In September 2022, Hawaii welcomed more than 700,000 visitors to its tropical shores. In turn, those visitors spent $1.48 billion, proving that tourism is making a robust post-pandemic come back to the island. A third of those tourists visited Maui.
The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) reports those numbers represent a 95.5 percent recovery compared to September 2019.
What do all those tourists want? A bucket-list-worthy, dream-like Hawaiian experience. They want to go on the best excursions, eat the best foods, and sink their toes in the sand of some of the world’s most famous beaches.
One of the most popular activities tourists are interested in is attending one of the best luaus in Maui.
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Choosing the Best Maui Luau
There are several considerations when deciding which luau to attend. Is it a family-friendly environment or best for adults? Is it an inside location or beachfront property? Is dinner served family-style or is it a buffet line? Matching your expectations with the right luau will help ensure the best experience.
Location is a big factor to consider, and several top-rated resorts and hotels host luaus on their property. For instance, Ka’anapali Beach Resort is a three-mile stretch of beach that has been touted as one of the best beaches on Maui.
Jenna Greer with J/PR says, “It is the perfect place to experience an authentic lūʻau. From the island’s most extreme ﬁre knife dance finale to the spectacular cliff dive off Puʻu Kekaʻa, the resort’s properties boast unforgettable lūʻau experiences.”
Here are nine of the best luaus in Maui for your consideration, presented by travel experts who have first-hand experience to share.
1. Drums of the Pacific
Contributed by Stephanie | The Unknown Enthusiast
The Drums of the Pacific Luau is located right on Kaanapali Beach. You enter the show area from the Kaanapali Boardwalk, with the sand and the waves visible from the luau.
Upon arrival, greeters welcome guests with a flower lei and an opportunity to get drinks. If you’re up for something new, you can join in the hula dance lessons they do on stage before the show.
The luau begins with a parade through the crowds featuring a traditional whole roast pig (kalua pig), and then the buffet opens to guests.
Dinner is a tantalizing spread of traditional Polynesian dishes, including kalua roast pig, Huli Huli chicken, oven-roasted Mahi, fried rice, a variety of salads, grilled vegetables, fresh fruits, and taro rolls, along with other dishes and desserts.
Guests are seated at individual tables in a large open-air courtyard and allowed ample time to eat, get drinks, and enjoy the atmosphere. The show starts after the conclusion of dinner. Then the real entertainment begins!
Immerse yourself in Polynesian culture as you watch the incredible dancers perform their routines. The drums are rhythmic, and the atmosphere is just fun! Drums of the Pacific is a luau best suited for families and one that any age will enjoy!
Drums of the Pacific Luau is located at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa.
2. Old Lahaina Luau
Contributed by Pafoua | Her Wanderful World
Old Lahaina Luau is one of the best places to experience a traditional Hawaiian luau.
As you enter Old Lahaina Luau, you’ll notice the thatched roofs and tiki torches surrounding the area. Before dinner, guests can walk around the “village” and see the fares offered near the waterfront. You can purchase anything from seashell necklaces to Maui’s wood-carved fish hook.
Old Lahaina Luau is right on the water, so you’ll also have a beautiful ocean view as you enjoy your 5-course dinner consisting of Puaʻa Kālua, underground roasted pork, poke ahi, haupia, and more! Guests will also have access to unlimited drinks throughout the evening.
As you enjoy your meal, you’ll hear traditional Hawaiian music played by a live band. You’ll also be able to enjoy the pink-orange sunset as the evening goes on.
After the last course, Hawaiian dancing begins! The seats are in a crescent shape facing the circular stage, so all the guests have unobstructed views of the show, which lasts about an hour. It consists of dancing, music, and storytelling of Hawaii’s past to present.
The Old Lahaina Luau is best for families and couples wanting an authentic Hawaiian luau experience. The aisles are wide for strollers or extra chairs ready to accommodate families, but the setting is also perfect for a romantic date night.
The Old Lahaina Luau is located on Front Street in Lahaina, Maui.
3. Te Au Moana Luau
Contributed by Maui Luau
Stellar ocean views and epic entertainment characterize Te Au Moana Luau. Described as one of Maui’s “higher-end” luaus, Te Au Moana is family-friendly (kids under five are welcomed free of charge), and the ultra-romantic location and excellent open bar make this luau a great choice for couples as well.
Far and away, Te Au Moana’s biggest draw is its spectacular setting. The celebration takes place on the Wailea Marriott’s oceanfront lawn, affording guests fantastic sunset views and photo ops. As the night progresses, the Pacific Ocean forms the backdrop for a host of dynamic cultural performances.
Meaning “the ocean tide,” Te Au Moana aims to showcase the Polynesian cultures that are connected by the Pacific. The show begins with live Hawaiian music and cultural demonstrations like hula lessons and coconut opening expos. An educational narrative is offered throughout the night as ancestral stories from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and Aotearoa are told through rhythmic song and dance. The evening leaves a lasting impression as the show culminates with a memorable Samoan fire knife dance.
Unlike other Maui luaus where buffet dinners are the status quo, Te Au Moana serves their decadent, three-course feast family style. The Pacific-Rim-inspired menu includes island favorites like poke, fried rice, Huli Huli chicken, Asian noodle salad, and imu roasted kalua pork. Each table is assigned a designated server.
Given proper notice, the luau is very accommodating of folks with dietary restrictions, earning Te Au Moana brownie points for service. Although service is hospitable, alcoholic drinks are not served tableside and must be ordered from the bar. However, guests will find a well-stocked bar with an array of complimentary beer, wine, and tropical cocktails, which flow well into the night.
Te Au Moana Luau is offered every Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and seasonally on Tuesdays.
Te Au Moana is held in the Wailea Beach Resort Marriott.
4. Huaka’I Luau – Journey Through Polynesia
Contributed by Maui Luau
Maui’s newest luau, Huaka’i Luau, is an intimate Hawaiian celebration held in the Seascape Restaurant every Wednesday and Sunday. This luau is a bonafide family affair developed and performed by a married duo and their children.
Centrally located in Maalaea, this luau is just a short drive from Kahului, Kihei, and Lahaina. Although Huaka’i Luau is held indoors at the Seascape, the restaurant is open-air and offers panoramic views of Maalaea Harbor, Molokini, and Haleakala Crater. Compared to the mega-luaus held at resorts with 300+ guests, the Huaka’i Luau is much more intimate, making the show ideal for couples.
The absence of a large cast lends itself to a much more personal performance. Solo dancers perform throughout the restaurant so guests can get up close and personal views of the entertainment. While the Huaka’i Luau ohana are proud Hawaiian cultural practitioners, the performance also showcases other Pacific dances like Tahitian, Samoan, and a heart-stopping fire dance.
The luau’s multi-course buffet features both continental fares and Hawaii regional cuisine. Favorites like caesar salad and potatoes are served during the first course, while island favorites like Mahi Mahi and kalua pig take precedence during the mains. Regarding beverages, guests over 21 are treated to two free tropical libations, while soft drinks and non-alcoholic beverages are available for underage patrons.
Huaka’i Luau is held at Maui Ocean Center’s Seascape Restaurant.
5. Feast of Mokapu in Wailea
Contributed by Marcie | Hawaii Travel with Kids
One of the swankiest luaus on Maui is the Feast at Mokapu in Wailea. It’s held at the beautiful Andaz Maui resort, where you’ll find a gorgeous view of the sunset.
The event includes valet parking, welcome drinks upon arrival, sunset photos from a professional photographer, and access to one of the best luau bars in Maui.
However, the main draw of this Hawaiian luau is the food. Dinner is a multi-course plated meal that is worth the price of admission itself. Highlights include fresh poke, grilled ‘ulu salad, Huli Huli chicken, Pulehu Ribeye, and Pua’a Kalua.
Guests can purchase VIP seating for a front-row view of the show and a private table. This section would be perfect for a couple on their Maui honeymoon. Otherwise, the general seating tables are slightly larger but less crammed together than other luau seating.
Out of all the luaus in Maui, this would be the best choice for couples wanting a romantic activity.
Kristy Thai of Laura Davidson Public Relations says, “While most other luaus tell the generic story of Polynesian ancestors coming to Hawaii, the Feast at Mokapu tells the story of the land division that Andaz Maui currently sits on. The show was created by Andaz Maui’s Hawaiian culture training specialist, Kalikolehua Storer, who directed the luau based on both history and her own experiences and stories passed down from generations of family who lived through it all.”
Feast of Mokapu is held at The Andaz Maui.
6. Maui Nui Luau
Contributed by Chanin Victor
The Maui Nui Luau at Black Rock is one of the most picturesque and grand settings for a luau. The luau takes place high up on the rocky, black lava cliffs of Puu Kekaa, overlooking Kaanapali Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Guests can relax on the outdoor lawn with a Polynesian cocktail while watching what is sure to be another memorable Hawaiian sunset.
You won’t want to miss the imu ceremony. It involves uncovering a kalua pig that’s been slow-cooked all day in a pit in the ground and paraded around for guests to see. Soon it will be mouth-watering shredded kalua pork served for dinner. The delicious Hawaiian self-service buffet and a full open bar offer guests plenty to eat and drink.
Next, take advantage of the nightly Lele Kawa cliff diving ritual that honors the last chief of Maui, Kahekili. He would dive into the waters below to show his spiritual strength and unite his warriors. The resort has held the cliff diving tradition since its opening in 1963.
Finally, the entire luau show is full of the stories, history, and culture of Maui and the Pacific, communicated through music, traditional Polynesian dance, hulas, and authentic Hawaiian music.
The show culminates in the Samoan fire knife dance that will have you on the edge of your seat. Of course, sitting closer to the stage and fire-knife dancers will cost a bit more, but it’s so worth it for many guests. Make sure to book in advance, as there are only three shows a week; Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It’s a spectacular setting and an incredible way to end any day in Maui.
Maui Nui Luau is located at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.
7. Wailele Luau
Contributed by Sarah Vanheel | CosmopoliClan
The Wailele Luau takes place on the patio of The Westin Maui Resort & Spa’s Aloha Pavilion. It’s a scenic location that overlooks beautiful Kaananapli beach.
Tiki torches, a waterfall, and a Hawaiian band set the mood for welcoming visitors with a shell necklace and a drink. The luau offers two types of seating: premium or front-row seating and ohana or standard seating. Premium guests get early access, and the friendly staff assigns visitors to a shared round table in order of arrival. The table arrangement allows guests seated in the back to easily view the stage.
The Wailele luau package includes an unlimited open bar and a buffet dinner with Hawaiian dishes such as Lomi Lomi salmon, ahi poke, and kalua pig. The shared table seating and buffet menu make this a fantastic family-friendly event.
The name of this luau – Wailele – is Hawaiian for waterfall and refers to the elements of nature celebrated in this luau. An MC introduces each dance as they represent not only the Hawaiian Islands but other Polynesian Islands as well. Each island has its own nuance in music, storytelling, and costume.
The highlight of the show is the spectacular fire-knife dance which is the highlight of the show.
Wailele Luau is held at The Westin Maui Resort & Spa.
8. The Grand Luau at Honua’Ula
Contributed by Jenny Ly | Go Wanderly
When searching for the best Maui luau, consider the Grand Luau at Honua’ula. This lively luau has enough activities to keep even restless children occupied. They can practice the hula, try out other Polynesian dances, and enjoy the creative luau narrative.
The luau has an open bar that will please adults and children, and the meal bursts with Hawaiian flavors. With the help of talented luau dancers, Maui’s myths and legends come to life, with color and fire bringing excitement at each turn.
The Grand Luau is a somewhat more expensive option, but the lengthy show and interactive experience make up for the additional costs.
The Grand Luau is held at the Grand Wailea Resort.
9. The Myths of Maui
Contributed by Eliza Williams | REM Public Relations
Maui’s longest-running and most popular luau, “The Myths of Maui,” celebrates island and Polynesian culture. The oceanfront luau on Ka’anapali Beach offers a traditional celebration of Hawaiian food, music, dance, and culture that the entire family will enjoy.
Arrive to a shell lei aloha greeting, and witness the Imu ceremony to unearth the Pua’a Kalua (roast pig), followed by a bountiful all-you-can-eat feast of roasted pork and island cuisine. Sip mai tais and exotic cocktails while enjoying hula dances, fire knife dancers, rhythmic Polynesian drums, music, storytelling, and more.
The show occurs seven days a week at sunset.
Myths of Maui is located at the Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows.
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