Looking for the best places to stay in Maui? We’ve composed this guide on how to choose the best hotels in each of the top destinations in Maui.
The second largest of the Hawaiian islands, Maui is a tropical paradise with something for everyone. Not only does the island have many beautiful resorts, it’s home to quaint villages, lush nature, great restaurants and shopping, and lots of Hawaiian culture. Nicknamed “the valley isle,” the island is also home to the Iao Valley, a 4,000 acre park known for the iconic 1,200-foot tall Iao Needle.
Choosing accommodations on an island as diverse as Maui can be intimidating, but rest assured that no matter your tastes, there’s a perfect place on Maui for you. Here are my recommendations for where to go and stay in Maui!
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Choosing the Right Location
Your initial decision when planning your Maui vacation should revolve around selecting the best area to stay — based on the type of vacation you desire. Each region offers a unique atmosphere and attractions, ensuring there’s a perfect fit for every kind of traveler.
On the west side of Maui, you’ll find the iconic beachfront destination of Kaanapali, boasting golden sands and a vibrant resort scene. Kaanapali is perfect for those seeking luxury, with an array of upscale accommodations, shopping, and dining options.
Just a stone’s throw away lies Lahaina, a historic town filled with charm, art galleries, and delicious seafood eateries. It’s a perfect blend of relaxation and cultural exploration, making it a sought-after choice for many travelers.
On the other hand, South Maui is home to the luxurious enclave of Wailea, known for its pristine beaches, high-end resorts championship golf courses, and world-class spas. It’s an ideal destination for those in pursuit of tranquility and refinement.
Nearby Kihei provides a more budget-friendly alternative, offering a laid-back atmosphere and an array of vacation rentals and affordable hotels. As you venture into Upcountry Maui, you’ll discover a different side of the island, characterized by lush landscapes, farms, and cooler temperatures.
Hana, a remote coastal town on the eastern side, beckons travelers with its rugged beauty and the famous Hana Highway drive.
The North Shore of Maui provides an authentic island experience, known for its surf culture and unique small-town vibes, making it the perfect choice for surfers and those seeking a low-key adventure. This part of the island tends to have fewer crowds than the rest of Maui.
Central Maui serves as the hub for island transportation and business, making it a convenient base for exploring different parts of Maui.
Maui offers a diverse range of accommodations, spanning from upscale luxury hotels to camping sites and everything in between. Below, we’ve outlined the advantages and disadvantages of each option to help you make an informed choice.
- Unparalleled comfort and luxury.
- World-class amenities, including spas, fine dining, and recreational activities.
- Stunning oceanfront locations with picturesque views.
- High-quality service and personalized attention.
- Expensive; may not be suitable for budget travelers.
- Can be crowded during peak tourist seasons.
- May lack the authentic local experience found in smaller accommodations.
- Limited flexibility in terms of check-in and check-out times.
- Intimate and unique atmosphere with personalized service.
- Often located in charming and less crowded areas.
- Distinctive decor and ambiance.
- Opportunity to immerse yourself in local culture and community.
- Usually offer special perks and packages for a personalized experience.
- May have fewer amenities in comparison to luxury resorts.
- Limited on-site dining options.
- Higher nightly rates compared to larger, mainstream hotels.
- Availability can be limited, so early booking is recommended.
- More space and enhanced privacy for families and larger groups.
- Fully equipped kitchens for self-catering.
- Typically more cost-effective for extended stays.
- Variety of options, from beachfront houses to secluded cottages.
- Opportunity to live like a local and blend in with the community.
- Lack of daily housekeeping and services provided in hotels.
- Rental terms and conditions can vary; it’s essential to review them.
- May not have immediate access to on-site concierge services.
- Check-in processes may require more planning and communication.
Hostels and Budget Options
- Cost-effective accommodations for budget travelers.
- Social atmosphere, ideal for meeting fellow travelers.
- Typically located in prime locations close to popular attractions.
- A range of room options, including dormitories and private rooms.
- Opportunity to save on accommodation costs leaving more funds for activities and dining.
- Less privacy compared to other accommodation types.
- Limited on-site amenities and services.
- Communal amenities, such as bathrooms and common areas.
- Noise and activity levels can be high in dormitory-style rooms.
Camping in Maui
- Immersive experience in nature and away from tourist crowds.
- Economical option for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.
- Beautiful camping sites with scenic views and proximity to natural wonders.
- Chance to stargaze and enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors.
- Many camping areas offer facilities like restrooms and cooking areas.
- Limited comfort and amenities compared to other accommodations.
- Campsite availability can be competitive, requiring advance reservations.
- Weather-dependent; you need to be prepared for various conditions.
- Strict Leave No Trace and park regulations must be followed.
- Requires appropriate camping equipment and supplies.
The Best Places to Stay in Maui
Best Places to Stay in Wailea
A resort community in South Maui, Wailea is known for its golf courses, luxury properties and the best beaches in Maui. That said, this area is as well known for its luxury as its adventure, as the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve is just six miles away.
The reserve has a great snorkeling area, lava field, and hiking trails. I’d recommend jumping on the 2.5 mile Hoapili Trail, which snakes along the coast until you get to the lava fields at Kanaio Beach.
Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort is a gorgeous luxury property in Wailea. This resort features 4 outdoor infinity pools, a full-service spa, and top restaurants. Water sports such as outrigger canoes, paddle boards, and kayaks are available on site as well. Fun fact: according to this blog post, the filming of Temptation Island took place at this resort in 2021!
Aston at the Maui Banyan is a great mid-range apart-hotel. All the suits are decorated in a tropical beach style, and the property features a swimming pool, hot tub, and tennis court.
Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa is my top choice for luxury accommodation in Wailea. The property is located across 40 acres of lush greenery, and is home to 5 restaurants, a spa, water park, and 3 golf courses.
Wailea Beach Resort is another luxury resort that offers ocean view rooms, an infinity pool and world-class service. All guest rooms and spacious suites offer a balcony or patio. This is the perfect place for couples who are looking for a romantic getaway.
We can’t make a list of the best luxury hotels in Maui without including the Four Seasons. Overlooking Wailea Beach (one of the best beaches in Maui) The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea features 3 restaurants offering a variety of cuisine, 3 swimming pools, spacious rooms, and an on-site spa.
Looking for white-sand beaches in Maui? Makena State Park is about 10-minutes away from Wailea and it’s one of the largest beaches in Maui, with gorgeous white sand as far as the eye can see.
Best Places to Stay in Paia
Resting on Maui’s north shore, Paia is a quaint small town with a bohemian vibe and an eclectic local population. This colorful town is full of art galleries, mom and pop shops, and healthy eateries, although it’s most famous for its big north shore waves.
During the winter, these waves attract pro windsurfers and kitesurfers, making this a great place to hang out and people watch. Paia is also a great place to stay if you want to do a sunrise hike at Haleakala National Park (it’s about a 2 hour and 30 minute drive to the park).
Paia Inn is a great mid-budget condo-style hotel. This boutique property is right near the beach, and is located within shops and restaurants. They even provide boogie boards and snorkel equipment!
Best Places to Stay in Hana
For a peaceful, mostly untouched scenic spot that features botanical gardens, black sand beaches, great snorkeling, tranquil pools, and rolling pastures, head to Hana, an East Maui town that can’t be missed.
To get to Hana from Paia, you’ll have to take the Hana Highway — a famous route with over 620 curves and 59 bridges that’s an attraction in itself. The highway will take you through dramatic scenery such as waterfalls, rainforests, and beautiful views of the sea. While definitely a road to take slow and steady, it’s one of the best drives Maui has to offer.
For a luxury stay in Hana, check out either the suites at Travaasa Hana, a gorgeous property surrounded by 70 acres of tropical gardens with a ton of activities offered.
Another luxury property in Hana is the Heavenly Hana Paradise. The studio features all the amenities, a plush wicker dining area, and is within a 20 minute drive of the Hana waterfalls.
This adorable cottage home rental is also a great option near the road to Hana! It has 2 bedrooms and sleeps 4 people.
Best Places to Stay in Lahaina
Located in West Maui, the historic town of Lahaina is known for its fabulous beaches, great art galleries, and top restaurants.
The main drag in Lahaina, Front Street, has been named one of America’s best streets by the American Planning Association, and I definitely recommend getting out and taking a stroll along the waterfront.
In Lahaina, check out the history of Maui on the Lahaina Historic Trail, go for a hike, and catch a Luau. Additionally, if you head to Maui during the winter months, be sure to book yourself on a whale watching tour. The channel just outside the harbor is one of the best places to spot humpback whales in the region.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Maui on a Budget
Best Places to Stay in Kaanapali
While technically part of Lahaina, Kaanapali is just far enough away from Lahaina proper to be designated its own area. Kaanapali is the original resort location for the island of Maui, and such there are many resorts and hotels to choose from.
One of the best things to do in Kaanapali is snorkeling off Black Rock at North Kaanapali Beach (known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world), zip line through the mountains, and attend a luau at one of the many resorts. Kapalua Bay is also just a 15-minute drive from Kaanapali.
Kaanapali Ocean Inn is a great budget option in Kaanapali. This property is located at the foot of the West Maui Mountains, faces Kaanapali Beach, and has the cutest tropical decor.
For something more mid-range, check out Kaanapali Beach Hotel. The hotel is located among tropical gardens, and has tons of activities for guests to try.
For a luxury stay and one of my favorite hotels in Maui, I recommend the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. The property is right at the foot of Black Rock, has the cutest rooms, and features an area shuttle service.
Best Places to Stay in Napili-Honokowai
Just a couple miles North of Kaanapali is the adjacent town of Napili-Honokowai. Much like Kaanapali, Napili is chalk full of resorts, and has a ton of activities to do. In Napili, go snorkeling off Napili Bay, visit Kahekili Beach Park, browse the farmer’s markets, and check out the Nakalele Blowhole.
Napili Sunset Beach Front Resort is a great mid-range apart-hotel. The property is located right on the beach, and features full kitchens, free WiFi, and BBQ facilities.
The Mauian Hotel is another mid-range option with beautiful hotel rooms and studios. The hotel is home to a swimming pool and BBQ’s.
Best Places to Stay in Kihei
A town set in the sunny southwest of Maui, Kihei is six miles of beautiful beaches, awesome surfing, snorkeling, and kayaking spots, beach volleyball courts, nightlife, and awesome whale watching.
Kihei is also known as a prime nature conservation district, so if you’re interested in bird watching this is the place to come.
Kohea Kai Maui is a great mid-range option in Kihei featuring a free breakfast, swimming pool, and rooftop deck.
The Maui Coast Hotel is another great mid-range option that sits directly across from Kamaole Beach Park, and is home to nightly entertainment, tennis courts, and a free shuttle service around Kihei and Wailea.
Best Places to Stay in Wailuku
If you’re looking for a more city-like Maui stay with a ton of history and nature spots nearby, then I’d recommend staying in Wailuku. Wailuku is a central Maui town that is full of historical buildings and theaters, one-of-a-kind stores, awesome restaurants, and museums.
That said, what surrounds Wailuku is just as spectacular as the town itself. While there, I’d definitely recommend heading out to Iao Valley State Park, which has some seriously dramatic scenery and great trails.
Iao Valley Inn is a budget-friendly option in Wailuku. Not only is it only a couple miles out of Iao Valley State Park, the Inn features a continental breakfast and cozy rooms.
Best Places to Stay in Kahului
Right next to Wailuku in central Maui is Kahului, the central hub of the island where you’ll find the Kahului airport and the island’s largest harbor.
If you’re looking for a city in which to get the local Maui experience and get off the tourist trail, then Kahului is awesome, as this generally non-touristy city has tons of authentic Hawaiian things to see and do.
In Kahului, visit the Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum, check out the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, and visit the Kanaha Beach Park where you’ll find awesome swimming and windsurfing areas.
Maui Seaside Hotel is a great budget option in Kahului. The hotel is just 5 miles from Kihei Beach, and features a restaurant and outdoor pool.
Maui Beach Hotel is another great budget option that features an airport shuttle, pool, and the awesome Rainbow Terrace Dining Room.
Best Budget Hostels in Maui
While I didn’t include any hostels above, there are a few options on the island. These include:
For more budget tips for Maui, read our guide to Maui on a budget.
- Howzit Hostels
- Banana Bungalow
- Maui Hostel
- Aloha Surf Hostel
Maui Packing Essentials
Swim Gear: No trip to Hawaii would be complete without a hop in the ocean. For trips like these I always pack my long-sleeve rash guard, water shoes, snorkeling equipment, a quick-dry towel, a few bathing suits, and a cover-up.
Photo Equipment: Maui (and Hawaii in general) is such a photogenic spot, you definitely don’t want to forget your camera gear. I recommend bringing along a GoPro for underwater shots, a selfie stick for snaps of yourself on the go, and a nice camera for land use.