Maui is a beautifully unique tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. From pristine shorelines to lunar-like mountain peaks and verdant jungles to picturesque pastoral vistas, Maui has something to offer every sort of traveler.
Maui is a happy medium between the crowded cityscapes of Honolulu and the quiet solitude of deserted beaches on the Big Island. Whether you want to party at a nightclub, get your adrenaline pumping with exciting watersports, or simply veg out on the ultimate relaxing getaway, Maui has you covered.
In fact, there are so many beautiful areas on the island, that deciding where to stay on Maui can be a bit overwhelming. The South Shore and West Side are tourist hubs with many of Maui’s best hotels and resorts, golden-sand beaches, and endless fun activities. The North Shore is lush all year long with huge competition-level waves in the winter.
East Maui is secluded in a landscape and community that is reminiscent of old Hawai’i, only reachable by a breathtaking drive along the famous single-lane “Road to Hana”. And Upcountry boasts cooler temperatures and island-wide vistas that are straight out of a postcard.
Plus, Maui County also consists of two other inhabited islands, Lana’i and Moloka’i, which offer unparalleled privacy and cultural experiences.
Keep reading to discover the best places to stay in Maui for your next island holiday!
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The Best Places to Stay in Maui
Where to Stay on Maui’s South Shore
Kihei is a fantastic destination for travelers looking for cool ocean waves and tourism conveniences at a more affordable price and accessible location than the West Side. The area offers the longest continuous coastline on the island with beaches ranging from powdery white sands to golden calm shorelines, punctuated by the remnants of Hawaii’s volcanic past.
Because Kihei is also largely residential, the area is populated with everything you could need to make your stay comfortable, including grocery stores and a range of delicious eateries, abundant activities, and thumping nightlife.
In addition to traditional hotels, families and couples alike will find a great selection of private vacation rentals and Airbnbs in Kihei to meet their needs. The temperature is mostly hot and dry year-round. Even when it’s raining on other parts of the island, it makes it the ideal location for a perfect Hawaiian holiday.
Looking for a perfect night out? Check out some of the island’s local musicians for a live set at What Ale’s You? They have an excellent selection of craft beer and wine and a scrumptious selection of elevated bar food.
If you like the space of a condo but want the amenities of a beachfront hotel, look no further than Hale Pau Hana. Each suite is uniquely furnished with island charm, including a well-appointed kitchen and an ocean view of Kamaole II.
Just steps from the beach in the middle of Kihei, you couldn’t ask for a better location for a beach vacation. There are loads of shops and restaurants within walking distance and even public transit is right at your doorstep. Relax in the heated outdoor pool or enjoy a barbeque lunch beachside with the provided grills.
The affordable price, ideal location, and comfortability of each suite ensure that the property lives up to its name – Hale Pau Hana, “No-Work House”.
Traveling with a large group and needing enough space for everyone to relax in luxury? Poolside Bungalow at Wailea Inn may be just what you need. This private 2-story villa sleeps up to 6 in 3 spacious bedrooms. It is fully decked out in comfort and style. There is space to roam outdoors with direct access to the heated pool, jacuzzi, and private garden patio. And with the beach within walking distance, no one will feel cooped up.
You’ll be covered with a full range of amenities as well including a personal concierge that can book anything from a private chef to island-wide activities. And you’ll even have access to a yoga studio to reach the ultimate level of zen during your stay. With just about everything you could need on hand like beach toys and loungers, and everything else just steps away, you can relax in the lap of luxury at Wailea Inn.
Wailea and Makena
If you seek the pinnacle of luxury and decadence, head to Wailea and Makena for an unforgettable Maui holiday. High-end travelers will appreciate the meticulously landscaped 5-star resorts, celebrity chef-owned gourmet restaurants, and indulgent shopping.
Wailea is one of the best places to stay in Maui for upscale family travel, luxury destination weddings, and romantic no-expense-spared getaways. Makena is further down the coast and much more private, perfect for large group holidays or an exclusive honeymoon splurge.
In stark contrast to the more desert-like climate of Kihei, Wailea and Makena experience slightly more rainfall, cooler temperatures, and greener tropical landscapes. The beaches in the area are mostly fronting expansive resorts and elegant beachside villas. However, there are some secret spots in between that are well worth exploring.
A stay at the Grand Wailea by Waldorf Astoria is luxe and carefree, especially for those traveling to Maui with kids. Spacious rooms, abundant amenities, and impeccable service make this one of the best hotels in Maui!
The little ones can splash all day long in the waterpark complete with nine pools, waterslides, Tarzan rope, and the world’s first water elevator. Adults can indulge in the ultimate relaxation at the full-service Spa Grande. And the whole family can enjoy picturesque dining at HumuHumu Restaurant or the beachside Luau at Honua’ula.
If you’re traveling with a big group, you may consider a stay across the street in one of the immaculate Villas at Ho’olei. They sleep up to six people with a private elevator, gourmet kitchen, and personal butler service. The view is simply breathtaking and there is an on-demand shuttle service. As such, you can enjoy all of the amenities at the main Grand Wailea property as well.
Where to Stay in West Maui
Lahaina is the most popular tourist destination in Maui. The weather is consistently hot and dry year-round, and the crystal blue waters are perfect for a wide range of water activities. Plus there is a wide selection of excellent Airbnbs in Lahaina and the surrounding areas.
Getting from the airport to Maui’s West Side involves a long beachside drive with views of the neighboring islands, varied shorelines, and maybe even a breaching humpback whale – it’s a great way to adjust to the pace of island life.
Lahaina used to be the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom and a major whaling and export hub so the town consists of historical buildings housing modern conveniences that ensure your holiday will be memorable and exciting. If you’re looking for cultural shows, island-made souvenirs, or delectable gourmet restaurants, Lahaina is one of the best places to stay in Maui.
While in the area, check out the critically-acclaimed show, ‘Ulalena. This visually stunning journey through Hawaiian history incorporates traditional dancers accompanied by awe-inspiring percussive instrumentation. The show is completely in the Hawaiian language, but it’s captivating enough that you won’t miss any details.
Just beyond the sprawling shade of the Banyan Tree next to the Old Lahaina Courthouse stands the historic Pioneer Inn. Built in 1901, this building used to be a keystone of the whaling port. The rooms are newly renovated and the property has all the modern amenities to make your stay comfortable.
The Pioneer Inn also boasts a restaurant and bar – perfect for a rest and cool drink to finish the Historic Lahaina Town Walking Tour (one of my favorite free things to do in Maui). The Lahaina Harbor is just outside the door as well, where you can easily access whale-watching or snorkeling tours.
Ka’anapali is further west down the highway from Lahaina. It is the most popular place to stay on Maui because of the expansive mid to high-end resorts, access to water sports activities and golf courses, and proximity to cultural shows.
The temperatures in Ka’anapali are a bit cooler because of almost constant ocean breezes. You can enjoy a stroll down the oceanside boardwalk that connects most of the hotels, restaurants, and shops.
Nearby, the Old Lahaina Luau is the best on the island! With traditional dancers and musicians performing beachside and a huge buffet of traditional Hawaiian food, it’s no wonder it’s been one of the highest-rated tourist attractions on Maui for over 20 years!
The Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka’anapali has been a fixture on the west side of the island for decades. Known for its lush gardens and picturesque location on Ka’anpali Beach, it is one of the best resorts on Maui. Now, thanks to a recent renovation, its gardens and pools have gotten a chic, modern overhaul.
Custom, teardrop-shaped cabanas made of bamboo dot the pool decks, providing a luxurious reprieve from the year-round sunshine. Those on romantic getaways will enjoy the solitude of the adults-only pool and jacuzzi and the tranquility of a stroll through the gardens with tropical flowers and waterfalls.
The rooms have been given a facelift as well. Sleek minimalist high-end furnishings ensure your stay is relaxing and worry-free. Of course, the resort has all of the amenities one comes to expect with the Westin brand – top-notch service, premium spa services, and 5-star dining.
However you choose to make memories on your Hawaiian holiday, the Westin Maui Resort & Spa Ka’anapali is the perfect backdrop!
Located on renowned Ka’anapali Beach, Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club takes a Hawaiian vacation to the next level with world-class service, suites and villas with a tropical flair, and plentiful amenities on a sprawling property.
There is something for everyone with a spa for relaxation, kid’s activities and pools, and golf and water sports on offer. Take a stroll down the boardwalk to find restaurants, shopping, and activities nearby. Or simply take in the golden sunset on the beach, conveniently just steps from your front door.
If you’re traveling with family and wondering where to stay on Maui, the Maui Ocean Club might be just the spot for you.
Where to Stay in East Maui
At the end of the famous winding “Road to Hana” is…well…Hana. If you want to have a real Hawaiian holiday, then there’s no better destination. Untouched jungles, secluded beaches, and zero crowds – Hana is the ultimate in tropical relaxation.
The Eastside of Maui is as quintessentially Hawaii as you can get. The locals in the area live simple lives full of ‘aloha’ at an easy pace that encourages you to slow down and experience the surroundings. Hiking paths lead through the lush mountains to rushing waterfalls and red, black, and golden sand beaches dot the coastline. At night, without city lights or noise pollution, a galaxy of twinkling stars seems to be just beyond reach.
There is no shortage of pristine natural beauty in Hana. In season, waterfalls can be seen from the road. But some of the most gorgeous sites are worth a little effort. ‘Ohe’o Gulch, also known as Seven Sacred Pools, is in the Kipaulu area of Haleakala National Park.
With dozens of waterfalls and swimming holes, you can spend hours hiking the trails in the area and swimming in the cool waters. Bring a camera because you won’t be able to resist taking the perfect Instagrammable selfie.
If you want to truly get away from it all and experience nature and solitude, then Hana is the best place to stay in Maui!
Located near the red sand beach on the eastern coast of the island, Hana-Maui Resort by Hyatt is the pinnacle of relaxation and hospitality. Impeccably landscaped grounds surround well-appointed suites and villas, perfectly designed with relaxation in mind. Fluffy beds, spacious rooms, soaking tubs, and private patios make the Hana-Maui Resort one of the best hotels in Maui!
Packages are based on four pathways to experience your unique holiday. Adventure seekers can enjoy horseback trail rides or stand-up paddleboarding. Those wanting a cultural experience will find abundant traditional Hawaiian crafts, music, and skills workshops. If staying fit during your vacation is of importance, you can try coastal hiking or fitness classes. Or have some treatments at the full-service luxury spa. Whatever your choice, the hospitable staff will go to any length to meet your every need.
You can explore the natural surroundings on a morning hike through the mountainous coastline across from the hotel. It’s the perfect way to start the day with the scent of tropical blooms intermingled with the songs of indigenous birds. Afterward, take a long soak in the bathtub with windows open to the fresh breeze and then have a long, relaxing breakfast. I highly recommend putting this property on your Maui must-do list.
Where to Stay on Maui’s North Shore
Paia is the eclectic center for new age culture on Maui. Colorful shops and unique farm-to-table eateries dot the main street through Paia Town. If you want some beach time but also enjoy cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, you’ll want to check out Paia.
For rolling waves great for bodyboarding and a chance to hang out with the locals, head to Baldwin Beach, just before you reach Paia Town. If you’re looking for more big wave surf or want to watch the windsurfers in action, continue a bit past Paia Town to Ho’okipa Beach. In between, there are a few hidden protected beaches perfect for swimming with small children.
Paia Town is lined with fun shops selling everything from bathing suits to handmade crafts. Perhaps the most kitschy-cool shop is Alice in Hulaland. It’s a boutique clothing store, souvenir treasure trove, and head shop all in one. You’ll find made-in-Maui soaps next to one-of-a-kind tees and you might even spot a celebrity or two doing the same. Definitely worth a stop!
Mama’s Fish House Restaurant and Inn
Renowned for the freshest locally caught seafood dishes, Mama’s Fish House Restaurant has been a fixture in the gourmet culinary scene on Maui for decades. If your idea of a vacation includes gorging on high-end eats, why not stay close to the table?
Mama’s Fish House Inn offers several cute and comfortable cottages and suites nestled in a coconut grove. The carefully selected local artwork and wood furnishings embody the Hawaiian charm with comfort and style.
There is a small beach fronting the restaurant that has calm waves and tide pools teeming with life. The sandy shore is a great spot to hunt for the perfect seashell to take as a souvenir. The area is flanked by huge volcanic rocks to the left and a sea cliff to the right, making it feel like a private beach that is never overcrowded.
The picture-perfect location combined with 5-star hospitality and loads of ‘aloha’ makes a stay at Mama’s Fish House Inn a fantastic alternative to Maui’s big resort properties found elsewhere on the island.
Haiku is a jungle hideaway at the beginning of the Road to Hana. Tropical fruit trees line winding jungle roads and birds, lizards, and other creatures only found in Hawaii inhabit the lush surroundings. The rain falls in 1000 different ways over the canopy, like something out of a white noise track. Haiku is the backdrop for the jungle vacation of your dreams.
It can also be described as a jungle hippies’ dreamland. Many of the rentals in the area allow guests to freely eat from the abundant gardens. This is the space for elephant pants and crystal healers. Free-range, vegan, and gluten-free are found on almost every menu in the eclectic mix of eateries. And, of course, holistic healthcare and yoga of every sort call Haiku home.
For some nutritious and absolutely delicious vegetarian and vegan comfort food, don’t miss Veg Out. Every time I head to Maui, their Hot Italian Sandwich, and a fresh-made vegan dessert are at the top of my to-do list. Finger-licking good!
Ecotourism is a buzz word in the travel industry indicative of places that offer stays with a minimal carbon footprint. Maui Eco Retreat takes it to the next level with privacy, exclusive activities, and organic food in a peaceful off-grid jungle setting.
Imagine waking up in a bamboo cottage to the sounds of birds as the sun rises over the sacred statue garden. Then you can take a morning hike on one of the private trails to secluded waterfalls that only the guests can access.
Enjoy fresh organic fruits and vegetables from the permaculture gardens and then bliss out in a sound healing meditation. Spa packages, healing spiritual sessions, yoga, and meditation classes will help you to renew your mind, body, and soul at Maui Eco Retreat.
Where to Stay in Maui’s Upcountry
On the slopes of Haleakala amid temperate forests and cowboy culture sits Kula. If your Maui holiday doesn’t need to center around beaches or you want to retreat to cooler temperatures, Kula is worth considering.
The sweeping views of the valley and ocean in between the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala from Kula are simply breathtaking! And if you catch it at sunrise or sunset, you’ll be absolutely in awe.
Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm is a wonderful family-friendly excursion for the day if you’re staying in Kula. Sweeping views of the island bathed in the light and the flowery aroma of lavender blooms make for a delightful backdrop to high tea or lunch. Be sure to grab some of their made-on-Maui treats and souvenirs to take home.
At 3,200 feet of elevation on the slopes of Haleakala, Kula Lodge is a vastly underrated place to stay on Maui. Sweeping vistas of the Valley Isle at sunrise and sunset will take your breath away. Cooler temperatures among the peacefulness of temperate forests offer a completely different side of island life that is often overlooked.
There are five rustic lodges available on the property. Each one is decorated with quaint country furnishings, a fireplace to warm your toes against the cold, and amenities to make your stay comfortable. Additionally, there is a fantastic restaurant that is a favorite with locals and visitors for its woodfired pizza, full-service bar, and unparalleled sunset views.
Where to Stay on Maui’s Neighboring Islands
Many people are unaware that Maui County actually includes a total of 5 islands, 3 of them inhabited – Maui, Moloka’i, and Lana’i. Maui is, of course, the most popular. Moloka’i is inhabited almost completely by Native Hawaiians. It does make for good camping or a day excursion to see the abandoned leper colony. And Lana’i is definitely worth considering if you want an unspoiled Hawaiian holiday experience completely off the beaten path.
Lana’i used to be an island-wide pineapple plantation but in recent years has become privately owned. Taking advantage of its tiny size and small population, Lana’i has become the ultimate high-end luxury that meets celebrity-level privacy.
Aside from shuttles provided by the resorts, bicycles and off-road vehicles are the only modes of transportation on the island. Virtually empty beaches, ancient Hawaiian historical sites, and golf are the main attractions. Don’t expect shopping malls or flashy shows – Lana’i is for peace and quiet.
If you want the highest level of service, luxury, and privacy, you absolutely must stay at Four Seasons Resort Lanai!
First you’ll travel to the 5-diamond resort situated on Manele Bay by luxury air service. Once you step foot on the beachfront property, leave all of your worries behind as the staff caters to your every whim with the highest standards of service.
Each room appears to be cut from a magazine, expertly designed with sleek and tasteful island-inspired furnishings. The sound of ocean waves will lull you to sleep in their signature plush bedding. Enjoy your morning coffee or meal from your oceanfront balcony. If you’re lucky, you can see the dolphins playing in Manele Bay.
Of course, the activities offered by the resort are elevated as well. Fancy a private cruise on a 50-foot catamaran for snorkeling or sunset dinner? Seeking off-road adventure by ATV to explore the interior of the island? How about a round or two on one of the most picturesque courses in the world at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Manele Golf Course?
However, if you choose to spend your holiday, leave the details to the experts in service at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
I hope this article helps you decide where to stay in Maui! Do you have a favorite Maui hotel or resort that I missed? Let me know in the comments below.
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