on an open air patio.
- Every fourth Friday, you can attend one of Mauis Aloha Friday town parties. These showcase some of the best Hawaiian culture and food around!
- For something a little different, take a deep sea fishing charter and maybe catch your own dinner!
- Take a drive around the bay north of Kihei to the Maui Ocean Center. Here, you can learn about the conservation efforts to look after Hawaiis magnificent coastline.
- Head over to the nearby wetlands for a spot of birdwatching.
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Our Favorite Vacation Rentals On West Maui
Are vacation rentals more your style? Here are three on West Maui that we love:
- Napili Gardens: We cant hide that we love Napili and we fell more in love with it during our weekend stay at a condo in Napili Gardens . Napili Gardens is a small community directly across the street from Napili Bay. It offers three-bedroom condos townhomes. Theres no pool, but you hardly miss it with Napili Bay so close. Book vacation rentals at Napili Gardens here.
- Puamana: This condo community feels like a hidden gem. Located at the south end of Front Street in Lahaina, this condo community is from the 60s and has plenty of space and sprawling green lawns. The historic ocean-front clubhouse adds to the charm, as does the ocean-front pool. Watch our video tour of Puamana and search for rentals on VRBO.
- The Whaler: In the heart of Kaanapali youll find this luxury high-rise condo complex. In a prime location, youll get the amenities of a hotel with the convenience of a vacation rental . Book vacation rentals in The Whaler here.
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Kula Where To Stay In Maui For Farm Tours
Kula is a district on the western-facing slopes of Haleakala Volcano, with most of the buildings at 1,500 feet and above. It is due south of Paia, the 12-mile trip easily done in under half an hour. The altitude ensures that residents avoid the hotter weather found at sea level and the tourist crowds who prefer the beach.
Kula is Mauis prime agricultural region with many farms supplying high-quality vegetables, fruits, herbs to Hawaiis finest restaurants. The fertile fields of Kula are an ideal place for a farm tour.
There are OCEAN Vodka, Spirits Organic Farm and Distillery Alii Kula Lavender Farm with the floral affair, sweet lavender the Shim Coffee and Protea Farm Tour where you can pick coffee beans and see the pulping process Surfing Goat Dairy, award-winning cheese, and goat milk soap farm.
Among the places, you will enjoy here are the Haleakala National Park and the Kula Botanical Garden. Haleakal, a dormant volcano, in Kula dominates the local skyline, indeed the skyline of the whole island of Maui.
You should go to the summit of Haleakala. It is 10,000 feet above sea level but you do not have to climb it. The road is winding and you will make slow progress but quicker progress than if you were walking.
Apart from farms, and parks, Kula is also home to Holy Ghost Church, a historical landmark, a gift from the king and queen of Portugal to Portuguese sugar plantation workers.
Hana Town Where To Stay On The Hana Highway
While Hana is fairly isolated on East Maui, there is a highway running there if this is a place you want to make your Maui base. It is a winding road just over 50 miles long, hence Hanas remoteness, starting at Kahului and hugging the northern coastline to the extreme east of Maui.
The Hana highway was gravel initially and its opening in the 1920s helped the sugar plantations. However, the last one closed two decades later. An alternative way to reach Hana is by boat or even light aircraft. The beautiful setting of Maui and its natural environment helps visitors forget a relatively long journey.
Those who make the effort to get to Hana can enjoy the natural environment including Haleakala National Park where there are several swimming holes. Haleakala is a dormant volcano with one of the largest craters in the world. If you go up to its rim, you will be more than 10,000 feet above sea level.
You can drive through the clouds in the National Park. The hot and wet climate is most conducive to the tropical rainforest that covers the region. There is a photo opportunity at every turn. Sunrise and sunset are two occasions each day when you will want to take a photo for your album with fewer crowds at sunset.
There are parks, gardens, and beaches to enjoy including Kaia Ranch Tropical Botanical Gardens, the white-sand Hamoa Beach, the black-sand Wainapanapa State Park, and the red-sand Koki Beach Park.
Best hotels in Maui in Hana:
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Kihei: Central Spot With Calm Beaches
Just 10 minutes south of the airport, Kihei is definitely the most central area for exploring Maui. Plus, Kihei has my favorite beaches. Kamaole Beach Parks have wonderful soft sand and occasional rocky areas for snorkeling. Kihei is the calmest and quietest of all four areas to stay in Maui. Perfect for swimming, snorkeling and watching the sunset.
Youll find mostly budget, family-friendly condos in Kihei. Plus decent places to eat and cute shops to explore.
The disadvantage? Kihei itself isnt a very pretty area to stay in Maui. Its mostly strip-mall developments and the condos are hit or miss.
Where to Stay in Kihei
We stayed at Castle Kamaole Sands in Kihei . This is a decent condominium resort right across the road from the wonderful Kamaole Beach Park III, which we often had to ourselves. Its a nice beachside stroll to the shops north of the condo. The grounds are nicely kept, it has public BBQs, and its very family-friendly.
The challenge with this place is that each unit is furnished by different owners. So, you need to read individual unit reviews to know how comfortable the beds will be, how many seats youll have around the table, etc. Also, our wifi was hit and miss. Others in the hot tub said how they come year after year but to the same unit they know is good.
Where To Stay In Maui By Region: West Maui Vs South Maui And Beyond
The main airport in Maui, Kahului Airport, is located in Central Maui. From there, youll stay in one of these resort areas in Maui:
- In West Maui: Kaanapali or Kapalua.
- In South Maui: Wailea or Kihei.
- On the North shore: Paia or Haiku. This is also where to start your Road to Hana adventure. Hana itself is located in East Maui. However, Hana is pretty remote and not the best place to stay on Maui if youre planning on exploring the other sides of the island. Its good to spend a night or two, though, just not your entire trip.
- In Upcountry Maui: Makawao or Kula.
- In Central Maui: Kahului or Wailuku.
Let me break down each of these locations by character.
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Other Maui Travel Guides
HAWAII PACKING LIST
Planning the perfect Maui vacation requires a lot of effort. Luckily, we have done all the hard work for you!
Before you go, you may want to skim some of the titles for other relevant Maui guides below to ensure you do not miss any epic beaches, sunset destinations, or noteworthy things to do during your visit to the Valley Isle!
- BEST SNORKELING IN MAUI: Best snorkel spots, tips, tours and more.
- MAUI NORTH SHORE: The best beaches and things to do in North Maui.
Napili Kai Beach Resort:
Napili Kai Beach Resort is a mellow resort situated on pristine Napili Bay. Its comprised entirely of ocean-view, two-story condos.
It exudes an authentic Hawaiian holiday vibe that you wont get at any of Mauis luxury mega-resorts. And you wont be nickle-and-dimed with any extra resort fees.
The décor and furnishings are a bit dated though. And you might find a friendly gecko wandering into your unit.
Mind you, the repeat guests who are loyal to Napili Kai dont mind. Many couples and families have been coming here for years and years, so theres a strong Ohana feel.
The amenities arent grandiose, but theyre just fine for a casual beachside vacation. There are four small pools, two hot tubs, two putting greens and two shuffleboard courts.
For us, the real star is Napili Bay Beach simply one of the absolute best beaches in Maui. The sand is incredibly soft, and the water is often glassy calm and ideal for swimming. Sea turtles are often seen when snorkeling.
Another plus is the resorts Sea House restaurant, which is really close to the water.
Just be sure youre seated in the open-air, front dining area with the ocean view the back area is not that inviting.
Napili Kai also offers several family-friendly perks like a Keiki Eat Free program for kids under 10, a seasonal kids club and a weekly golf putting party.
Booking.com: Check rates and availability
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