Where to Stay on Maui Other Than the Westside?
Liza A Pierce of “A Maui Blog” | Photos courtesy The Aloha 360
Maui is Open, Westside is Closed. Governor Josh Green recently announced beginning October 8, all travel restrictions will end and West Maui (including Napili, Ka‘anapali, Honokowai and Kapalua) will be open to visitors again with the exception of Lahaina.
Respectful travel to Maui is welcome and encouraged, now more than ever. Hawaiian Airlines and Alaskan Airlines are giving discounts on airfare to encourage visitors to Maui. We need the visitors to come back now.
While we are waiting for the Westside (except Lahaina) to open, let us explore the other towns on Maui where visitors can stay.
South Maui is the sunshine region. The towns of Ma‘alaea, Kihei, Wailea and Makena make up South Maui. Wailea is the major resort area. Although it may be the hottest and driest part of the island, the south is also the most popular coastline on Maui for sun lovers.
Wailea is home to major luxury hotels such as the Grand Wailea, Four Seasons, Andaz, Fairmont Kea Lani and Wailea Beach Marriott. All these hotels are top notch in the industry. You can’t go wrong with any of them. There are also many luxury condos and villas to choose from such as Wailea Beach Villas and Wailea Elua, both oceanfront.
Kihei is less expensive than Wailea and has a wide selection of budget condo rentals. Kihei condos are still walking distance from the beach and many are oceanfront. It is more like a traditional town and has great beaches and restaurants. The most popular condominium complexes in Kihei include Kama‘ole Sands, Mana Kai, Maui Kama‘ole, Kihei Surfside, Royal Mauian, Koa Lagoon and Luana Kai Resort.
Makena, the farthest town south, is the least crowded and least developed part of South Maui. There are a few luxury condos available for rent. Check out Makena Surf condos on VRBO and Airbnb. Makena is where the pristine Makena Beach divides into Big Beach and Little Beach.
Maalaea is an oceanfront village close to the West Maui border. It is windy here, where the trade winds funnel between the West Maui Mountains and Haleakala last touching land at Ma‘alaea. The area is known for affordable oceanfront condos. Boat tours leave from the Ma‘alaea Marin.
Central Maui towns include Kahului, Waikapu, and Wailuku. The airport (OGG) where you will land is in Kahului.
Kahului is the commercial town of Maui. This is where you will find Costco, Walmart, and Target. It is also where Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center is located. Aside from the commercial centers, there are also many local residential neighborhoods in this town. This was known as the “Dream City” to thousands of former sugar-cane workers.
Wailuku is a charming and historic town where most of the State and County offices are located. Local shops and restaurant line Main Street. The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono is a popular (and historic) place to stay. There is also the new vacation rental called The Blue Door on Church Street. ‘Īao Valley, a famous landmark, is reached via Wailuku.
Waikapū is the location of Maui Tropical Plantation and Kumu Farms. The King Kamehameha Golf Club is another famous landmark here. Waikapū is a residential area – there are no hotels or inns to stay at although there might be some random rooms for rent on Airbnb.
Upcountry towns Pukalani, Hali‘imaile, Makawao and Kula are away from the beach up on Haleakala mountains and offer cooler temperatures and green fields. Upcountry is the part of Maui on the valley side of Haleakala.
Makawao is a small paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) town. My mother-in-law loved visiting this small town. You can stroll through some of the best gift shops and small galleries highlighting Maui’s talented local artists.
Pukalani, Hali‘imaile, and Kula – I lumped these towns together. They are mostly residential but for those who desire a cooler climate and do not care if they are far from the beach, these towns are great. There are many exciting activities to take part in here especially in Kula where the ‘Ulupalakua Winery, Ali‘i Kula Lavender Farm and Haleakala National Park are located. You will be able to find a few Bed and Breakfast places via Airbnb and VRBO. For romantic upcountry cottages with beautiful panoramic views, check out Kula Lodge.
Pa‘ia is a destination in its own right. Pa‘ia is a small town with a big character and personality. So far it has managed to avoid becoming touristy or gentrified, and it is still largely populated by a diverse mix of colorful and eccentric people – lovers of art, surfers, vegans, and others who are drawn to the independent Bohemian vibe. The town is filled with quaint shops, cafes and restaurants. Pa‘ia Bay and Baldwin Beach are also close, as is Ho‘okipa. The Pa‘ia Inn is a popular place to stay but there are other bed and breakfasts in the area as well. Mana Foods is a go-to place, a grocery store for healthy food in this part of the island.
Ha‘iku and Huelo are mostly residential. Like Pa‘ia, these towns also have an eclectic vibe. Sometimes they are known as the Hippie Towns, with inexpensive places to rent via Airbnb and VRBO. You can also stay at the more luxurious Mama’s Fish House Inn near Ho‘okipa Beach.
Ke‘anae, Hana, Kipahulu – When talking about places to stay on the East Side of Maui, Hana Maui Resort is at the top of my mind. Yes, you can find various bed and breakfast places to rent if you are on a budget but for honeymooners and for individuals who want to experience convenience and serenity, I recommend spending the extra bucks and staying at Hana Maui Resort.
I hope this column helps. Feel free to share this with people you know who are on the fence and still trying to decide if they should visit or not. May this help them know there are many other areas they can stay at and have a wonderful time on Maui. Maybe you are that person who is still on the fence. We encourage you to come and visit Maui. Your presence on Maui will very much be appreciated. It will help in our economic recovery. We look forward to seeing you here!
Liza Pierce of A Maui Blog is an Interactive Media enthusiast. She started blogging in 2006 and she loves talking story online and spreading aloha around the world. She’s been living on Maui since 1994 and considers Maui her home. A wife, a mother, a friend … and so much more. She loves Jesus; Maui Sunsets Catcher; Crazy About Rainbow; End Alzheimer’s Advocate. Her life is full and exciting here on the island of Maui. Liza is currently the Digital Media Specialist with Hawai‘i Life Real Estate Brokers. She is the author of the book Maui 2021 and Beyond.