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Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands (after Hawaii Island, a.k.a. The Big Island), and it offers many diverse microclimates, from rain forest to desert, with mountains (literally) in between. No matter what style of vacation you have in mind—world-class luxury or casually family-friendly—these resorts are the very best on the island.
Best Resorts in Wailea
Andaz Maui At Wailea Resort
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. More than 80% of the ingredients on his menu come from local farms.
Fairmont Kea Lani Maui
Set along 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 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. Children love the waterslides here, and adults adore the wide selection of beach chairs in the shade.
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea
This is a classic Four Seasons property, set in a classic beach location: Maui’s upscale Wailea. 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 a 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.
Grand Wailea Maui
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. (There are also the opulent Ho-olei villas across the street). The 50,000-square-foot spa is the largest on the island, renowned for its Healing Waters of Maui hydrotherapy circuit. And Humuhumu is one of the best restaurants on the entire island for local seafood.
Best Resorts in Ka‘anapali
Royal Lahaina Resort
This old-school resort hits all the right notes and is one of the more affordable and family-friendly on the whole island. Set on a quiet stretch of Ka‘anapali Beach beyond Pu’u Keka’a (Black Rock), The Royal Lahaina is utterly unpretentious—the best rooms are in the tower or, if you want to splurge, opt for a Junior Beach Cottage or the Royal Beach house. This spot still has a welcoming clubby feel from its days as a members-only golf course.
Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa
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 an always-exciting cliff dive ceremony, a tradition since the founding of the resort in 1963. The property has a 142-yard lagoon-style pool, and more than 80% of the 508 rooms and suites have views of the Pacific.
Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Set on Ka‘anapali Beach, just 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 designed in cool, beachy colors with plush bedding. The newly redesigned Beach Tower accommodations are your best bet and the property is very kid-friendly.
Best Resorts in Kapalua
Montage Kapalua Bay
For many years, the Ritz-Carlton was the only true luxury resort in Kapalua, but now the Montage is here. Understated and spacious, rooms at the Montage range from large one-room studios with views to three-bedroom units with full kitchens. Cane and Canoe is a true ocean- and farm-to-table restaurant that does justice to the bounty of Hawaiian farming and fishing.
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, while remaining relevant in the contemporary hospitality space. Case in point: The Banyan Tree restaurant has a “garden-to-glass” cocktail menu featuring herbs grown on the property.
Best Resort in Hana
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 from which you can choose: adventure, culinary, culture, fitness and wellness. The luau is one of the most culturally conscious on the island. Even if this weren’t the only resort on Hana, it would still be the best.