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  • Writer's pictureCarol McKee

Where to stay in Maui

The pool at the Westin in Ka'anapali Resort area

Hawaii is pretty hot at the moment. Not the temperature but rather the number of people looking to go there this year. As travel internationally continues to be a challenge those who want (or need) to get away are turning to the Aloha state.

Coves with smaller beaches is what you will fine in the Wailea Resort Area

While there are entry requirements (and those are pretty fluid right now) one thing is for sure - if you want to go this summer now is the time to book. I would love to work with you to make that booking - so I wanted to give you a little guidance to think about where to stay in Maui if you are ready to get a Hawaiian vacation on your calendar. First if you have never been to Hawaii or if you have only been to the main island of Oahu then I suggest you consider spending a week or more on Maui. This island has it all.

Sunset from atop Haleakala in Kula, Maui

Maui also has hiking, a volcano that has an amazing sunrise and sunset and the best resorts in Hawaii. Maui is truly the island where you can make all your Hawaiian dreams come true. But where to stay? There are two main resort areas in Maui. The South island resorts of Wailea beach and the West island resort area of Ka'anapali bay. North and East Maui have a very small number of resorts and both are hard to get to and isolated. So we will focus on the South and West resort areas. These areas are on the leeward side of the island which means it doesn't rain often and you should have beautiful sunny weather no matter when you plan to visit. But which resort area is the right one for you depends on what you are looking for and what you enjoy.

The hotels in the Wailea area sit on beach coves and are the most luxurious in the state

Wailea is on south Maui and is about 25 miles from the airport. This area has the beautiful Wailea area pocket beaches while much of this part of the island is quite rocky. Wailea has mostly rocky shoreline punctuated by smaller beaches in coves such as Polo Beach, Wailea Beach, Ulua Beach all great for snorkeling. Most of the resorts sit right on the beach in these coves so they feel very tucked away and private.

The Westin on Kaanapali beach in the West Maui resort area

Ka'anapali is in West Maui and is about 40 minutes from the airport. The resort area is just a few miles north of Lahaina. While this area gets a bit more rainfall during the winter than the Wailea area they are both still on the dry side of the island and you should not have much rain in either place - unlike the east side which is lush and tropical from all the rain year round. Ka'anapali has three miles of white sand beach. Plenty of hotels along this beach including the Westin, Hyatt and the Marriott. Ocean swimming is much easier here.

Lahaina near the West Maui resort area

Nightlife here is never quite at the level of Honolulu but the Ka'anapali area is near Lahaina with more options to get out in the evening and do things. By contrast the Wailea area has a more "adult" feel to it and is much quieter. Most people stay at their resorts rather than getting out and about.

Sunset from West Maui area

Both areas face west and get great sunsets. Both these areas have beeches where you can walk for miles. These beaches are much less crowded than you will find on the island of Oahu. Waikiki is beautiful but super crowded. The island of Maui never feels "packed" with people. There are not many adult only hotels to be found in the state and the only one I know of is in Wailea area at the Hotel Wailea. If leaving the kids behind is what you are looking for this is your best bet.

The pool area at the Fairmont Kea Lani in the South Maui resort area

However those with out kids or traveling with older teens will also find a sophisticated vibe at the Fairmont Kea Lani on the south side of the island. In fact if Luxury resorts are your jam then you will most definitely want to head to the south side of the island. Here in the Wailea resort area is where you will find the Four Seasons, and the above mentioned Fairmont and Grand Wailea.

If luxury is your jam then South Maui is for you

Resorts here are definitely the most expensive places to stays and the most luxurious experience. Expect to pay $500 - $600 per night when not at peak season and more during July, August and the holiday period - when the price per night could be double. On the flips side the Grand Wailea Resort is often packed with families and kids frolicking in the many pools on the property. Which one of these suite you depends on what you are looking for.

The grounds at the Westin in West Maui

The resorts in Ka'anapali are all connected on a walking path that also leads to Whalers Village with lots of restaurants and shopping. These are still a luxury experience but a notch down for both level of luxury and price in Wailea. Here you have the Westin, the Hyatt and the Sheraton among others. Hotels are expensive in Maui but for a good reason. Right on beautiful beaches with the sun shining most of your stay you will find upscale resorts with all the amenities. Maui is not know for it's night life like you might find in Honolulu and things are more quiet at night then you might find there.

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