I've stayed in a lot of hotels and B&Bs and inns, so when I sat down to write about the Pa'ia Inn/Hotel, I had to think hard about how to describe the experience since it's unlike anything else.
Pa'ia is a small "hippie" town on the main road to Hana, just 4 miles from the main Maui airport. Pa'ia has two gas stations, some yoga/tattoo businesses and a few good restaurants. It's the anti-Wailea. I like that since Maui has changed over the past 30 years and I'm not sure it's a good thing.
If you look at the Pa'ia Inn on the surface, you see an old main street storefront with a yoga shop and gelato/sandwich place around the side, next to a gas station. The entrance is not even in front of the building, it's around the back. What???? Parking is in a tiny lot behind the building where cars double-park. Three other buildings make up the additional "rooms" of the Inn with one complete house available for the ultimate experience. A collections of building in a hippie town, why would anyone (other than hippies) care?
This is the point where worlds collide as multiple sensations attack your senses at once. If you have just arrived on the island, it's a bit jarring. Once you find the entrance and park your car, the real spirit of Aloha hits you hard. Walking into the entrance of the Inn, you pass through a large courtyard of shade trees and other people (guests?) relaxing, drinking beer or wine, eating fruit provided by the hotel. You look at them ("who are these people?") as they point you to the refreshments. You suddenly feel overdressed, over stressed and very out of place. About then, one of the hotel staff greet you in the most informal/friendly way. A lovely brunette girl/woman who you imagine will go surfing after work. A young man from Spain who happens to be the breakfast chef. Smiles, welcomes, good vibes.
It continues this way during your entire stay. After a few hours, a meal and some time to relax, you melt into the place. New people arrive, you feel a need to say "join us, relax". The staff rotates but the service is amazingly friendly. Restaurant recommendations? Path to the beach? Best places to buy swimwear? No problem!
We had just one night at the Pa'ia Inn since our condo wasn't ready until the next day, but I've got to say that next time I have to stay longer in Pa'ia. When the staff called me a few days later to follow up and ask for feedback, I felt like I was hearing from an old friend. I actually missed their friendly demeanor after a week of dealing with the crazy tourist strain on the west side of Maui.
Since this is a review, all I can say as a warning is that the rooms that face the main street in Pa'ia should be avoided if you are a medium-to-light sleeper. Truck traffic is heavy and the noise was disruptive to us. Otherwise, the room we had (#3) was comfy and well maintained. It wasn't a large room, but then you won't want to spend time in the room at all, you'll want to be on the beach or in the courtyard with new friends.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The postcard perfection of Maui’s North Shore (white sand beaches, raging waterfalls, stylish cafes, and world-class surfers) just got even better with the opening of the Paia Inn. This beach town boutique hotel seamlessly blends modern amenities with the historic character of its building. In a nod to the town’s plantation trade days, the building’s exterior has retained its charm with tin rooftops and rustic hues; yet, the interior mixes contemporary island furnishings with the chic lushness of the W Hotel. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Paia Hotel Paia
- Paia Inn Maui, Hawaii