Where will you base for your Maui adventure? It’s hard to go wrong! While it’s true that every area has trade-offs, you can still enjoy lush, tropical adventures and turquoise seas within easy striking difference from just about anywhere on island. Here are my best suggestions for where to stay in Maui:
There are five main areas to choose from when deciding on the best part of Maui to stay in: (1) South Maui, (2) West Maui (3) Along the Road to Hana (or in Hana), (4) Central Maui or (5) Upcountry. Where you stay will depend upon your Maui itinerary.
Quick Answer: If you’re in a hurry, here are my top recommendations below so you can check prices and availability now.
* For a detailed description of each area on Maui—and more options for hotels, condos and other vacation rentals—keep scrolling.
|Area||Best Place to Stay||Price||Book|
|Oceanfront Lahaina luxe condo||$$$$||Click here|
|Haleakala Princess Estate||$$$$||Click here|
|Oceanfront Kihei condo||$$$$||Click here|
|Road to Hana|
(or in Hana)
|Hana Hideaway||$$$||Click here|
|Hawaiian Dream Temple||$$$||Click here|
- Best Places to Stay in Maui
- 1. South Maui (Kihei and Wailea)
- 2. West Maui: Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua
- 3. Along the Hana Highway (Paia and Hana)
- 4. Central Maui (Kahului and Wailuku)
- 5. Upcountry (Haleakala and Kula)
- Where to Stay in South Maui (Kihei and Wailea)
- Where to Stay in West Maui (Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Kapalua)
- Where to Stay on the Hana Highway (Paia and Hana)
- Where to Stay in Central Maui (Kahului and Wailuku)
- Where to Stay in Upcountry (Haleakala and Kula)
Best Places to Stay in Maui
Here’s a quick summary of the best places to stay in Maui:
1. South Maui (Kihei and Wailea)
This is probably the most popular area on Maui to stay for both couples and families. The Maui south shore offers quick access to incredible beaches. Plus, Makena Landing near here is great for scuba diving. You’ll find mostly resorts in Wailea and condos and hotels in Kihei. The downside of this area is more tourists.
2. West Maui: Lahaina, Kaanapali, Kapalua
West Maui offers plenty of luxury resorts (even more so than Wailea), golfing, and dramatic Maui beaches. The downside is that it’s less central (more driving) to other areas on the island. Best for couples and luxury lovers. Budget options are still available here, however.
3. Along the Hana Highway (Paia and Hana)
Fewer tourists choose lodging along this bucket list drive on the east side of the island. The bonus, of course, is that you’ll enjoy the epic views and waterfalls galore here without the crowds when the day-trippers go home. Best for those who love active adventures with fewer crowds.
4. Central Maui (Kahului and Wailuku)
This is the area of the island everyone crisscrosses between the famous west coast and Hana Highway. Close to the airport with easy access everywhere. Best for budget travelers who want convenience.
5. Upcountry (Haleakala and Kula)
Upcountry is rural Maui, also in the middle of the island, just south of Central Maui. While it’s not a typical tourist choice for a base, you’ll meet more locals than tourists here and enjoy easy access everywhere. Best for those who love to be off-the-beaten-path experiences.
The Top 3 Things You Need to Pack for Maui
•Go Pro—The #1 thing I wished I’d brought on my first Maui visit.
• Turkish beach towel—Welcome to your new favorite towel.
Where to Stay in South Maui (Kihei and Wailea)
South Maui is popular for a reason! First of all, it’s the driest and sunniest area of Maui.
It will take you just a half hour or so from the airport to reach Kihei, with miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches for swimming and surfing. Lots of families congregate here due to the easy beach access from the many condos and hotels just opposite Kamaole Beaches I, II, and III.
You’ll also find plenty of food trucks in this area and roadside malls selling bikinis and beach essentials.
A bit further south is Wailea, named after the goddess of canoe builders (Water of Lea). Fancy waterside resorts abound here. Even if you don’t stay, be sure to stop for sunset cocktails or a meal at the Andaz Maui Wailea Resort or the Grand Wailea Maui.
Pros and cons: South Maui is sunny, laid back, and there’s great shopping. Plenty of great day tours depart from here.
On the flip side, the consistently sunny days and gorgeous beaches mean plenty of other tourists. It’s also not as lush as the other side of the island if you’re looking for lush jungle hikes.
Here are my picks for South Maui:
1. Kihei Penthouse —Ocean View from Every Room
Located between two of the best powder sand beaches in Kihei near Waipuilani Beach Park, this top floor luxury penthouse offers the perfect perch for watching whales and turtles at sunset from your private lanai (patio). There are ocean views from every single room!
Then head down to the oceanfront pool or enjoy 360 degree views as you BBQ from the rooftop garden. Luxe designer furnishings and personal recommendations from your host make this an epic stay.
Best for: Luxury loving couples, honeymooners, solo explorers and even small families. (There is a sleeper sofa in the living room and a crib is also an option.)
Guest review: “Loved staying here! I stayed at 3 different rental homes during my visit to Hawaii and this place was by far my favorite. Not to mention, the view is insane.”
—Hanan A Jan 2021
Check price and availability on the Kihei ocean view penthouse here.
2. Hyatt’s Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
Looking for world-class luxury in South Maui? Check into the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. It’s one of the best places to stay in Wailea. Located on 15 acres of beachfront property with four infinity pools, two restaurants, and a full-service spa, you might never want to leave!
Just a stone’s throw—a 10-minute walk, actually—from all the beautiful Shops at Wailea, too.
Best for: luxury lovers.
Guest review: “The highlight of this hotel was definitely their tiered infinity pools — so cool and maximized the space in a way that made you feel like you had room to spread out and relax instead of being “on top of” other guests.”
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3. Boutique Beachfront Penthouse
Drift to sleep in this cozy condo as you’re serenaded by the lapping waves. This one bedroom penthouse sleeps three and includes one bedroom. Recently renovated, it includes a plush Cal King bed, stainless steel appliances, and whisper quiet air conditioning.
This penthouse is located directly on Sugar Beach, a four mile stretch of sand that includes the Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge. The complex includes a pool, air conditioning and HD TV. Plus, it’s fully stocked with snorkel gear, beach chairs, beach umbrella, and an ice chest.
Best for: Solo travelers and couples looking for good value in a beachfront stay.
Guest review: “Beautiful views from the lanai, bedroom and even shower. One stairwell and a few short steps from the beach, location is great.”—Jackson G. 12/20
Where to Stay in West Maui (Lahaina, Ka’anapali, Kapalua)
This is the area of luxury resorts (even more high end than Wailea), golf and other beautiful beaches. The downside is that it’s less central (more driving) to other areas on the island.
West Maui is home to some stunning resorts, making it one of the best places to stay in Maui for couples. Don’t miss Lahaina! While it can be brimming with tourists in the shops on Front Street, it’s also a historic whaling village that was once the capital of the Hawaiin kingdom.
Past Lahaina is Ka’anapali and its master-planned Kaanapali Beach Resort. Take time to hit the beach here and walk the boardwalk to admire the dramatic coastline as waves crash onto the volcanic rock here. (Plus, there’s a bird refuge!)
Keep heading up Maui’s north shore and arrive at exclusive Kapalua for more beautiful luxury resorts, including The Ritz-Carlton and Kapalua Resorts. The Kapalua Wine & Food Festival happens here.
Pros and cons: In West Maui, you’re inevitably close to great restaurants, the most beautiful beaches, great shopping, groceries, and things to do after dark. Plus, plenty of day tours leave out of Lahaina.
The only real downside to staying in West Maui are the potential traffic jams due to the only north-south highway here. It’s just a two lane artery.
Be aware that it’s an hour’s drive between Kapalua at the northern tip of the island down to Kihei near the northern part of South Maui. (And that’s with no traffic.) And it’s going to be a bit of a schlep to the Road to Hana from here.
Here are my picks for West Maui:
1. Beachfront Luxury Oceanfront Home
Talk about a dream vacation! You’ll feel the sea breeze in this peaceful oceanfront home as you walk through the front door. This is one of the best places to stay in Lahaina.
Located conveniently in a 35 acre gated community in the heart of Lahaina, it’s just a short walk to the world-famous Banyan tree and Lahaina Harbor.
It’s also just steps from the water’s edge as you bask in your own personal oasis of coconut trees and exotic tropical flowers. Hang your beach hammock next to the water. Watch whales breach or snorkel from home.
Best for: Two to four travelers looking for beachfront luxury.
Guest review: “Amazing home in a perfect location. It was so great that we extended our trip twice and ended up staying 2 weeks. It was incredible to have the beach right there, and Lahaina was our favorite town in Maui.”
2. Luxury Resort in Kapalua
Montage Kapalua Bay is your Hawaiian fantasy come to life! Settle into a spacious suite in this 24-acre resort nestled into picturesque Kapalua Bay. (If you’re looking for places to stay in Maui on the beach, go here.) It’s just a seven-minute walk to Kapalua Golf Club.
Explore the property by bicycle, hit the tennis courts or relax at the spa. Go windsurfing. This property has every amenity.
Best for: Couples and families looking for a bucket list accommodation in West Maui.
Guest review: “The definition of magnificence all over, this resort is the perfect destination to unwind, have a one of a kind experience.”
3. Budget Hostel in Lahaina
If you’re a budget traveler, you can’t do better than the Tiki Beach Hostel in the heart of Lahaina. It even comes with free hiking, snorkeling equipment, and beach tours! Sip a coffee in the full kitchen and then go for a kayak paddle (also free!).
While Tiki Beach Hostel is located at the beach, it’s just a 15-minute walk into the center of town.
Guest review: “Loved this place. Nice people working there and staying there. Very clean and good mellow vibe. Loved the outdoor shower.”
Where to Stay on the Hana Highway (Paia and Hana)
Driving the Hana Highway—either on your own or with a day tour—is must-do Maui! This is a bucket list drive with incredibly scenic ocean views and plenty of worthwhile stops.
Most visitors underestimate how much there is to do and see on the Road to Hana and wind up missing some wonderful opportunities in their quest to squeeze it in as a day trip. (Me included!)
So consider basing here for a few days on a first trip. It’s one of the best places to stay in Maui to beat those day crowds. Or, if you’re wondering what part of Maui to stay in on a return visit to the island, consider the Hana Highway or Hana itself.
This is 64 miles of two-lane highway that connect Kahalui and Paia with Hana in the southeast corner of the island. Think black sand beaches, food trucks, hiking in bamboo forests, and beautiful botanical gardens just for starters.
If you leave early and make your stops brief, you can make it about halfway to Hana, turn around and be back on the west side of the island at nightfall after dark. If this is your first visit to Maui, do the Road to Hana as a day trip at a minimum!
Pros and cons: Again, the great thing is that you’ll have this piece of paradise all to yourself after the day-trippers head home. Likewise, if you’re going to go to all the trouble to stay here, stay a few days and really see this area.
Hana itself is remote from the rest of the island so you won’t be toddling over to the west side of the island. If you’re a return visitor—or have enough time to break your visit into two stays on the west and east side of Maui—consider basing here for a unique experience.
Here are my picks for where to stay on the Road to Hana:
1. Heavanly Hana Hideway Overlooking Hana Bay
Ogle the black sand beach from this unique and cozy two bedroom, two bath getaway at the edge of Hana Bay. It’s just 1,000 feet to the sand! If you’re overnighting in Hana, this is the place to stay.
Bedroom 1 has a king bed and bedroom 2 has a queen with an additional sleeper sofa in the livng room to sleep six.
This is the spirit of Aloha in unspoiled Hawaii at its very finest. Hardwood floors and bamboo cabinetry give way to panoramic ocean views out the window.
Best for: Two couples, friends, and families.
Guest review: “The pictures do not do this place justice. The inside of the condo is beautiful and the views are amazing. You are so close to the ocean the waves are almost too loud! Great location, close to everything.”
—Sarah B, Feb 2021
2. Hana Maui Luxury Resort in Hana
Looking for a top-notch base for exploring the area near Hana? Stay at the incredible Hana Maui Resort! Suites come with fully equipped kitchen, terraces with ocean views, and 70 acres of lush tropical gardens to explore.
Between the wellness classes, lei making, and mixology classes onsite, you may never leave!
Best for: Luxury lovers who want to spend one or more days exploring Hana at the end of the Road to Hana (instead of day-tripping).
Guest review: “The Travaasa Hana is a magical place. At the end of a long, difficult drive we checked into paradise. The staff was friendly. The area remote. The views were incredible. I fell asleep to the sound of the ocean every night.”
3. Tranquil Private Oasis
This gorgeous three bedroom two bath Kama’aina style plantation home sleeps six. It feels private and off-the-beaten path just past Haiku on the Road to Hana while still offering easy access to Haleakala and Paia. (It’s one hour to Lahaina and Wailea.)
The property has been featured in Pottery Barn shoots and also in Coastal Living Magazine. The classic Hawaii design showcases hickory pecan floors and Douglas fir walls and includes a 40 foot private swimming pool and hundreds of rare tropical plants in a country setting.
Best for: Families or two couples. Bedrooms 1 and 2 feature queen beds while bedroom 3 includes a bunk bed.
Guest review: “Lovely, relaxing, roomy home with gorgeous grounds. We especially appreciated the oversized fridge, solid internet, high ceilings and windows to let the breeze in, and the big, clean, passively-heated pool. Also frequent rooster serenades!” —Kevin K Apr 2020
Where to Stay in Central Maui (Kahului and Wailuku)
You’ll likely crisscross Central Maui on your way to the airport and back from beaches in West and South Maui at a minimum. This is the middle of the island between the famous west coast and Hana Highway. Close to the airport with easy access everywhere.
But be sure to visit lush Iao Valley State Park here as well. The state park, just at the base of the West Maui Mountains, offers 400 acres of lush valley for hiking and the opportunity to ogle the famous Iao Needle, a particularly striking and thin mountain peak rising out of the valley here.
Cute little Wailuku is where Maui’s county government is based. You’ll fall in love with the adorable boutiques and mom and pop establishments that have been here for generations. Kahului is, of course, home to Maui’s main airport, but also hosts a swap meet, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, and the Maui Sunday market.
Pros and cons: If you can stay near the Iao Valley, this is an idyllic location for a base on Maui. You can conveniently access just about anywhere on island. Wailuku feels cozy. And budget travelers will enjoy the hostel scene here.
While Kahului is not a popular base for most visitors to Maui, it does make a great spot if you’re looking to minimize drive time to spend more time on the Road to Hana or Mount Haleakala or need to be close to the airport for a flight.
On the other hand, this is not near any swimming beaches. It’s more of an industrial area.
Here are my picks for Central Maui:
1. Hawaiian Dream Temple
This lush eco-designed Asian-style bamboo temple is rated as one of the top 7 best places to go glamping in Hawaii! And it’s easy to see why.
With 1,800 square feet of covered living space here in tropical Haiku, two bedrooms (two queens) and one bathroom, it can sleep six. Custom kitchen included as well. The best part of your day here? Listening to the birds chirp as you unwind on the wrap-around deck and soak in the private hot tub.
If you can tear yourself away from the 40 foot fresh water swimming pool and the lava rock waterfall that gurgles next to the meditation gazebo, you’ll be just minutes from waterfalls, hiking trails, and ziplining adventures…not to mention The Road to Hana and Haleakala Crater.
Best for: One to two couples (two queen beds) or small family. (Sleeps six.)
Guest review: “In our 50 years together, my husband (retired pilot) and I have traveled the world…but THIS place…OMG THIS place is ‘it’. It was all divine, magical.” —Mike & Lilian, Georgia
2. Iao Valley Inn in Wailuku
Wake up to a rainbow over the West Maui mountains every morning here! Just two miles from Iao Valley State Park, the Iao Valley Inn feels far removed from the tourist fray with absolutely no compromise in quality.
Visitors rate it a 9.7 for location—It’s quiet and rural but central to everything you want to do. The Iao Valley Inn oozes aloha.
Best for: Small families and couples.
Guest review: “Excellent b&b, outstanding hosts. Beautiful spot just outside the park with a view of the river and mountains.”
Check prices and availability on the Iao Valley Inn here. (Book early! This place fills up fast.)
3. Courtyard Marriott near the Airport
If you like the idea of a 5-minute drive to Kahului Airport, Courtyard Marriott is the place for you! An on-site fitness center and hot tub make this a no brainer for families looking for convenience.
Plus, it’s just a 26-minute drive to Haleakala and five minutes to Hoaloha Park beaches.
Best for: Families looking for a spot convenient to the airport.
Guest review: “The staff at this hotel are AWESOME! Everyone was very friendly and helpful!”
Where to Stay in Upcountry (Haleakala and Kula)
This is rural Maui, also in the middle of the island, just south of Central Maui. While it’s not a typical tourist choice for a base, you’ll meet more locals than tourists with easy access everywhere.
Upcountry Maui is local’s Maui away from the beaches. In fact, Hawaiians have been farming taro and sweet potatoes in this fertile heartland of green rolling hills and drifting fog for generations. (Look for cowboys! Seriously.)
You’ll inevitably pass through here on your way to Haleakala even if you don’t stay here as you pass rural outposts and goat farms. Upcountry is more than just a place; it’s a way of life.
Pros and cons: Stay in upcountry if you’re looking for a peaceful, authentic Maui experience. Skip it if you’re interested in nightlife. The weather can also be cooler here (which is great in summer when temps can soar on other parts of the island).
Here are my picks for Upcountry:
1. Coast to Coast Views in Kula
Nestled on the slopes of Haleakala, the Haleakala Princess Estate is a unique property with sweeping views of both coasts! It’s possibly the best view on island. You’ll be wandering 3.5 acres of native Hawaiian gardens here and lounging in special outdoor nooks and watching the sunset around the gas fire pit or hot tub. A huge tile deck wraps around the whole house.
Best for: Groups of up to six people as both a main house and cottage are included.
Guest review: “The photos don’t really do the house and grounds justice. The view is amazing and the adjacent rolling undeveloped hillside adds a sense of tranquility that just can’t be adequately described. The backlit warm sunrises and the frontlit warm glow at the end of the day will resonate long after you’ve left.”
2. Modern Cottage in Historic Wailuku
If you’re looking for value on a serious budget, you can’t do better than this adorable one bedroom cottage tucked into historic Wailuku Town in central Maui. It’s freshly renovated while still retaining its historic plantation-era character.
With a king bed and sofa bed, the cottage can sleep four. Kitchenette included. Just 10 minutes from the airport, it’s the perfect central location for exploring both east and west Maui. Stroll into the hip coffee shops and boutiques in off-the-tourist-grid Wailuku.
Best for: A couple or solo traveler on a budget.
Guest review: “We enjoyed staying at this newly-renovated guest in the safe neighborhood in Wailuku for four days. The place was super clean and we cooked our breakfast and dinner every day while we were there.” —Satomi W, Jan 2021
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