With so many luaus across Hawaii, picking one can be a real challenge – but one thing’s for sure, no matter which you choose, you’ll be left with lasting memories.
There’s no denying that the traditional evenings of food, drink, music and dancing known as Hawaiian ‘luaus’ are designed with tourists in mind. Nonetheless, as an introduction to Polynesian culture, attending one is something approaching a must-do for any visitor to the famous Pacific island state in. With many of Hawaii’s islands within an easy flight (or occasionally ferry ride) of each other, you don’t necessarily have to pick a luau close to where you’re staying either, and can instead make your choice based on other factors such as duration, cost and family-friendliness. To help you find the best luau for your tastes and needs, we’ve picked out 7 stand-out options dotted across the islands.
Island Breeze Luau
Located in the Big Island’s downtown district and boasting an impressive backdrop of the Hualalai volcano, Island Breeze luau is commonly listed among the best luaus you’ll find anywhere on the the island. Proceedings begin during late afternoon and the whole show runs for up to three hours, featuring a hearty Hawaiian buffet, an open bar and ldazzling live shows from around Polynesia, with performances spanning everything from Fijian war dances to Hawaiian hula. One of the show’s main highlights is the royal procession, which involves a performer dressed as King Kamehameha – Hawaii’s first ruler – arriving in an outrigger canoe while performers chant and blow on conches. The event’s grand finale is a Samoan fire and knife show. From $180 per person.
Luau Kalamaku with Plantation Owner’s Dinner & Champagne Reception
Take in a captivating evening complete with a sumptuous dinner at one of the most popular luaus on the island of Lehua. Hosted at the historic Kilohana Plantation, the eevnt kicks off with a champagne reception and traditional lei greeting, before guests settle down to a slap-up four-course meal in the impressive surroundings of Gaylord’s Restaurant. After eating, there’ll be free time to explore the famous plantation home, which today has been reimagined as an upscale dining and shopping destination. Later, enjoy the enchanting dancers, fire-twirlers and musicians re-enact the story of the inaugural Tahitian voyage to Hawaii. Return transport is available for a surcharge. From $222 per person.
VIP 4-Course Dinner and Luau Kalamaku Show
If you prefer being served your food, rather than hopping up and down to a buffet, this extended alternative to the above luau may well suit. During the 4-hour event, at the same Kilohana Plantation, guests will get to enjoy a traditional lei greeting with champagne before being shown to the main venue where you’ll sit down to a four-course island dinner delivered directly to your table. Later, a sensational show will take guests on an evocative sea voyage between Tahiti and Kauai. Other highlights include Hawaiian music, hula dancers, and fire knife and fire poi ball dancing. Pick-up from select Kauai resorts can be arranged for an extra fee. From $219 per person.
Paradise Cove Luau
Held at the gorgeosu Ko Olina Resort at Paradise Cove on the island of Oahu, this half-day luau serves up sublime coastal views, authentic Hawaiian food and drink, and live entertainment by Hawaiian musicians, dancers, and fire twirlers. Guests can pick from a choice of three dining packages, with inclusive round-trip transportation from Waikiki hotels. Guests will also have time to explore the Hawaiian Village where they’ll find traditional arts, crafts and games, as well as the chance to learn “Hukilau” fishing techniques invented by the ancient Hawaiians. From $142 per person.
Germaine’s Traditional Luau Show & Buffet Dinner
Among the less well-known Hawaiian luaus, this show takes place at Germaine’s, a renowned family restaurant in Kapolei on the island of Oahu. Over 2.5 hours, guests will be witness to ancient Polynesian ceremonies complete with fire, dance, and music. A traditional ritual raising of the roasted pig from an underground oven is a real treat to see, and the all-you-can-eat Hawaiian buffet dinner is certain to leave you satisfied. Tickets for the show include unreserved seating, a buffet dinner with alcoholic drinks and unlimited soft drinks, and on-site parking for guests arriving in their own transport. Options to arrange pick-up and drop-off from local hotels are also available. From $149 per person.
Feast at Mokapu Farm-to-Table Luau in Wailea
Taking place at Andaz Maui Resort, set among a grassy lawn and the sandy shore of Mokapu beach on Maui, this 3-hour luau offers guests the chance to discover the history of the island and enjoy a family-style dinner with personalised cocktails. Something aking to a cultural and culinary odyssey, guests are taken on a journey back in time to a bygone era as the host tells stories about the arrival of the Polynesians in Maui. Perhaps the main event is the hearty farm-to-table meal with cocktails, followed by live Hula dancers and fire dancers. Classic and upgraded premium seating are available. From $311 per person.
Gilligans’ Island Luau with Dinner and Drinks
Hosted at the Maui Nui Golf Course at Gilligans’ Island on Maui’s southwest coast, this magical luau show invites guests to get an up-close look at authentic Polynesian culture. Over 2.5 hours, there’s be storytelling, audience participation and live dancing that transport guests through the evolution of the region’s rich and vibrant cultural heritage. A traditional Hawaiian buffet and open bar ensure guests are well satiated throughout. The event culminates in style with a Samoan fire dancer routine. From $165 per person.