Best Places to Stay in Maui in 2023: The Complete Guide

Best Places to Stay in Maui in 2023: The Complete Guide

Let’s face it, Maui is an island that is on just about everyone’s bucket list. And for good reason. With beautiful beaches, spectacular waterfalls, and epic hikes it is actually hard to find an excuse not to go. After visiting the island several times we found the most time-consuming and difficult task is actually finding the best places to stay in Maui and where to base yourself on the island.

Even though you’ll find a range of luxury beachfront resorts and mid-range boutique hotels along with vacation rentals packed with handy amenities dotted around Maui, it really pays to plan in advance. Not only can it be difficult to get a rental car, but securing a hotel can be just as challenging.

Top Places To Stay In Maui

We put together this guide to help you with your vacation planning so that you can decide what is the best place in Maui where you want to base yourself to see the best of this amazing island. You’ll have the chance to choose the sun and sand, surf along Maui’s North Shore, or venture inland to climb volcanoes and capture panoramic views of the West Maui mountains rising out of the ocean.

Before we get started let’s get you familiar with the layout of the island. This will help you see where things are located as well as help you decide if you want to be in the more popular areas of South Maui and West Maui or have a more inland experience in the Upcountry.

Our Recommendations for the Best Places to Stay in Maui

Where is the Best Area to Stay in Maui?

Best Areas to stay in Maui Map

Maui is an easy island to navigate. It is broken up into 6 main areas which we will highlight and let you know where we think are the best places to stay.

Regardless of which neighborhood you choose to stay in Maui, there is no shortage of amazing views. Although not a big island, Maui is best explored when you rent a car. It allows you to cover more of the island and gives you the freedom to enjoy the Maui culture.

Each region in Maui has something different to offer. When weighing the pros and cons of each, it’s important to know what type of vacation you enjoy the most. South Maui is the go-to spot thanks to the range of resorts, while East Maui is more remote, with few hotels but is a calming getaway.

1. West Maui (Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili, and Kapalua)

Best Places to stay in West Maui Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

West Maui, home to the historic town of Lahaina, a former whaling village and Hawaiian royal capital, boasts of a rich historical and cultural context. Today, Front Street, Lahaina’s main thoroughfare, thrives with unique shops, diverse restaurants, and art galleries, and is a center of vibrant nightlife. Also in West Maui, you will find Ka’anapali Beach and Kapalua Bay, well-known for their world-class resorts, pristine beaches, and top-notch golf courses.

The beauty of West Maui is not just limited to its gorgeous beaches and luxurious accommodations. It also features a dramatic landscape defined by the West Maui Mountains, or Mauna Kahalawai, offering a ton of trails for hiking and opportunities for outdoor lovers to take in everything Maui has to offer. Moreover, the stretch of coastline along Highway 30 delivers stunning views of the ocean, neighboring islands, and even humpback whales during the winter months.

Best Places to stay in West Maui Napili

The best places to stay in West Maui cater to a wide range of preferences. Luxury seekers will be drawn to the upscale resorts of Kaanapali and Kapalua, complete with full-service spas, championship golf courses, and beachfront dining. Those looking for a more local experience might prefer a vacation rental in Lahaina or a boutique hotel, where they can enjoy being close to local attractions, shops, and restaurants.

As for Napili, home to the enchanting Napili Bay, you’ll find a laid-back atmosphere among a collection of small resorts and condos that don’t overtake the skyline. The community wraps around Napili Bay, offering guests the chance to snorkel or dive in the turquoise waters.

Where to stay in Maui West Maui luxury Resort

Just north of Lahaina, you’ll find the famous Kaanapali Beach. The expansive white sands stretch around the coastline, offering plenty of room to find your own slice of heaven. When you aren’t trading the turquoise ocean for the soft sand, head to the north end, where you’ll discover Black Rock. On arrival, you may spot people jumping off the cliff face into the deep water below. Feel free to join or embark on some fantastic snorkeling.

Recommended Hotels in West Maui

The Ritz Carlton Maui

The Ritz-Carlton, Maui is a luxurious resort nestled within the pristine Kapalua Bay on the northwest coast. Surrounded by lush greenery and white sand beaches, this elegant resort offers impeccable service and amenities including a tri-level swimming pool, golf courses, a rejuvenating spa, and diverse dining options. It is the ultimate in luxury.

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Napili Kai Beach Resort

Napili Kai Beach Resort is a charming and tranquil oceanfront retreat in Maui, Hawaii. With its stunning white sand beach, lush tropical gardens, and comfortable accommodations, the resort offers a peaceful and intimate setting for guests to unwind and experience the beauty of Maui’s paradise.

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Ka’anapali Beach Hotel

With its traditional Hawaiian hospitality and warm aloha spirit, the Kaanapali beach hotel offers a comfortable and authentic Hawaiian experience. Guests can enjoy ocean views, cultural activities, delicious dining options, and direct access to the stunning beach. It is a more affordable option in this area.

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2. South Maui (Kihei, Wailea, and Makena)

Best Places to stay on Maui south Maui

After West Maui, South Maui is the most popular destination on the island. Just 20 minutes from the airport, it’s easily accessible with the beach, restaurants, and shops right on your doorstep. Those that arrive at this end of Maui will usually choose between either Kihei or the famed Wailea.

The weather in South Maui tends to be drier and sunnier compared to other parts of the island, making it a beach lover’s haven. And let me tell you the beaches in South Maui are among the finest in Hawaii. Wailea Beach, for instance, is famous for its golden sands, clear waters, and excellent swimming conditions.

Best Places to stay in Maui Wailea

Makena Beach, also known as Big Beach, is one of the largest beaches in Maui and is popular for picnicking, swimming, and sometimes big-wave surfing. But the best part is that the coral reefs are rich in marine life, making snorkeling a must-do activity. The Molokini Crater, a partially submerged volcanic crater, is a world-famous snorkeling spot easily accessible from South Maui.

Where to stay in Maui West Maui Resort

Wailea has the biggest concentration of luxury resorts and luxury hotels. With a wonderful mix of amenities like great restaurants and golf courses, Wailea Resorts cater to couples, honeymooners, and even families. Wailea is also home to the only adults-only resort on Maui like the luxury resort Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. Enjoy a relaxing vacation, some with waterfront infinity-edge pools, private beach access, and plenty of upscale restaurants within walking distance.

Such beautiful beaches and luxury resorts don’t come cheap. The major drawback for South Maui is the price point, although you may find a budget-friendly vacation rental in Kihei. Vacationers should also be aware that many of their chosen water adventures, such as whale-watching boat tours, will depart from Maalaea Harbor, about a 20-minute drive away.

Recommended Hotels in South Maui

The Fairmont Kea Lani

With its beachfront location, indulge in water activities or simply unwind by the ocean. The spacious suites and villas, coupled with exceptional service, ensure comfort. The diverse dining, world-class spa, and cultural activities provide a comprehensive taste of paradise.

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The Four Seasons Resort

Overlooking the serene Wailea Beach, the resort offers stunning ocean views, impeccable service, and comfortable, elegant rooms. Its renowned spa, gourmet dining experiences, and variety of activities ensure both relaxation and adventure, making it an ideal Hawaiian stay.

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Sunset Paradise Luana Kai

This property has a private pool, located in Kihei, within just less than 1 km of Kalepolepo Beach and a 14-minute walk from Mai Poina Beach. The air-conditioned accommodation is 200 meters from Waipuilani Beach, and guests benefit from complimentary WiFi and private parking available on-site.

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3. Maui’s North Shore (Paia and Haiku)

Best Places to stay in Maui North Shore

With the two most popular regions of Maui covered, let’s look at the island’s North Shore, which offers a greater insight into one of the most spectacular Hawaiian islands. Closer to the natural wonders of Maui, but a little further from some of the better swimming beaches, the North Shore is all about shutting off from the world and breathing in the serenity.

West Maui and South Maui are large resort areas, with handy amenities on site. But if your crew isn’t a big fan of that type of travel, then the North Shore is also a great alternative.

Maui’s North Shore, encompassing Paia and Haiku, is a mecca for surfers and windsurfers from around the world, especially at the legendary Ho’okipa Beach Park. The area has a bohemian vibe with art galleries, boutique shops, and organic cafes. Paia, often referred to as the “windsurfing capital of the world,” is a quaint town with a blend of Hawaiian and plantation-era influences.

Best Places to Stay in Maui North Shore Mamas Fish house

Families can enjoy a number of family-friendly hotels and laid-back dining in Pa’ia with plenty of hearty fare on offer. The main exception to the rule is arguably the best restaurant on Maui, Mama’s Fish House.

I mentioned that the North Shore isn’t renowned for its relaxing swimming beaches, but it is home to world-class waters for adventurous souls. All along the North Shore, you’ll find some exceptional surfing experiences for those that know their way around some gnarly breaks.

There’s a reason the North Shore is home to several pro tour events. When exploring the tide pools at Ho’okipa Beach, you may see a group of windsurfers taking advantage of the coastal winds. They must have heard that the beach is also considered the windsurfing capital of the world.

Best Places to stay in Maui North Shore Paia

As for couples who want their own romantic escape, the North Shore is home to a handful of upscale boutique hotels where you can bask in the splendid views away from the crowds. Hand-in-hand, roam the cozy town of Pa’ia and along the beaches where the waves tumble down alongside the evening sun.

Recommended Hotels On The North Shore

Lumeria Maui

Lumeria Maui offers a unique retreat for those seeking tranquility and rejuvenation. This wellness-focused sanctuary features lush gardens, yoga classes, and holistic spa treatments. With a farm-to-table dining experience and proximity to waterfalls and beaches, Lumeria is perfect for a restorative getaway.

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Paia Inn

The Paia Inn, situated in the charming town of Paia, Maui, is an intimate boutique hotel that captures a blend of modern comfort and bohemian style. Its prime location offers easy access to Maui’s North Shore beaches, eclectic shops, and local eateries. The personalized service and cozy ambiance make it a delightful hideaway.

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Nalu Kai Lodge

The Nalu Kai Lodge in Paia offers an authentic Hawaiian experience with a laid-back atmosphere. Its prime location near Maui’s North Shore makes it ideal for surfers and beach lovers. The lodge’s rooftop deck is perfect for socializing and enjoying ocean views. It’s a budget-friendly option with a touch of island charm.

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4. East Maui

Best Places to stay in East Maui

From the crest of the North Shore region, the Road to Hana begins its illustrious journey along the rugged coast of East Maui. The famous drive is a must-do regardless of where you choose to base yourself on the island. But having it on your doorstep is one of the main selling points for this part of Maui.

East Maui is a collection of waterfalls flanked by rainbows and hiking trails through rainforests and towering mountains. It’s a more secluded and less developed part of Maui, offering a tranquil escape from the bustling tourist areas.

Best Places to stay in Maui East Maui Coastline

Once in Hana, you can explore black sand beaches, freshwater caves, and botanical gardens. Wai’anapanapa State Park is a must-visit, featuring a stunning black sand beach, sea arches, and blowholes. Hana also serves as the gateway to the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, where you can hike through bamboo forests and swim in the Pools of ‘Ohe’o.

Accommodations in East Maui are limited compared to other regions and mainly consist of vacation rentals, small inns, and a few luxury options. Staying in Hana allows you to experience old Hawaii, with its slower pace and close-knit community. It’s the perfect destination for nature lovers and those seeking a more authentic Hawaiian experience.

Waianapanapa State Park Maui

For the trekkers among us, some of the best hikes in Maui can be found in the eastern region. These include the incredible Pipiwai Trail and the trek to Wailua Falls. It isn’t hard to see why East Maui is the ideal destination for those that want to get out and about. Trade the nightlife and resort experience for hiking boots and remote beaches to see a rugged but equally stunning part of Maui.

Recommended Hotels in East Maui

The Hana Maui Resort

The Hana Maui Resort is a serene hideaway on Maui’s secluded eastern coastline. Surrounded by lush rainforest and pristine beaches, it’s the epitome of a tropical paradise. The resort’s spacious cottages, wellness amenities, and focus on Hawaiian culture allow guests the opportunity to connect with nature.

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Heavenly Hana Paradise

Heavenly Hana Paradise is a cozy bed and breakfast nestled in the tranquil town of Hana, Maui. It’s an ideal choice for travelers seeking a peaceful retreat close to nature. With comfortable accommodations, lush surroundings, and close proximity to waterfalls and beaches, it offers a genuine taste of Hawaiian paradise.

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Bamboo Inn On Hana Bay

Bamboo Inn on Hana Bay offers a rustic, intimate experience in Hana, Maui. Its three oceanfront suites, crafted from bamboo, exude tropical charm. With direct access to Hana Bay, guests can relish the rugged beauty of the area. The Inn’s welcoming atmosphere and stunning views make for a memorable stay.

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5. Upcountry / Central Maui (Kahului and Wailuku)

Where to stay in Maui 

From one adventure paradise to another, depart the coast and head to the mountains for rural Maui. As the name Upcountry suggests, heading inland brings a big elevation gain as you ascend towards the sky to be among the ranches, farms, and small villages.

One of the highlights of Upcountry is the Haleakala National Park, where visitors can witness the sunrise from the summit, often above the clouds, which is a surreal experience. The park also offers numerous hiking trails through diverse landscapes including cinder cones and rainforests. Furthermore, the agricultural richness of the region can be experienced through farm tours and visits to local markets.

Upcountry Maui is the traditional home to the Paniolo. You could argue that the Paniolo were the original cowboys, whose ranching customs and traditions date back long before the famed cowboys of the Wild West. If you’re in Central Maui on July 4th, trade the boozy beach day for a customary rodeo show in Makawao.

Best Places to stay in Maui Central Maui

Central Maui, encompassing towns like Kahului and Wailuku, serves as the island’s commercial center. It’s often the entry point for visitors due to the main airport and harbor. While it’s not a typical tourist destination, Wailuku has historic sites and the lush Iao Valley State Park, known for the iconic Iao Needle.

One of the best things to do, and a major reason travelers base themselves in Upcountry Maui, is to hike to the summit of Haleakala. From anywhere on the island you can see the giant volcano looming overhead. It checks out that such a peak would be home to the best view on Maui.

The experience requires trekkers to wake up long before dawn and make the journey to the base of Haleakala. From there, hikers head up the mountain to capture an unforgettable panoramic sunrise. Hot tip, the sunset is just as mesmerizing, as long as you can handle the hike down in the dark.

Recommended Hotels in Upcountry / Central Maui

Marriott Maui Kahului Airport

Marriott Maui Kahului Airport is a convenient choice for travelers seeking comfort and accessibility. Located near Kahului Airport, it’s ideal for short stays or transit. With modern amenities, a swimming pool, and attentive service, it provides a comfortable base. Its location also offers easy access to explore Maui’s attractions.

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The Beautiful Kula Lodge

Kula Lodge offers stunning views of the island from its elevated location. The lodge provides rustic, comfortable accommodations and a restaurant serving fresh, locally-sourced cuisine. Its proximity to Haleakala National Park makes it an excellent choice for those interested in exploring the natural beauty of Maui.

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Haleakala Princess Estate

Perched on the slopes of Haleakala it offers a tranquil retreat with breathtaking views. The spacious, well-appointed accommodations are surrounded by lush gardens, creating a private paradise. It’s an ideal choice for families or groups seeking a serene, luxurious escape close to nature and adventures.

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Best Places to Stay in Maui FAQ

Where to stay in Maui FAQ

What is the nicest area to stay in Maui?

The nicest area is subjective and depends on what you’re looking for. Wailea in South Maui for luxury, Lahaina in West Maui for history and nightlife, and Hana in East Maui for seclusion and nature.

Is it better to stay in North or South Maui?

If you prefer a laid-back, local vibe with opportunities for windsurfing and starting your journey to Hana, North Maui could be your ideal destination. If you’re looking for sunny weather, beautiful beaches for swimming, and luxurious accommodations, you might prefer South Maui.

Which part of Maui has the best beaches?

Both South and West Maui offer fantastic beaches, each with their own unique appeal. South Maui tends to have quieter, less developed beaches, while those in West Maui are often adjacent to resorts and come with more amenities. .

What side of Maui is most popular?

West Maui and South Maui are generally the most popular among tourists due to their beaches, resorts, and attractions.

Should You Rent a Car in Maui?

Although it is not imperative to rent a car, we do suggest it in order to see all that Maui has to offer. Some parts of the island are easier to explore in a car. We have rented one each time we have visited and were glad we did.

Which hotels are closest to Kahului Airport?

Some popular hotels close to Kahului Airport include Paia Inn, Courtyard by Marriott Maui Kahului Airport, and Maui Seaside Hotel.

Our Money-Saving Tips for Maui

Where to stay in Maui to Save Money

We all know that Hawaii isn’t exactly a haven for budget travelers. But there are ways for you to save money without sacrificing your experience in paradise.

One of the best ways to save money in Maui is to stay in a condo. Many condos are a part of local resorts granting access to surrounding restaurants, pools, and beaches. They are cheaper than hotel rooms and come with full kitchens so you can save on eating out.

Off-season travel comes with lower room rates and cheaper flights. Arrive between February and May for solid weather and whale watching season without the crowds and peak prices.

Getting Around Maui

Best Places to stay in Maui Getting Around

After arriving at Kahului Airport, you’ll have a variety of choices for getting around Maui. You can base yourself in a certain location and embark on day tours. Many hotels will have shuttles to local places such as shops and attractions. These are more prevalent in West and South Maui.

There are 14 bus routes around the island, with the area around Hana being serviced the least. A one-way fare for all routes will cost $2 with a day pass going for $4.

However, if you want to see as much of Maui as possible, then you will need to hire a car. This will be the best way to drive the Road to Hana and see the more remote regions in Maui’s Upcountry.

In conclusion

Cool Places to stay in Maui

In the end, the best place to stay on Maui is a reflection of your personal preferences and what you want to see and do. Whether it’s luxury, adventure, culture, or tranquility is what you are looking for, Maui has something for everyone. In planning your stay, our recommendation is to place yourself central to the activities you want to do the most.

Maui is not just a destination; it’s a journey that weaves into your being, leaving an indelible imprint. Cherish the island’s bounty, resonate with its culture, and let the Aloha spirit guide your adventure through this island paradise. These are the reasons we return again and again.

Plan Your Next Maui Vacation with These Resources

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