Best resorts to stay in Maui
Best area to stay in Maui for surfing
Situated on the western side of Maui, Lahaina is just 45 minutes from Kahului Airport and is known as Maui’s jewel in the crown. Lahaina has a proud Historic District that is now a National Historical landmark, with the Font Street area a particularly busy hub of museums and galleries. Whilst culture enthusiasts will love walking the streets of the Old Town, the highlight of any town in Maui are the beaches. Napali Beach and Ka'anapali Beach are the best in town; both lively surfing areas with a strong community spirit.
Summertime sees an influx of surfers, windsurfers and general water-sports enthusiasts booking into hotels or hiring small guesthouses, so that they can spend the summer in the sea.
There are many all-inclusive hotels and luxury apartments in the area, as well as laid-back budget accommodation that caters for students and backpackers. Nature lovers also love to stay in Lahaina, especially during the winter when they can enjoy whale spotting in the town that was once the centre of the global whaling trade.
Hotels in Lahaina
Best area to stay in Maui for best beaches
Maui is home to some of the world’s most attractive beaches and Kihei on the island’s south coast is the place to find a lot of them. This is true beachcomber territory. With a noticeable drier and sunnier climate than the rest of the island, the weather is a draw, as is the wide and enviable range of accommodation
Kihei has a wide range of condos, cottages and small hotels to suit any budget, many of which have direct beachfront access. These are supported by a good selection of restaurants, small malls and delightful farmers’ markets. Slightly south of Kihei is Wailea, which is home to some of the most upmarket and exclusive names in luxury accommodation, including the Four Seasons and Wailea Beach Marriott. The town of Kihei is about a 20-30 minute drive south of the island’s airport and the main town of Kahului. Those wanting to use Kihei as a base for exploring the island should note that any road trip to upland Maui in the west or Haleakala in the east will require transiting through Kahului.
Hotels in Kihei
Best area to stay in Maui for couples and honeymooners
Wailea is a town in the south of Maui and is known for its fine beaches and world class golf courses. Wailea Beach is constantly winning awards and is a great place for snorkelling and water-sports; whilst neighbouring Ulua Beach Park is a hot spot for locals and tourists to take a morning walk or to indulge in a spot of beach yoga.
Once again, surfers love to stay in Wailea, although accommodation can be a little more expensive here. There are only a handful of hotels and they are all top class establishments, often with fancy restaurants and spas attached. There are, however, condominiums for hire around the Keawakapu beach area that are a little easier on the wallet. Wailea is a good spot to hang out at night in, with shops staying open until late and a great variety of traditional and modern restaurants offering everything from a snack to take on the beach to fine dining. The area is lively of a night but never too rowdy as the surfers want to stay in tip top condition so that they can make the most of the waves. Wailea is an all-round great place to go if you want to be pampered and waited on hand and foot, making it a great place for couples and honeymooners.
Hotels in Wailea
Best area to stay in Maui for snorkelling
Situated on the western most part of the island, Kapalua is a hotspot for experienced surfers. Currents can be very strong, so newcomers are advised not to surf here but there are plenty of other spots if you want to practise your skills. You can take surf lessons during the summer, when the winds are not as strong but you should still enter the sea with caution if you are wanting to surf alone.
Swimming and snorkelling are much safer activities to indulge in during the summer and the beaches themselves are very appealing. The expert surfing community comes together in Kapalua and the area enjoys a strong sense of community, where you can relax and have fun. As the area is off the beaten track, there are a couple of small hotels in the area and apartments to rent, for surfers wanting to spend the winter competing. If you are not staying in Kapalua, it is well worth the trip to enjoy being a spectator to the intense shows the surfers put on. Whilst the area is popular with a younger crowd, people of all ages will enjoy a stay in Kapalua and with a good road network, you can always explore the rest of the island, too.
Hotels in Kapalua
Best area to stay in Maui for cruisers
Kahului is Maui’s biggest settlement and the closest thing “The Valley Isle” has to a real city. If you hear a local mention that “they are going into town” it’s Kahului they are talking about. It’s home to the island’s airport and main harbour which welcomes visiting cruise ships. Shopping fans are well cared for with a plethora of malls.
Most holidaymakers will simply pass through Kahului on their way to the tourist centres on the west and south coasts – usually pausing long to rent a car or collect groceries. But the town has a few hidden gems, including Kanaha Beach Park, a particular favourite haunt of windsurfers and kitesurfers. Nature fans will be fascinated by the indigenous flora on display at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens and fauna at Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary, home to two endangered Hawaiian bird species, the 'Alae and the Ae'o. In terms of accommodation, Kahului and Central Maui is a good option for someone looking for a more local “real” Hawaii feel, rather than the grand resort settings you will find elsewhere on the island. In particular, there is a good selection of retreats and small inns close to Paia.
Hotels in Kahului
Best area to stay in Maui for windsurfing
Paia is a small community in upcountry Maui that is home to the windsurfing capital of the world, Hookipa beach. Professional windsurfers from all around the world head to Hookipa to compete with one and other and to share tips about their favourite sport.
The large North Shore waves make winter in Paia very busy, with beaches filled with surfers of all kinds, including Kite Surfers who are becoming more and more popular. With the trendy surfer crowd comes funky shops and cafés to cater for all of their needs, so expect a vibrant and colourful stay if you choose Paia.
Art galleries, live music venues, yoga studios and chill-out loungers make Paia a slightly bohemian place, where people from all walks of life can come to relax and party. Long and short stay rentals are popular with surfers but there are a number of good quality hotels to choose from too. Summer time can be a little quieter, if you are wanting a more low key holiday, where you can browse the local boutique shops or hang out at the beach to soak up the sun.
Hotels in Paia