Nothing envelops you in a Hawaiian vacation like a luau in Oahu: the fall of a fresh-flower lei on your shoulders; the sweetness of the coconut haupia bar; the spectacle of the dance. Add the ocean breeze and views, fire knife shows and activities – Hawaiian darts, weaving, coconut-husking, tribal tattooing (temporary, of course). All you have to do is choose the Honolulu luau that’s right for you. Ask THE MODERN HONOLULU Concierge for assistance.
At the family-friendly Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), the Alii (royal) Luau welcomes guests with fresh orchid leis. The feast features island staples: kalua (pit-prepared) pork, pipikaula (dried beef short ribs), taro and coconut haupia bars for dessert. The royal court arrives in a show of song and hula dance to the Hale Aloha amphitheater, surrounded by waterfalls, hibiscus and a freshwater lagoon. An emcee talks you through the traditions and history, rounding out the experience. Don’t miss the signature evening show, Ha: Breath of Life. Note that alcohol is not served or permitted at the PCC.
Rated # 1 on TripAdvisor.com (and located just 25 minutes from THE MODERN HONOLULU), Chief Sielu’s Luau, unfolds at lush Makapuu Meadows. Go for the panoramic backdrop, world-famous Chief Sielu and an array of activities – observe or participate in hula dancing, fire-making, coconut-husking, weaving and tattooing. After the feast, enjoy the eye-popping show of drummers, dancers and fire-twirlers – including World Champion Fire Knife Dancer Chief Sielu himself.
At oceanfront Paradise Cove Luau play Hawaiian games (try spear-throwing or dart-like moa pahee). Meet lei-makers in the Hawaiian Village. Commission a traditional (but temporary) tattoo. Follow the royal court into the amphitheater as they bless the feast. Expect culinary mainstays including poi, a cooked and mashed preparation of taro. Paradise Cove Luau packages are differentiated by seat locations, the number of drink tickets you’ll receive and buffet or table service (select the Deluxe Luau package for the latter). After dinner, the Polynesian revue-style show covers everything from comedy to fire-knife dancing.
Sampling Hawaiian food, particularly in a luau setting, is an essential experience among things to do in Oahu. You’ll discover several options rooted in the Hawaiian tradition (adopted around 1819 as a gathering for a meal to honor an achievement or occasion). The inclusion of specific foods or cultural expressions like hula dancing have been handed down through generations, although some contemporary luaus may take an unconventional approach. What unites them all is the essence of Aloha – an air of togetherness and celebration. Just ask THE MODERN HONOLULU Concierge if you need help determining which luau best fits the experience you’re seeking. Three of our most asked-about luaus: Chief Sielu’s Luau, Paradise Cove Luau and the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau.
“ If you are visiting between November and February, don’t miss Waimea Bay on the North Shore where the island’s top surfers take on 30-foot waves ”