Because Maui is a world-class beach destination, most of the island's best places to stay are resorts with all the amenities. The best hotels also prioritize personalized service, to make sure your vacation is just the style you're dreaming of, whether your goal is deep relaxation or adrenaline-filled adventure—or a combination of both.
Here are top hotels on Maui:
In many ways the grande dame of Maui lodgings, the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua has maintained the high style that is the hallmark of the brand. At the same time, the hotel has remained relevant in the contemporary hospitality space with experiences for both kids and adults, cultural and educational opportunities, and the foregrounding of local culinary traditions. The Banyan Tree restaurant has a "garden-to-glass" cocktail menu featuring herbs grown on the property.
This is a classic Four Seasons property set in a classic beach location: Maui's upscale Wailea, on the South Shore. Perhaps the most elegant of all the resorts on the island's most sophisticated coast, the Four Seasons is also exceptionally child-friendly. Elite suites come with special wine concierge service (the property has more than 20 sommeliers). There's a separate adult "Serenity Pool" and three destination restaurants on site: Duo Steak and Seafood, Ferraro's Bar e Ristorante, and a branch of Wolfgang Puck's Spago.
Set at the south end of the resorts in Wailea is one of the most luxurious and family-friendly properties on the island, the dramatically designed Fairmont Kea Lani, whose Moorish architecture is both striking and at fully integrated into its setting. All rooms in the main hotel are generous suites, most with excellent ocean views. But if you can spring for an oceanfront villa, by all means, do. Kids love the waterslides here, and adults love the ample free beach chairs in the shade. Nick's Fishmarket Maui is one of the island's best spots for local seafood.
The Grand Wailea is aptly named. Grand in both size and style, this lavish Wailea property is a village unto itself, with a sculpture garden, a freestanding wedding chapel, and more than 800 rooms and suites (in addition to the opulent Ho-olei villas across the street). The 50,000-square-foot spa is the largest on the island, renowned for its high level of service and its Healing Waters of Maui hydrotherapy circuit. The pools are a child's paradise (think rope swing into the water). Humuhumu is one of the best restaurants on the entire island for local seafood.
The newest luxury resort to hit the beautiful town of Wailea, on Maui's South Shore, is the Andaz, a lush property on 15 beachfront acres, thoughtfully designed around aesthetically pleasing common spaces and rooms decorated in distinctly 21st-century minimalism, with maximal comfort. There's a destination restaurant on site, the truly chef-driven Ka’ana Kitchen, helmed by executive chef Isaac Bancacao, who was named 2014 Maui Chef of the Year. Almost all of the ingredients on his menu come from local farms.
For many years, the Ritz-Carlton was the only true luxury resort in Kapalua, but now that the Montage is here, the two properties bookend this lovely area with grace and style. The Montage is understated and spacious, with room types ranging from large one-room studios with views to three-bedroom units with full kitchens. Cane and Canoe is a true ocean- and a farm-to-table restaurant that does justice to the bounty of Hawaiian farming and fishing.
This upcountry bed and breakfast is one of those rare finds in hospitality, a place completely true to its place and its reason for being. Built in 1924 in Wailuku, the Maui county seat, by a wealthy local banker, it was named the Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono by Hōkūlani Holt, cultural expert and advisor. The property is the essence of 1920s Hawaiiana, and one of its themes is to honor Don Blanding, Hawaii's poet laureate of the era. Each of the 10 guest rooms is decorated after a flower in one of his poems, with a locally made quilt on the bed as a centerpiece and as functional art.
You don't need a reason to go to Hana, but if you did, the Travaasa would be a good one. A more experiential resort concept than the Hotel Hana Maui that preceded it, the Travaasa is all about the impossibly gorgeous, rugged setting where the surf crashes into the rocky cliffs, lulling you into calm. Hana is all about adventure, given the endlessly curvaceous three-hour drive it takes to get there, and the Travaasa is set up around five categories of experiences you can choose from: adventure, culinary, culture, fitness and wellness. The luau is one of the most culturally conscious on the island.
Set right on Ka‘anapali Beach and a short walk to Whaler's Village, this Westin does the upscale chain proud with excellent service, access to any beach activity you can imagine, and rooms are done up in cool, beachy colors with plush bedding. The newly redesigned Beach Tower accommodations are your best bet. And the entire property is very child-friendly.
The Sheraton Maui is set at Pu‘u Keka‘a on Ka‘anapali Beach, on 23 gorgeously landscaped acres. Each night at sunset, the resort offers its always-exciting cliff dive ceremony, a tradition since the resort was founded in 1963. The property has a 142-yard lagoon-style pool, a magnet for kids, and more than 80% of the 508 rooms and suites have views of the Pacific—and Lanai and Molokai in the distance. It's the oldest hotel on this beach, which is a good thing, considering its lower architectural profile that is unobtrusive in the landscape—it was constructed before the height limit for buildings was raised.
Article: Kim Westerman for Forbes.com