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Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

Ottawa, Ontario
Level Contributor
92 posts
27 reviews
Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

This will be our first trip to Maui and we have been looking for condo rentals in Kaanapali and Napili but it seems we have left it a little late to get a good selection. Our stay will be first two weeks in March 2015. Friends have stayed at Maalaea several times with no complaints. I have seen comments about high winds and odours from sugar refinery. We love walking the beach, and intend on exploring other parts of the island, so won't be at Maalaea all the time, just some time to relax. Any comments about amenities and location as a good place to stay would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks

20 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
48,794 posts
19 reviews
1. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

Personally, I would not stay in Maalaea.

Kapaa, Hawaii
Level Contributor
52,723 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

I wouldn't hesitate to stay in Maalaea. You can get an ocean view room for much less than almost anywhere else on Maui. Yes, the winds can be high but if you aren't a "stick around the resort" type of person, it would work. A lot of the buildings block the wind anyway.

There was a problem years ago with smell but that was coming from the Kealia Ponds, not the sugar plant. There was a fish die off and the county finally took care of it. Have you read anything about a smell recently? I used to live fairly close to there and never noticed a smell that could be related to the sugar plant.

There are sugar cane fields close. They burn them every 2 years. You could get some smoke and smell from that IF the fields are scheduled to be burned.

Nanaimo, Canada
Level Contributor
28,042 posts
109 reviews
3. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

With two weeks, have you considered splitting your stay? You may have better luck finding a condo that way as well. Stay one week in west Maui, and then another week in south Maui, or even Upcountry. You would still get a good rate with a week stay in most places.

There is so much to see Upcountry, that staying up there would give you more opportunities to see it better. The winery, the lavender farm, a goat dairy farm, and now Ocean Vodka too!

Don't forget to book some whale watch tours, and ask for a really good pair of binoculars for Christmas!

Vancouver, BC
Level Contributor
2,445 posts
10 reviews
4. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

Have you checked chasenrainbows yet? They have quite a few left. I'd stay in just about any of those over Maalaea.


Newmarket, Canada
Level Contributor
423 posts
55 reviews
5. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

We have spent 4 weeks Kaanapali and 6 weeks Maalaea. Yes it is windy in Maalaea but it did not bother us. We walked the beach at the end of the street many times and you can walk a long way. All the way to Ululanis for shaved ice, yummie. You get beautiful ocean front views and will be able to see the whales. We stayed at Maalaea Banyan which has a hot tub as well.

Newmarket, Canada
Level Contributor
423 posts
55 reviews
6. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

Sorry forgot to say there were no odours or cane burning while were there for our 6 weeks.

Milwaukie, Oregon
Level Contributor
4,315 posts
22 reviews
7. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

Maalaea is my favorite place to stay on Maui, and Kanai a Nalu is my favorite condo complex there.

As Fishdiva said, the condo rates for prime ocean view can't be beat. It is also a convenient location for day trips in many directions.

I will admit, however, that I did not like it the first time I stayed there. The Maui Ocean Center and Harbor Shops were still under construction and it seemed like a long drive to shops and restaurants. Skip ahead several years and I tried it again after prices soared at my preferred oceanfront condos in So. Kihei . Loved it the second time and now wouldn't stay any place else. I think one big difference was the place I stayed. On the first trip we were at Milowai, which had very little in the way of triopical ambiance and a pool that was shaded by the building most of the day. Much prefer the south end of Maalaea, which includes the previously recommended Maalaea Banyan. That end is also the start of 4 mile long Sugar Beach.

There is no denying that it is usually windy mid-day. We enjoy our on-site lounging in the AM and PM and take our jaunts iin-between. No odors in more than 10 visits over the last 6-7 years, in various months.

We did encounter the cane harvest one May. No burning, but dust for 2 days. The ground crew at Kanai a Nalu did a wonderful job of cleaning and minimizing the impact.

Just because it is right for me doesn't mean it will be right for you! Do you have similar tastes to your friends who stay there?

r r
Maui, Hawaii
Level Contributor
8,395 posts
185 reviews
8. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

Some people love wind and masalas a has the longest walk on the beach. They are all condos along there so you would get a kitche. You would most likely drive to any restaurants.

There should be very good selection of properties this far ahead.

Did you check for any car, condo and air packages with your airline?

9. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

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S.F. Bay Area
Level Contributor
3,008 posts
8 reviews
10. Re: Maalaea vs Ka'anapali and Napili, etc.

A blow dryer is to Ma'alaea, is as air conditioning is to an Eskimo's igloo.. :o

OTOH, if we all stayed same area, the island would be a bit tipsy, eh?!

; )

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