Where to Stay on Maui: How to Find the Best Locations and Deals
Imagine stirring awake to the early morning rays beaming into your bedroom and the stir of lapping waves a few yards away. You saunter outside with a steaming mug of coffee and feel a gentle breeze brush your check, leaving a whiff of the salty scent tingling your nose. That’s a typical Tuesday for a Valley Isle vacation, and if you’re wondering where to stay on Maui to make your Hawaiian Island dreams come true, we’ve got you covered.
This guide packs in the most popular (and a few lesser known) areas to choose from, whether you’re craving a romance-fueled getaway along a private cove or a family-friendly resort stay filled with luaus and leis. It’ll also delve into the different types of Maui lodging on the island, be it cheap places to stay in Maui, beach resorts with giant pools, or something cozy and offbeat.
Looking for tried-and-true recommendations on Maui? We’ve tested a few spots and have listed our favorites (so far) at the end of this post.
Ready to get rolling on that Maui vacation planning? Keep reading for the best places to stay in Maui.
Where to Stay on Maui
Since it’s one of the top places to stay on the island, we’ll start with West Maui hotels. Roughly 25 miles from the Kahului Airport, this stretch of coastline stretches from the old town of Lahaina to Kapalua Bay, with the bustling resort hub of Kaanapali in between.
Scenery-wise, it’s hard to beat, what with the mountains behind you and a sea-view featuring the islands of Lanai and Molokai so close you could almost touch them. Double rainbows, vibrant pink sunsets, floating sea turtles — they’re all a common occurrence here.
Balancing out the overwhelmingly beautiful nature, you’ve got a wealth of tourist-centric developments here. Ample resorts with their sparkling pool decks and ocean-view balconies, retail centers full of beachy goods and open-air dining, and golf greens dotted with palm trees are the norm, with a wide range of older condo properties to glistening new Maui luxury hotels on the docket.
It’s the perfect option for loved-up duos looking for that relaxing resort life, families after a kid-friendly hotel packed with activities, and anyone who enjoys having shopping and dining at their fingertips.
Part old-timey Hawaii, part tourist central, this small town is known for its action-packed Front Street, lined with both chain and local restaurants, art galleries and swimwear shops, plus a unique park shaded by a massive banyan tree growing in every direction. In the daytime, you can hop on Maui boat adventures from the Lahaina harbor to visit nearby islands, go snorkeling or spot dolphins and whales, while evenings bring candlelight and cooling sea breezes to the balcony eateries on the water. The historic village has been around for awhile — it once was the Hawaiian Kingdom’s capital — so accommodations in the central town consist mostly of a few small inns and individual rentals in cottages and condos.
Kaanapali is the place to be if you’re looking for big resorts for the family. A run of brand names like Hyatt, Marriott and Westin front the sand here and connect via a beach sidewalk to a shopping and dining center. You’ll pay a pretty penny to check in to most of these, but they typically include a huge pool, ocean access, onsite dining, and extras like luaus, tropical gardens, and spas.
Head a few miles north of Kaanapali and sparkling resorts begin to fade into retro condo properties. Bigger groups and those on a budget will appreciate the drop in prices you see by exiting the resort zone, but the hotels here do tend to be a little older and some are well-worn. Many are right on the water, though, and come with shared pools and in-unit kitchens.
Kapalua is the last hub of resorts heading up this coast, and is a bit quieter than its counterpart in Kaanapali, given its more remote position near the northwestern tip of the island (though still just an hour from the airport). Mega-ritzy is the name of the game here, so if you’ve got a few pennies to spend on golf, spa treatments and poolside butler service, you’re in luck! Couples and honeymooners looking to splurge on a quiet getaway with epic views might find this right up their alley, too.
Cross the island from the airport, hang a left and you’ll find yourself in South Maui. It’s an even shorter drive here than to the west coast — only about 30 minutes to the farthest point — and hotels are a hair closer to popular excursions on the east side of the island, making it a handy vacation base for those after a mix of tourist amenities and day trips.
This section skirts the Maalaea Bay at Kihei and terminates at the end of the road in Makena, where gravel fades to rocky volcanic coastline. In between, you’ll find everything from budget-friendly condos a few blocks from the ocean to budget-busting resorts right on the huge swath of sand at Wailea.
With a looming backdrop of the Haleakala Crater and glimpses of Lanai, Kahoolawe and the little Molokina Crater in the ocean, you won’t be short on breathtaking scenery, and this shoreline has some of the most spacious (and arguably best) swaths of sand on the whole island. This is also the driest and brightest part of Maui, so slather on the sunscreen and plan lots of outdoors time here!
If you’re looking for where to stay in Maui on a budget, Kihei should top the list. Condos, vacation rentals and boutique hotels fill this zone and can be booked in the low $100s if you don’t mind a short walk to the shore. With several beaches to choose from and a big selection of local eateries and little shopping centers, you don’t have to wander far for whatever you need. The vibe is a less high-end here, though, but Wailea’s ritzier shores are just down the road whenever you want to hop over. Another perk for parking it in Kihei — the Maalaea Harbor is just 15 minutes away for snorkeling sails and whale-watching excursions.
The resort hub of the south end, Wailea’s upscale properties surround Wailea Beach and carry a hefty price tag. They’ve got all the bells and whistles, though, if you’re looking for 5-star hotels in Maui. The vibe can read a little less busy here than around counterpart Kaanapali, but you’ll still find golf courses and a shopping center for breaks from the waves. The namesake beach here is open to the public with parking and facilities, so sneak over for the day even if you aren’t staying in one of the ocean-view spots.
Situated toward the end of the road in South Maui, things calm down toward Makena due to a lack of commercialism, with the biggest gathering point at the beaches of Makena State Park. Hotels aren’t really a thing here, since mostly private estates line the road. But, you’ll find condos to check into and a few luxury homes listed on vacation rental sites.
Trading beach access for hills, cool air and elevated views of both coastlines, Maui’s Upcountry is about as far away as you can get from touristy on the island. The towns up here (you’re literally hugging the mountainsides neighboring Haleakala Crater) still feel authentic, each comprised of just a few blocks of local businesses surrounded by neighborhoods, farms and open lands. If you’re looking for a quiet escape and don’t mind being 20 minutes from the nearest beach, look into some of the small lodges, bed and breakfasts, and cottages available. This is also an ideal place to stay the night before an early morning trip to see the sunrise from Haleakala Summit, even if you base yourself beach side for the rest of your vacation.
Right by the entrance to Haleakala National Park, small-town Kula has some of the best views looking out over the island. There isn’t much in the way of a central business district here, but you’ll find things to do in the vein of agritourism at local farms and gardens. The lavender farm nearby is a popular spot, as is the family-owned Kula Botanical Gardens. Accommodations are limited to a handful of small lodges and privately-owned rentals.
Quiet, picturesque, plus cowboy vibes — that’s Makawao, a one-of-kind Upcountry town. The walkable downtown district centers around Makawao and Baldwin avenues, an artsy hub with a few local eateries neighboring boutiques and galleries housed in old-timey buildings. With a plantation past and an ongoing yearly rodeo for the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboys) of Upcountry cattle farms, Makawao is a unique spot on the island worthy of visit. If you decide to stay here, you’ll find a smattering of private retreats and B&Bs, as well as a few homes and rooms listed on vacation rental sites.
Maui’s eastern reaches are some of the most remote and picturesque, full of vibrant green rain forests, dramatic coastal cliffs, thrashing ocean bays, black sandy beaches, and gushing waterfalls. Most visitors to Maui will encounter the east side on the popular Road to Hana day trip, an epic journey along winding roads that hug the coast. Few, though, extend their visit with a stay in Hana or one of the scattered cabins and camping spots along the route. While picking this region for an overnight stay might place you a long journey from the nearest shopping center or luau, what you’ll gain is an aura of peace and quiet that settles in when the tourists clear out by late afternoon. Even just a one-night stay on a road trip to Hana means slowing down your excursion to spend more time hiking and waterfall chasing, and beating the crowds to popular haunts along the path that you’ll be much closer to in Hana town.
Popular for its remoteness and the thrilling road trip it takes to get there, Hana sits on the eastern tip of Maui surrounded by jungle and thrashing waves. A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sized place, you’ll find mostly local food trucks and small businesses in the downtown core, with several sandy beaches nearby ranging in shades from golden to ashy black.
While you might find a cabin here and a tent site there along the road to Hana, the town itself is the best place to reserve a room for overnight stays. Small resorts and retreats are steps from the Hana Bay and downtown core, with a few more bungalows and cottages on the outskirts. The best way to see everything available here is to use Google Hotels.
Whether you’re just touching down at the Kahului Airport, or heading to the windward beaches for some kitesurfing, almost every visitor to Maui will say hello to the north-central shore. A handful of golf courses, Iao Valley State Park, and a few sandy beaches are all on the menu here, as are a small selection of hotels and inns perfect for those wanting quick access to the Road to Hana or the airport for early departures.
Kahului’s claim to fame is its namesake airport, the primary commercial hub for flights to Maui. While it might not have the swanky resort vibes of the leeward side of the island, neighboring Kaului and Wailuku are home to all the fast food and retail chains you could need and offer some budget-friendly hostels and rooms for those watching the wallet.
Paia sits where Upcountry slopes down to meet the north shore, with a bustling lower commercial section on the Hana Highway traversed by hundreds of road trippers each day. Staying here even for just a night makes it easier to get a jump start ahead of the cars for a Road to Hana day trip, but there’s also plenty to do in the way of beach hopping and windsurfing at the waterfront parks with their big swells nearby. Hotel options are a bit limited, but if you want something outside the box of Wailea and Kaanapali, a stay in the retro beachy town full of colorfully fronted shops and galleries may be just your thing.
Types of Maui Lodging
After you’ve nailed down which part of Maui fits your vibe, it’s time to pick out just where to stay. Will it be an upscale resort property, a rustic cabin, or something in-between?
Maui condos can be a great option for families needing a little more space than a hotel room offers or those looking to save money by cooking a few meals instead of eating out. If you’re traveling with a bigger crew, splitting the cost of a two-bedroom unit can be much more economical than getting separate hotel rooms. Some come in standalone buildings right on the waves, and others in larger collections of properties with options on the water or a short walk away. Amenities might include things like a shared pool deck, onsite laundry room, and beach supplies you can use during your stay. While some still carry a hefty price tag, you might find a bargain if you don’t mind an older building or something lacking an ocean view.
Whether it’s an entire luxury oceanfront estate near Makena Beach, a cozy cottage in Lahaina, or a room tucked into the Upcountry Hills, vacation rentals add options where hotels and resorts are more sparse. They also provide some lower-cost choices if you’re watching the budget, since homeowners sometimes rent out private quarters within a shared property for a bargain (by Hawaii standards anyway) and you can pick places in more residential areas a short drive from the sea.
Bed and breakfasts
Cabins and camping
If you’re looking to spend some time in nature, save a buck, or sleep under the stars, you’ll find a few spots around the island to put up a tent or check into a rustic cabin. State parks and Haleakala National Park are a great place to look for both. Waianapanapa State Park, for example, has a few basic cottages and sites for tents and campers on the way to Hana. Check the Division of State Parks for more info and ideas.
Maui Accommodations Q&A
2. Where are the best places to stay in Maui for couples and honeymooners?
3. Where can I find all-inclusive resorts in Maui?
Maui all-inclusive resorts aren’t really a thing like they are in Caribbean and Mexican beach destinations. One of the best parts of visiting Hawaii is getting out and exploring the different scenery and eating around the islands, so sticking to your resort all day every day like you would at an all-inclusive doesn’t really fit that vibe. However, the big beach properties here are still packed with the amenities you’d find at an all-inclusive resort — huge pool decks, onsite restaurants, water toys and special events and programming. Some even offer an inclusive-style package that hooks you up with a breakfast in the morning.
4. Are there any cheap hotels in Maui?
Scoring a Maui beachfront hotel for less than $200 a night is a pretty solid deal, so if you’re on a super tight budget, you’ll have to get creative. There are a handful of hostels that might suit solo travelers or young couples (though they’re still pricey for shared accommodation). On home rental sites like Airbnb and Vrbo look for deals offset from the beach or in private room. Family or friend groups will find that sharing a bigger condo is cheaper than booking separate rooms. Otherwise, there’s no better place to camp than on a beachfront state park in Maui, right?
Be aware — many Maui accommodations (including resorts, hotels and condos) like to tack on a nightly “resort fee” of around $25. Some also charge a parking fee of a similar amount on top of that. Hotel taxes in Hawaii are also rather high, at just under 15%. Keep all this in mind if you’re on a budget, as your total can jump up considerably when you go to book.
Maui Hotel Recommendations
There are so many incredible accommodations on Maui that we haven’t even discovered yet, but if you’re looking for a few recommended options to narrow down your choices, these are places we’ve either stayed at ourselves or had friends recommend to us.