Nane Aluli, Maui Hotelier, On Island Music

By: Dawna L. Robertson

The name Aluli strikes a familiar chord in Hawaii. Irmgard Aluli was a renowned storyteller and famed island composer who left behind an enduring legacy at her death in 2001. Some 400 Aluli-penned songs still drum up strong memories of “Auntie Irmgard.”

Auntie also produced eight children including two sets of twins with her husband of 27 years. Today, Nane Aluli, the eldest child and his father’s namesake, helps perpetuate his family’s musical roots with die-hard support of isle musicians.

Aluli hopped into the hospitality industry in 1965 as a sales representative with Hawaiian Airlines. Holding a resume running deep with industry expertise, he left Village Resorts in 2000 to manage his family’s hotel, the Mauian. When the property was sold in 2003, its new owners asked Aluli to remain manager.

“The Mauian was developed by my uncle back in 1958,” noted Aluli. “I visited the property often growing up, but only stayed there about half a dozen times. One of my earliest recollections of a Mauian visit was when I was 15, and our entire clan came to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s. The Mauian had just opened.”

Property-wise, not much has changed since then. The Mauian still features an Aluli as manager and appeals with its local-style atmosphere.Aluli recalled how favorable it was to have his mother as such a notable musician as he was growing up.

“It was wonderful! Our household was always filled with music. Family gatherings were busy with lots of singing and dancing,” he said.

One of Aluli’s most memorable moments was working with his mother on one of her albums.

“It was a Christmas album called ‘Santa’s Gone Hawaiian,’” he explained. “I was the mynah bird that ‘squawked’ on the song.”
Naturally, Aluli’s stories run deep.

“Another fond time I recall is watching my mother and sisters perform at the Willows Restaurant on Oahu,” he recalled. “Mom did that for many years and everyone loved her there.”

Admittedly, he’s a better spectator than contributor in the musical arena.

“My abilities are limited,” Aluli said. “I play a little ukulele and have been told I have a wonderful voice. I don’t think it’s that great, so I’ve never really done anything with it although I did some entertaining with Hawaiian Airlines.”

Aluli was an occasional member of a Hawaiian Airlines’ group that would entertain at mainland promotions.

“Hawaiian didn’t even fly to the mainland when I was performing with the group,” Aluli noted.

While his outings are fewer these days, Aluli’s recommendations remain insightful.

“Right next door to the Mauian, Napili Kai Seahouse Restaurant has sunset music with great pupus,” he said. “And the slack-key show at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua shouldn’t be missed. It’s a theater-style venue.”

Another Aluli favorite is the Hula Grill at Whalers

Village where live Hawaiian music plays until 9 p.m. most nights.

“It’s a great atmosphere with tables and chairs in a sand-pit area with a stage on the ocean side,” he said.

On Oahu, Aluli keeps it family-focused by dropping in to enjoy sister Mihana on Thursday nights at Duc’s Bistro in downtown Honolulu.

“It’s a small, cozy restaurant and Mihana fills it with her unique style and personality Hawaiian music, with a touch of blues,” Aluli remarked.

He also catches cousin Pakala performing with Paahana at Halekulani Hotel’s House Without a Key.

On Kauai, Aluli has other sure bets.

“Duke’s Canoe Club, Happy Talk Lounge and Keoki’s Paradise all offer good local entertainment on a regular basis,” he advised. “There are just so many great local talents here. Any time I have a chance, I’ll try to catch Olomana, Kealii Reichel, Willie K, Eric Gilliom, Barry Flanagan and Hookena.”


Hula Grill Kaanapali
2435 Kaanapali Parkway,
Kaanapali Beach Resort

Mulligans on the Blue
100 Kaukahi St., Wailea Resort

The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua
One Ritz-Carlton Dr.,
Kapalua Resort

Seahouse Restaurant
Napili Kai Beach Resort
5900 Lower Honoapiilani Rd.,

Duc’s Bistro
1188 Maunakea St.,
Downtown Honolulu

Brothers Cazimero Annual May Day Show, Waikiki Shell
2805 Monsarrat Ave., Waikiki

House Without a Key,
Halekulani Hotel
2199 Kalia Rd., Waikiki

Duke’s Canoe Club, Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club
3610 Rice St.,
Kalapaki Beach

Happy Talk Lounge,
Hanalei Bay Resort
5380 Honoiki Rd., Princeville

Keoki’s Paradise Restaurant
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Dr.,
Poipu Beach Resort