Hawaii is an amazing paradise filled with beautiful sights, entertainment, and wonderful food. When thinking about entertainment, you probably imagine a grand feast with a roasted pig, fire dancers, and tropical music. With all of this in mind, who wouldn’t want to experience a luau on the big island? This past fall, my mother and I went on a trip to Waikiki and took advantage of the various entertainment packages Honolulu had to offer. Visiting the island before, I already had an idea of the types of luau experiences that were available and had even attended a luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. However, this time I wanted to focus on staying in the area since attending a luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center is a whole day trip in itself. After much research we decided on checking out Te Moana Nui and Rock-A-Hula Hawaii both located in the immediate Waikiki area. Germaine’s Luau, while on the list, we were not able to attend, but it came highly recommended by family. I hope you enjoy the list! Let me know which is your favorite. 🙂
Royal Hawaiian Center
2201 Kalakaua Avenue, Bldg. B, 4th Floor, Honolulu, HI 96815
Rock-A-Hula Hawaii is far from your average luau experience. First of all, the show takes place in a theater type setting and showcases Elvis Presley, Lady Gaga, and Micheal Jackson impersonators. I know you are probably thinking why this would be on a list of luaus worth discovering if it’s not your typical Hawaiian experience… well, that’s exactly why it’s worth discovering! The singers and dancers are amazing. The food was absolutely delicious; a three course selection including a beverage. While my mother and I splurged on the VIP dinner, since it was our birthdays, we may have had a bit of a different experience. But, I did overhear people raving about the buffet that is included with general admission. Also, not only do you get a non-stop, music jiving, modern experience, but, they also make sure to do a traditional Hawaiian piece as well. So don’t worry if you decide to check out the Rock-A-Hula, you won’t miss out on anything.
Te moana nui
Tales of the pacific
2490 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
The show that Te Moana Nui puts on is visually stunning. You can see the detail and pride that every artist puts into their performance. This luau narrates a story of the island and walks you through its history through song and dance. The only thing that may take away from the experience would be that it is held inside of a hotel rather than outdoors, but I didn’t feel like that made a big difference. Their backdrop, props, and side-effects transformed the entire space. The food is tasty and is served buffet style. They also encourage you to arrive about an hour or two before the show so that you can participate in arts and crafts. They show you how to make lei bracelets, art, and even do tattoos. There are also vendors on-site selling items which you can browse. Overall, it is a great experience. Transportation to the event is offered for a small fee, but if you are staying in Waikiki it is easily walkable.
Polynesian Cultural Center
55-370 Kamehameha Hwy, Laie, HI 96762
The luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center is very fun and over the top in comparison to the other three luau options. The performance stage is huge and the eating area is set up stadium style. You grab food at the buffet which is located outside and eat at tables located inside the stadium. If you do not have a car, you can purchase round-trip transportation with your ticket, which offers various pick-up and drop-off locations. If you are staying in Waikiki, it takes about an hour each way, which can really draw out your day. You can choose to attend just the luau portion or visit the center for the entire day. The luau is worth it, but I just remember feeling really exhausted after spending the entire day at the center.
91-119 Olai Street, Kapolei, HI 96707
Unfortunately, I have not personally attended Germaine’s Luau; however, it came highly recommended by family. They raved about the performers, food, and ambiance. It is an outdoor backyard style luau where you can stick your feet in the sand and enjoy the views of the ocean. My aunt described the show as being very interactive, with even the pig roast being included as part of the performance. Germaine’s is located about 30 minutes outside of Waikiki and offers complimentary transfers from certain locations.