What would a trip to Hawaii be without a
luau? We may never find out: Each island offers a plethora of the
traditional feasts. The components may be similar -- a buffet of
traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian fare, accompanied by
entertainment in the form of a musical revue -- but luaus do differ
in timing, location and pricing.
Following is a
sampling of Hawaiis biggest, newest or otherwise notable
" The Hilton
Waikoloa Villages Legends of the Pacific luau serves up all the
classic dinner favorites (lomi salmon, poke and kalua pork) with
additions such as Parker Ranch ribs, ginger chicken salad, paniolo
chili beef salad and huli chicken with green onion sauce -- all of
which nod to the ranch lifestyle prominent on the Big
begin at 8 a.m. at the Waikoloa resort, where guests are invited to
watch a pig being placed in the underground imu, or oven, where it
is slow-cooked over the course of a day.
The kalua pig is
removed at 6:40 p.m., and a buffet dinner follows. At 7:45 p.m.,
Tihati Productions takes over with a performance that highlights
ancient folklore and historical references to Hawaiian origins as
well as music and dance from Samoa, Fiji and Tahiti.
Tickets to the
Legends of the Pacific are $74 for adults and $37 for children ages
5 through 12. Call (808) 886-1234, Ext. 54, or visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com for more information and
" The Tuesday
evening luau at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is hosted by kumu hula
Nani Lim and her award-winning dance troupe, who demonstrate both
differences and similarities between ancient and modern hula. (Kumu
hula is the highest level of achievement in the art of hula
is set against the Kohala Coast, a desolate stretch of volcanic
rock that juts right up to the blue waters on the islands western
Guests dine on
traditional Polynesian and Hawaiian fare like ahi poke, chicken
long rice and poi, all prepared fresh and served as the sun sets
and Lim performs. For tickets, call (866) 774-6236 or visit www.maunakeabeachhotel.com.
" The new
Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort and Spas Origins luau takes place Mondays and
Thursdays, on specially designated luau grounds.
Guests walk out
on Crystal Blue Point overlooking Keauhou Bay, for an hour-long
mai-tai cocktail reception among arts-and-crafts booths where they
can learn a few hula steps, see Polynesian body art being designed
or learn how to play the ukulele.
Danny Couch hosts the evenings entertainment, offering audiences a
musical journey through the various aspects of Polynesian culture,
with help from a company of dancers, drummers and
Origins offers an
Alii Circle table service package for $79 per adult and half-price
for children ages 5 to 12 or traditional buffet seating at $65 per
person. Call (808) 930-4900 or go to www.sheratonkeauhou.com.
" The Sheraton
Kauais new Surf to Sunset Luau, in Poipu on the south shore, claims
to be the islands only oceanfront luau. The event takes place twice
weekly, Mondays and Fridays, at 6 p.m.
authentic shell leis, guests can opt for a full buffet at $68 per
person or table service, with food served family-style, at $80 per
head; kids eat for half-price.
Either way, they
get standard luau fare: lomi salmon, kalua pig, poke, poi and
locally grown pineapple for the main course.
guava chiffon pie, coconut haupia pie, pineapple upside-down cake
and chocolate-macadamia nut cake round out the luau dessert
Host Dickie Chang
introduces an award-winning hula troupe, which puts on an array of
performances from various Polynesian islands, and the show ends
with a traditional Samoan fire-knife dance. For more, log on to www.sheratonkauai.com or call (808)
" The Old Lahaina
Luau, which takes place in the historical whaling town of Lahaina,
features a top-shelf open bar and some of the best luau-style food
islandwide. It is also one of the few luaus that takes place
Guests are given
the option of sitting on a traditional Hawaiian mat or at tables
and chairs. Prior to seating, islanders show them around the luau
grounds and explain traditional Polynesian crafts and
They are then
invited to gather at the imu for the removal of the kalua pig,
which is marched up to the luau grounds. Grilled sirloin steak,
mahi mahi stuffed with fresh crabmeat and shrimp topped with a
macadamia nut glaze are a few of the culinary efforts that set this
The music is
provided by Na Leo Hooulu, an impressive group with a wide range of
Polynesian influences. The show explains the evolution of hula
dance, addressing hulas role in everyday life and how tourism has
helped spread its notoriety worldwide.
Rates begin at
$88 for adults and $57 for children. For reservations, call (808)
667-6998 or go to www.oldlahainaluau.com.
" The Feast at
Lele is a more intimate, interactive offering from the folks at Old
Held on the beach
at 505 Front St. in Lahaina, the performance unfolds while five
courses -- from Hawaii, Tonga, Tahiti and Samoa, along with dessert
-- are served by wait staff, who explain the dishes and perform
Seating is first
come, first served, so reservations are advised. Apart from luau
standards like poi and kalua pig, the menu includes steamed moi
fish (Hawaii); tunu pulu, or grilled strip steak (Tonga); eiota, or
marinated raw fish (Tahiti); and palusami, a breadfruit and taro
Admission to the
luau -- which runs nightly except Sundays -- is $99 for adults and
$69 for children. Call (866) 244-5353 or visit www.feastatlele.com.
" The Paradise
Cove Luau -- located 30 minutes by car from Waikiki, at Ko Olina on
the west coast of Oahu -- prides itself on the authenticity of its
activities and entertainment based on Polynesian
Director OBrian Eselu employs an attentive staff that is
well-trained in the culture of the Pacific Islands.
The Paradise Cove
Luau -- one of the few not connected with an Oahu hotel -- is held
nightly in a secluded cove, which is designed to lend the sensation
of participating in an old-time luau on a very remote
package chosen, prices range from $65 to $110 per person for
adults; $56 to $100 children age 13 to 17; and $45 to $90 for
younger children. Rates include late-afternoon pickup in Waikiki
and a return shuttle at 9 p.m. Go to www.paradisecoveluau.com or call (800)
" The newest luau
on Oahu is the Sea Life Park Luau, set in the rather unusual venue
of a marine theme park.
When the luau
debuted this summer in an area of Sea Life Park called the Meadows,
Travel Weekly reviewed it as one of the better examples of the
[luau] species. (See Sea Life Parks new luau rated top quality, Oct.
all-inclusive prices are $83.33 for adults and $50 for kids ages 4
to 12. Transportation from Waikiki is available for $12.
include admission to the marine park, valid up to 30 days. For more
information or reservations, call (808) 259-7933 or visit www.sealifeparkhawaii.com.
" The Tepatasi
Luau at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa is held Friday evenings. A relative
newcomer that debuted in July, the luau takes place on the hotels
Pialeilani Terrace facing Waikiki Beach.
Before the luau,
guests can partake in lei-making, palm-frond weaving and other
Hawaiian crafts. After the luau, guests can enjoy some of the other
Hawaiian entertainment on offer at the hotel such as performances
by slack-key guitarists and legendary falsetto singer Auntie Genoa
for the luau starts at 6:30 p.m., and the show begins at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets are $80 for adults and $50 for children ages 5 to 12. Call
(808) 922-6611 or log on to www.marriottwaikiki.com.
reporter Brian Berusch, send e-mail to [email protected].