PHOTO: Dreamstime

Best Western Pioneer Inn

658 Wharf St., Lahaina, Hawaii, 96761, USA

With some of the best prices around, this small, heart-of-town hotel, built in 1901 when Lahaina was the bawdy heart of the Pacific's whaling industry, has been substantially remodeled and updated to offer clean and basic rooms. Its grounds are well-tended and there's a courtyard, pool, and private room designed specifically for weddings. The restaurant is open 7 am–9 pm daily and is a popular hangout (especially at sunset) for folks who work at the harbor as well as hotel guests. Fans of author Tom Robbins will recognize the inn as a setting in his novel Still Life with Woodpecker.

YOU SHOULD KNOW There is no elevator, only stairs, it might be difficult for those with mobility issues.


There are just 34 rooms at this historic inn, each with air conditioning (window units), lanai with rocking chairs, free Wi-Fi, and Keurig coffee/tea maker. All rooms in the inn sit on the second floor, with a variety of shops in the lower portion of the building. Most of the room are queen bedrooms, but there are some with double twins, and a few deluxe king rooms for more space. The rooms are decorated simply, but don’t feel outdated.

If you book early enough, call the hotel directly to try to get the corner room with views of Front Street and the historic Lahaina Banyan Tree for a really special treat.


Bathrooms are bright and modern with tub/shower combos and pedestal sinks.


There’s a strong nautical theme in the lobby, to match the historic look and fixtures, with lots of wood and antiques. The reception desk is tucked away and unobtrusive, allowing guests to take in the history of the building.


The small square, cutout pool sits in a private courtyard in the middle of the inn. On the concrete deck surrounding it there are a few tables with chairs, umbrellas, and loungers.


The Pioneer Inn Bar and Grill is charming and has great prices for a combination of American and Hawaiian foods. It’s open for breakfast and dinner, with a variety of fish options perfect for dining near the beach.


Guests can sit at the bar inside the restaurant to enjoy a full array of liquors, beer, and wine at great prices.


Getting Around

It’s easy (and preferable) to explore Maui’s smaller towns by foot, but to get to them and around the island, you’ll need to rent a car. If you plan on exploring the Road to Hana, get something with a little extra horsepower (but not too big as the road can get very narrow). Free parking is available for guests.


Enjoy a great meal in a fun, relaxed atmosphere at Down the Hatch (1-min walk). This self-service restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists, loved as much for its vibe as for its drinks and food. The southern aloha spirit runs strong with friendly staff and a menu that features heavily on fish and seafood, particularly in sandwich and taco form, but also includes specialties like chicken & waffles. Those looking for a plant-based option won’t be able to get enough of their sweet potato tacos. It’s one of two restaurants in Lahaina that stays open until midnight. Round your meal out with a refreshing treat from sister company (in the same courtyard) Hawaii Shave Ice Co.

For a casual meal with one of the best ocean views in Lahaina, try Aloha Mixed Plate (6-min drive) for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You’ll get your plate lunch fix with some traditional items like teriyaki beef and kalbi ribs, as well as a loco moco plate, and a mixed plate that lets you try a few different items. Besides the famed plates, you’ ll find a fresh breakfast menu, and sandwiches, salads, and noodles at lunch and dinner. You’ll also find a special treat on their menu -- a few of their items, including the pork and beets, are cooked in the nightly imu from next door’s luau. AMP is a good choice for families.


One of the newest nightlife spots in Lahaina, The Dirty Monkey (7-min walk) stays open until 2 am every day for music and dancing, with a beautiful beer and cocktail menu, and a staggeringly impressive whiskey and bourbon bar.

Though it may not be as popular as another Hawaiian brewing company, Maui Brewing Co. (38-min drive) deserves every bit as much respect, especially since it’s still local. Its newest brewery, tasting room, and pub in Kihei is super sleek and fun. Drop in for a brewery tour or grab a seat at the massively long bar and try out some of their seasonal beers that are only available at the brewery. Be sure to grab a crowler or growler to enjoy those special flavors during the rest of your trip.


The exterior of the Pioneer Inn evokes days past when Lahaina’s plantation and whaling times at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s the oldest continually operating hotel in the state, which helped it earn its place as one of the Historic Hotels of America. The inn is a central hub for popular activities, giving guests easy access to an array of dining and shopping choices, along with water activities and even the dock to board the ferry to nearby Lanai island.


Practical Base


Phones: 800-457–5457;808-661–3636

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