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A luau is a Hawaiian feast that features food, drink and entertainment. And Maui has the most and best luaus in Hawaii.

In early times, Hawaiian's celebrated many occasions with a feast to honor their many gods and to share food, song and dance with family, friends and guests. Occasions included such things as winning a battle, a successful harvest, birth of a child, and completion of a canoe. Originally called aha-aina (gathering for a meal), the word luau came into use referring to the edible taro leaves used to wrap food baked in an imu (underground oven).

Today's luaus typically start with a lei (garland of flowers) greeting and tropical drinks such as Mai Tai's offered at an open bar. Dinner usually features Poi, Kalua Pig, Mahi Mahi, Teriyaki Steak, Chicken, Poke, a variety of salads and fruit followed by desert. Poi is often called the Hawaiian staff of life. It is made from taro pounded and thinned with water. Kalua Pig is traditionally prepared by salting the pua‘a (pig), wrapping it in taro leaves and baking it in an imu. Poke is made from the freshest Hawaiian fish such as Ahi, dressed and served raw.
Luau Hula
Luau Hula

After dinner, an entertaining show begins. These usually feature a variety of Hawaiian/Polynesian music, chants, hula and fire dances.

There are a number of luau's offered on Maui, some in the Wailea area near the condo and others in Lahaina/Kaanapali. These are listed below for your reference.

Wailea Area Luau's
  • Grand Luau at Honua'ula is held at the Grand Wailea Resort located at 3850 Wailea Alanui Drive, Wailea. This is the luau I take friends and family to. In addition to good food at the all-you-can-eat buffet, an open bar and a great show about the history of the Maui, there are also Hawaiian games and crafts. This luau is held on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. The location is next to the ocean so you'll have a beautiful sunset too. After the luau you can stroll the Wailea beach walkway to visit resort nightlife. Call 808-875-7710 for direct reservations.

  • Te Au Moana "The Ocean Tide" Luau is at the Wailea Beach Marriott located at 3700 Wailea Alanui, Wailea. I've not attended this luau but have heard excellent things about it. The luau features interactive activities, crafters, buffet dinner and show, 4:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Call 877-827-2740 for more info.

Lahaina Luau's
  • Old Lahaina Luau at 1251 Front St., Lahaina. Features authentic and entertaining Hawaiian luau featuring traditional Hawaiian cuisine, music, cultural dances, and island crafts. When I last attended this luau, the dances covered Polynesia - not just Hawaii. Nice food and drink. Call 800-248-5828. Book as early as possible - they fill up 2-5 weeks out!

  • Feast at Lele is located at 505 Front St., Lahaina. It features a sit down dinner of five epicurean courses from across Polynesia followed by music and dancing from four Pacific islands - Hawaii, Tahiti, The Cook Islands, Aotearoa New Zealand and Samoa. Rather than having a buffet dinner like most luau's, this venue has each course served at your table. And you may be able to get a private table for two - very romantic. I've attended this and can tell you the food is very good. Call 866-244-5353 for more information. Again book as early as possible as this is a popular luau.

Kaanapali Luau's
  • Drums of the Pacific Luau is held at the Hyatt Regency Maui, 200 Nohea Kai Drive, Kaanapali. I've not attended this venue but have heard good revues from friends. Their website explains everything and you'll find a brochure available for download. Call 808-667-4727 for reservations.

  • Kaanapali Sunset Luau at Black Rock is held at the Sheraton Maui Resort, 2605 Kaanapali Parkway. In addition to the usual faire, the after dinner show is Tihati's Polynesia Revue. One fun thing about this luau is that you'll see the torch lighting and cliff dive ceremony from Black Rock at sunset. Offered on Monday and Wednesday and "seasonal Friday's", call 877-846-4684 for more information.

  • Wailele Polynesian Luau is at the Westin Maui Resort and Spa, 2365 Kaanapali Parkway, Lahaina. Presented oceanfront, weekly at sunset at the Aloha Pavilion. Entertainment includes music and dances of Hawaii and Polynesia. I have not attended this luau. Call 808-661-2992 for more information.

  • Myths of Maui Luau is at the Royal Lahaina Resort, 2780 Kekaa Drive, Kaanapali. It features songs and dances from Tahiti, Hawaii and Samoa along with a buffet dinner. Held nightly. Call 808-661-9119 for more information.

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