How to Choose the Best Maui Luau

How to Choose the Best Maui Luau

A guide to the entertainment, dining and ambiance at six of Maui’s popular luaus By: Marty Wentzel
<p>Hula dancers mesmerize guests at Wailele Polynesian Luau. // © 2017 Westin Maui Resort &amp; Spa</p><p>Feature image (above): A fiery Polynesian...

Hula dancers mesmerize guests at Wailele Polynesian Luau. // © 2017 Westin Maui Resort & Spa

Feature image (above): A fiery Polynesian revue heats things up at Drums of the Pacific Luau. // © 2017 Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa

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Heading to the other islands, as well? Here are five big luaus on Hawaii Island.

If you’ve seen one Maui luau, you definitely haven’t seen them all. On this diverse island, each version of Hawaii’s famous party stands apart from the next with its own spin on everything from the opening ceremonies to the dinner, drinks and entertainment.

These six Maui luaus have one thing in common, however. Each of them presents a high-quality cultural experience imbued with a heavy dose of aloha spirit. So, order that mai tai and get ready for a celebration — Maui-style.

Drums of the Pacific Luau, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa
This long-running luau honors Polynesia from start to finish. As torches are lit, guests get into the mood with tropical drinks, crafts demonstrations and a pareo (sarong) fashion show. The buffet lavishes diners with luau trademarks such as kalua pork, huli-huli chicken, grilled fish and lomi-lomi salmon. Topping it off is the revue, a Tihati Productions spectacular with songs and dances of Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga and the Cook Islands.

Myths of Maui Luau, Royal Lahaina Resort
Celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2017, this seaside luau kicks off just before sunset with the blowing of the conch shell. Along with standard dishes such as pork and poi, the all-you-can-eat dinner features specialty items including banana-mandarin-macadamia nut salad and guava rolls, accompanied by libations from the open bar. The revue showcases songs, dances and legends of the South Pacific, with a dazzling fire knife dance as the nightcap.

Old Lahaina Luau
Hookipa (hospitality) is the hallmark of this luau. Even the grounds, dotted with thatched huts, exude the warmth of old Hawaii. Pareo-clad employees urge guests to get cultural at interactive crafts stations. Head-turning cocktails include an exclusive beer made from sweet potatoes grown on the luau’s farm. The glow of sunset gives way to a feast of favorite Hawaiian foods. It all leads up to a show where the art of hula helps tell the history of Hawaii.

Te Au Moana, Wailea Beach Resort - Marriott, Maui
Making its debut in February 2017, this offering occupies the new luau grounds of the recently renovated Wailea Beach Resort, formerly Wailea Beach Marriott. Te Au Moana (The Ocean Tide) bills itself as an authentic experience that uses songs, dances and stories to transport guests through Maui’s history. A thoughtful pairing of tropical cocktails and local dishes adds to the allure of this waterfront show from Tihati Productions.

The Grand Luau at Honuaula, Grand Wailea - A Waldorf Astoria Resort
On a lawn overlooking the ocean, this luau tells the story of the seafaring Polynesians who discovered Hawaii. During the imu (underground oven) ceremony, the roasted pig emerges from the earth. Then, guests dine on beloved luau fare as well as locally grown treats including top sirloin steaks and Maui Gold pineapple. The culmination is a thrilling show with traditional songs and chants, hula dancers, aerial performers and fire knife dancing.

Wailele Polynesian Luau, Westin Maui Resort & Spa
Since its 2007 launch, this extravaganza constantly changes to keep fresh for audiences and performers alike. The buffet is a winner, from starters like pipikaula (Hawaiian beef jerky) to desserts such as lilikoi (passion fruit) cheesecake. The Polynesian revue has several distinctive features, most notably a fire knife dancer who performs from a perch on a palm tree. Set in a picturesque indoor-outdoor pavilion, this Maui luau takes place no matter what the weather.

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