If you're arriving late at night or you have an early-morning flight out, the best choice near Kahului Airport is the Maui Beach Hotel, 170 Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului, HI 96732 (www.mauibeachhotel.net; tel. 800/367-5004 or 808/877-0051; fax 808/871-5797). The nondescript, motel-like rooms (the standard room is so small, you can barely walk around the queen-size bed) start at $117 and include free airport shuttle service (6am-8:45pm only). It's okay for a night, but it's not a place to spend your entire vacation.
Inexpensive -- Backpackers should head to Banana Bungalow Maui, a funky Happy Valley hostel at 310 N. Market St., Wailuku, HI 96793 (www.mauihostel.com; tel. 800/846-7835 or 808/244-5090), with $25 dorm rooms and some private rooms ($59 single, $68 double). It provides many free amenities not often found in hostel-type accommodations, such as tours of Maui, high-speed Internet access, and a Jacuzzi out back. Dorm-style accommodations ($22) and private rooms ($50 single, $60 double) are also available in old Wailuku at the Northshore Hostel, 2080 West Vineyard St., Wailuku, HI 96793 (www.northshorehostel.com; tel. 866/946-7835 or tel./fax 808/986-8095). Note: Women traveling alone might not feel safe here after dark.Kaanapali
Starwood’s Maui properties (Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, Westin Maui Resort & Spa, or the Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas) provide complimentary shuttle service to Lahaina and back.
Honokowai, Kahana & Napili
Moderate—In addition to the choices reviewed, consider Polynesian Shores, 3975 Lower Honoapiilani Rd. (near Kahana and just 2 min. from the Kapalua-West Maui Airport), Lahaina, HI 96761 (www.polynesianshores.com; tel. 800/433-6284 or 808/669-6065; fax 808/669-0909). Every unit (one to three bedrooms, $125-$290) has floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass doors that open onto a private lanai with an ocean view. There's great snorkeling off the beach out front.
Inexpensive—Consider Hale Maui Apartment Hotel (www.halemaui.com; tel. 808/669-6312; fax 808/669-1302), a wonderful, tiny place run by Hans and Eva Zimmerman and daughter Marika, whose spirit is 100% aloha. The one-bedroom suites, which start at around $115 for a double, come with ceiling fans, private lanai, and complete kitchens (the kitchens were remodeled and new furniture added in 2008). There's no pool, but a private path leads to a great swimming beach.
Another option is Hoyochi Nikko, 3901 Lower Honoapiilani Rd. (in Honokowai), Lahaina, HI 96761 (tel. 800/487-6002, ext. 1, or 808/669-0089, ext. 1; fax 808/669-3937; www.mauilodging.com), which has 17 older (but well-maintained) one-bedroom units (and a few one bedrooms with a separate loft) sharing 180 feet of oceanfront ($130-$185 one-bedroom double). There's a surcharge for stays of less than 10 nights.
Expensive -- If you're interested in a luxurious condo or town house, consider Kapalua Villas (www.kapaluavillas.com; tel. 800/545-0018 or 808/669-8088). The palatial units dotting the oceanfront cliffs and fairways of this idyllic coast are a (relative) bargain, especially if you're traveling with a group. In 2009 the locally respected Outrigger chain of resorts took over the management of this property. The one-bedroom condos go for $209 to $329; two-bedrooms go for $279 to $415; three-bedrooms start at $599, plus a $25 daily recreation fee (which covers parking, unlimited local and national calls, high-speed Internet access, use of in-villa safe; delivery of newspaper Mon-Fri to the Gold villas, use of computer at Kapalua Resort Center, access to Ritz-Carlton pools and pool towels, access to Ritz-Carlton Spa, preferred guest rates at the Kapalua Golf Courses and tennis courts, and resort-wide charging privileges). Numerous package deals (which include golf, tennis, honeymoon amenities, and car) can save you even more money.
Two recommended booking agencies rent a host of condominiums and vacation homes throughout South Maui. Condominium Rentals Hawaii (www.crhmaui.com; 800/367-5242) offers affordable, quality properties in Kihei, Wailea, and Maalaea, plus a few in Lahaina. The online spreadsheet makes it easy to compare properties. Destination Residences Hawaii, 34 Wailea Gateway Place, #A102, Wailea (www.destinationhotels.com; 800/367-5246 or 808/495-4546), is the more upscale option, offering a wide selection of luxury rentals in Wailea and Makena. One-bedroom units start at $249 and include many extras: a hospitality desk to assist with activity planning, $160 in dining and spa credits, a discount grocery card, free Wi-Fi and parking, and, in some cases, a free rental car! Tip: The Polo Beach and Makena Surf units are a bit older, but nicer and closer to the beach.
Expensive—Consider the Aston at the Maui Banyan (www.astonhawaii.com; tel. 877/997-6667 or 808/924-2924), a condo property across the street from Kamaole Beach Park II. The large one- to three-bedroom units are very nicely done and feature full kitchens, air-conditioning, and washer/dryers. Rates start at $163 for hotel rooms ($140 if you book on the website), $193 for one-bedroom units ($164 on the website), and $242 for two-bedroom units ($207 on the website); be sure to ask about packages.
Moderate—The Kihei Beach Resorts, 36 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 (www.kiheibeachresort.com; tel. 800/367-6034 or 808/879-2744; fax 808/875-0306), has spacious condos right on the beach. The downside is the constant traffic noise from Kihei Road. Rates are $165 to $200 for a one-bedroom double, $270 to $295 for a two bedroom (sleeps 4); there's a 4- to 10-night minimum and a $10 charge per extra person.
Inexpensive—Check out Luana Kai Resort, 940 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei, HI 96753 (www.luanakai.com; tel. 800/669-1127 or 808/879-1268; fax 808/879-1455). This older condo complex has 113 units ($109-$179 one bedroom, $129-$229 two bedroom, $249-$299 three bedroom; 4- to 7-night minimum).
For a complete selection of condo units throughout Wailea and Makena, contact Destination Resorts (www.drhmaui.com; tel. 866/384-1366 or 808/891-6200; fax 808/874-3554). Its luxury units include studio doubles starting at $260, one-bedroom doubles from $250, two bedrooms from $350, and three bedrooms from $475. At most properties, those rates include free long-distance calls, high-speed Internet access, and parking; all properties are nonsmoking. Children under 12 stay free; minimum stays vary by property.
Golfers should note that all Wailea resorts enjoy special privileges at the Wailea Golf Club’s three 18-hole championship courses: Blue, Gold, and Emerald.
Makawao, Olinda & Haliimaile
Here you’ll be (relatively) close to Haleakala National Park; Makawao is approximately 90 minutes from the entrance to the park at the 7,000-foot level (from there it’s another 3,000 ft. and 45 min. to get to the top). Temperatures are 5° to 10° cooler than at the coast, and misty rain is common.
Inexpensive—If you'd like your own private cottage, consider Peace of Maui, 1290 Haliimaile Rd. (just outside Haliimaile town), Haliimaile, HI 96768 (www.peaceofmaui.com; tel. 888/475-5045 or 808/572-5045), which has a full kitchen, two bedrooms, a day bed, and a large deck. The cottage goes for $150 (plus a $75 cleaning fee), and children are welcome. The owners also have rooms in the main house (with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities) from $65 single and $75 double.
Lodgings in Kula are the closest options to the entrance of Haleakala National Park (about a 60-min. drive away).
Inexpensive—Consider Gildersleeve's Bed & Breakfast, formerly known as Elaine's Upcountry Guest Rooms (tel. 808/878-6623). The warm and welcoming hosts rent three rooms in their spacious pole house ($85 double; 3-night minimum).
Inexpensive—Hidden in a secluded jungle, powered by alternative energy (no utility poles!), the off-the-beaten-path Tea House Cottage (www.mauiteahouse.com; tel. 800/215-6130 or 808/572-5610) gives you the chance to get away from it all while staying connected. Your private cottage has two decks, a screened lanai, a bedroom, a small kitchen, and a unique bathhouse. Rates of $135 single (2-night minimum) and $150 double (2-night minimum) include taxes and complimentary breakfast the first morning. Owner Ann DeWeese is on the property and can provide any helpful tips you need during your vacation. Discounts available for 4 or more nights.
Inexpensive—Mrs. Nakamura has been renting her Aloha Cottages (tel. 808/248-8420) since the 1970s. Located in residential areas near Hana Bay, these five budget rentals are simply but adequately furnished, varying in size from a roomy studio with kitchenette to a three-bedroom, two-bathroom unit. They're all fully equipped, clean, and fairly well kept. Rates run from $75 to $105 double (rate includes taxes). Not all units have TVs, and none have phones, but Mrs. N is happy to take messages.