I spent three awesome weeks hopping around Maui, and we managed to cover all the main areas of the island! It’s a pretty small island, so it’s not hard to do. Rather than just tell you the hotels we stayed at, I want you get an idea of where to stay in Maui in terms of the best areas!
There are a lot of different towns and some might fit you better depending on what you’re looking for. It could be a more hippie vibe, like in Paia or something for honeymooners, like the high-end resorts to the west.
Where to Stay in Maui: A Map
Here’s a little map. I added in words in purple so you know what I’m talking about later. I’m generalizing a little bit, but this is the gist.
To drive, you can see the roads go around the island because there are parks in the middle. It took about 20 minutes from North (Paia) to Kihei (touristy). Then for example, Kihei to Lahaina will take 40 minutes, and Kahului (airport, middle north) to Lahaina 45 minutes.
Best Areas to Stay in Maui
Kahului Airport: Where to Stay in Maui for Arrivals & Departures
When I went, there were only 3 hotels near Kahului Airport. One is the Marriott right next to the airport, one not worth mentioning, and one called Maui Seaside. We stayed here twice actually between flights to and from Honolulu.
It’s not a bad hotel at all and on a budget, you could stay here. It’s not ideal for a nice vacation though. It’s only 15-minutes to Paia, 45 minutes to Lahaina, and 20 to Kehei. The hotel was on the ocean but at a port and there was a nice, freezing cold pool and very nice staff. Parking here is only 5 dollars a night, a steal on Maui.
Check prices for Maui Seaside here
Compare hotels near Kahului Airport here & Airbnbs here
Ka’anapali: Where to Stay in Maui for a Honeymoon and with Family
There is a strip of hotels all next to each other, and it’s designed to be the main resort area for the island. You can even find a mall in this strip, so you really never have to leave. Some never do.
There’s a Westin, Sheraton, Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, Hyatt, Aston, and more. They share the same strip of beach, which is known for the best snorkeling in Maui. The water is so clear blue and it really is a great view. This is where the “black rock” is.
We stayed at the Sheraton. Read a full review of the Sheraton Maui here. I had two days free in exchange for a review, but we ended up paying to stay longer because we did love it AND it is the best value for money. Only the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel was a little cheaper but didn’t look nearly as nice.
Check prices for Sheraton Maui here
I also had spa treatments at the Westin, and that property was amazing. It was more expensive than the Sheraton, but was more for couples and a bit fancier than the Sheraton, which was more family oriented.
Check prices for the Westin here
Compare hotels in Ka’anapali here & Airbnbs here
Kapalua: Where to Stay in Maui for Luxury
A little north, about 15 minutes from Ka’anapali is the quieter area Kapalua. Here is the famous Montage Hotel. They have these in California as well. It’s one of the 15 most expensive hotels in America. I had a massage here and saw the grounds. Absolutely stunning.
Check prices for the Montage here
I also checked out the Ritz-Carlton for a spa treatment, and it was an amazing property as well. Again, the hotels here are all near to each other.
Check prices for the Ritz-Carlton here
Compare hotels in Kapalua here & Airbnbs here
Lahaina and Kihei: Where to Stay in Maui on a Budget
People staying in Ka’anapali head to Lahaina for dinner and shopping. Kihei is more chilled out, younger crowd with cheaper food options. Both are filled up with tourists, not as quiet, and not as known for snorkeling. For those reasons, we didn’t stay here but just drove here to spend time.
Compare hotels in Kihei here & Airbnbs here
Makawao: Offbeat Area to Stay in Maui
This is “upcountry” Maui, and there are some hotels/retreats here. They were all booked during my visit. The town is very cute. You’re secluded but not far from anything. I think it’d be cool to stay here, but not for the whole trip. This is where I did zip-lining and where you can horse-back ride at the Ranches.
Compare hotels in Makawo here & Airbnbs here
Paia: Where to Stay for Hippies
Paia is THE “hippie” town of Maui. Willie Nelson has a bar here. Most of the locals surfers live in affordable housing just outside the town. It’s small with only one stop light, and there used to only be one inn, Paia Inn. This was a very charming old hotel that’s done up in chic style. We loved it, see a full review of Paia Inn here.
Check prices for Paia Inn here
Check for more hotels in Paia here & Airbnbs here
Spreksville: Our Favorite Place to Stay in Maui
Just 10 minutes away between Paia and Kahululi (the airport) is a little town called Sprecksville, which seems to just have a nursing home. There is a small place called Spreck’s Plantation which has 4 little studio houses. We stayed in the Plumeria room. Actually, this was the ideal place to stay in Maui. It was the cheapest place we stayed, was a great location, had scuba equipment, big TV, WiFi, bicycles, a kitchen, was fully stocked, comfortable beds, and was a quiet neighborhood. They even had Shantaram laying around.
If you’re traveling as a family or a honeymoon on a budget this is great. There isn’t a pool, but you have a patio with a grill and it’s 5 minutes from a quiet beach and a 15-20 minute bike ride to Kahana Beach. We loved staying in big hotels and fancy digs, but when it comes to practicality and budget this was the #1 choice.
It’s like having your own apartment and especially if you’re staying long term it’s great. Another time to stay here is the few days before you leave to go home. It’s got laundry so Ben and I did all our shopping for India in Kahului from here, did our laundry so back in India we didn’t have to, and just chilled a few days to end our trip. Bonus here, no resort fees and free parking.
Hana: One Last Option for Maui
The “road to Hana” does indeed lead to Hana. We didn’t stay here but there were a few options. It didn’t appeal to us, as if I were going to stay off the grid, I’d rather be in Makawao then so far away from everything
Compare hotels in Hana here & Airbnbs here
I hope this guide was helpful in deciding where to stay in Maui! I explored a lot of the island in the few weeks we had and we stayed in many different areas. This is just a quick look and I’m sure there is much more to explore.
More Maui Travel Guides
- My Little Guide to Maui | Beaches, Food, Lodging, & MORE
- My Top 10 Adventure Activities to Do in Maui Hawaii
- Absolute Bliss at 3 Top Spas in Maui
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Did you feel “crowded” in Maui? (I am sure relative to India, nothing is really, really crowded, but you know what I mean). Your road to Hana pictures really looked jammed but then your beach photos were fine.
Not at all!! I mean maybe it’s because we’re used to India’s traffic and such, and we were there “off season” apparently. I found it totally relaxed, except maybe main beach waikiki was a bit mad – still though space for all and no men staring at me ha ha
I recently read a blog post about how much this blogger hates hotel review posts… but I disagree. I know this is an overall guide, but personally I find these posts really helpful and enjoyable to read! I’d much rather read your opinion than scrol through TripAdvisor. Greats pics, too!
i know which post you’re talking about lol ;) and yes totally, when we travel we stay at a hotel and it only makes sense to share which places kicked ass! i’m not about saying places that weren’t great because I feel bad for the company, so i just dont mention them
Before moving to Maui, Maui Beach Hotel was generally our first choice. Having stayed at both Maui Beach and Maui Seaside. The only plus about Maui Seaside was the pool.
Thanks for the review. Thankful you didn’t mention or find local favorite spots because that would ruin the spots with too many tourists.
I go to Maui every year and I was saddened to hear you didn’t expand on Hana! The road to Hana is the most scenic wonderful magical adventure. You can stop off at two beautiful different campsites which have gorgeous hiking trails to numerous waterfalls every way you turn. The campsites are easy to get too and perfectly kept.