I would say that close to all of my clients, at one point or another, attend a Hawaiian luau. A “luau, ” if you’re wondering, is just a Hawaiian themed party. That party doesn’t have to be in Hawaii as well. It could be in Afghanistan, it just has to be Hawaii themed. Maybe there’s hula, Hawaiian food, the setting just has to be “Hawaiian,” and that’s all. The questions I always get asked is, “Steve, I want to know which luau is authentic.”
Uhm….unless you’re attending a luau that’s not commercialized, more than likely, it’s not authentic. And that’s purely because back in the day, Hawaiian’s didn’t throw parties for money – haha.
So what are the best luaus on the Island?
I’ve listed them in no particular order and linked them to their websites (that opens in extra tabs), which should make it easier for you to navigate. I do have a few comments on each luau.
POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER
PCC, as what the locals call it, is like a mini amusement park. Not only is there a luau here, but an entire mini-city full of little businesses to take your money. Not to mention, a full-fledged dedicated restaurant called Pounders. Their luau is an all-day experience, unlike Germaine’s or Paradise Cove. They’ll send a bus to pick you up in Waikiki and you’ll spend the entire day riding canoes, learning about Hawaiian culture, eating, and attending a really good Luau.A couple of big catch 22’s here.Number One, is that they don’t serve alcohol. Number Two, is that it’s run by Mormons. Not that Mormon’s are a bad, but I’ve heard stories from some of my clients that their Luau tour included a tour of the BYU campus, and their guides loved talking about how great Joseph Smith is. They all said that “if you can get past that part, and the zero alcohol part, you’re fine.”
If you like to be up and close to the entertainment, then this luau for you. Even the back rows, you’re not too far away from the action. The show is great and the food is good.I did notice that their dancers, specifically, their women dancers, were kinda on the bigger side than usual. Is that authentic?
Out of all the luaus, I tend to like Paradise Cove the best. The first reason why? I’m not going to lie here. Some of the women are downright gorgeous. I mean, they are the cream of the crop, some of the best local looking girls that I’ve seen on the island. And I’m not saying this in a Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby way. I literally said to myself, “Where the hell did they find women who look like this?” The men tend to be in better shape too. Their casting department is really good. Tied for first, their food is really good. Thier bbq chicken and kalua pig is really tasty. Secondly, I can sit far away from the stage. I’m not sure if you’re like me, but I like to play it safe at these shows. I find that if I’m near the stage, I get pulled up on the stage. Farther away, the better. And if I’m far away, I can continue to attack the buffet line.
I do tend to like Paradise Cove out of all the rest, but they are all good. Anyone of them, you’ll be very happy. Luaus tend to run around the $100 per person range. It’s really worth it in my opinion.
I need to mention that there is a Waikiki called The Diamondhead Luau, which one of my couples attended and loved. I have never been there before.
Now, if you’re looking to throw your own luau at your vacation rental, that’s 100% possible. Check out my Costco Luau by clicking here.
YOUR WEDDING AND LUAU’S
If you’re a couple that wants to attend a luau after your wedding, that’s really a great idea. There are some trade-offs that you need to know if you do decide to take this route. To begin, because most luaus start around sunset, that literally means you will not be able to get sunset shots for your wedding. That is, unless you get married at Ko’olina and have your Luau at Paradise Cove. If you do it this way, I can pull you away from the Luau for 5 minutes, and we can get sunset shots! I can’t do that at Germaine’s or PCC.
As a last note, make sure that you have a designated driver for the trip back to the hotel. Those fruity alcohol drinks have a lot of alcohol!