With winter just around the corner, there’s no better time to start planning your trip to Hawaii!
Over the years, we’ve swapped the cold for Maui a dozen or so times.
It may seem like a travel cliché, but if you’re looking for golden sand beaches fringed by swaying palm trees, brilliant blue waters and unforgettable sunsets, Maui delivers all that in spades!
Now, let’s get practical.
Maui is quite a sizeable island. It’s the second largest Hawaiian island, in fact – just over 727 square miles in size.
And there are several areas to stay on Maui. Each is quite different in terms of the activities on offer and the type of accommodations available.
For many, a favorite area is the buzzing town of Lahaina in West Maui.
It seamlessly mixes history and Hawaiian culture with nightlife, dining, shopping, beaches and watersports. On top of that, Lahaina has some of the most affordable accommodations on the island – so you can stretch your tourist dollars further during your vacation.
As for exactly where to stay in Lahaina, keep reading!
Is Lahaina a good place to stay on Maui?
Short answer, yes.
If you’re looking for good value and easy access to tours and some of the island’s best restaurants, Lahaina is a very convenient place to stay in Maui.
It has an old Hawaii vibe too.
That’s thanks in part to being a former whaling village and also the royal capital of the Hawaiian kingdom in the 19th century. Indeed, Lahaina is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
You can get a sense of its rich historical past on a self-guided walking tour along the Lahaina Historic Trail.
More than 60 historic sites are signed with bronze plaques outside explaining their history.
They include the old Lahaina Prison (Hale Pa’ahao), the two-story Baldwin Home (where missionaries lived), the Old Lahaina Courthouse, the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital and a gigantic old banyan tree.
That banyan tree, by the way, is pretty amazing.
Here’s some cool Hawaii trivia about it: It was imported from India and planted in 1873 in front of the courthouse, making it the oldest banyan tree in the United States.
Reaching up more than 60 feet high, it has 16 trunks, and its roots and branches sprawl out over a whole city block.
You can get some great Insta shots in front of it!
The Lahaina Harbor is also very picturesque.
It’s the main departure hub in West Maui for whale watching tours (humpback whales migrate to Maui in winter to mate and give birth), sunset cruises and other boat tours.
There’s even a white 48-passenger submarine, the Atlantis Submarine, that comes and goes from here. (Yes, it’s a real submarine that takes you down 100 feet under the water’s surface!)
For a culinary adventure, we highly recommend Front Street, Lahaina’s main street.
And if the thought of fresh seared scallops with parmesan risotto and truffle pesto makes you drool (and it should!), Mala Ocean Tavern is the place to hit. It’s our favorite spot for waterfront dining in Lahaina.
Shops? Yes, Lahaina has plenty of those – you won’t have any trouble finding an Aloha shirt or other Hawaiian souvenirs. Art galleries also abound.
Lahaina is about a 40-minute drive from Maui’s main airport, Kahului Airport.
In a nutshell: Quaint and compact, Lahaina is one of the best places to stay in Maui if you don’t want to rent a car.
There are lots of fun things to do in Lahaina. It’s easy to explore on foot, and everything you need is at your doorstep.
It’s also where you can save a little money on your lodgings in Maui. Lahaina accommodations are much less expensive than, say, the deluxe hotels and condos in the Wailea area.
Where to stay in Lahaina, Maui: Top picks
Okay, here are our top picks for vacation rentals and hotels in Lahaina town.
Note that some hotels that you might think are in Lahaina – like the Royal Lahaina Resort – are actually in the Ka’anapali area (which is about a 10-minute drive away from Lahaina).
You’ll want to read our post on the 10 best resorts and condos in Ka’anapali for hotels near Lahaina.
1) Plantation Inn
One of the most romantic hotels in Maui, the 18-room Plantation Inn is an adorable bed-and-breakfast.
It’s a short 5-minute walk from downtown Lahaina, yet a world away. It’s a peaceful quiet oasis in the vibrant town.
The hibiscus-print decor and Hawaiian artwork evoke a classic old-school Hawaii feel that adds to its charm.
Each room is different.
We recommend the Luna Suite on the second floor. It has a king-size bed, mini-fridge, doors inset with stained glass windows and a lanai overlooking Lahaina town.
Some of the hotel rooms have only queen-size beds.
Most rooms have balconies or lanais, however. It’s very pleasant to sit out on your balcony or lanai and sip your morning coffee or evening glass of wine.
A generous hot breakfast on the hotel’s front porch is included in your stay – perhaps bagels with salmon or fresh Hawaiian fruit, French toast and bacon.
As well, the Plantation Inn has a small outdoor pool and hot tub.
The only downside is that it’s not on a beach.
But it’s not really a downside, because you’re welcome to spend the day at their sister property, the Kaanapali Beach Hotel.
About four miles away, it’s on one of Maui’s most beautiful beaches (Ka’anapali Beach, aka Kaanapali Beach). And you can use the beach, swimming pool and towel service there.
Rates are affordable, offering great value for money. On top of this, you get free Wi-Fi and free parking too.
In our view, there’s no question. The Plantation Inn is the best place to stay in Lahaina for couples seeking romantic and charming digs.
Plantation Inn: Check rates and availability
2) Lahaina Shores Beach Resort
Located on Front Street, Lahaina Shores Beach Resort’s condo-style Maui accommodations are ideal if you want a fully-equipped kitchen, while being within walking distance to downtown Lahaina.
This landmark property is managed by Hyatt as a “Destination by Hyatt Residence.”
All 199 rooms are clean, comfortable and well-maintained. And there’s a great beach right out front, where you can swim and float in the water.
Bear in mind that although it’s Hyatt-branded, Lahaina Shores is rated a 3-star hotel, not a luxury hotel.
So you shouldn’t expect the same standard of luxury that you get at higher-rated resorts in the Wailea area in South Maui or in Ka’anapali north of Lahaina. But of course, it’s more affordable.
You can choose a studio, one-bedroom condo or a one-bedroom penthouse condo here.
Some of these units have views of the West Maui Mountains.
Stay in an oceanfront room, and you can enjoy a lovely ocean view and listen to the sound of the waves from your balcony.
Amenities are minimal. There’s a small pool and outdoor hot tub, but there’s no restaurant or bar on the property. But with grocery stores and popular restaurants so close by, you won’t miss them.
And if you like the idea of barbecuing fresh fish while taking in the sunset, there are two poolside BBQ grills you may use.
When it comes to hotels in Lahaina on the beach, this Maui condo hotel is a great option for an unpretentious relaxing vacation.
The kitchens make it easy for a family vacation. And if you have an oceanfront unit, you’ll love watching all the surfers, kayakers and boats on the water from your balcony.
Lahaina Shores Beach Resort: Check rates and availability
3) Makai Sunset Inn
The Makai Sunset Inn is another one of the best Lahaina hotels on the beach.
You can almost roll out of bed and into the water out front!
Mind you, its beach is rocky (with a high sea wall between the beach and hotel).
For splashing about in shallow water, you’ll prefer Baby Beach, which is a hop, skip and jump away.
Sea turtles hang out in the waters fronting the hotel, though, and they’re always a joy to watch as they bob up and down in the gentle waves.
You can also take out the hotel’s beach towels, borrow free boogie boards and coolers and head to Ka’anapali Beach, a 10-minute drive away, for a true beach day at one of Maui’s best beaches.
The hotel itself is an adults-only property with 18 comfortable guest rooms and suites.
Each is outfitted with a full kitchen (with a stove, oven, fridge and microwave) plus a private oceanview balcony (or lanai). You’ll feel right at home in paradise here.
The suites have air conditioning. But in the cooler winter months, one of the pleasures of staying here is that you can leave the windows open and drift off to sleep to the sound of waves lapping the sea wall.
There’s no pool, but chairs on the oceanfront lawn are perfectly positioned for taking in Maui’s fiery sunsets.
The property is generally quiet and there are no TVs in any of the suites. But if you’re a light sleeper, you may hear your neighbors, as the walls are quite thin.
As for the hotel’s location, the Makai Sunset Inn is found on the north end of Lahaina town, about a 25-minute walk to the wharf and downtown area.
4) Best Western Pioneer Inn
One of the most conveniently located downtown Lahaina hotels, the Best Western Pioneer Inn is found on the harbor in the heart of Lahaina town.
It’s just a short walk from all the shops, restaurants, museums and galleries. Across the road is Banyan Tree Park, home to the famous 150-year-old banyan tree.
Built in 1901, the hotel building is a registered historic landmark dating back to the plantation period. Its bright white façade and red roof are an attractive contrast to the palm trees growing around it.
It has 34 eco-friendly hotel rooms offering a range of accommodations.
Each of the king- and queen-bedded suites is non-smoking and outfitted with A/C, so you’ll be cool and comfortable. They come with spacious lanais with rocking chairs – sure to become your new favorite perch in Maui for sipping your morning coffee while people watching.
Feel free to take out the hotel’s beach chairs and towels when you want to hit the beach. Baby Beach is close by.
At night, pop down to the Whalers Saloon, where you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail while watching the sunset over the harbor.
One drawback: The two-story building does not have an elevator to access the rooms, which are all on the second floor. This can be a challenge if you have heavy luggage or don’t like climbing stairs.
Best Western Pioneer Inn: Check rates and availability
Puamana is a gated low-rise resort community just south of Lahaina.
Hugging a narrow stretch of beachfront, this property has 230 condos and townhomes spread across 30 acres of lushly landscaped grounds.
They range in size from one- to four-bedroom units, and all are less than 50 feet from the shore. Some are freshly renovated, with gleaming hardwood floors, new kitchens with granite countertops and lofts with skylights.
You’ll find three pools where you can sit back and relax or swim a few laps. Other amenities available include a clubhouse, tennis court and a themed children’s playground.
One of the things we particularly like about Puamana is how secluded it feels. Yet it’s just one mile from the harbor and all the action in Lahaina.
As these Lahaina vacation rentals are privately owned, you can book various ways.
Many can be booked directly through Vacation Rentals by Owner (Vrbo), which is similar to Airbnb. Another option is to book through Vacation Maui, which is a vacation rental management company.
Puamana (on Vrbo): Find specific condos and townhomes here
Puamana (on Vacation Maui): See available units
Now you know the best Lahaina hotels and resorts!
Lahaina’s hotels and vacation homes come in many different flavors.
Whether you’re looking for a spacious and private townhouse, a beachside suite hotel or a centrally located boutique inn, you’ll find it in Lahaina.
It’s the best part of Maui to stay for affordability, lively nightlife, easy access to tours and great restaurants and shops.
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