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November 18, 2009 1:35 PM   Subscribe

Where should we stay in Maui?

"We"are my wife and I (early 30s) and our son (will be 19 months).
We want to probably rent a condo somewhere on Maui in early February. We're looking for someplace clean and cheap (who isn't?), hopefully in a good location on the island. Looking for suggestions, ranging from the vague (general area in Maui) to the specific (name of a great condo complex).

We'd like to be close to a beach, ideally. We'll be renting a car. Also, any suggestions on must-do activities or things that are awesome for a small family with a toddler to do are appreciated.

Aloha? (Is that right?)
posted by joelhunt to Travel & Transportation around Maui, HI (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
We stayed on the western shore, north of Lahaina last year. While it is a pretty area with some nice beaches, lots of the things to do are a long drive away (~1hr) to the other half of the island. (Haleakala, Hana, Iao Valley, snorkeling Molokini Crater, etc). I really wished that we had a more central location after about the 4th time making the drive around the south end of West Maui.

I don't know a lot about the area, but maybe something near Wailea would give you a better base from which to head out on various day-trips.
posted by chrisamiller at 1:48 PM on November 18, 2009

Many years ago, the company I was working for put me up at the Kamaole Sands in Kihei. It was comfortable, clean, cheap and right across the road from the beach. I stayed there about a month, making daily trips to the top of Haleakala for our project. Years later (in '97), based on my previous experience with the place, my wife and I stayed there again as part of our honeymoon. There's lots of touristy things to do, but I especially got a kick driving the road to Hana.
posted by jaimev at 1:54 PM on November 18, 2009

We (husband and I, early 30s) recently came back from Maui. We stayed 3 nights in Lahaina and 3 in Hana. The 3 nights in Hana was probably a day too long, especially since the rainy season had just started and we were *poured* on for two nights in our rustic accommodations.

We stayed here while in Lahaina, which was really conveniently located (~1 mile walk to town) and QUIET. I enjoyed staying in Lahaina. We did a couple day trips from there.

We stayed here in Hana, which would have been better if it wasn't raining so much. The treehouses are VERY rustic (a step above camping).
posted by chiefthe at 2:09 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just got back from my honeymoon in Maui a month ago. We stayed in a condo in the Luana Kai complex; the condo was owned by Kumulani. I'd recommend both of those guys; the condo was very clean and nice (and had free internet and a washer/dryer), and the public areas of the complex were also clean and well-maintained (the pool was really nice). Only downside was that the beach in front of the complex wasn't really usable, but there are other beaches nearby. (Big Beach is only about 10-15 minutes away.)
posted by equalpants at 2:25 PM on November 18, 2009

I recommend Hale Hui Kai.

The beach there is incredibly beautiful and low-traffic. It's out of the way enough that you don't have big resort beach-goer traffic, but centrally located enough that you can get anywhere you want to go on the Island pretty quickly. Maui is small, you can drive everywhere (except Hana) in very little time.

If you plan on spending a lot of time on the beach, you can't really beat this one. We stayed in #211.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:40 PM on November 18, 2009

Best answer: Lahaina: crowded, lots of tourists.

Wailea: crowded, lots of rich tourists, looks like Orange County. (But the Grand Wailea is very nice, if you happen to be a rich tourist)

Kaanapali: crowded, lots of tourists, but a nicer beach (IMO) than Lahaina.

Kihei: Crowded, but more of a "normal" town than Lahaina or Wailea. Grocery stores and restaurants that won't gouge you too badly. Lots of condos, although I haven't stayed in one there in so long I can't recommend any specific place. Nice beach. There's an aquarium in between Kihei and Lahaina (closer to Kihei) that the kid might like.

Makawao: not (too) crowded, not near the beach, but a pretty little town. About a 30 minute drive to the north shore beaches, which I like more than the south shore anyhow. Then again, the north shore in the winter can be too dangerous even for grownups.

Napili: Not too crowded, on the beach. Even farther away than Lahaina from the rest of the island, though.

Kula: Beautiful, no crowds, upcounty (and so cold in the winter) nowhere near the beach but on the way (sorta) to Haleakala. Which is worth a visit, by the way.

Paia: A hidden gem. Not on the beach but near the north shore (see warning above).

Kahului: The "big city". You'll fly in here, and it's a nice enough place but you certainly don't want to stay here.
posted by lex mercatoria at 2:43 PM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Aloha and good luck with your vacation planning! I live on Oahu and can offer a few pointers:

Get yourself a copy of Maui Revealed, it's the best guide by leaps and bounds mostly because it's written by people who actually live there.

Since you'll have a rental car, you'll definitely want to do the Haleakala summit drive and the drive out to Hana. Keep in mind that it will likely be quite rainy especially in Hana during the month of February. Pa'ia is also a nice little town to visit. One thing with regards to driving: it will usually take you a lot longer to get places than you think due to traffic, speed limits, and traffic.

My gut feeling is that you will probably want to stay in South Maui in Kihei, Wailea, or Makena. That's really the "tourism hub" for the island and you'll be able to find what you're looking for accommodation-wise. If you can find something near any of the "three" Kamaole beaches you'll be a very happy visitor indeed.

Good luck!

P.S. Get the book! I can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 3:22 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

good advice here. one of the best things we did while in maui was upgrade our rental car to a convertible. SO worth it.
posted by gnutron at 3:24 PM on November 18, 2009

Stayed in Kihei at the "Maui Vista" a few times it was fine look for a place at the back away from the road. Conveniences like shopping or grabbing a few beers from the ABC make things easy and there is a beach across the road and nicer ones just a short drive away.
posted by jade east at 4:02 PM on November 18, 2009

We stayed here in Hana

Oh my god. I never thought I'd hear of someone else who stayed in those treehouses. "Rustic" does not do them justice. You don't stay there so much as survive there.
posted by Kafkaesque at 4:13 PM on November 18, 2009

We stayed at the Ekahi Condos with our toddler this past fall. (Between Wailea and Kihei). We were able to shop around and wrangle a bargain for a condo that was not only kid friendly but had a stash of pool and sand toys, snorkel gear and a pack and play and was a very short walk through the complex to the beach. With a toddler in tow we didn't leave the complex much - just twice or thrice daily beach trips, pool visits and a few walks down the shore. It's a family friendly place and we wound up with standing beach playdates for the whole week we were there. Our toddler is not a fan of long car trips so we didn't venture out much (but this wasn't our first trip to Maui either so we didn't feel the need to travel about much). Both the Hana Highway and Haleakala are major drives. Other than that - I'll second the Maui Revealed book.
posted by rosebengal at 4:15 PM on November 18, 2009

You should definitely get the book that lazywhinerkid is recommending, and look in there for lodging suggestions.
posted by muscat at 4:28 PM on November 18, 2009

Copied from the last time I answered this:

"Hawaii honeymooner here. We stayed at the Kamaole Beach Royale in Kihei, which was simple, pleasant, and not overly expensive -- it's just apartments, thought, not a luxe resort, if that's what you're looking for. We went up to Haleakala in the daytime and it was magnificent -- don't feel you have to do the sunrise bike trip to make it worthwhile. We also had a good time taking surfing lessons at Goofy Foot Surf School." And yeah, Maui Revealed.
posted by escabeche at 5:28 PM on November 18, 2009

Best answer: Long time and current Maui resident here. Kamaole Sands was a good recommendation. Best weather of all the locations suggested in the thread and best for the youngster. SHADED playground and world class family beach 100 yards across the road . You are also 5 minutes walk from tons of amenities, grocery, health food store, pizza and other beaches as well as the world class resorts in this area. The beaches along this stretch are connected with walking paths and you can walk a few miles in each direction discovering one breathtaking beach after another. My daughter grew up from birth to now along this area and you will be pleased. Hana and even Kaanapali and especially Napili and Kapalua are rainer in February. Mefi mail me for restaurant, activity and sightseeing suggestions. I'll steer you clear of the traps (and there are many). Two resorts down from "Kam" Sands (what the locals call that resort) is Maui Kamaole a mixed use local and visitor complex. High end luxury low rise condos with GREAT pools for kids. Newer and very beautiful. I lived in this condo resort community for three years. Absolutely what you are looking for if you can afford the slightly higher prices compared to Kamaole Sands. Ask for unit A101 if it is available its where I lived and is the nicest unit in the complex. It is a huge one bedroom assuming your toddler can sleep in the same room or in a set up in the living room (as my daughter did for the first three years of her life). The two bedroom units are upstairs in this complex; the one bedrooms downstairs.
posted by Muirwylde at 5:55 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh and btw the book Maui Revealed is HATED by local residents and the host culture. It was written by a non-resident with no regard for the local environment or even a modicum of cultural sensitivity for areas continually inhabitated and kept in balance by the host culture for 800 generations. It is exploitive and was written purely for his own monetary gain. He has systematically ruined sensitive island areas by revealing local, delicate and pristine island treasures that could not survive the influx of hundreds sometimes thousands of visitors. He has single handledly caused the closing of, fencing in and walling off of some Mauis most sensitive eco-systems and natural wonders. He is revilled by residents who upon the publishing of his guide saw single car tracks lined with twenty or thirty parked rental cars at a time in areas that are capable of barely accomodating that amount of traffic in a day. You may be harrassed or have your car vandalized if you carry this book in plain view in rural areas of Maui. Book not recommended.
posted by Muirwylde at 6:17 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here's an article from the Honolulu Advertiser that touches on the "Maui Revealed" controversy. I'll keep my nose out of it because Muirwylde seems to have a pretty strong opinion, but I stand by my recommendation.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 6:46 PM on November 18, 2009

My input as a Maui resident.

Feb. is indeed raining, especially in certain areas such as Napili and Kapalua. If you stay in Lahaina or Kihei however, you should be good. Lahaina has baby beach, which is perfect for introducing the baby to ocean with no real waves.

I suggest just driving around, going up Haleakala, or going to Iao Valley. Just do things that are easy for little one to handle but you still can get out and enjoy the scenery without having to have a stroller.

In summary, what Muirwylde said.
posted by dealing away at 10:07 PM on November 18, 2009

Hands down the Huelo Point Flower Farm!!!! It's far from everything (right near mile marker 1 of the Road to Hana) but it's a 1/2 hour drive tops (minimal traffic) from all other things. It's beautiful, private, etc. Just note that they don't accept kids on the property.
posted by stormpooper at 6:11 AM on November 19, 2009

Dittoing Muirwylde, based on a one week stay I had a few years ago with a friend who lives in Kihei. I thought Kihei seemed like a great location, not as tourist crowded as Lahaina and Kaanapali. It's a good location for getting to any of the other places on the island.

And my resident friend also told me about how locals and natives despise that Maui Revealed book. He said it recommends things like ignoring "private property" signs in order to hike to certain remote locations, which has led to stupid tourists traipsing through private areas willy-nilly, and tossing their garbage all over locations considered sacred by native Hawaiians; a situation akin to tossing your empty potato chip bags on the floor of Notre Dame.
posted by dnash at 8:41 AM on November 19, 2009

My wife and I stayed at the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Villas. The place was pretty sweet. Our suite had a kitchen, laundry, whirpool tub. It is like a little city really. There are little stores on premises where you can buy ready made meals, snacks, magazines, etc. Great pool, gym, and of course right on the ocean. I really enjoyed it. We could stay in the compound if we felt like chilling, or rent a car and go exploring.

If you can swing it, get yourselves to Kauai.
posted by jasondigitized at 2:29 PM on November 19, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the responses, MeFites! I appreciate all the guidance and tips. We will likely check out the controversial Maui Revealed, but I don't think we'll be interested in anything involving trespassing, defiling, or mortal danger. (So hopefully those activities are clearly marked with a skull-n-crossbones or something)
posted by joelhunt at 6:14 AM on November 20, 2009

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