We had the pleasure of getting to know some very unique hotels on Maui during our stay on Hawaii’s best island. It’s so beloved by visitors, Conde Nast Traveler readers have voted it #1 for the past 17 years. If you stay on the island for a week or more, you can easily visit different areas and resorts, and we highly recommend you do. From the laid-back surf vibe of the Paia Inn in Paia, to the traditional Hawaiian family atmosphere of Napili Kai, to the full-on beach resort of Wailea, there’s something different for everyone.
Best Hotels In Maui
There are four main beaches that we stay at in Maui, Kapalua, Lahaina, Wailea and Pai. And when it comes to choosing where to stay in Maui, you’ll want to divide it by West Maui, South Maui or East Maui. Each of these places to stay has its own charm depending on what you’re looking for when traveling to Maui. Let’s break them down and see what works best for you.
We kiteboarded near Paia, paddle boarded at Napili Kai, and enjoyed our own outrigger canoeing and snorkeling experience near Wailea. With a perfect blend of adventure travel, fine cuisine and entertainment, a proud and strong culture and scenery to die for, a person could get lost in Maui’s Hawaiian hospitality forever. Ah, Maui, we’ll be back, my friend. Check out all the great things to do in Maui in our breakdown here.
Getting Around Maui
We highly recommend renting a car in Maui, we have had the freedom to drive every time we have been to Maui and it has been a great vacation to be able to go wherever the wind takes us. Each hotel has parking available. You can compare rental prices at Car Rentals.com.
Maui is a small island at only 26 miles wide and 48 miles long, making it easy to get around. But, believe it or not, it takes a long time to get from one side of the island to the other. We picked up our car at the Kahului airport, which is close to all the usual shopping centers (Whole Foods / Costco / Walmart) found in every town, so if you want to stock up, this is a great place to start your trip.
Napili Kai Beach Resort
Located on the sandy shores of Napili Bay, it has an old-school Hawaiian charm. Just two stories high and staffed by family, you’ll feel right at home as you relax by the pool or enjoy your condo-style room. Put your feet up, open the door and listen to the lapping of the waves against the shore. Enjoy a torchlit dinner in the Sea House restaurant or prepare your own in your modern kitchen and enjoy it on your balcony while watching the spectacular Hawaiian sunset. In the evening, listen to an authentic Slack Key performance by Grammy Award-winning artists or take a sunset stroll along Horseshoe Bay.
There are also plenty of activities to do. From surfing and paddle boarding to snorkeling and swimming, Napili Bay is as smooth as glass, with just enough break left to catch a wave. It’s one of the best swimming and snorkeling beaches on Maui and we can attest to that. In fact, we couldn’t wait to hit the water while doing our paddle boarding course at the resort.
There’s plenty to do between their four pools and fitness center, and they even have an 18-hole putting green! But it’s the little things that make all the difference and Napili Kai Beach Resort offers free in-room wireless internet access, free laundry detergent, fresh coffee in the morning, afternoon tea and free parking. A great family resort, you will feel welcome and at home during your stay at Napili Kai.
You can never go wrong with a Ritz Carlton and this one in Kapalua offers seclusion and luxury. With six sandy beaches and hiking trails, it’s the ultimate getaway. Plus, it’s located on Maui’s best golf course. This five-star resort overlooks the Pacific Ocean on a sprawling 54 acres. Book a couple’s massage at the luxurious spa in a tranquil setting using indigenous plants and treatments. Check rates and availability here.
East Maui breathes the most traditional island life, from Paia to Hana. Here you’ll find the legendary Hana Road, the laid-back surf town of Pai and the secluded village of Hana. Located 2.5 hours from the airport, we suggest you stay on this side of Maui if you visit again. Pai is a great surfing community if you like surfing, kite boarding or wind surfing, and has a beautiful stretch of sandy beaches.
Located on the North Shore in the laid-back surf town of Paia, this boutique hotel is a breath of fresh air. It’s a place where you meet Luke Wilson eating fish at the Paia Fish Market along with locals, tourists and surfers. The Paia Inn is great fun and was actually voted the world’s sexiest staff by Travel and Leisure (but I think it could also be included in the world’s friendliest staff).
It’s surprising how modern the Paia Inn is on the inside. From the outside it looks like a charming little B&B from a bygone era, but enter the grounds and you experience a hip urban feel. Our two-room suite was cozy and inviting, with fluffy duvets and two (count ’em) two flat-screen TVs. The separate living room was a bonus for sipping coffee while watching the morning news.
Paia Town may not be directly on the beach, but the Paia Inn property is. The grounds extend to a beautiful long beach that all guests have access to. There is a quiet enclosed lawn where you can sunbathe while sipping cool lemon or cucumber water on plush loungers, enjoy one of their yoga classes overlooking the ocean, or head out your secure gate for the day on the beach. The choice is yours.
Paia Inn was definitely more in tune with our travel style than other hotels on Maui. We love small establishments where you can relax in the common areas, read a book and let all the stresses of life melt away in a peaceful setting. Of all the hotels on Maui, this was the place we spent the least amount of time and wish it were the opposite.
Located on Maui’s North Shore, Paia Inn is a place where you can relax, enjoy yoga classes on the beach, and stylish boutique hotel rooms located directly on the beach. Check out this modern boutique hotel on Maui’s North Shore.
Hana Maui Resort
This resort is a luxury lodging option on the east coast of Maui at the end of Hana Road in Hana. Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture and make your own lei or go horseback riding. Now that’s an experience unique to the islands. It offers rooms and bungalows with ocean views, a restaurant and a pool bar. If you’re looking for a couple of days of seclusion and relaxation, this is a great option.
South Maui Wailea
This stretch of places to stay in Maui is the best for luxury hotels bordering the Pacific Ocean coastline. We had the opportunity to check out three of the best hotels in this area and each is a great choice for Maui hotels. The area is a bit of a drive from many of Maui’s main attractions, but if you have a car, you can easily drive to canoeing, snorkeling, or take a helicopter tour. Other than the Hana Highway, it’s easy to do just about anything on a day trip.
Plus, the beach and amenities are so good at each resort, you may not want to leave.
The Fairmont Kea Lani
The Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea is exceptional. We stayed in a deluxe oceanfront suite and it was stunning. With a separate living area, king size beds and views of the pool and ocean, we couldn’t have asked for more.
Located directly on the beach, you have direct access to a 2.5 mile walk along the shoreline where you can visit the other resorts nearby. The Willow Stream Spa gave us one of the best massages we’ve ever had, but there are plenty of other things to keep you busy here. There are three pools, two of which are lagoon sized that meander through the property, and Polo Beach is a 600 foot wide sandy beach that is the perfect place to hang out, go stand up paddle boarding, tan or just go for a walk and enjoy the beautiful sunset. See more about the Fairmont for rates and availability.
Four Seasons Resort Wailea
Located right next to the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort in Wailea, Four Seasons is our favorite hotel brand. It ups the luxury factor to 11 with an adults-only infinity pool and beautiful ocean views. Friends of ours stayed here during our stay at the Fairmont and we had dinner, a tour of their room and walked around the property with I must admit a little bit of envy.
You can’t go wrong staying on Wailea Beach with access to a beautiful sandy beach and the 2.1 mile promenade. Plus, there’s morning yoga, SUP and a luxury spa offering couples massages in open-air hale (thatched treatment huts). It’s a popular stop for golfers, as it’s minutes from Maui’s top three golf courses, Gold, Blue and Emerald. Plus, you can walk to the Shops at Wailea restaurants and boutiques for some shopping.
Grand Wailea Maui
We also had the opportunity to stay at the Grand Wailea and it is on par with the Four Seasons and Fairmont for an ultra luxury experience. This hotel is perfect for families with water slides and activities. The restaurant was exceptional and we even had a Hawiian Poke lesson where we made our own traditional Hawiian dish of spicy raw fish. It is located right on the sandy strip of Wailea beach and is close to shopping, golf and restaurants.
Maui has something for everyone. It is an island full of adventure. Staying at different hotels in very different locations, we had the opportunity to experience and do very different activities on the island.
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