Choosing Maui snorkeling accommodations can be challenging because there are five areas to choose from. From south to north they are:
The majority of the good snorkeling is in south Maui, in and around Kihei and Wailea/Makena, but there are a few wonderful spots around Ka'anapali, Kapalua/Napili and Lahaina too.
Hotels in Maui range in quality, like anywhere. But Maui lacks many two star or lower hotels. This has prompted us to look at other sources for places to stay. We have mostly stayed in condos in Maui, specifically in Kihei and Napili. We also once stayed in a vacation rental in Kihei.
When you search for Maui snorkeling accommodations, you will find that a lot of condos come up. We like the condo option because they often have a kitchen and we like having the option of making some of our own food.
When choosing from the many Maui accommodations, consider what else you like to do when you travel. Each area has it's own flavor and amenities.
Wailea and Makena are in the most southern part of western Maui. You will find a lot of great snorkeling in this area. There are high end hotels on the beach and fancier condo resorts to stay in along here, like: Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria, The Four Seasons Resort, Fairmont Kea Lani, and Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. It has a higher end feel with a few shopping and restaurant opportunities usually inside the resorts. If you are interested in a luxurious, don't go anywhere snorkeling vacation, we'd choose a hotel around here and snorkel from the beach right in front.
Kihei is north of Wailea and Makena and is still considered south Maui. There are some decent snorkeling spots right off town, and you are a short drive to all the great spots a little further south. You will also have a shorter drive to the more northern spots than if you stayed in Wailea/Makena. Most of the accommodations in Kihei are condos, but there are a few hotels too, like Days Inn Maui Oceanfront on Keawakapu Beach. Kihei seems to be where to find the most budget minded options in Maui. We found a delightful vacation rental in Kihei as well, so be sure to check out TripAdvisor's Maui vacation rentals. Kihei seems to be where a lot of locals live and there are a lot of restaurants, shopping spots and nightlife opportunities.
Lahaina is on the central coast of west Maui. Unfortunately, there isn't much snorkeling in Lahaina, though there is some good snorkeling within 5-10 miles away, south and north. The accommodations in Lahaina are probably the most unique on the island, with a number of bed and breakfasts and small historic hotels. This town is the best for walking around and shopping, and also has a lot of restaurants and nightlife.
Ka'anapali is a little way north of Lahaina on the central coast of west Maui. Black Rock is a legendary snorkel spot which is pretty good and there are a couple of great snorkeling spots just north and just south. It is also not too far of a drive to the further north snorkeling. Ka'anapali has sort of an exclusive resort feel. There are a number of Maui snorkeling resorts in the form of higher end hotels and condos right on the beach here, like: Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali Beach Hotel, The Whaler on Ka’anapali Beach, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, and on the far south end is Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa. There are some restaurants, shopping and nightlife opportunities within the resorts.
Kapalua and Napili are on the north coast of west Maui, north of Ka'anapali. There are a few great snorkeling spots around this area and you can drive a short way to Ka'anapali for some more. From here be aware that it is a pretty long drive down to south Maui where there are a lot more snorkeling opportunities. Condos are common in this area and there is also the high end hotel option. The beaches are lined with Maui snorkeling resorts, hotels and condos, like: The Mauian Hotel on Napili Beach, and Napili Kai Beach Resort. These areas are a little more limited in terms of shopping and restaurants, though there are both.
When you find a place you are interested in, be sure to read Maui hotel reviews on TripAdvisor.
One last tip: if amenities like internet, swimming pool, fitness center, laundry facilities, on-site spa or restaurant are important to you, be sure you look for those while you are searching for hotels in Maui so you are not surprised when you arrive.
Have a great time in Maui!