Moving to Maui: A Residential Guide to Wailea & Makena

by | Jan 16, 2023 | At Home In Hawaii, Wailea Makena

Wailea Overview

Spanning 1,500 acres and over 1.5 miles of South Maui shoreline from Keawakapu Beach to Polo Beach is the luxurious resort community of Wailea. Established in XX, the Wailea resort community was

This is the primary resort area of South Maui and home to Shops at Wailea and many world-class restaurants. The area also has a huge variety of outdoor activities, as detailed in our Weekend in Wailea blog.

Defining Features

As one of Maui’s most prestigious and luxurious neighborhoods known for its world-class shopping, dining, beaches, and amenities, Wailea is a highly sought-after destination for living and traveling by local residents and tourists alike. Expect a fair amount of tourist traffic due to the high concentration of resorts and vacation rentals, but because of this, many events take place in the area and there is always something going on!


The Shops at Wailea is the epicenter of the resort, featuring a variety of restaurants and shops. From casual surf bands to designer fashion stores and art galleries, you’ll find it all at this attractive outdoor mall. Also within the complex is Island Gourmet, a small deli and grocery stop that is a favorite for lunch due to its great selection of local dishes. Traveling north from The Shops on Wailea Ike Drive (towards Haleakala), you’ll discover more local shops and popular restaurants in the Wailea Town Center and Wailea Gateway Center. Locals head to Kihei and Wailea for grocery and big box stores.


While there are no schools located directly within the Wailea community, residents have many public and private education options nearby.

For public school options, Wailea falls under the Kamalii school zone for elementary students, the Lokelani zone for intermediate school, and Kihei Charter for high school.

Residential Subdivisions  

Wailea Highlands: One of the most exclusive subdivisions in Wailea, this 24-home subdivision sits atop the pristine fairways of the Wailea Golf Club. With panoramic views of the South Maui waters and a location in the heart of Wailea resort, it doesn’t get much better than this!

Wailea Puilani Estates: Bordering Kihei, Wailea and the Piilani Highway, this might be one of the most versatile locations in South Maui! A short drive down the road to the Shops at Wailea or into Kihei offers day to day diversity, while easy access to the highway allows for exploring the island when you get the chance!

Maluhia: For beachfront living in Hawaii, this is one of the best locations across the islands! Sitting atop the Mokapu beach, residents of this gated community enjoy access to the Andaz hotel next door and a quick walk to world-class shopping and dining at The Shops at Wailea!

Makena Overview

As you travel south past polo beach, you get into the area of South Maui known as Makena. Compared to Wailea, Makena is much tamer with less tourist activity and fewer resorts, while still having those world-class golf courses and beaches.

Defining Features

Makena can be thought of as the countryside of South Maui. Still in close proximity to the resort areas, Makena is the best of both worlds, providing the authentic South Maui beach experience with less crowds. In the next few years, expect new commercial developments to bring even more amenities to the area while preserving its historical charm.


As you get further south into the Makena area, there are relatively few commercial centers. The food trucks down by Makena State Park are a local favorite for beachgoers and Gannon’s at the Wailea Golf Club is a popular spot for sunset and happy hour. But the best places to shop and eat are back in the heart of the Wailea resort area. Luckily, it’s only a short drive under 5 minutes to get to the Shops at Wailea from Makena.

It is interesting to note that the area may be undergoing some significant change in the near future, as the Makena Golf and Beach Club project is currently in progress. This new development will bring along a selection of luxury residences and likely new commercial development to the Makena area.


Similar to the Wailea area, schools in Kihei will be the closest for public schools with many private school options located in Upcountry.

Residential Subdivisions  

Makena Place: 10 homes built on 5 acres of land right on the water’s edge in Makena, it doesn’t get more exclusive than that! These luxury homes are gated and complete with a community tennis court.

Makena Resort: This ongoing project will revamp the Makena area and offer a variety of residences from condos and beach cottages to luxury multi-family villas. New commercial spaces and fine-dining options will be the beneficiaries of the project as it seeks to modernize the existing Makena resort area.