Where to Stay in Maui: A Guide to the Best Areas

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.

what area of maui to stay in

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.

What Area of Maui to Stay In

What Area of Maui to Stay In

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

What Area of Maui to Stay In

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.

best value for money hotels in maui the sheraton

best value for money hotels in maui the sheraton

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

best value for money hotels in maui the sheraton

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

top spas maui hawaii westin

top spas maui hawaii westin

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

top spas maui hawaii montage kapalua bay

top spas maui hawaii montage kapalua bay

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

A Guide: What Area of Maui to Stay In

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


What Area of Maui to Stay In

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


What Area of Maui to Stay In

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

where to stay in paia maui paia inn

where to stay in paia maui paia inn

where to stay in paia maui paia inn

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.

A Guide: What Area of Maui to Stay In

A Guide: What Area of Maui to Stay In

A Guide: What Area of Maui to Stay In

A Guide: What Area of Maui to Stay In

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.

A Guide: What Area of Maui to Stay In

A Guide: What Area of Maui to Stay In

A Guide: What Area of Maui to Stay InIt’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

What Area of Maui to Stay In

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 Journey Guides

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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. christine wilhelm July 14, 2015 at 12:24 am - Reply

    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.

    • Rachel Jones July 14, 2015 at 12:34 am - Reply

      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

  2. Michelle | Lights Camera Journey July 14, 2015 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    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!

    • Rachel Jones July 16, 2015 at 3:39 am - Reply

      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

  3. TRICIA May 30, 2017 at 11:49 am - Reply

    Before moving to Maui, Maui Beach Hotel was generally our first choice. Having stayed at both Maui Beach and Maui Seaside. The only 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.

  4. My Little Guide to Maui January 5, 2018 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    […] Guide to where to stay in Maui (reviews of hotels near airport & staying in a small house/apartment) […]

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