One of the first decisions to make when planning your Maui vacation is where to stay. There are so many accommodation options on the island, each with a unique personality and style.
How do you find the best location for your Maui trip?
As you plan your accommodations, you’ll want to consider the size of room you’ll need: Will a standard hotel room do, or do you need a spacious suite?
You’ll also want to think about which amenities mean the most: Do you dream of swim-up bars and infinity edge pools, or will you be spending most of your time out and about and just need a simple place to call home for a few days?
And most importantly, you’ll want to consider which area of Maui you want to stay in.
Most visitors to Maui either stay in South or West Maui, as these are the best areas for a fun-filled trip. South Maui is where you’ll find Kihei and Wailea, two neighboring towns that feel worlds apart. Here you’ll be 25-35 minutes from Kahului airport. West Maui includes the towns of Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Kapalua and will be 45 – 75 minutes from the Kahului airport. These main areas have lots of shopping and dining, along with seemingly endless hotel options.
If the options seem overwhelming, we’re here to help! The good news is that it’s easy to find a great hotel in this part of Hawaii, and you’ll likely have a wonderful time in any corner of the island.
Ahead, we’ll help you decide the best places for you to stay. We’ll include specific hotel suggestions, advice about making your trip the best one possible, and a few extra ideas in case you want to get off the beaten path for a night or two.
Keep reading to discover where to stay in Maui, from the swankiest hotels to the most charming inns!
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Wailea is one of the most upscale resort areas on the island. Here, you’ll find rolling green golf courses, golden sand beaches, world-class shopping, and the most sought-after hotel brands.
Wailea is located on Maui’s south side, about 30 minutes from the Kahului Airport. It has a quiet atmosphere and lots of space – the hotels and resorts here are sprawling and pristine.
If I were planning my own Maui vacation, I’d probably want to stay in Wailea. It’s both romantic and family-friendly and has a unique oasis-like vibe. You could spend your entire time at your resort or use it as a great home base for a vacation full of exploration.
- Have a beach day at Makena State Park, with Big Beach and Little Beach offering space, shade, and great swimming.
- The Shops at Wailea features upscale dining and boutiques, along with cute souvenir shops.
- Stroll between the various beachfront resorts along the Wailea Beach Path.
- The Wailea Golf Club features some of the best golfing conditions in the world.
- You may be able to swim with sea turtles at some of the beaches in Wailea or Makena.
What You’ll Love: Stay in the lap of luxury. The island’s best beaches, upscale dining, and excellent service await you in Wailea.
What You’ll Miss: You may feel confined to the high prices of Wailea dining, and it’s up to you to decide if the high hotel prices are worth the overall experience.
GRAND WAILEA MAUI: A PARADISE OF POOLS
The Grand Wailea is the ultimate kid-friendly resort. It features nine interconnected swimming pools, five waterslides, a rope swing, a swim-up bar, and two jacuzzis. Though the pools may be the star of this 40-acre property, there is even more to love.
There’s an onsite spa, delicious dining, and easy access to Wailea Beach, where you can book water activities like snorkeling or outrigger canoe rides.
The resort is large and well-maintained. You’ll feel like you’re in your own little world along with the many other vacationers (couples, families, and friends) who choose to call this incredible property home for a few days.
Details: Check price and availability
HOTEL WAILEA: A ROMANTIC RELAIS & CHATEAUX
If you want a quiet, child-free vacation, book a stay at the Hotel Wailea, a luxury adults-only resort that claims to be Hawaii’s only Relais & Chateaux. It’s an all-suite hotel with only 72 rooms. So you get the warmth of boutique hotels with the amenities of a world-class resort.
The Hotel Wailea is tucked on the hillside of Wailea, so you won’t be on the beach. But their shuttle service will whisk anyone away to the ocean, and then back up to the quiet sanctuary of the property.
There’s a wonderful restaurant at the Hotel Wailea, and you’ll find great wine and cocktails here too.
The Hotel Wailea honors Hawaiian culture through its architecture and landscaping, but it also is reminiscent of Italian romance. The two aesthetics intertwine beautifully for a unique experience that couples will adore.
Details: Check price and availability
THE FAIRMONT KEA LANI
Fronting small yet gorgeous Polo Beach, the Fairmont Kea Lani is a perfect location for couples or an entire family. They have three pools, one of which is adults-only, plus a swim-up bar. Their on-site restaurants are incredible, and the staff is super attentive.
The best part of the Fairmont Kea Lani is the size of the rooms. The smallest option they have is an 860-square-foot suite. Or upgrade your stay with an 1800-square-foot villa with the best view and a private plunge pool.
Some of the aesthetics at the Kea Lani may feel a little dated, but that’s part of its charm, and the rooms and grounds are kept in top-notch condition.
Details: Check price and availability
OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN WAILEA
There are six primary resorts in Wailea and many swanky condos that reach into rustic Makena.
The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea offers the utmost in luxury and customer service. Whether you travel here by private jet or save up hotel points for your once-in-a-lifetime stay, you’ll be treated to an exceptional level of care.
The Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott is pricey by nearly anyone’s standards, but still is typically the lowest cost resort within Wailea. It offers four restaurants on property, plus it is steps away from the Shops at Wailea, where even more great dining awaits. There is an adults-only and kids swimming pool with Hawaii’s longest resort waterslide.
Looking for fun adventures while you’re in Maui? Try some of these amazing activities!
- Take an eco-friendly Molokini and Turtle Town Tour with lunch. Snorkel with experts at world-famous Molokini reef, plus a second snorkel spot known for green sea turtles and underwater lava arches. Discover an underwater world with certified Marine Naturalists.
- See the sunrise at Haleakala National Park. Have a lifetime experience watching the sunrise over Haleakalā National Park. Relax with hotel pickup, learn about the history and culture of Haleakalā, and savor a delicious breakfast.
- Enjoy dinner and live music on a sunset cruise. Kick back with island-style music and sunset views on a sunset dinner cruise, and enjoy fantastic service from the captain and crew on this stable, high-tech catamaran.
Kihei is a relaxed community just north of Wailea. It features many residential neighborhoods, but also offers some nice hotel and condo rentals that seem like a steal compared to Wailea’s resort rates.
Stay near hole-in-the-wall restaurants, beginner-friendly surf spots, and full grocery stores while still being only minutes away from the luxurious beaches of Wailea.
Kihei is about 20 minutes from the Kahului airport and typically has excellent weather conditions. This is the most popular area for many vacationers looking for a good value and a great time.
- Some snorkel and whale watching tours leave from the Kihei Boat Ramp.
- Cove Park is a popular place for all kinds of water sports, like beginner surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and swimming.
- Take a stroll along Kealia Boardwalk.
- You’re minutes away from Maalaea Harbor and Maui Ocean Center.
- Wailea’s pristine beaches are close by.
- The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center is in Kihei, and the beach fronting the center commonly has many sea turtles and colorful fish.
What You’ll Love: Kihei is a great location that’s central to much of the island of Maui. You can easily head off to explore west, east, or upcountry Maui. It’s also a lower-cost area to stay in and is close to grocery stores, small bars, and fun activities.
What You’ll Miss: If you want a luxe experience, you should look elsewhere. Most hotels in Kihei aren’t right on the beach and aren’t highrises, so you won’t get the chance for stunning views and Instagram-worthy balcony shots.
MAUI COAST HOTEL: A SIMPLE AND CONVENIENT OPTION
Located in the heart of Kihei, the Maui Coast Hotel is the best of basic amenities. Reviewers rave over the attentive staff, clean rooms, and close proximity to Kihei’s fun restaurants and bars.
There’s live music at their pool area and a local shuttle service. If you don’t need the most luxurious experience and will likely spend much of your stay venturing around the island, the Maui Coast Hotel is a great budget-friendly option.
NONA LANI COTTAGES: RUSTIC CHARM NEAR ALL THE ACTION
Kihei offers many modern activities and dining options, but staying here can also be homey and quaint. Nona Lani Cottages is a two-acre property with eight cottages and three studios, some of which feature full kitchens. It feels like stepping back in time, since the 1970s cottages are reminiscent of Hawaii’s plantation days.
There’s no pool at this family-run property, but you’ll be across the street from the beach and centrally located for some of the island’s best activities.
Meander through the Plumeria Garden, barbeque on their onsite grills, or take a stroll across the street – the beach there is ideal for sunset walks and morning swims.
OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN KIHEI
Most other accommodations in Kihei will be condos or timeshares. These spots will be budget-friendly and feature small pools and spacious apartment-style rooms.
The Hilton Grand Vacations Club Maui Bay Villas will soon take over much of Kihei’s hotel space. This timeshare offers nightly room rentals and has a large outdoor pool.
Lahaina is a historic area on Maui’s West Side. It’s where lively Front Street is, with its shopping, dining, and endless art galleries. This is the best part of Maui if you love trying new food and people-watching.
Staying in Lahaina Town will allow you to be steps away from the harbor, where many boat excursions leave, and where you can join a beginner’s surf school. This leeward side of the island has calm waters and pretty pastel sunsets. It’s about 40 minutes from the Kahului airport, maybe more if there’s traffic.
While most visitors choose West Maui accommodations in nearby Kaanapali, staying in one of Lahaina’s hotels or bed & breakfasts will allow visitors to enjoy all the charm of Front Street and a unique Hawaii ambiance.
- Surf schools and boat charters operate out of the Lahaina Harbor.
- Front Street is a vibrant strip of shops and restaurants right on the water.
- Lahaina’s Banyan Tree Court is home to one single tree that spans the entire block.
- The Old Lahaina Luau and Feast at Lele operate on Front Street.
What You’ll Love: Lahaina is a place brimming with history and has a lively, charming atmosphere. Hotels here are small with personality, and you’ll have so many dining options within walking distance.
What You’ll Miss: This isn’t a resort area, so you won’t have the dedicated roads, spaciousness, and “resort bubble” experience of staying at a larger property.
THE HOTEL LAHAINA: SMALL WITH A BIG PERSONALITY
Hotel Lahaina is a boutique hotel that is centrally located in Lahaina and is as charming as it is convenient. Each of its ten rooms and three suites features a lanai with rocking chairs, so you can sip coffee while watching the colorful city of Lahaina come to life.
It’s recently renovated yet distinctly historic. Find the peacefulness of Old Hawaii and the liveliness of Lahaina Town in this one quaint hotel.
The Hotel Lahaina is an adults-only hotel and does not have a pool. Downstairs, its Lahaina Grille is regarded as one of the island’s best restaurants.
THE PIONEER INN: THE HEART OF HISTORY
History buffs will love staying at the Pioneer Inn, a 1900s building right on Front Street. This kid-friendly Best Western property is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. It features 34 rooms, each with its own balcony, along with a courtyard pool and restaurant.
I know everyone likes saying they’re in the heart of a city, but the Pioneer Inn really is in the middle of Lahaina’s most bustling areas. You’ll be steps away from the Lahaina Banyan Court, the harbor, The Wharf Cinema Center, and the Baldwin Home Museum.
OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN LAHAINA
The Lahaina Shores Beach Resort is a sight to behold: a large, vintage building fronting a dazzling beach. This family-friendly condo has a pool and a hot tub, but gets mixed reviews on the quality of the rooms. This is a Hyatt brand residence resort.
The Plantation Inn is an 18-room inn near the northern end of Front Street. It’s an adults-only property with a pool and jacuzzi plus free breakfast.
Kaanapali is a resort neighborhood within the greater Lahaina area. A long stretch of shoreline, great shopping, green golf courses, and a seemingly endless line of beach resorts all make this place unique.
This area seems like it was made to house the island’s best hotels — a spacious road winds in front of the properties and their neighboring golf course. Though you’re less than 10 minutes from Lahaina and Front Street, it feels like you’re in a different part of the island.
Kaanapali is a fantastic home base for exploring much of the island. Still, it’s also a good choice if you want to stay close to your resort and avoid driving during your vacation, as you can enjoy a complete experience within the confines of the community.
- Whaler’s Village Shopping Center features upscale dining and shopping along with souvenirs and daily cultural activities.
- Each night at sunset, see a ceremonious sunset dive off of Black Rock. Or snorkel in the area during the day.
- Certain catamarans and parasailing trips depart from Ka anapali Beach.
What You’ll Love: The Kaanapali beachside path connects the hotels and shops along Kaanapali Beach, so you can easily stay at one hotel while enjoying dining or a luau at another.
Kaanapali is located between lively Lahaina and quiet Kapalua, so you can quickly drive to both neighborhoods to dine, swim, or sightsee.
What You’ll Miss: Kaanapali Beach can get really narrow, and many of the luxury hotels may feel crowded.
HYATT REGENCY MAUI RESORT AND SPA: WINDING GARDEN PATHWAYS
The Hyatt Regency in Kaanapali features many of the upscale features found at the Wailea Resorts, but at a small price tag, so it’s a draw for visitors wanting to splurge on a great experience without facing quite the exorbitant costs.
This 40-acre property boasts seven bars & restaurants, several pools and waterslides, three tennis courts, convenience to Kaanapali Beach and shops, and gardens that are begging to be explored.
The penguin and flamingo exhibits add extra character to this expansive property, and the rooms are cool and clean.
WESTIN MAUI RESORT & SPA, KAANAPALI: A POSH UPGRADE OPTION
The Westin Maui Resort is a polished 12-acre property in Kaanapali that features multiple pools, restaurants, and activities.
The resort’s highlight is its newly renovated Hokupa‘a Tower, a club-level experience with a small breakfast buffet, exclusive infinity pool, and private bar. Not only is it a space to escape the resort’s hustle and bustle, but it’s also what all your Instagram dreams are made of.
KAANAPALI BEACH HOTEL: A SIMPLE YET INVITING STAY
If you’re looking for a spacious and simple stay along Kaanapali Beach, The Kaanapali Beach Hotel could be an excellent option for you. Their costs are a bit lower than neighboring resorts, but they still feature an onsite bar, restaurant, spa, and pool, along with daily cultural activities.
What I like about the Kaanapali Beach Hotel is its spacious courtyard. Though it has the feel of an updated resort, you don’t have to deal with confusing, winding pathways. (I’ve walked my feet sore at many Maui hotels just to find a water fountain or parking lot.)
Kaanapali Beach Hotel calls itself Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel, a distinction that feels true when you’re greeted with warm aloha in front of one of the state’s most beautiful beaches.
OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN KAANAPALI
The Honua Kai Resort & Spa is the place to stay if you need more space than standard hotel rooms offer. This condo property presents itself as a hotel with an attentive staff, a water slide pool, and onsite shops and restaurants. Reserve your spot at Duke’s Beach House as soon as you reserve your stay, as it books up fast.
Perched above Black Rock at Kaanapali Beach is the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. This is the hotel that presents the sunset cliff dive off of Black Rock, and it also has an array of bars, restaurants, and spa services. While kids will love the onsite pools, this is also an excellent destination for honeymooners.
Kapalua is a premier master-planned resort area on Maui’s west coast. This spacious area is home to the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions, three incredible beaches, and a few of the island’s swankiest luxury resorts.
There’s a bit of rain and wind in Kapalua, especially in the winter months. And you’ll see more Cook Pines than palm trees, but that’s all part of the charm of this area that’s homey yet luxe.
As you drive into the Kapalua resort area, it feels like you’re coming into an old-timey retreat, with its tall pine trees and woodsy architecture. Yet you’re in one of the most luxurious neighborhoods of Hawaii.
Read on to discover if a Kapalua Vacation could be your ideal Hawaii getaway.
- There are three primary beaches in Kapalua: Calm, crowded Kapalua Bay; windy, secluded Ironwoods Beach; and spacious DT Fleming Beach Park.
- The Kapalua Golf Course is the site of the PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions.
- The Kapalua Beach Trail is a beautiful hike along the dramatic sea cliffs between Ironwoods Beach and Kapalua Bay.
- You’ll be a short drive from Honolua Bay, a popular snorkeling spot and marine life reserve.
- You’ll be close to the Nakalele Blowhole and the scenic drive around the West Maui Mountains.
What You’ll Love: This is a quiet area tucked away from some busier hotel areas but is just 20 minutes away from Lahaina Town. The accommodations here are super luxe and serene.
What you’ll miss: It’s as far as you can get from the Road to Hana and Haleakala, and quite a drive from the Kahului airport, so it’s not a central location for lots of sightseeing.
THE RITZ CARLTON MAUI, KAPALUA: A CLASSIC UPSCALE HOTEL
The Ritz Carlton is one of the most luxurious hotel brands, and its Maui location offers an elevated experience rooted in nature, culture, and service.
A unique thing about the Maui Ritz Carlton is its ocean view. It’s not right on the beach. Instead, part of the gorgeous golf course lies between the hotel and the water. I like that, as it makes for a distinct view you can’t find at many Maui locations where beachside real estate is fully developed.
But it also means you’ll need to walk along its path or take a shuttle to a nearby beach.
The pools here are basic yet quiet and spacious, and the dining is world-class.
MONTAGE KAPALUA BAY: THE UTMOST IN MODERN LUXURY
If you have been gifted a lifestyle that allows you to spend the most money possible on a vacation, then consider staying at the Montage Kapalua Bay. This all-suite oceanfront resort features immaculate grounds, a full-service spa, and a staff that goes above and beyond.
This elevated experience comes at an elevated price tag: several thousand dollars per night.
Adults will love the serene pool and spacious residence-style rooms. Kids will love Kapalua Bay Beach fronting the resort and the nearby cliff jumping opportunity.
OTHER PLACES TO STAY IN KAPALUA
The neighborhoods of Napili Bay and Kahana lie between Kapalua and Kaanapali. Here, you’ll find budget-friendly vacation rentals nestled amongst beachside houses and charming local restaurants.
BEYOND THE RESORT AREAS
I’d recommend any first time visitor stay in the resort areas of West or South Maui. You’ll have the guidance of hotel staff as you choose the best activities and the guarantee of a spectacular stay.
But what if you want to stay off the beaten path? Somewhere closer to nature and less polished? There are accommodation options throughout the island for a unique vacation – we’ll highlight some of them below.
Central Maui is the area you’ll fly into as you arrive to the island. This is where Kahului and Wailuku are. The Pride of America cruise ship harbors in Kahului, and there are a couple of hotel options in town too.
Kahului is the island’s largest town and is close to Maui’s north shore, so you can enjoy time in Paia exploring the shops, or hop onto the Road to Hana for a day of adventure.
- Courtyard by Marriott Maui Kahului Airport is a super basic hotel that vacationers often use for a one-night stay after a late arrival. It’s also a great spot if you want to get a jumpstart on the Road to Hana or simply want a no-frills, convenient hotel during a simple Maui trip. There’s a pool here, and it’s right across from Costco.
- Paia Inn is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for a laid-back vibe, but with plenty of opportunities for adventure. You’ll find beachside suites and rooms, a luxury Beach House, private beach access, awesome dining, and lots of great activities.
- Iao Valley Inn is a family-run bed and breakfast located in the verdant jungles of Iao Valley. Feel the seclusion of a farm stay while being only minutes away from Wailuku’s great shops and local restaurants.
If you’re drawn to quiet escapes instead of endless beach days, a stay in Upcountry Maui could be just the getaway for you. The rural towns of Kula and Makawao have cooler temperatures and proximity to farm tours and botanical gardens.
They’re also closer to Haleakala National Park, Maui’s most popular destination.
Breathe clean mountain air. Take in bi-coastal views of Maui and the Pacific Ocean, and drive down to the resort areas when you want to enjoy beaches and upscale amenities.
Most of the accommodations in Upcountry will be bed and breakfasts, which hold a unique charm. This is one of the most quaint communities in the Hawaiian Islands.
Just be aware that Kula features very few shops and restaurants and a very laid-back attitude, which may be frustrating if you’re used to the convenience and service of resorts.
Most visitors who take on the Road to Hana will complete the adventure in a day, leaving many waterfalls unexplored and sights unseen. If you want to get the most out of your journey along Hana Highway, consider staying the night in this peaceful East Maui town.
Hana is the perfect place to feel truly like you’re away from it all. It’s a small, oceanside town that’s as quiet as it is colorful, and you’ll be warmly welcomed at its Hana Maui Resort. This 66-acre features 44 rooms and suites, an onsite restaurant, an infinity pool, and a spa. Not every room has air conditioning, something you’ll likely miss in the summer.
This Hyatt property is incredibly peaceful and allows you to experience a genuinely remote Hawaii vacation.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO HAWAII
- YOUR HAWAII VACATION
- MAUI: 32 Best Things To Do In Maui: From The Mountains To The Sea
- BEACHES: 14 Best Beaches In Hawaii For Fun In The Sun
- MAUI WATERFALLS: 18 Maui Waterfalls On The Road To Hana And Beyond
- HONOLULU: 22 Absolutely Amazing Things To Do In Honolulu
WHERE TO STAY IN MAUI
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