We almost spent our whole 2 weeks on Maui in Kihei, but ended up spending our first 4 nights in Hana and I am SO-O-O glad we did! I don't think you can get the feel of Hana by just being there a couple hours. The Hana Palms was wonderful. It isn't a place for everyone....it isn't the Hilton (or the Hana Travaasa Hotel), but it is wonderful in it's own way. We stayed in the lower property. It was nice, clean and had everything we needed. It is in a rain forest and things didn't always dry well, so be sure to ask where the dryer is! We walked the property and saw lots of native plants. It is a great place to roam (but watch for spider webs if you walk in the morning!). It was a short easy drive to Hana and a great starting point for all our journeys on the west side of Maui. There is a great fruit, smoothie & fresh banana bread stand at the corner...be sure to walk there...a nice start to each morning.
Take the time to travel the Hana Highway south of town to see waterfalls, The Pools of Ohe'o (in the National Park), Palapala Ho'omau Church & Charles Lindbergh's grave and just past the church & grave on the right is the best fruit stand for a snack...worth the extra quarter mile or so. The hike to the red sand beach is an experience in it's self, but the beach is worth the hike.
If you don't need daily maid service and you like unique places, stay at the Hana Palms...you won't regret it!!