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Maui Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Fairmont Kea Lani
4100 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
96753
Tel: 800 659 4100 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 875 4100
info@kealani.com
www.fairmont.com/kealani

Celebrities may still flock to the more lavish Four Seasons next door, but there are many compelling reasons to choose this gorgeous Fairmont hotel over its competitor. For one, it feels friendlier and less pretentious, and what's more, there are no bad rooms here, since all of the 413 feng shui–styled guest quarters are full suites, many with balconies and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. If you want to splurge, the 37 two- and three-bedroom oceanfront villas (upward of $3,200 a night in high season, including rental car) feel like private beach houses. Your villa's stark white Mediterranean-style architecture may seem out of place at first, but you'll have no complaints about the private courtyard plunge pool, full kitchen and outdoor grill, or palm-shaded location steps from the sand. The Kō restaurant, which serves a menu culled from the culinary traditions of Hawaii's plantation workers, has significantly upgraded the Kealani's dining options. And like good plastic surgery, a light renovation in 2008 of the poolside furniture, spa, and restaurants has given the resort a lovely fresh face.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
3900 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
96753
Tel: 800 334 6284 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 874 8000
res.maui@fourseasons.com
www.fourseasons.com/maui

The Four Seasons Maui is like a vacation home for the celebrity A-list crowd, which explains why the paparazzi are permanently camped out on the beach. The 370 rooms and suites combine the best of Four Seasons's traditions—European luxury bedding and spacious marble baths—with energizing textiles in the reds, blues, and greens of the Hawaiian landscape, creating a harmony between the stunning beach views and the inner sanctum (now with HDTV and wireless). The new infinity-edged adult pool has mellowed the cutthroat jockeying for first-come, first-served cabanas at the main pool. Both pools offer mini spa treatments that take place in your lounger; free snacks, such as frozen fruit spears, are served on the hour. Spago, with its colorful wallpaper murals of giant sea anemones, is fun for cocktails, but there's also the newer Duo restaurant, which serves juicy aged steaks and fresh local seafood. And while the spa is less renowned than the one at the Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea, it's still the best in Wailea for the quality and diversity of its treatments (such as the sexy "Couples Water Journey" that includes rejuvenating male and female elixirs). Overall, it's utterly charming to see a hotel that, while it really doesn't have to try that hard (it rarely has unoccupied rooms), still feels the need to thrill and surprise its guests.—Cathay Che

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Hotel Hana-Maui and Honua Spa
5031 Hana Highway
Hana , Hawaii
96713
Tel: 800 321 4262 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 248 8211
reservations@hotelhanamaui.com
www.hotelhanamaui.com

Hana's lush beauty has been protected from overdevelopment by the daunting two-hour drive in or out on the twisty Hana Highway, and aficionados swear it's the last authentic place on Maui. This sprawling luxury ranch takes full advantage of the unspoiled setting: The eight one- and two-bedroom oceanfront Sea Ranch Cottages sit out where the land suddenly drops into the sea. The wooden houses have high, beamed ceilings, an enclosed garden off the modern bathroom, and interiors done up in vintage Hawaiian designs. There are amenities for guests at nearby Hamoa Beach, a pool that overlooks the ocean, and a state-of-the-art spa with open-air treatment rooms. An additional four Maui Bay Cottages sit closer to the main building, with views over Hana Bay or the garden, and for complete privacy, the turn-of-the-century Plantation House has two bedrooms and is a 10-minute walk from the hotel's main building (there's a shuttle service too). Attention, honeymooners: September is an adult-only month.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Inn at Mama's Fish House
799 Poho Place
Paia , Hawaii
96779
Tel: 800 860 4852 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 579 9764
inn@mamasfishhouse.com
www.mamasfishhouse.com

Everyone has heard about Mama's Fish House restaurant in funky Paia. So it was just a matter of time before the ten idyllic cottages nestled in a coconut grove in Kuau Cove, a small stretch of north shore beach, also became too popular for their own good. Luckily, three new junior suites were added in June 2009 for couples. Families and multiples should book one of the four two-bedroom units, which each have a full kitchen, for $475 per night—a much cheaper option than staying on Maui's west coast. If you can reserve one, that is. (Book as far in advance as possible; Mama's has been referring guests to the nearby Paia Inn because its own accommodations are always sold-out.) Staying here means that you can get room service from Mama's restaurant and are a stone's throw away from adorable Paia town. But the best perk is that there's not a resort in sight—just unobstructed views of the most magnificent windsurfing and surfing waves on Maui.—Cathay Che

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Kapalua Gold Villas
800 Kapalua Drive
Kapalua , Hawaii
96761
Tel: 888 227 6054 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 665 5400
reservations@kapaluavillas.com
www.kapalua.com/accommodations/villas/gold_villas.php

Guests at the Gold Villas at Kapalua have access to the same Kapalua community amenities as those staying at the nearby Ritz-Carlton: famous golf courses (where the Mercedes-Benz Championships are held each year over the winter holidays), DT Fleming Beach, the Waihua Spa, Merriman's restaurant, and the Mountain Outpost Adventure Center. Some people might even prefer this to the Ritz-Carlton, since the Gold Villas are multiple-bedroom units with full kitchens, washer/dryer facilities, and a parking garage—plus, they cost less. The Gold Villas are individually owned, but have a high standard of interior design, and include flat-screen TVs, Sub-Zero fridges, granite countertops, sunken spa tubs, and fine bedding. Outdoor balconies with a dining table, grill, and lounge chairs are perfect for friends or families traveling together. The Gold Oceanview Villas have stunning cliff views; book a Gold Golf Villa to stay right off the green.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Napili Kai Beach Resort
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Road
Lahaina , Hawaii
96761
Tel: 800 367 5030 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 669 6271
stay@napilikai.com
www.napilikai.com

Napili Kai's quarter-mile white-sand crescent is arguably the prettiest beach on the island, but some might be put off by the resort's well-preserved '70s plantation-style decor, with lots of rattan, in all 163 rooms. Practical amenities such as a laundry facility (with free detergent) and bath products made from local coconut, ginger, and papaya are a nice touch for the core clients (many of whom are quite wealthy but interested in value) who return year after year with children and grandchildren. Most of the employees have worked here for more than 20 years, which adds to the sense of deep-rooted comfort. The restaurant menu includes fresh, healthy fare, but everybody's favorite is a stack of melt-in-your-mouth macadamia nut–and-banana pancakes with coconut syrup. The Masters of Slack Key concerts also take place here weekly.

$199 or less
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Paia Inn
93 Hana Highway
Paia , Hawaii
96779
Tel: 800 721 4000 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 579 6000
info@paiainn.com
www.paiainn.com

The modern incarnation of the Paia Inn opened in 2008 in the cutest former plantation town in all of Hawaii. It's a welcome addition to Maui's hip north shore—home to Owen Wilson and Laird Hamilton—where there were previously few hotels. Owner and architect Michael Baskin designed the five rooms with Asian-inspired teak furniture, European bedding, perhaps a few too many colorful paintings by local artists, and the usual tech perks (flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi). Scones from Anthony's—the surfer mainstay located across the street—accompany coffee in the lounge each morning, and the restaurant's low-key menu of sandwiches and smoothies is available for room service. The little stretch of beach right in front of popular surf break Tavares and Paia's many shops, cafés, and restaurants are a two-minute walk away. (You can park the car and not move it until you leave.) Reasonable rates (starting at $169 per night), and a location that dials you into local life, make it easy to overlook the only potential downside—the intimacy of this historic two-story building means that sounds from other guests can occasionally intrude. On the upside, it's also easy to make friends with fellow travelers.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Pure Maui
Hawaii
Tel: 866 787 6284 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 875 8833
info@puremaui.com
www.puremaui.com

Pure Maui dials you into your destination by prescreening rental villas and your needs and desires, lining up a staff to match. The agency's 25-plus standout properties include the to-die-for '70s party house on a marine preserve, Ahihi Bay Hideaway, and the Kanaha Beach estate in the millionaires' enclave of Spreckelsville. Pure Maui can arrange chefs, massage therapists, mountain biking or hiking tour guides, fishing or dive boat captains, surf instructors, yoga or hula masters—even a life coach (or would that be a vacation coach?). If ordering up your holiday à la carte is too overwhelming, tweak one of the company's fitness, family-friendly, or romantic packages to suit your wants and needs. Once you arrive, the staff acts as your personal concierge and can make changes to your itinerary, in case you'd rather sleep in than take that four-hour waterfall hike. And if there's something you want to try that's not on the list of services (stand-up paddling, perhaps?), Pure Maui will do its best to make it happen. Celebrities love this outfit for its discretion—especially now that paparazzi hide in the bushes in Maui too—but it's also dedicated to taking you off the beaten track. (And the staffers are as ridiculously good-looking as they are qualified.)

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua
1 Ritz-Carlton Drive
Kapalua , Hawaii
96761
Tel: 800 241 3333 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 669 6200
www.ritzcarlton.com/en/properties/kapaluamaui

This 570-room resort reopened in December 2007 after a much-needed Hawaiian make-under. The $180 million renovation added a spa, refreshed the public spaces, and replaced the dated and out-of-place preppy guest-room decor with contemporary furnishings in simple dark wood, muted tropical prints, and some wacky lamps. The Banyan Tree restaurant has also been spruced up, and its menu of Pacific Rim dishes with a molecular-gastronomy twist puts it in the running for the title of Maui's top restaurant. The Ritz-Carlton's location in remote Kapalua—the community beyond Lahaina, Kaanapali, and Napili—is both the worst and best thing about it. (Kapalua is a 45-minute drive from the Kahului Airport, but a mere five minutes from the West Maui Airport, which serves inter-island flights only.) To occupy those who don't want to just lie on the beach, there are two 18-hole golf courses, a historic pineapple plantation, a 10,000-square-foot three-tiered pool (with a 20,000-square-foot sundeck), six tennis courts, and an adventure center with a two-mile-long series of zip lines. Lahaina and Kaanapali are close by, as is the famous surf break of Honolua Bay—not really a swimming spot, but if the surfers are out, it's a prime location for spectators.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Royal Lahaina Resort
2780 Kekaa Drive
Kaanapali , Hawaii
96761
Tel: 800 222 5642 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 661 3611
hhr@hawaiihotels.com
www.royallahainaresort.net

The Royal Lahaina was one of the first hotels to open on Maui in the 1960s, and it occupies a still-isolated two-mile stretch of world-famous Kaanapali Beach (a three-minute walk north of Black Rock). Until a multimillion-dollar renovation in 2007, the look here was in line with the hotel's kitschy-cute Trader Vic's bar. Now, the 328 rooms in the hotel's 12-story Lahaina Kai tower sport mod minimalist decor in dark wood, crisp white, and orange. Seventy-five percent of them also have unobstructed honeymoon-worthy ocean views, which are best enjoyed from your small balcony. The 114 family-friendly cottages, public spaces, and restaurants (try the Kahlú'a pork quesadillas and ahi tacos) are still charmingly stuck in the Brady Bunch era, although more renovations are planned for 2010. What hasn't changed is the friendly service (much of the staff has been here for 30 years), and nostalgic types can book the property's villa (really just a humble three-bedroom house) to fantasize about the Lahaina of 50 years ago, when you could still build like this, with a lawn that ends right on the beach. The Royal Lahaina isn't the slickest choice in the Kaanapali area, but given the resort's small scale, relative seclusion, and rates starting under $250, it may be the smartest.—Cathay Che

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Travaasa Hotel Hana
5031 Hana Highway
Hana , Hawaii
96713
Tel: 800 321 4262 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 248 8211
reservations@hotelhanamaui.com
www.travaasa.com/hana

The most Hawaiian town on Maui (both in terms of population of Native Hawaiians and a rural way of life that modern Hawaii abandoned 50 years ago), Hana has been protected from overdevelopment by the daunting two-hour drive on the twisty Hana Highway, and in-the-know travelers swear it's the last authentic place on Maui. This sprawling luxury ranch with an eco-adventurer vibe takes full advantage of the unspoiled setting: The eight one- and two-bedroom Sea Ranch cottages sit out on a seaside bluff where the land suddenly drops into the sea. The pine tree green-color wooden houses have interiors done up in vintage Hawaiian designs, high-beamed ceilings, and enclosed gardens off the modern bathrooms. To sweeten the deal, the Travaasa also offers a smart all-inclusive package that covers three meals plus one activity (i.e., spa treatment or horseback riding) per person daily. What's the catch? There really is none, except that Hana is as quiet as a church mouse at night (so be sure to bring your own entertainment) and there's no beach access from the hotel, although there is a shuttle to the Beach Club at nearby Hamoa Beach. During the day, guests hike or drive to see local attractions like the Seven Sacred Pools or Lindburgh's Grave, or read on their private balcony, swim in the pool that overlooks the ocean, or get rubbed down in a state-of-the-art spa with open-air treatment rooms and an outdoor lava-rock whirlpool. Families are discouraged from staying on the Sea Ranch side of the resort (in part for safety reasons), although four Maui Bay Cottages ideal for people with children sit closer to the main building with views over Hana Bay. For complete privacy, the turn-of-the-century Plantation House has two bedrooms and is a 10-minute walk from the hotel's main building (there's a shuttle service, too).—Cathay Che

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
3700 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
96753
Tel: 888 236 2427 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 879 1922
waileamarriottreservations@marriott.com
www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/hnmmc-wailea-beach-marriott-resort-and-spa

Located on the same stretch of sugar-sand Wailea beachfront as the Four Seasons and the Grand Wailea, the Marriott may be the best deal on the island. Thanks to a multimillion-dollar renovation completed in 2006, gone are the stale, dated interiors that practically screamed budget. The extensive face-lift has delivered an almost all-new resort, with sophisticated island decor in beige and brown tones, structural changes to improve the lobby, a new restaurant—the second location of Lahaina's popular foodie hangout, Mala Wailea—and a spa and fitness center. It still doesn't have the cachet of its five-star neighbors, but the Marriott is a poor relation no longer. If the view is a priority, spring for an oceanfront room—spending the same amount next door will only get you windows onto the Four Seasons's gardens.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Waldorf Astoria Grand Wailea Resort & Spa
3850 Wailea Alanui Drive
Wailea , Hawaii
Tel: 800 888 6100 (toll-free)
Tel: 808 875 1234
www.grandwailea.com

This Wailea resort lives up to its "Grand" name with 40 acres of beachfront property, eight bars and restaurants, a 50,000-square-foot spa (the largest in Hawaii), and a priceless art collection that includes large bronzes by Fernando Botero and sculptures by Fernand Leger. Ask any kid on Maui where the best pool on the island is and the hands-down winner is also here—the Wailea Canyon Activity Pool, a mini water park that's actually nine pools with slides and an interconnecting river that carries swimmers along at varying speeds. Adults have plenty of options, too, such as exclusive use of the Hibiscus adult pool and access to five neighboring golf courses. The predominantly peach-colored room decor of floral prints and white-painted wood furniture errs a bit on the side of grandmotherly, but the 787 rooms are spacious (640 square feet) and have enormous soaking tubs, lots of closet space, and private balconies—be sure to ask for an ocean-view room for the stunning sunsets over Wailea Beach.—Cathay Che

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.