Traveling to Hawaii is a dream for many people and resides on the bucket lists of many. This comprehensive guide will help you find out where to stay in Maui, the best neighborhoods, and the most excellent hotels.
Why Visit Maui?
The island of Maui is the second-largest in the Hawaiian islands, coming just behind the island of Hawaii itself. The island got its name from the son of the navigator who discovered it. Named after the demigod, both the son and the island became known as Maui.
But if you’ve got a trip in the works, you might be wondering where to stay. In a nutshell, there are 7 main parts of the island.
Parts of Town:
- Kahului – has the highest population on the island and is the financial hub
- Wailuku – was previously the largest tourist area on Maui
- Kihei – home of many nature trails and the Kihei Aquatic Center
- Lahaina – houses many of the top resorts in Maui
- Makawao – is primarily ranch land and agriculture, with the Makawao Forest Reserve
- Pukalani – often has the coolest weather on the island and is mainly on a slope due to the volcano
- Wailea-Makena – the go-to location for the best hotels and beaches
Where to Stay in Maui
The island of Maui has many different areas and towns throughout its 727 square miles. Each city offers its own unique characteristics that speak to the preferences of various residents and tourists.
Below, we offer some of the highlights of some of the more prominent areas on the island. Continue reading to learn more and see which is the best fit for you and the experience you desire.
The town of Kahului is known for its cultural opportunities. It is home to the Story of Hawaii Museum as well as the Schaefer International Gallery. The city of Kahului also has a veteran memorial center and the Maui Mall, which shoppers everywhere enjoy.
If you are looking for a nature-oriented vacation, this may not be the best fit for you. Kahului is best suited for those who want to mix fun with relaxation.
Things to Do:
- Story of Hawaii Museum
- Schaefer International Gallery
- Maui Nui Botanical Gardens
- Maui Mall
Where To Eat:
- Tasaka Guri Guri Shop
- Poi By The Pound
- Geste Shrimp
- Tin Roof Maui
Kahului Budget Hotels
- Iao Valley Inn – Known for its beautifully decorated rooms, with each having its own patio. Breakfast is included in the cost of the hotel stay. Iao Valley Inn is a quiet and tranquil hotel to stay in during your trip and will offer a great view of life on Maui.
- The Northshore Hostel Maui – This budget option allows you to choose between a single room or multiple. Some options will enable coed groups to reside in a shared space. Children under the age of six are not allowed to stay on this property. It’s possible that you will end up rooming with people that you don’t know, so keep this in mind when booking your stay.
Kahului Mid-Range Hotels
- Maui Beach Hotel – This mid-range option has rooms that provide an ocean view, whereas the lower-rate rooms do not. Additionally, they have a pool on-site for guests to use. There are free wifi and laundry services to help you stay on top of necessary tasks during your stay.
- Maui Seaside Hotel – The light and airy decor of the rooms in this hotel will leave you feeling relaxed and comfortable. There is no hustle and bustle to this hotel, just endless amounts of relaxation. On-site is a pool, laundry service, and free wifi.
Kahului Luxury Hotels
- Courtyard Maui – Located near the airport, this nationwide chain hotel has a very modern look. It also offers a restaurant and gym on-site, with several meals and workout options to choose from while there. Guests are allowed access to the hotel’s pool and hot tub as well during their stay.
- Paia Inn – Not only does this luxury hotel offer an outdoor entertainment area, but you also get loaner beach gear when you check in. They have both a spa and restaurant on-site that are just a short walk to the beach. The Inn has several different excursions that you can take part in for a fee.
Wailuku was previously the most prominent tourist location, and for a good reason. Not only are there great nature options, but several cultural opportunities as well. The town is right up against the West Maui mountains, which provides a beautiful backdrop during your time in the city.
If you aren’t looking to participate in nature outings, you may want to look at another Maui location. Although Wailuku has many shops, cultural exhibits, and entertainment options, it also strongly focuses on nature.
Things to Do:
- Bailey House Museum
- Maui Tropical Plantation
- Maui Ocean Center
- Mendes Ranch
Where To Eat:
- Julia’s Banana Bread
- 808 on Main
- Sam Sato’s
- A Saigon Cafe
Wailuku Budget Hotels
- Noble Travel Hotel – This hotel is a family-owned, local establishment that offers lower rates for quality rooms and features. Not only does the hotel offer laundry service for its guests, but it also has a variety of children’s activities on the grounds.
- Iao Valley Inn – As another budget option for visitors to Wailuku, this inn offers a variety of room sizes and similar amenities to the Noble Travel Hotel of free wifi, breakfast, and children’s activities. This accommodation is centrally located to many different restaurants.
Wailuku Mid-Range Hotels
- Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono – This beautiful inn is reminiscent of the early 1920s in Hawaii. The owners explicitly chose the decor to represent that era in a display to the time period. This hotel offers many comfort amenities for visitors, including a bathrobe for you to use during your stay and beautifully manicured lawns for walks.
- Wailuku Guesthouse – As a centrally located hotel option, the Wailuku Guesthouse has 22 restaurants within 0.3 miles. Additionally, they have self-serve laundry and a pool for their guests to use during their stay. You’ll have no shortage of food choices when staying at the Wailuku Guesthouse.
Wailuku Luxury Hotels
- The Kulani Maui – As one of the top-rated hotels in the area, the Kulani offers a picturesque view of life on the island of Maui. With beachfront access and walking distance to the downtown area, the Kulani is loved by all who stay there.
- Ho’oilo House Bed and Breakfast – This all-inclusive property has many free perks for its guests, including parking, breakfast, wifi, and a pool. Decorated in Balinese decor, the bed and breakfast also offers on-site golfing (for a fee).
The area of Kihei is known for its nature and beaches, and it has plenty of both. This location is the town to visit if you want to spend your vacation snorkeling, scuba diving, beachcombing, and fishing. You could choose a different water activity for each day of your trip and still not be able to take part in them all!
If those are hobbies that don’t interest you, then you’ll likely find your vacation more enjoyable in one of the other notable towns that Maui provides, like Wailuku.
Things to Do:
- Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
- Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge
- Kamaole State Park
- Molokini Crater
Where To Eat:
- South Maui Fish Company
- Kinaole Grill Food Truck
- Sugar Beach Bake Shop
- Koiso Sushi Bar
Kihei Budget Hotels
- Ocean Breeze Hideaway – This adults-only hotel is a reasonably priced option for those looking to visit the Kihei area. It is just a short walk from the largest beach in Kihei and offers snorkeling, horseback riding, and windsurfing.
- Days Inn Wyndham Maui Waterfront – The Days Inn is a great budget option for families, offering family-style rooms to accommodate your whole group. This hotel also has barbeque areas and snorkeling. The icing on the cake is the ocean view outside your room.
Kihei Mid-Range Hotels
- Pineapple Inn – This beautiful inn has everything you can possibly need for an enjoyable vacation in Kihei. They offer an outdoor saltwater pool for their guests, as well as barbeque areas and complimentary breakfast. Guests will also enjoy the private balconies that come with each room.
- What a Wonderful World Bed and Breakfast – If you want to be in the center of nature, this accommodation will do just that for you! Nestled within beautiful trees and flowers, you will feel like you are staying in an exquisite treehouse. What’s more, each room has a kitchenette and pets are allowed.
Kihei Luxury Hotels
- Kohea Kai Maui – This luxury hotel is an escape from reality for its guests. Each room features a fireplace and kitchenette, whereas the property itself offers babysitting, bicycle rental, spa, dry cleaning, barbeque areas, and beach.
- Eva Villa – Having a luxury hotel right next to a golf course, with the ability to partake in many different outdoor activities, is a dream come true for many people. Along with the high-end rooms, there is also a sun deck, pool, and complimentary breakfast available for guests.
The town of Lahaina welcomes 80% of the tourists that come to Maui. It is known for its lavish resorts and many activities that you can partake in during your visit. You can find something to do for everyone in Lahaina, from nature activities to shopping to whale watching.
There isn’t a subset of visitors that Lahaina doesn’t cater to in traveling. However, if you are looking for a low-key, quiet visit, it may be best to go for an area like Kihei or a slightly less busy area like Wailuku.
Things to Do:
- Maui Animal Farm
- Kahekili Beach Park
- Lahaina Front Street
- Napili Beach
Where To Eat:
- Island Cream Co.
- Lahaina Grill
- Paia Fish Market Front Street Restaurant
- Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop
Lahaina Budget Hotels
- MaKai Sunset Inn – Located in downtown Lahaina, this hotel is a budget option for travelers to the area who want to enjoy everything the city has to offer. Everything you need or want to do is within walking distance, and the hotel includes a kitchen, free wifi, and laundry services.
- Sands of Kahana – This hotel will give you your money’s worth with spacious rooms and beautiful views. The property includes activities such as a tennis court and kids pool, and many of the rooms on the property have a kitchenette, balcony, and living room area.
Lahaina Mid-Range Hotels
- Aston Kaanapali Shores – With this hotel, you are surrounded by beautiful blue water everywhere you look. The room’s balconies overlook the ocean, making it an idyllic location for a morning cup of coffee or an evening glass of wine. There is also a spa on-site and supervised children’s activities.
- Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas – Located in the historic district, this villa resort is right on a spacious beach with many outdoor lounging areas to enjoy during your stay. Additionally, there is a bar and restaurant on-site with a complimentary manager’s reception for guests.
Lahaina Luxury Hotels
- Kaanapali Alli – This luxury resort offers many fun activities on-site, such as golfing, yoga, and tennis. Many more activities such as hiking, snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, whale watching, and ecotours are located nearby. Each room comes with a view, and room service is offered.
- Honua Kai Resort & Spa – Each room at this resort has a condo feel with the appropriate amenities. They include a full kitchen and access to a fully furnished outdoor lanai. The property offers several restaurants and a spa, as well as four different outdoor pools.
Makawao is a very laid-back country atmosphere. It is home to many ranches and agricultural grounds. The town is a very rural, quiet area that has historical roots. Many people love the sunsets that they view there and the cultural activities that the area has.
This area is not ideal for someone who wants to be on the move all the time, with several different activities to take part in during vacation. Makawao is more suited for people who want to take in the natural landscape Maui has to offer.
Things to Do:
- Makawao History Project
- Hana Highway
- Makena Beach
- Makawao Forest Reserve
Where To Eat:
- Makawao Garden Cafe
- Freshies Maui
- Mama’s Fish House
Makawao Budget Hotels
- Peace of Maui Bed and Breakfast – This small hotel of only seven rooms offers a personal touch to your stay due to the reduced number of guests at each time. Each room comes with a mini-fridge and tv but has three shared bathrooms and a common living room and kitchen. The hotel offers a hot tub, free wifi, and a complimentary breakfast.
- Hale Hookipa Inn Makawao – This quaint hotel offers you the chance to stay in a rustic plantation home in a quiet area of Maui. The Inn is five miles from the Makawao Forest Reserve and offers local artwork and a daily organic breakfast. The charm within the inn will make you feel right at home.
Makawao Mid-Range Hotels
- Adventure in Paradise – This hotel allows you a private setting for a honeymoon or vacation. Located just minutes from famous beaches and windsurfing, you will have plenty to do if you feel like exploring. Otherwise, the tranquil environment the hotel offers will let you get a glimpse into Hawaii’s natural beauty.
- Maui’s North Shore Lookout – This unique accommodation has a communal atmosphere with large dining areas and several lounge spots. With a location in a quiet corner of nature at the base of the mountains, it is a great area to rest and relax but is close to downtown and other amenities.
Makawao Luxury Hotels
- Lumeria Maui – This sleek and elegant hotel will rejuvenate you thoroughly during your stay. Your time at the Lumeria Maui includes the use of a saltwater pool, a farm-to-table restaurant, and a spa. If you desire, there are also yoga classes to take part in during your stay.
- Banyan Tree Bed and Breakfast – Another restored plantation house turned accommodation is awaiting you in Makawao. This one offers cottages and suites, as well as a yoga and meditation studio. Located close to the downtown area, you can grab some complimentary breakfast and head off to explore.
The term Pukalani means entrance to heaven. That term is an accurate description of the town by the same name. Referred to as “upcountry” by those who live in Hawaii, Pukalani is more rural than other areas of Maui but also gives the coolest temperatures.
Pukalani is another area of Maui, much like Makawao, that is best suited for those looking for a relaxing, nature-filled vacation. Being away from the busier areas’ hustle and bustle, those looking for a peaceful place to recoup and rejuvenate will find it in Pukalani.
Things to Do:
- Pukalani Country Club
- Shoreline Snuba
- Pueokea Farms
- Upcountry Farmers Market
Where To Eat:
- Polli’s Mexican Restaurant
- Kula Bistro
- Kama Hele Cafe
- Sunny Maui Specialties
Pukalani Budget Hotels
- Ha’le Kiana – This simple hotel offers a beautiful place to rest your head. The modern furnishings and country location make it a hidden gem. You may even get the see-through domed room on the roof for a unique stay opportunity!
- Aloha Cottage – Upon arriving at this hotel, you will be greeted by many native wildflowers on the path to the front door. Seeing these will start your vacation off of the right foot! The beautiful estate and wildlife will provide you with the perfect backdrop for your trip.
Pukalani Mid-Range Hotels
- G&Z Upcountry Bed and Breakfast – The views you get while at this bed and breakfast will have you spoiled! This nature-derived accommodation offers several outside decks and lounges to soak up the landscape and beautiful scenery you are surrounded by during your stay.
- Kula Sandalwoods Cafe and Inn – The location of this inn, being higher up in the mountains, allows you to have a panoramic view to die for each day. Additionally, the attached cafe means that you will have good, authentic meals during your stay and will never go hungry on your vacation.
Pukalani Luxury Hotels
- Keokea Ranch Estate – For those used to city living, this estate accommodation will give you a completely different experience! Waking up to acres of open land, farm animals, and a serene environment will leave you feeling so relaxed that you won’t want to go back!
- Maui Beach Vacation Club – On the outskirts of Pukalani, the Maui Beach Vacation Club offers resort-style accommodation for people visiting the area. With a pool, concierge, and other high-end amenities, you will get the whole pampered experience at this hotel. The remote location of the Maui Beach Vacation Club lets you have a bit of quiet and privacy with all the high-end benefits of a resort.
This highly-populated area is the go-to destination for vacationers to the Hawaiian island of Maui. Not only are there top-notch accommodations and resorts to stay in, but the beaches are highly sought after as well. This location is where you will find the widest variety of hotels available of all different ratings and sizes.
Wailea-Makena is the equivalent of big-city living for those coming in for a family vacation or personal retreat. If you desire to have a holiday with lots of high-energy, on-the-go crowds, then this is your spot. If you want the opposite experience, then Pukalani or Kihei is probably a better place to stay.
Things to Do:
- Makena Beach
- Maui Golf and Sports Park
- Enchanting Floral Gardens
- Polipoli Springs State Recreational Area
Where To Eat:
- Ko Restaurant
- Nick’s Fishmarket Maui
- Kea Lani Restaurant
Wailea-Makena Budget Hotels
- Residence Inn by Marriott Maui Wailea – This nationally recognized chain hotel offers a full kitchen and sitting area, along with a bedroom. The grounds provide a pool for guest use, as well as a complimentary breakfast. It is near to all the local attractions for guest convenience.
- AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea – Located directly on the beach, this hotel allows you to have direct access to all the water activities you want to take part in during your stay. Having all the additional area amenities within walking distance allows you to explore at your will.
Wailea-Makena Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Wailea – This resort hotel comes with all the perks you will ever need while on vacation. In addition to the gorgeous rooms, valet parking, and luxurious food choices, you have amazing views and amenities. All of the rooms, which are suites, have a beach house feel and are settled on 15 acres of private land.
- Wailea Beach Resort Marriott – Part of the Marriott chain, this beautiful property is surrounded by different forms of water, including the property’s pool. With the hotel resort’s restaurants, many activities (including for children), and premium amenities, you’ll never need to leave your haven of luxury.
Wailea-Makena Luxury Hotels
- Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort – This accommodation is perfect for families with an indoor children’s play area, restaurants, a private beach, and modern rooms. The staff at the resort speak several different languages, making it easy to get your needs met quickly.
- Grand Wailea – Another family-friendly location, this resort offers babysitting services so you can leave your little ones in capable hands. At the same time, you can enjoy a kid-free dinner with your significant other. Each room comes with a private balcony, which is perfect for listening to the waves as they come up on the beach. There is also a water park, adults-only pool, and bicycle rental, among many other premium amenities.
Where Should You Stay in Maui?
Each area of Maui offers something special and unique, and those offerings piggyback on the natural characteristics that the different cities provide. One of the most remarkable features that the island has is that there is something for everyone.
For those visitors who want to experience what nature has to offer, numerous areas provide that. Additionally, for the people who want to have options for entertainment and high-end resorts, Maui also has places that cater to that.
In the end, it comes down to what you want out of your vacation. Whatever you desire, you will find it on the island of Maui. Not only that, but you will have the time of your life while there.