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Is Maui now too expensive for what it is?

Is Maui now too expensive for what it is?

Old Sep 16, 18, 2:33 pm
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Is Maui now too expensive for what it is?

I think I've flown to Hawaii at least 20 times in my life. I'm fond of the islands, and try to visit at least every other year (often annually). Over time, my "favorite" Hawaiian destinations have changed. For the last decade or so, I've been a regular in Kapoho on the Big Island where I could rent an awesome old-Hawaiian style villa with a private thermal-heated lagoon for about $1000/week. That property, as well as much of the surrounding area, is now under lava, so I need to head elsewhere.

On a recent sale, I bought tickets for January to Maui, an island I've been to several times, but have mostly ignored for the past decade. In my lifetime, I've seen Ka'anapali get crowded. I've never been a huge fan of Wailea; I like the area around Hana, but lodging options are very limited.

As I begin planning my Maui trip, I've been shocked by the price tag of hotels on the island. Decent-but-not-exceptional resort hotels seem to be about $800/night all in. I think that's about 3x what I've ever paid a night for a hotel (and I've stayed in a lot of nice 5-star hotels over the years). Houses and other rental properties also seem expensive. Even airbnb looks pricey for what the listings are.

Personally, I'll be fine, as I'll scrape together the necessary hotel loyalty points and stay in decent hotels for a "real" cost of maybe $200/night. But it will be a lot of points, and it won't make me eager to return again. And I know most visitors don't have these frequent flyer resources. Are people really forking over $800/night to stay in Maui? It seems to be an extraordinarily expensive vacation, especially when you consider that everything else in Hawaii (food, entertainment, car rental, etc) is expensive, too. I'm surprised they can attract a mass-market clientele with these prices. Not everyone is a Silicon Valley multi-millionaire.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 3:57 pm
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I'll be interested to see what responses you get. I was doing some initial research for a family member in order to develop a budget for a trip. They would be traveling with two small children. I was shocked when I saw similar prices to you.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 5:04 pm
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Supply and demand unfortunately. They sell out quite easily which is why they jack up the prices.
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Old Sep 16, 18, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
I'll be interested to see what responses you get. I was doing some initial research for a family member in order to develop a budget for a trip. They would be traveling with two small children. I was shocked when I saw similar prices to you.
Yeah, I'm also helping a family member plan a "class reunion trip" to Hawaii. I've cautioned her that it would be extremely expensive for them to stay at a resort in Maui and that perhaps they want to go to another island. I can help people who have hotel loyalty points visit Maui, but I can't do much for folks who don't. Unless, perhaps, they're willing to camp!
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Old Sep 17, 18, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
I think I've flown to Hawaii at least 20 times in my life. I'm fond of the islands, and try to visit at least every other year (often annually). Over time, my "favorite" Hawaiian destinations have changed. For the last decade or so, I've been a regular in Kapoho on the Big Island where I could rent an awesome old-Hawaiian style villa with a private thermal-heated lagoon for about $1000/week. That property, as well as much of the surrounding area, is now under lava, so I need to head elsewhere.
When demand doesn't change, but supply decreases price goes up.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 12:39 pm
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Originally Posted by Beltway2A View Post
When demand doesn't change, but supply decreases price goes up.
Well, the number of Puna travellers who are now heading to Maui is undoubtedly small, but you may be correct that some travellers have been scared away from Kona by the volcano and are now booking into Maui resorts. Of course, the volcano is no longer erupting, and logic would suggest that the nose-bleed prices on Maui are likely to reverse that trend.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 2:35 pm
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Condos are the way to go

This site https://www.westmauicondos.com/prope...3A%22%22%7D%7D has rentals at a number of nice resorts on Maui for <$300 a night. Some are higher of course. The one in the link is Papakea. We've stayed there and like it. It's Ocean Front property with a variety of "view" options. So, no, you don't need to pay $800 a night. These are 1 and 2 BR condos with kitchens. I don't stay in hotels on Maui.
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Old Sep 17, 18, 9:30 pm
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Originally Posted by philemer View Post
The one in the link is Papakea. We've stayed there and like it. It's Ocean Front property with a variety of "view" options. So, no, you don't need to pay $800 a night. These are 1 and 2 BR condos with kitchens. I don't stay in hotels on Maui.
While not my ideal vacation, that type of property does look like a WAY better deal than a Maui resort hotel. It doesn't look like a compelling reason to CHOOSE Maui for a vacation, but if you're headed there, and need a place to stay, it beats most of the alternatives.

BTW, this is one of the properties I used to rent on the Big Island for much less than that. Just check out the private lagoon. But it's now under lava. Maui property rentals seem to be 2x for half as much house/apartment.

https://www.vaycayhero.com/Pahoa-vacation-rentals/55072

Last edited by iahphx; Sep 17, 18 at 9:40 pm Reason: more
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Old Sep 18, 18, 11:31 am
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I don't think you should expect to pay nearly that much. Hawaii is expensive and always will be, but not $800/night expensive unless you're at the Four Seasons or Fairmont.

Anecdotal but we stayed at Hotel Wailea in summer of 2017 for about $450/night. It was a 15th anniversary trip and a known splurge, but we could have gotten much less expensive lodging without even trying very hard.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 9:45 pm
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While it's true that the economy has been booming for a few years, and tourism is surging as a result, I think what the OP is seeing is more their own fault than anyone else's. Maui has never been "cheap", but the affordable mass-market hotels are in Ka'anipali. Since the OP doesn't like that area, and also doesn't like Wailea (which is pricey but not "base rooms are $800 a night most of the year" pricey), his options are EXTREMELY limited. So it's no surprise that given those constraints, lodging prices are high.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 10:08 pm
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Originally Posted by DJ_Iceman View Post
While it's true that the economy has been booming for a few years, and tourism is surging as a result, I think what the OP is seeing is more their own fault than anyone else's. Maui has never been "cheap", but the affordable mass-market hotels are in Ka'anipali. Since the OP doesn't like that area, and also doesn't like Wailea (which is pricey but not "base rooms are $800 a night most of the year" pricey), his options are EXTREMELY limited. So it's no surprise that given those constraints, lodging prices are high.
Go pull up some rates for Maui hotels in January. They ARE $800/night when you include taxes and resort fees. Unless you're willing to stay at the Residence Inn. That's $500. There are some off peak days where you might get away with $600. Maybe.
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Old Sep 18, 18, 11:31 pm
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Many available at <$500/night

Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Go pull up some rates for Maui hotels in January. They ARE $800/night when you include taxes and resort fees. Unless you're willing to stay at the Residence Inn. That's $500. There are some off peak days where you might get away with $600. Maybe.
When you look only 3-4 months in advance of whale season that's not surprising. If you started looking 8-9 months ago rates would have been lower. No surprise. FTers plan WAY in advance, don't we?

Just looked up rates on hotels.com for Jan. 13>14 and there are awesome properties available for <$500. See https://www.hotels.com/search.do?res...rt-order=PRICE Honua Kai Resort & Spa is a prime example. OF and < $500/night, all in.

Last edited by philemer; Sep 18, 18 at 11:36 pm
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Old Sep 20, 18, 2:37 pm
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So maybe my perspective is relevant-I grew up on Maui (lived there from 1967-2004). How much do I spend on hotels?

If I need a cheap roadside place to stay, I plan on spending about $200. For a city hotel for a transportation connection or business, $300-$400. For a vacation, I plan on spending $600-$800 per night.

One time when I was living on Maui, I got a hotel room in Wailea for a post-chemotherapy celebration. In 2002, I paid about $800 a night for the Fairmont.
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Old Sep 20, 18, 3:29 pm
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There's plenty of places where you can stay for less than $800 a night and have a fantastic time.

I'm paying $3000 for 7 nights for a oceanfront room, daily breakfast included plus car rental week before Christmas.

Right on Kanaapali.
But I'm certainly not expecting the Four Seasons for that price.

And also....Kapoho isn't Maui. I'd be very dissapointed too if I was looking for the same holiday on Kaanapali or Wailea than I had in Kapoho. And I would be dissapointed if I was looking for a Maui vacation in Kapoho.

Perhaps you should adjust your expectations or rethink what kind of vacation you want.
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Old Sep 22, 18, 11:55 pm
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As crowded as Maui gets, it’ll never be as intensely dense and busy like where we live and it has all we want so we keep returning annually as long as possible. I enjoy the known entities. I have heard that it’s easy to find affordable lodging away from the resorts. In Maui I only stay in kaanapali and Wailea areas. Anyway I hope you have a lovely time there and if it’s really bad, then next vacation you’ll enjoy a different island :-)
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