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which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

Melbourne, Australia
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which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

Hi my fellow travellers, I am a first timer to Maui & am really confused on where to stay.

We will be in Maui end of August for 3 days. It has been suggested to stay in Wailea, but it seems all the action is in Lahaina??

Because we only have 3 days I want to fit in as much as possible - the accom recommended the highest is Grand Wailea, but if its Lahaina I am considering Hyatt Regency/Sheraton Maui resort - all have beach access I believe.

We will likely hire a car so day times will be filled in with touring, I don't really want to travel too far at night if it can be helped

We want access to bars with music, views, and outside seating if poss also nice mid priced restaurants (preferably not chains). I have read lots of posts and replies but I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with information. Are there restaurants/bars that you can walk to or do you need to get a shuttle?? Ive been to Honolulu but Maui is different..... Thank is advance for your help.

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1. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

We've been to Maui once. This past April-May. We stayed in Kihei. We went to the luau on the grounds of Grand Wailea. The resort appears to be fabulous. The bars, music, and views are right there at Grand Wailea and in the area. The development in Wailea seems to be newer than the development in West Maui, so West Maui gets more press. More people know of it and travel there. Lahaina is very nice. You certainly would be well-advised to stay there or nearby.

It would seem to me it is a coin toss. Pick one and don't regret your decision.

Birmingham, Alabama
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2. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

Do you have kids? Grand Wailea will have a ton of kids in august because of their pools. I like it but it isn't the best accommodation in wailea...that's the four Seasons. In August i'd choose the Fairmont over the GW just because it's a smaller property.

West Maui will have great beach conditions at this time (or should).

As for action, kaanapali is busier and closer to lahaina. Lahaina has no beach (but many of the kaanapali resorts have a lahaina address so don't be confused.)

But generally wailea and nearby kihei has plenty of restaurants too, and with a car you can easily get from one side to another.

Just find the place you'd most like to stay and go with that. I don't think you'll be disappointed either way.

Denver, Colorado
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3. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

Are there any activities on your 'must do' list? With only 3 days on the island, you'll want to minimize your driving time and maximize your Maui time. I'd stay close to the area you're planning on spending time in.

One thing I did notice in your post was that you wanted to stay close to the action. Be aware that Maui is considerably more laid back than Honolulu and that you won't find much that stays open into the wee hours of the morning. With that said, if you're looking for restaurants and bars within walking distance, I'd point you to Kehei or Kaanapali.. Kehei is generally more budget friendly that Kaanapali, but we like the atmosphere better in Kaanapali.

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4. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

Generally, the three main tourist area's come down to price level.

1. Wailea

2. West Maui (Lahaina, Kaanapali, Napili, Kapalua)

3. Kehei

Everyone has there favorite area, I enjoy West Maui more because for us it offers more to do, but we recently returned from the Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea and loved it.

San Diego...
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5. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

With such a short stay I would recommend Kaanapali.

I would also recommend the Sheraton over the Hyatt. It is on the best part of the beach and it is a low rise set of buildings.

You are within walking distance to Whalers Village with outdoor restaurants and shops and an easy drive to Lahaina with lots of shops and restaurants.

We prefer Wailea as we find it quieter and more laid back, but sounds like you want to be a bit more active on eats and drinks.You can take an easy drive down south one day as well

Edited: 17 June 2014, 18:16
Yakima, Washington
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6. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

Our first trip was this February. Just my husband and I. We stayed in Kaanapali at the Westin Resort and Spa and really loved it. It was close to most everything. We did travel down towards Wailea for the day and hit a few beaches. I say you really cant go wrong with most anywhere you stay. Its all beautiful.

Corona del Mar, CA
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for San Diego, Orange County, California
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7. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

You definitely want/need a car, Get a car reserved TODAY whether or not you make hotel reservations today. Cars are tight on Maui and August is very busy.

For what you have said you want I'd look at the Hyatt Regency and Sheraton Maui. Wailea has almost no nightlife, Ka'anapali's is limited, but at least Lahaina is close.

With only three days I would limit your excursions and I would probably not do the Road to Hana as it absorbs a whole day.

Cleveland, Ohio
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8. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

Your post screams the Kaanapali area to me. My parents loved the Westin and took advantage of the shuttle to Lahaina.

Chicago Illinois
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9. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

In 2008, I spent 5 days at the Westin on Ka'anapali Beach and 5 days at Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea. I loved both locations!! The Westin is next to Whaler's Village and several restaurants. You can easily walk along the 2+ mile sidewalk along the beach toward Black Rock and the Sheraton which is another great place to stay. You can walk south toward the Marriott (I will be vacationing there in August) and continue on to the Hyatt (I honeymooned there). I would recommend the Sheraton, Westin, Marriott or Hyatt. Ka'anapali Beach is a beautiful sandy beach within lots to do within walking distance.

I also loved staying at the Fairmont in Wailea. The Fairmont's grounds are beautiful, however, Polo Beach can get crowded and sometimes windy in afternoon. You can walk along an oceanside sidewalk to get to the Four Seasons and Grand Wailea. I visited the Grand Wailea which has beautiful grounds, beach, and the pool is AMAZING. The pictures I took at the GW, Makena and Big Beach were also AMAZING. I had a photographer take pictures of my family on the Fairmont grounds and Polo Beach in 2008. We will have pictures taken at Makena Beach in August.

Ka'anapali Beach is a 2+ mile sandy beach with a lot to do within walking distance and shuttles to Lahaina. Grand Wailea has beautiful grounds, pool, beach, restaurants, and memorable photo opportunities. - You might consider renting a car in Wailea if you want to see Big Beach or Makena.

Auckland Central...
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10. Re: which part of Maui to stay... first timer really confused

Hi, we have just returned from Maui and Honolulu. 3 days in Maui is not really enough time to enjoy what the Island offers. We stayed 4 nights and wished we had made it longer. On Maui you HAVE TO have a rental car, public transport is not good - the opposite to that on Honolulu/Waikiki. We studied a lot before going on where to stay. We chose Kihei staying at the Maui Kamaole resort and totally happy with our decision. Kihei is a few miles before Wailea but has full length of South Kihei Road with shops. Accom further up the west side i.e. Kaanapali etc is more up market I guess with higher prices. One thing to take into account is there is only one road in and out of the NW area so does get very congested with traffic. Something to consider when leaving to get to the airport - allow extra time to get there. What ever area you choose you would love Maui so more layed back than Waikiki