Where to Stay in Maui

Written by Jan Meeuwesen
Updated on
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Maui, the second-largest island of the Hawaiian group of islands, is known as one of the most stunning places in the world. Named the “The Valley Isle” after the prodigious valley that lies between Haleakalā and Mauna Kahalawai, the two major volcanoes on the island, Maui is characterized by its picturesque landscapes, extravagant luxury resorts, and a plethora of tourist attractions and activities.

Maui is the place to spot a sunrise from the summit of a 10,000-foot volcano. It is where you hike through craters and swim under butterflies. The island is also where you relax on your sunbed, sip a yummy cocktail, and leave the worries of the world behind. An absolute haven for water sports enthusiasts, Maui ensures that you do not spend even a single dull moment on the island.

Although a single island, finding accommodation that suits your needs, your taste, and your budget can be a bit bothersome, especially because there are so many. Find below a list of the popular areas on the island to decide where to stay in Maui during your visit.

Lahaina (West Maui)

LahainaSource: Joe West / shutterstock

A historic whaling village and a tourist hotspot, Lahaina, once known as “lele,” has seen a massive transformation over the years. Located in the western part of the island of Maui, Lahaina was reportedly the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii during the 19th century. Today, this gorgeous stretch of land is lined with luxurious beach resorts, numerous art galleries, and an assortment of shopping avenues and fine-dining restaurants. Take a stroll down the Front Street to experience a glimpse of old Lahaina and admire the oldest living banyan tree on the island. Adventurers can try canoeing, hiking, camping, and whale-watching (during winters).

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Lahaina Prison, Lahaina Historic Trail, Jodo Mission, and Maui Theatre.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas – A couples of minutes’ walk from the beach, this 4-star luxury resort features well-appointed guestrooms with modern amenities, a day spa, a poolside bar and restaurant, two adult swimming pools, one kid’s pool, a fitness center, and a free shuttle to the nearby shopping area. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
  • The Kulakane – Located right on the beach, the Kulakane offers luxurious apartments with a sea view, barbecue facility, safety deposit box, wardrobe, outdoor dining area, and an ensuite bathroom. Additional facilities here include a swimming pool that directly overlooks the sea, free Wi-Fi, and free parking. Great for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members.
  • The Plantation Inn – A few steps from the shopping and dining area of the waterfront, the Plantation Inn provides fully-furnished guestrooms with comfortable double beds, air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, refrigerator, and an ensuite bathroom. Guests can also enjoy the onsite pool, restaurant, and free parking. Complimentary breakfast is served daily. Suitable for solo travelers and couples.

Kaanapali (West Maui)

Aerial View - Kaanapali BeachSource: Joe West / shutterstock
Aerial View – Kaanapali Beach

Considered by most as West Maui’s signature beach, Kaanapali is known for its three-mile-long stretch of pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters. Once known as the best beach in the United States of America, the former retreat for the royalties has now become a prominent getaway for the entire world. The first planned resort of Hawaii, Kaanapali is home to a handful of opulent hotels and condominiums and the open-air Whalers Village, an outstanding shopping complex with exceptional stores, delightful restaurants, plenty of Hawaiian entertainment, and a world-class whaling museum. For golfers, the Royal Kaanapali and the Kaanapali Kai offers you an amazing opportunity to spot an occasional whale while you line up a shot.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Daily cliff-diving ritual at Black Rock or Puu Kekaa, Ziplining, and Hanako’s Park.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Aston Kaanapali Shores – Nestled a couple of minutes’ walk away from the gorgeous Kaanapali beach, this elegant hotel offers well-furnished rooms fitted with flat-screen TV, cable channels, PS3 Game Console, safety deposit box, coffee maker, and an ensuite bathroom. Other facilities include an ocean-front pool, an on-site massage center, restaurants, free scuba lessons, and a fitness center. Suitable for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 7 members.
  • Ka’anapali Beach Club By Diamond Resorts – A couple of minutes from the beach, the stylish hotel features wonderfully decorated guestrooms with air-conditioning, flat-screen TV, an extra-large double bed, seating area, kitchenware, and an ensuite bathroom with free toiletries. Guests can also enjoy at the huge lagoon-style pool. Great for families.
  • Aston at Papakea Resort – 15 minutes’ walking distance from the Farmer’s Market and Honokowai Beach Park, Aston at Papakea Resort provides comfortable studios with free Wi-Fi, ensuite bathroom, balcony, DVD player, PS3 Game Console, Washing Machine, Kitchenware, and much more. Perfect for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members.

Napili (West Maui)

NapiliSource: kyrien / shutterstock
Napili Bay

With its white sand, turquoise blue water, and wonderful swimming opportunities, Napili (also known as Napili Bay) is one of the most sought-after tourist spots on the island of Maui. The neighborhood is most famous for its gorgeous oceanfront, marvelous beachside properties, a quaint resort community, and of course, Green Hawaiian Sea Turtles. The bay is also known as one of the best snorkeling sites on the island. Magical sunsets and once-in-a-lifetime views of neighboring islands are a regular affair here.

Good for: All kinds of travelers, especially snorkelers.
Other Highlights: Napili Sunset Spot, Kapalua Coastal Trail, Honokeana Cove, Kapalua Cliff House, and Kapalua Beach.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Napili Sunset Beach Front Resort – Situated on Napili Bay’s beachfront area, the grand property offers luxurious suites and apartments fitted with state-of-the-art facilities such as private pool (in selected rooms), fully-equipped kitchen, a patio, and an ensuite bathroom. Guests can enjoy the on-site BBQ facilities or make use of the laundry facilities and free parking. Perfect for all kinds of luxury travelers, including big groups of up to 7 members.
  • Napili Kai Beach Resort – A gentle stroll away from the pristine waters of Maui, Napili Kai Beach Resort houses well-appointed guestrooms with extra-large beds, patio, beautiful view, TV with cable channels, free Wi-Fi, and an ensuite bathroom. On-site facilities include two 18-hole putting greens, a poolside snack bar, a delightful restaurant, massage facilities, four pools, and a bocce ball court. Great for families, including a big group of up to 5 members.
  • The Mauian Hotel – Located on one of the best beaches of Maui, the luxurious property offers studios and guestrooms with a sea view, free Wi-Fi, seating area, refrigerator, and an ensuite bathroom. The hotel also houses a swimming pool, barbecue facilities, ocean-facing shuffleboard courts, and a common TV room. Complimentary breakfast is served daily. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.

Kapalua (West Maui)

KapaluaSource: Joe West / shutterstock

A surfer’s paradise, Kapalua in West Maui is known for its powerful waves that attracts the best professional surfers from around the world. A rocky coastline with three white beaches, five picturesque bays, and plenty of coral reefs and marine life are the primary attractions in the area, other than the surf breaks of course. Host to the annual Billabong Pro, a women’s surf competition held every year in December, Kapalua is set on the foot of West Maui mountains. One of the island’s elite resort areas, Kapalua is home to two world-class golf courses – the Bay Course and the Plantation Course. If you are here in June, do not miss the Kapalua Wine & Food Festival.

Good for: All kinds of travelers, especially surfers and golfers.
Other Highlights: Kapalua Ziplines, D.T Fleming Park, Kapalua Bay, Makaluapuna Point, and Kapalua Coastal Trail.

Kihei (South Maui)

Kihei, MauiSource: RoxyAnne / shutterstock

The six-mile-stretch of Kihei’s coast, with perfect views of West Maui, Lanai, and Molokini, is famous for being the sunniest and the driest part of the island of Maui. A complete beach-combing territory, Kihei offers superb swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking opportunities. If you are lucky, you may even spot a gigantic humpback whale breaching the sea surface. Dotted with swaying palms and shaded lawns, Kalama Beach Park is one of the most significant attractions in the area, especially because of “the Cove” surf spot and other facilities – beach volleyball, roller-skating, tennis, baseball, and more. Kealia Pond, on the northern end of the neighborhood, is a haven for ornithologists and nature lovers.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Maalaea Bay, Kalpolepo, Maui Ocean Center, Waipuilani, and Farmer’s Market.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Kohea Kai Maui, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member – Just a minutes’ walk from the beach, the family-friendly hotel features well-appointed guestrooms with modern amenities, free Wi-Fi, an outdoor pool, two outdoor hot tubs, BBQ facilities, a computer room, a rooftop deck, and daily complimentary breakfast. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
  • Maui Coast Hotel – Situated across the Kamaole Beach Park, the Maui Coast Hotel offers luxurious rooms with a mountain/garden view, laptop safe, flat-screen TV with pay-per-view channels, seating area, wardrobe, dining area, and an ensuite bathroom. On-site amenities include hot tubs, restaurant, swimming pools, and bicycle rental. Great for couples and families.
  • Kalama Terrace – Kalama Terrace is just a minutes’ walking distance from the beach and it offers well-appointed apartments with private pool, free parking, sea/garden view, barbecue, ensuite bathroom with a bath, seating area, washing machine, tea/coffee maker, oven, kitchenware, and a lot more. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.

Wailea (South Maui)

Wailea, MauiSource: EQRoy / shutterstock

A luxurious resort community on the southern end of Maui island, Wailea is known for its 1,500 acres of exquisite beaches, luxury resorts, and innumerable tourist attractions. Wailea Beach, the signature beach in the neighborhood, was once ranked as the best beach in the United States of America. Other significant beaches in the area are Polo Beach, Ulua Beach, Keawakapu Beach, and Mākena Beach. Wailea is also home to a few world-class golf courses. Swimming and snorkeling are extremely common and favorable in the beautiful waters surrounding Wailea. For a more urban atmosphere, head over to The Shops at Wailea that features widely-renowned eateries, remarkable shopping avenues, and regular entertainment events.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, Mākena State Park, La Perouse Bay, and Hoapili Trail.

Hotel Recommendations:

  • Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea – This world-class beach resort, overlooking the Wailea beach, features spacious guestrooms with tea/coffee maker, refrigerated private bar, balcony with a mountain-view, flat-screen TV with pay-per-view channels, and ensuite bathroom with free toiletries. Guests can also enjoy the on-site swimming pools, restaurants, spa and wellness center, tennis courts, and salon services. Suitable for all kinds of luxury travelers.
  • Aston at the Maui Banyan – Located directly opposite Kamaole Beach Park, the stunning hotel offers fully-furnished suites and guestrooms with ultra-modern facilities, an outdoor swimming pool, a tennis court, a hot tub, a 24-hour front desk, BBQ facilities, and bike rental. Great for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members.
  • Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui – This splendid hotel property directly overlooks the Pacific and offers its guests wonderfully designed rooms with the newest amenities, on-site dining options, a fully-equipped spa, a 24-hour fitness center with free fitness classes, three outdoor pools, optional walking and canoe tours, live entertainment, and much more. Perfect for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 8 members.

Wailuku (Central Maui)

Wailuku, MauiSource: Ingus Kruklitis / shutterstock

A short distance from Kahului Airport in central Maui, Wailuku is regarded as the commercial center of the island as well the county seat of the government. Most famous for its locally owned businesses, a stroll through the charming streets of the neighborhood brings you to several “Mom and Pops” shops, a lot of which have been functional over generations. The first Friday of every month is celebrated here as Wailuku First Friday, a fun and lively celebration filled with music, street food, local art and culture, fashion, and a lot more. A great way to explore the area is to take the popular “Rediscover Wailuku Tour,” an initiative by the Wailuku Main Street Association to introduce visitors with the town’s historical and cultural attractions.

Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Kapalua Coastal Trail, Iao Theatre, Iao Valley, Market Street, and the Bailey House.

Hotel Recommendation:

  • Iao Valley Inn – Set in the heart of beautiful Wailuku, Iao Valley Inn offers luxurious accommodation in well-designed guestrooms with a flat-screen TV, patio, BBQ facility, seating area, private entrance, outdoor dining area, and spectacular views of the sea/river/mountain/garden. A complimentary continental breakfast is served daily. Great for luxury solo travelers and couples.

Makawao (Upcountry)

MakawaoSource: EQRoy / shutterstock

A typical Hawaiian cowboy town (a.k.a. paniolo) in the heart of Maui island on the mid-slopes of Haleakala volcano, this little neighborhood is known for its vibrant art community. Once recognized among the top 25 art ventures in the United States, Makawao is the biggest town in Upcountry and is home to the Makawao Rodeo, the largest paniolo competition in Hawaii and a tradition for over half a century. This Fourth of July event comprises bareback bronco riding, barrel racing, and many more entertaining attractions. While here, you must grab a cream puff at T. Komoda store, a little bakery formed by a Japanese plantation worker in 1916. Take a pleasant stroll around the town to watch glassblowers, painters, and the likes in action.

Good for: All kinds of travelers, especially art lovers.
Other Highlights: Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center, Piiholo, Maui Hands, Makawao History Museum, and Makawao Park Eddie Tam Center.

Hotel Recommendation:

Lumeria Maui an Educational Experience – Surrounded by lush greenery and overlooking the island’s northern shore, this outstanding hotel offers beautifully-furnished guestrooms with state-of-the-art amenities, yoga and meditation classes, a saltwater pool and hot tub, a sun terrace, free Wi-Fi, and private parking. Guests can also enjoy a daily complimentary organic breakfast and rejuvenating spa services (at additional cost). Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and small families.

God’s Peace of Maui – A few minutes’ drive from the historic center of Makawao, this charming hotel features well-appointed guestrooms with modern facilities such as TV with cable channels, refrigerator, closet, balcony, and private entrance. A complimentary full-English breakfast is served daily. Perfect for solo travelers, couples, and small families.

Paia (Upcountry)

Paia, MauiSource: Curioso / shutterstock

The historic town of Paia falls between Hana and Kahului and is divided into two sections – Paia and Lower Paia. Once a blooming sugarcane plantation town, the neighborhood is now known for its colorful storefronts, local art galleries, unique boutique shops, and delightful restaurants. Of course, the most primary attraction in the area is Ho’okipa Beach, considered to be the “windsurfing capital of the world.” Come winter, pro windsurfers and kite surfers from all around the country and the world gather here to catch some of the biggest north shore waves. H.A. Baldwin Beach Park, another significant sight in the area, is home to a gorgeous lagoon and a baby beach.

Good for: All kinds of travelers, especially windsurfers and kite surfers.
Other Highlights: Ho’okipa Lookout, Paia Bay, Lower Paia Park, Paia Bay Bunker, and Paia Stupa.

Where to Stay in Maui:

  • Lahaina (West Maui)
  • Kaanapali (West Maui)
  • Napili (West Maui)
  • Kapalua (West Maui)
  • Kihei (South Maui)
  • Wailea (South Maui)
  • Wailuku (Central Maui)
  • Makawao (Upcountry)
  • Paia (Upcountry)