Sunday, September 24, 2023

What Is The Best Location To Stay In Maui

Where To Stay In Maui Hawaii: The Best Hotels & Areas


Planning the ultimate trip to Maui? The second-largest Hawaiian island, Maui is home to golden sand beaches, lava-burnt coasts, and soaring mountains. With the islands popularity with travelers though, one of the biggest challenges comes with choosing where to stay in Maui.

The most popular areas in Maui showcase the islands natural beauty. Whether its a luxury resort or mountainside bed and breakfast, the best hotels in Maui will let you experience vibrant snorkeling, whale watching, and sunrise hikes.

Ready to begin your Maui accommodations search? Get a head start with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Maui, Hawaii.

Looking for more ideas for your trip? Check out our other hotel & accommodations guides and our Hawaii Travel Guide for recommendations on when to visit, where to go & what to do!

Kihei: Best Place To Stay In Maui With Family

Kihei is a laid-back tourist hotspot mixed in with a residential town where many locals live and work.

It lays claim to some six miles of coastline, with about a dozen beautiful beaches offering great swimming and boogie boarding.

Located in the sunny and dry pocket of southwest Maui, its one of the best areas to stay in Maui for good weather. In winter, the rain can dampen your hopes of getting a tan up north in Kapalua but the sun can be shining in Kihei.

It also has more wallet-friendly accommodations making Kihei a top choice for budget-conscious families wondering where to stay in Maui with kids.

Paia: Best Area To Stay On Maui For Cool

Ahhh, theres so much to love about Paia!

We think this small surf town on Mauis North Shore is one of the best areas in Maui to visit and to stay.

Paia itself has a hippy vibe, warm earth-friendly community, funky boutique shops and excellent restaurants.

Dont miss waiting in line for freshly-caught fish at the Paia Fish Market. And, sorry, theres no getting around it you will have to wait in line, as its really popular.

Paia is also the place to hit for high-quality organic and vegan food.

Shop at Mana Foods for organic groceries, deli items and snacks .

Order acai bowls and green smoothies made with water from hand-cracked coconuts at Choice Health Bar.

And chow down on house-made burgers , all-day Eggs Benedict and banana bread French Toast at the charmingly rustic Island Fresh Café, housed in Paias former train depot.

And then theres Hookipa Beach Park, which is epic!

Watch the surfers, windsurfers and kitesurfers ride wicked waves.

And see all the turtles, many three feet long, that rest in the sunshine at the right side of the beach .

No doubt about it, Paia is well worth considering for where to stay in Maui! A car is essential to get you there and around.

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What Region Do You Want To Stay In

There are six primary regions on Maui where visitor accommodations are readily available: West Maui, South Maui, Central Maui, North Shore, Upcountry, and East Maui. The two largest and most popular visitor destinations, offering the most accommodation options, are West Maui and South Maui and within those two regions there are numerous other choices of towns, neighborhoods, and resort communities. Some visitors, however, enjoy the more off the beaten path areas of Central Maui , North Shore, Upcountry, or East Maui. For maps and an overview description of these regions to help you decide where to stay on Maui, see my guide to Mauis Regions and Towns.

What Type Of Accommodations Do You Want

Things to Discover in Maui

Beachfront resorts on Kaanapali Beach

Hotels and Resorts: This is the most traditional type of tourist accommodation. Everyone knows what a hotel is, of course, and a resort is really just a more elaborate hotel, with upgraded amenities and facilities such as spas and golf courses. There are around 7,400 hotel rooms on Maui, ranging from small, simple hotels to extravagant luxury resorts. The majority of Mauis hotels and resorts are located in the primary resort areas of West Maui and South Maui, with a handful of smaller properties located in other regions of the island.

Condos And Villas Feature In-Room Kitchens

Bed & Breakfasts: Mauis cozy B& Bs, which are often family owned and operated, offer a personalized experience that is simply not possible at large resorts. At a B& B, you are renting a private room in someones home or possibly staying at a very small inn. There might be other guests present when you are there, or there might not. Breakfast is sometimes included , and other special amenities may be offered for guests, as well. On Maui, the legal definition of a B& B is a property that offers short-term rental of rooms or the entire dwelling where the owner lives on site. By law, Maui B& Bs are required to have a permit from the County however there are some illegal operations on the island, so beware. Maui B& Bs are a truly unique and special experience for travelers who want to enjoy a more grass-roots and authentic slice of island life.

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Wailea: One Of The Best Places To Stay In Maui For Luxury

We love Wailea.

When it comes to having an upscale, immaculate, grand experience in paradise, theres nothing like it.

Wailea is renowned for its luxurious mega-resorts, cool South Maui hotels, first-class condos and celebrity homes.

And the Instagram-perfect ocean views in Wailea are some of the most breathtaking in the world.

It has five crescent-shaped beaches, each one as seductive as the next.

Walk the roughly two-mile-long Wailea Beach Path that winds along the beaches and lava rock shoreline and youll catch sight of snorkelers, outrigger canoes and maybe even a turtle or two.

And if youre in the mood for retail therapy, The Shops at Wailea will happily clean out your credit card.

Wailea is island luxury at its finest.

Where I Like To Stay On Maui

Everybody has different opinions and different things work for different people, but heres what I think :

Most people talk about the west side vs. the south side and which is better, but its a bit more nuanced than that. For example, I prefer the south side because I like WAILEA, but if my budget prohibits that then Id pick Kaanapali on the west side before Id stay in Kihei on the south side. So your choice between the south and west side may come down to exactly what place/area you can afford .

As a general rule, I dislike staying in Kihei unless my budget makes it by far the best option. I just find it to be crowded and not the vibe that Im looking for on vacation, but so many people LOVE it so this really depends on what youre looking for. If I am staying in Kihei, I like the properties on the south side near Keawakapu Beach.

Manage your expectations if youre staying in an older condo on the West Side . Theyre a little older and shabbier than many expect. Also, a lot of complexes in that area on the water dont have a beach.

If you want specific recommendations for my favorite hotels read this post about where to stay on Maui.

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Wailea Beach Resort Marriott Maui:

The 4-star Wailea Beach Resort offers 547 upgraded guest rooms, stocked with flat-screen TVs and Nespresso machines.

Four outdoor pools and a water park attract couples, families and friends vacationing together.

Other amenities include a small movie theater, a family game room, spa and gym.

Note that while the Wailea Beach Resort is an oceanfront property, it doesnt have a beach. To get your toes in the sand, you need to walk five minutes to Wailea Beach in front of the neighboring Grand Wailea.

Booking options:

The South Side Of Maui Includes Wailea And Kihei

Best place to stay – Marriotts Wailea Beach Resort Maui

Wailea has luxury hotels and condos. They are spread out a little more than the luxury hotels and condos on Kaanapali Beach, so some people like the slightly quieter atmosphere, but others dont like the fact that you cant easily walk to all the big hotels and restaurants and shopping centers like you can in Kaanapali. Though, this isnt true of all Wailea resorts. The Grand Wailea, Four Seasons, Andaz, , and many high-end condos are all next to each other There are 3 different luaus all within a few minutes walking distance, but the most popular is the Grand Wailea Luau.

Kihei is north of Wailea. It has numerous large and small condo complexes that are less expensive than staying in Wailea. Many of these do not have air conditioning or daily maid service. And most Kihei condos are across the street from the beach, rather than right on the beach. Kihei tends to be congested with heavy traffic. Kihei does have many family restaurants. But due to the fact that many condos here are less expensive than some in other areas, many people do think that Kihei is the best area to stay in Maui.

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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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Kahana/napili Gorgeous Beaches Whales And Sea Turtles

Napili Bay is one of the most gorgeous and classically white beaches on the west coast of Maui, and Kahana is a community that offers one of the best ways to experience it.

The entire region around Napili Bay consists of around 7,000 people, and its in convenient proximity to most of the other beachfront communities along this coast.

And while it may be missing some of the opulence youll find in nearby resorts towns like Kapalua, it makes up for it with the chill fishing village vibes that it gives off instead.

That means Kahana is an affordable choice that still offers a truly stunning view of gorgeous beachfront property.

Napili Beach itself is a mix of rocky and sandy coastline, but its star attraction is the coral reef just off of the coast. The reef is protected, but its also open for snorkeling.

For those who dont want to hire a ship and go on an all day excursion, it offers one of the easiest opportunities to explore the tropical fish and other sea life that call Maui home.

Napili Beach is a popular place for catching sight of whales, and its also known for being a good place to catch sight of sea turtles.

Kahana itself sits just south of the bay, and it offers a great view of the Hawaiian islands of Molokai and Lanai.

Those looking for a grand adventure will probably eventually want to venture further out than just Kahana, but its a perfect place for a pit stop or to catch a rest between excursions elsewhere on the island.

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Paia Coolest Place To Stay In Maui

The small and historic town of Paia is our top choice for the coolest place to stay in Maui. It is situated on Mauis north shore and is well-positioned for exploring the islands most popular attractions, including Hana in East Maui and Haleakala in the centre of the island.

Once a booming sugar plantation town, Paia is a laid-back village known for its vibrant storefronts and unique boutiques, as well as its independent art galleries and incredible local restaurants. If youre keen to escape the crowds and experience the real Maui, Paia is the place to be!

Kaanapali Where To Stay In Maui For Families

Best Place to Stay in Maui

If youre looking to stay in Maui, Kaanapali offers a luxurious range of opportunities, but youll have a hard time finding many budget options for places to stay, eat, or shop.

Unlike nearby Lahaina, this settlement was built as a resort. That means that everything from the condos to the beaches themselves are catered to the needs of visitors. It also means that theres a premium associated with staying here.

That said, Kaanapalis beaches are among the most beautiful and pristine in the islands. In fact, Kaanapali was the very first planned resort on the Hawaiian Islands, and you can see its DNA functioning in newer resorts both in Hawaii and far abroad.

That planning also means that youll never have to deal with traffic and always have access to beach side property. For many, the logical conclusion is to stay overnight at Kaanapali and then venture out to the nearby town of Lahaina during the day.

Its a sensible choice if it fits within your budget. A beach walk extends approximately two miles around the shore of Kaanapali, and its a stretch that largely provides access to anything youd want within the community.

The major shopping district of Whalers Village mall may be a little sanitized, but it offers a convenient way to get all of the fundamentals in a single place.

In terms of natural landmarks, few in Maui have as much potent mythology surrounding them as Puu Kekaa, known in English as the Black Rock.

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Hana: Best Location To Stay In Maui To Escape The Crowds

East Maui is synonymous with Hana and the famous Road to Hana drive which is high on the list of top things to do in Hawaii.

Hana is lush, picturesque and remote, with very little in the way of accommodations. Its hands down the best location to stay in Maui for escaping the tourist crowds and immersing yourself in nature.

Be sure to hike the Pipiwai Trail . Probably the most jaw-droppingly beautiful hike in Maui, it winds through a bamboo forest to the 400-foot Waimoku Falls.

And dont miss dozing on the velvety soft, salt-and-pepper sands of Hamoa Beach, backed by a thick grove of Hala trees its our favorite beach in Maui.

Lahaina Where To Stay In Maui For Your First Time

Lahaina is our top recommendation for where to stay in Maui for your first time.

It is a lively town in West Maui with a rich history. It is believed to have been the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 19th-century and today boasts a great variety of historic landmarks and popular tourist attractions.

Lahaina is the best area in Maui to stay in for sightseeing because its so easy to explore on foot. No matter where you choose to stay in Lahaina, youre never far from the beach, restaurants, bars, and landmarks.

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Lahaina: Best Part Of Maui To Stay For Good Value And Great Restaurants

Formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii in the early 19th century, Lahaina is a quaint historic town thats been revamped into a top Maui tourist destination.

The towns main highlight is strolling along Front Street.

Check out historic attractions like the Baldwin Home Museum, fun shops, art galleries, many of Mauis best restaurants and the wonder of the town Mauis oldest living banyan tree.

Napili Shores Maui By Outrigger:

Where to Stay on Maui, Hawaii | we make choosing the place to stay easy

On the south end of Napili Bay Beach, Napili Shores Maui by Outrigger is another laid-back condo property, made up of 152 individually owned condos.

Its informal and unassuming atmosphere attracts families looking for an easy-going holiday with the comforts of home .

If youre checking out affordable places to stay in Maui that have a kitchen and are right on a beach the Napili Shores Maui is a good option. Its one of the least expensive in this category.

Some one-bedroom units have parking lot noise , so ask for a good location.

The property features two small oceanview outdoor pools, and the beach is a short 50-yard stroll away. A friendly game of giant checkers, croquet or shuffleboard are other fun ways to spend a sunny afternoon outdoors with the family.

The only crowds you may encounter are at the onsite Gazebo Restaurant, where even locals line up for their famous macadamia nut pancakes!

Booking options:

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Summary Map Of All Places Recommended In Our Guide

We list all hotels mentioned in this guide on the map below , as well as some of the highest-rated vacation rentals , on the map below. Fill in your trip date on the map to find which places are available during your stay and at what cost.

Affiliate disclosure: This overview contains affiliate links to accommodation aggregator websites such as and VRBO. Clicking on those links may earn us a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only include affiliate links when they offer good value to our readers, read more about the use of those links on the Love Big Island website.

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