How To Choose Where To Stay on Maui
You might have a lot of questions when planning your trip to Maui. Where are the most popular visitor areas? What is the difference between “beachfront” and “oceanfront?” Should you stay in a hotel, condo, or villa? Is it feasible to rent an entire house for a week? What about a cottage? A B&B? It’s enough to make your head spin!
Deciding where to stay in Maui might be confusing at first, particularly if this is your first trip to the island. There are numerous options on Maui for location and type of accommodations. Here are some tips to help you select the perfect place to suit your own personal tastes, based on three key questions.
DECIDING WHERE TO STAY ON MAUI
What Region Do You Want to Stay In?
South Maui and West Maui are the most popular places to stay. Visitor accommodations are plentiful in these areas — from resorts and hotels to condos and B&Bs and vacation cottages. There are also a ton of great restaurants, shops, beaches, and activities for travelers in these areas. Check out my blogs on 8 Reasons Why You Should Stay in Wailea, Kihei, or Kaanapali)
Some people enjoy more “off the beaten path” experiences. In that case, the North Shore, Upcountry, East Maui, or Central Maui (particularly Maalaea) might be a good choice for you. You won’t find any bustling resorts in these places, but visitor accommodations are still readily available. For maps and an overview description of these regions to help you decide where to stay on Maui, see my guide to Maui’s Regions and Towns.
Keep in mind when reserving your accommodations: Maui wildfires devastated the town of Lahaina in August of 2023, and it will be some time before this area will be open to the public.
What Type of Accommodations Do You Want?
Hotels and Resorts: This is the most traditional type of visitor accommodation. Everyone knows what a hotel is, of course, and a resort is really just a more elaborate hotel, with upgraded amenities and facilities such as spas and golf courses. There are around 9,500 hotel rooms on Maui, ranging from small, simple hotels to extravagant luxury resorts. The majority of Maui’s hotels and resorts are located in the primary resort areas of West Maui and South Maui, with a handful of smaller properties located in other regions of the island.
Condominiums and Villas: Condo rentals on Maui are also an extremely popular option. Why? Because most condos feature in-unit kitchens. This is the one big advantage to staying in a Maui condo versus a hotel room, which usually doesn’t have a kitchen. Cooking your own meals is a great way to cut down on dining costs on Maui, therefore having a fully-equipped kitchen can be a huge boon for travelers. Plus, some condos have outdoor grilling areas, which adds some fun flair to eating at home.
Maui condos and villas range in size from compact studios up to three-bedroom apartments. But what’s the difference between the two? Similar to hotels vs. resorts, Maui villas are usually more upscale than condos. Think spacious units with impeccable design and a higher level of amenities and guest services. Meanwhile, some condos can be quite simple, with basic accommodations and amenities — and in turn, a more affordable price tag. There are over 50 condo and villa properties on Maui.
Bed & Breakfasts: If you’re seeking a more intimate stay, consider booking a B&B. At a B&B, you might be renting a private room in someone’s home or even an entire dwelling on someone’s property. There might be other guests staying on the property, or you might have it to yourself. Sometimes breakfast is included, and there might be other special amenities available to guests as well — like property tours or access to a pool or jacuzzi.
Maui B&Bs are required to have a permit from the county. The legal definition of a B&B is a property that offers a short-term rental of rooms — or the entire dwelling — where the owner lives on-site. However, there are some B&Bs operating illegally on Maui, so do your due diligence. Sussing out whether a B&B is permitted or not is actually quite easy, and here is everything you need to know before booking. (For your protection, all B&Bs and vacation rentals on our site are operating legally with the required County permits, and permit numbers are listed on each property’s page.) Maui B&Bs are a truly unique and special experience for travelers who want to enjoy a more grass-roots and authentic slice of island life.
Vacation Homes & Cottages: A Maui vacation home rental can be a particularly comfortable and economical choice, particularly for longer stays. For friends and families traveling together or large families who need that extra living space, a home provides multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and the option to hang out or dine “at home” in your own private setting. Maui vacation home rentals can range from small, charming beach cottages to exquisite, ultra-luxurious estates with private pools and hot tubs. As with B&Bs, vacation rentals on Maui are required to have a permit from the County, but there are many illegal rentals on the island, so be cautious. (For your protection, all vacation rentals on our site are operating legally with the required County permits, and permit numbers are listed on each property’s page.) This is a wonderful way to experience Maui surrounded quite literally by “all the comforts of home.”
Do You Want a Beachfront or Pool View? Location…Location…Location!
In Maui, prices for most accommodations are based largely on the location of the property (usually meaning its proximity to the ocean or beach) and the view from each individual room. In researching where to stay on Maui, you will come across the following terminology to describe properties and room categories over and over again:
Beachfront means it is located right on the beach. See above.
Oceanfront means it is directly facing the ocean, but may or may not be on a beach
Ocean View means it offers a view of the ocean but is probably not directly oceanfront or beachfront–it might be located near the ocean (like across the street), provide a side view of the ocean, or offer a more distant view of the sea
Partial Ocean View means there is a view of the ocean, but it is a side view or obstructed view, so you will not have a full-on panoramic ocean view
Mountain View, Garden View, Pool View, Golf Course View, and similar mean it offers those views, rather than a view of the ocean
Beachfront stays are usually more costly than accommodations not directly on the beach. The same goes for oceanfront or ocean-view rooms — you can expect to pay a premium for those glorious Maui ocean views! Oceanfront or ocean-view rooms are typically more expensive than mountain or garden-view rooms.
Selecting the right room for you really boils down to personal preference. Is it worth the higher price for a beachfront location? For some people it is essential. For others, it’s not important at all. The choice is yours!
Maui accommodation prices also vary depending upon whether you are traveling during high or low season. So if you are looking for the least expensive time of year, see The Best Time To Visit Maui for more details on Maui’s tourism seasons.
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(Note: We recognize and respect the significance of the ‘okina and kahakō markings in the written Hawaiian language; however, we have omitted those diacritical markings on our site in order to integrate with the more common spellings used in online searches.)
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