Aloha and e komo mai (welcome) to Maui, the beautiful second-largest Hawaiian island! Known as the Valley Isle for the picturesque flat land between the soaring peaks of its two dormant volcanoes, Maui is a favorite destination for first time and returning visitors to the Hawaiian Islands alike.
Note: A devastating fire has destroyed much of Lahaina and other areas as of August 9, 2023. Please double-check with your accommodations and adjust your expectations if you are planning to visit.
Where to Stay in Maui?
Come for its sandy beaches, luxury resorts, and warm weather all year round, as Maui is a perfect place to spend your vacation! But with so many accommodation options in several popular areas, you might be overwhelmed with choices when evaluating your options on where to stay in Maui. Have no fear! In this article, we will guide you through Maui’s best areas and places to help you make an informed decision and select the best hotel in the right place to stay. Let’s get started!
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Table of Contents
What are the best areas to stay in Maui?
The good news is that Maui has several areas to stay in, each with its unique attractions and characteristics. The three main areas are South Maui, West Maui Mountains, and Maui’s North Shore.
South Maui is a great place to stay if you love beautiful golden sand beaches, resorts, and water sports. The area is known for its championship golf courses and luxurious resorts, including the popular Wailea Resort. The downside of staying in South Maui is that it’s a bit of a drive to get to the other parts of the island. But if you’re looking for a home base to explore the west side, the upcountry, and Hana, South Maui is a perfect spot.
Check out our map of the South Maui region to discover and book accommodations using a link from the map:
West Maui Mountains
The West Maui Mountains offer fantastic ocean views and are perfect for whale watching in the winter months. This most popular area, which appears on the map to be more “central Maui” to us, is home to many small villages, shopping centers, and outdoor activities. The famous Napili Bay and black sand beach are located on the West Maui Mountains, making it a great spot to stay.
The three main areas or communities (moku in Hawaiian) here are Ka’anapali, Lahaina, and Wailuku. Wailuku is the gateway to the incredible Iao Valley State Park, the site of the historic battle between Kamehameha I and Maui.
See below for specific maps and recommendations in Lahaina and Ka’anapali. If you want to stay in east Maui closer to Kahului airport or in Hana, expand the map below:
Maui’s North Shore
The North Shore of Maui is known for its world-class surfing spots, including the famous Jaws. The area is quieter than some of the main areas and has a more laid-back vibe. If you’re looking for a great place to stay with easy access to water sports, Maui’s North Shore is a perfect spot.
The pinnacle of North Shore accommodations is The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua. This property has direct access to world-renowned D. T. Fleming Beach, but is located inland out of respect to activists seeking to preserve sacred burial sites dating from 950AD to the 18th century, and also has two marine preserves, two golf courses, and one of our favorite restaurants: the Banyan Tree.
Expand our map below to check out additional North Shore accommodations:
What are the best places to stay in Maui for vacation rentals?
If you prefer vacation rentals over hotels, Maui has several great options. The best places to stay for vacation rentals are Wailea and Kaanapali; see our maps below for options.
Wailea is a luxury resort haven on the West Coast of Maui, considered by many to be the best area to stay on the island. It has several vacation rental options that have great amenities, such as an outdoor pool, tennis courts, and hot tub access. The area has many palm trees and is walking distance to some of Maui’s best white sand beaches.
Check out vacation rentals in Wailea and book from our interactive map:
Kaanapali is one of Maui’s most popular places to stay. It has beautiful beachfront resorts, great shopping centers, and live music on Front Street in Lahaina. The area has a perfect mix of luxury resorts with on-site restaurants and laundry facilities to unique vacation rentals, making it a great option to stay for families or couples for families and couples alike.
Check out vacation rentals in this area and book from our interactive map:
Napili is a small town on the West Maui Mountains with a fantastic beach named Napili Bay. The area has several affordable and luxurious vacation rentals, including the Napili Kai Beach Resort. The resort has a full kitchen and is a short walk from the beach. If you prefer a quiet, relaxing vacation, Napili is the perfect spot for you.
In Napili, you may choose from the following options on our interactive map:
What are the best luxury hotels in Maui?
Maui has several luxurious resorts and hotels to choose from. The three best hotels in Maui are the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Montage Kapalua Bay, and the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua
The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, is a luxurious resort adjacent to Napili Bay offering world-class amenities. The resort is the best choice to stay if you want to experience the beautiful West Maui Mountains and North Shore vibe, while enjoying five-star experiences.
Montage Kapalua Bay
The Montage Kapalua Bay is another luxurious resort offering ocean views of sea turtles on the beach and and great amenities like championship golf courses just a few minutes walk away. The resort is a fine option if you’re looking for a quiet, luxurious vacation, with villa and suite configurations to choose from.
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is a luxury beachfront resort in South Maui located less than a mile from the tony Shops at Wailea. It has a perfect mix of elegance in its spacious rooms, suites and common areas, with fantastic amenities like three onsite restaurants, salon spa and wellness center, and superb ocean views of one of Maui’s most beautiful beaches. The resort is a short drive from some of the best beaches and restaurants in Maui, as well as less than 45 miles from Haleakala National Park in upcountry Maui, making it a perfect option for families and couples.
Which hotels are on the best beaches in Maui?
Maui is famous for its gorgeous beaches. The three best areas to stay in Maui with beautiful beaches are Kaanapali, Lahaina, and Wailea.
Kaanapali Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Maui, making it a top resort area. The gorgeous beach has great golden sand and clear water, and is located in close proximity to Lahaina, making a Ka’anapali beach hotel the perfect place to swim and enjoy the sun during the day, and head to restaurants and watering holes in the main towns in this part of the island at night. The area also has several luxury resorts and great shopping centers.
The Westin Kaanapali is adjacent to Whalers Village (embarkation point for great whale watching on Maui by boat or catamaran), on-site luau, six outdoor pools, full service spa, hula and lei-making classes, five restaurants. This smoke-free, pet-friendly facility is my favorite place to stay in Maui. After a recent complete remodel, Westin Maui Resort rooms and suites are located in two towers offering ocean and ‘aina (inland) views.
Kaanapali Alii is a Hyatt Residence property located right on the Ka’anapali Beach. Condo style units come with full kitchens, laundry in the unit, and two full baths. Along with an outdoor pool complex, there are tennis courts and privileges at Ka’anapali Golf Course.
The Aston properties routinely get high marks from guests on Maui. The one we prefer is the Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, which gets near perfect reviews. This is a 5-star condo hotel with studio and 1-bedroom suite options.
The Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows stretches along more than 2000 feet of beachfront with three outdoor pools, restaurant, coffee shop and ice cream parlor. There is a spa and fitness center on site; all rooms have air conditioning and are smoke-free.
Use our interactive map to see more places to stay in this area and click through to book:
Lahaina has several great beaches, including the reef-protected Baby Beach, Kahekili Beach for awesome snorkeling, and Makila Beach where surfing instructors bring their students. The area also has many shopping centers, restaurants, and outdoor activities, making it a perfect spot to stay.
The Kulani Maui is located in the heart of Lahaina town with bungalow-style accommodations in a residential setting, yet a quick walk to beaches and nightlife. This hotel offers a romantic, natural setting perfect for couples.
Best Western Pioneer Inn is a historic property right in the thick of the action in Lahaina, a most popular destination for revelers. Although it was built in 1901 in the plantation style, the hotel has all modern amenities with free parking and a charming pool courtyard. Rooms have balconies and mini-fridges.
The quaint MaKai Sunset Inn has an outstanding location on Front Street for ocean view rooms with surf sounds. The adults-only hotel’s retro vibe is relaxed and quiet; rooms have kitchenettes and many have ocean views over the sea wall.
A branded option on Front Street in Lahaina is Lahaina Shores Beach Resort, one of the towns favorite hotels for its unobstructed ocean views. A Destination by Hyatt property, its hotel rooms are really studio apartments with a kitchen and dining area. Parking and wifi are included at no extra cost.
Use our interactive map to check out more places to stay in Lahaina and click through to book:
Wailea also has great beaches, including the famous Wailea Beach. The beach has golden sand and is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The area is known for its luxurious resorts and great restaurants.
Check out options to stay in Wailea and book from our map:
What are the best places to stay in Maui with easy access to water sports?
If you enjoy water sports, Maui is the perfect place for you. The three best areas to stay in with easy access to water sports are Lahaina, Maui’s North Shore, and Kaanapali.
Lahaina is one of the best places to stay in Maui for easy access to water sports like surfing and scuba diving. The area has several great beaches and is famous for its world-class surfing spots. Rusty or beginner surfing skills? Book a lesson at Outrageous Surf School at Breakwall Beach or a private 2-hour lesson for two adults.
Maui’s North Shore
Maui’s North Shore is known for its fantastic surfing spots, a popular attraction for visitors from all over the world. If you’re looking for a great place to stay with easy access to water sports, Maui’s North Shore is a perfect spot. Check out the Kapalua Dive Company here for quality dive instruction and extra experiences from scooters and kayaks.
A great place to stay for families or couples who enjoy water sports, this area has several great beaches and is famous for its beautiful sunsets. Kaanapali Beach also has great watersports activities like paddleboarding and kayaking. Here you will want to hook up with the Kaanapali Surf Club or Island Style Adventures for rentals and lessons on SUP (stand-up paddle boarding), kayaks, and surfing.
In conclusion, Maui is a fantastic place to stay featuring beautiful beaches, luxurious resorts, and great weather all year round. No matter what your preference, Maui has something to offer. Book your trip today and experience paradise, the best time is now!