There is no doubt that The Old Lahaina Luau has an outstanding reputation on the Hawaiian Islands. Many call it the best and most authentically Hawaiian luau.
I wanted to see what all the fuss was about – so, I booked myself and my husband in for an evening of hula and feasting at the Old Lahaina.
We’d sadly picked ourselves a rainy day (which is extremely rare in Lahaina!) We wondered whether we’d actually make it to the luau at all. However, we were pleasantly surprised that the rain held off and the staff at The Old Lahaina Luau weren’t a bit phased that it had been throwing it down only an hour earlier.
Here’s a run through of our evening. We hope our experience and photos will gives you a glimpse into what a special experience an evening at The Old Lahaina is.
A Beautiful Setting
On our arrival, the most striking thing about this luau compared to others on Maui was the purpose built grounds and stage. The Old Lahaina Luau is not based in a hotel, and so everything you see has been designed to serve your luau experience.
The quality of the setting was immediately stand-out to us as a result.
The grounds (situated by the beach on Front Street) have amphitheater style seating around a central circular stage. It was a beautiful place to spend an evening amidst palm trees and flickering torches, with the ocean glistening beyond.
Chairs or Mats?
When you book your tickets there is a choice of seating at The Old Lahaina. You either sit at chairs and tables or at low tables with cushions on mats.
All the tables seat 8 guests, so you will share with others if your party is less than that number. Be prepared to make friends!
The traditional (mat) seating puts you right in front of the stage but all the tables have a good view. I confess we opted for comfort (i.e. non-traditional!)
A Fun Cultural Experience
The Old Lahaina Luau, is really more than simply dinner and a show.
When we arrived at the Old Lahaina, we were greeted with a lei made from fresh flowers and handed a tropical drink. Then we were guided to our seats and invited to take a wander around the grounds.
You can have your photo taken by the ocean or enjoy learning more about Hawai’i at the cultural kiosks they have dotted along the ocean edge. Many of these activities are particularly great for kids – who can learn hula dancing or partake in Hawaiian games.
After a wander, we were then gathered together to see the great kalua pig unearthed from the Imu (a big dirt pit serving as an underground oven.) This was the first sighting of our dinner!
Feasting at the Old Lahaina Luau
I find at luaus you can generally count on the feast being pretty incredible. The Old Lahaina Luau was no exception.
Once back at your table, you have your own designated waiter or waitress who will serve you complimentary drinks throughout the evening. There is a large selection, including cocktails, beers, wine, and soft drinks. You can also stretch your legs and get it from the bar yourself (useful, if you lose sight of your waitress.)
Starters of freshly baked taro rolls and macadamia nut butter were served at our table. Then we were invited up to the buffet to fill our plates with as many mouth-watering delights as we could manage. What a spread!
They have all the traditional Hawaiian food you could want here but my favorite was definitely the Ahi Poke (high-quality raw tuna at it’s finest.)
A platter of different desserts was brought to the table after dinner, and all the guests were given a bag of freshly baked banana bread to take home with them at the end of the evening. Delicious!
Once we were settled with dinner, the show began.
We were narrated through the different dances. The dances tell of the history of Hawaii, as well as demonstrating a great variety of hula styles. All of the dancing is accompanied by a top quality live band playing traditional Hawaiian music, making for a very enjoyable evening.
I also personally experienced great relief when I discovered the audience participation was limited to honoring those who were celebrating special occasions like marriages and birthdays. It fortunately did not consist of pulling people out of the audience and onto the stage at random to try the hula. Definitely another plus for the Old Lahaina in my books!
Have you attended the Old Lahaina Luau? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
If you’d like to attend the Old Lahaina Luau you can book tickets and check availability here.
Note: this luau, due to popularity, can often completely sell out a few weeks in advance of your chosen date – so our advice is to book early!