How To Choose Where To Stay on Maui
Need help deciding where to stay on Maui? Where are the most popular visitor areas on Maui? Is a “beachfront” resort the same thing as “oceanfront?” What’s the difference between a hotel and a condo, or a condo and a villa? Is it possible to rent a house for a week? What about a cottage or b&b? 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?
There are six primary regions on Maui where visitor accommodations are readily available: West Maui, South Maui, Central Maui, North Shore, Upcountry, and East Maui. The two largest and most popular visitor destinations, offering the most accommodation options, are West Maui and South Maui — and within those two regions there are numerous other choices of towns, neighborhoods, and resort communities. (Check out my blogs on 8 Reasons Why You Should Stay in Wailea, Kihei, Lahaina, or Kaanapali) Some visitors, however, enjoy the more “off the beaten path” areas of Central Maui (particularly Maalaea), North Shore, Upcountry, or East Maui. 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.
What Type of Accommodations Do You Want?
Hotels and Resorts: This is the most traditional type of tourist 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 7,400 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 extremely popular with visitors. Why? Because they offer in-room kitchens — the one big advantage condos have over hotel rooms, which do not generally include kitchens. A kitchen facility provides convenient, cost-saving options for dining. Maui condos and villas range in size from compact studios up to three-bedroom apartments, designed and furnished to make you feel completely at home. Similar to hotels vs. resorts, Maui villas differ from condos in that they are usually more upscale — spacious residences (with kitchens), impeccably furnished, and providing a higher level of amenities and guest services. Maui boasts more than 50 condo and villa properties. Some are quite basic, providing simple amenities and accommodations along with an affordable price tag. Others – some villa properties in particular – feature incredibly luxurious facilities and are truly world-class resorts, with restaurants, spas, and extensive guest services.
Bed & Breakfasts: Maui’s cozy B&Bs, which are often family owned and operated, offer a personalized experience that is simply not possible at large resorts. At a B&B, you are renting a private room in someone’s home (or even renting the entire home) or possibly staying at a very small inn. There might be other guests present when you are there, or there might not. Breakfast is sometimes included (possibly with fresh fruit picked that morning from the backyard, like the papaya tree pictured here), and other special amenities may be offered for guests, as well. On Maui, the legal definition of a B&B is a property that offers short-term rental of rooms – or the entire dwelling – where the owner lives on site. By law, Maui B&Bs are required to have a permit from the County; however there are some illegal operations on the island, so beware. (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 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
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 to the ocean, or offer a more distant view to 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 accommodations are, of course, more expensive than those that are not directly on the beach but might be just a short stroll away. Likewise, oceanfront or ocean view rooms are generally more costly than rooms with views of mountains or gardens or pools—which can also be very lovely. Many Maui properties, even if they are not situated directly on the beach or ocean, offer rooms with gorgeous ocean views. So, make your choice according to your own personal preference. Is it worth the additional cost to you for a prime beachfront location and view? For some people, that is essential; for others, it’s not important at all.
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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