Few things say Hawaii like a luau.

These ultra-entertaining feasts have their roots in ancient Polynesia, when the second king of the united Hawaiian Islands lifted the kapu that banned men and women from eating together—and royalty from dining with common subjects.

5 best Maui luaus

That groundbreaking event in 1819 became known not as a luau (indeed, in the traditional sense, “luau” refers to a cherished dish of chicken and taro cooked in coconut milk) but as an ‘aha‘aina—literally, a “gathering for a meal.”

And what gatherings they were. In 1847, King Kamehameha III hosted a fête that included 271 pigs, 2,245 coconuts, 3,125 salted fish, and over 4,000 kalo plants—a staple of kanaka maoli that comprises poi.

emu luau feast

Hawaii’s contemporary take on this native ritual may be more modest in number but is no less spectacular. For most, no Hawaiian holiday is complete without attending at least one ‘aha‘aina, and nearly every major island presents luaus of epic proportions.

Do a quick search of Maui luaus, however, and you may get lost in the abundance of options. Which luau is best for the whole fam, and which luau presents fire dancers? With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a list of top five Maui luaus. Here they are—and makes them magnificent:

 
 

The Grand Luau at Honua’ula

Grand Luau MauiBorrowing its name from the moku (or district) upon which the luau is presented, the Grand Wailea’s gorgeous production, Honua’ula, tells the enchanting story of two of Hawaii’s first founders. La’amaikahiki and Moikeha were Tahitian voyagers who sailed to Maui aboard a canoe, thereafter calling the island’s sunny southern shore their home. Through chanting, dancing, and singing, the Grand Wailea Luau luxe, four-hour event reveals the evolution of Maui’s earliest people and how they came to live in harmony. In addition to traditional luau fare like Kalua pork and poi, the menu features modern faves such as macadamia nut-crusted mahi mahi, chow fun with pork char siu, and pineapple upside down cake. Honua’ula—which offers hula lessons and Hawaiian lawn games—also looks out upon one of the loveliest and most photographed beaches in Hawaii.

Know Before You Go:

  • Offers shows on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
  • Great for kids
  • Open seating
  • Located at the Grand Wailea: A Waldorf Astoria Resort
  • Premium Seats are available

book now
 
 

Myths of Maui – Royal Lahaina Luau

royal lahainaInexpensive, family-friendly, conveniently located, and with one of the best shows on Maui, the Royal Lahaina Luau is definitely in the top 5! Set upon the beautiful Kaanapali shoreline, Myths of Maui takes you on a voyage throughout Polynesia. Guests are welcomed with a shell lei and warm aloha as they begin their evening in paradise. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet showcasing Hawaii’s finest cuisines and be treated to complimentary cocktails all night long. The beautiful hula and exciting fire-knife dance will leave you breathless. With an unbeatable Maui sunset as your backdrop, you are sure to have a memorable night at the Royal Lahaina!

Know Before You Go:

  • Offers shows 7 nights a week
  • Fire Knife Dancing is spectacular!
  • Traditional arts and crafts demonstrations
  • Located at the ROyal Lahaina Resort

book now
 
 

Te Au Moana – Marriott Wailea Luau

Wailea luau Maui HawaiiTranslating to “the ocean tide,” Te Au Moana places emphasis on Hawaiians’ love and association with the ‘aina. Prior to the imu ceremony and feast, guests at this oceanfront gathering are introduced to several vital Hawaiian rituals, including tapa making—or the construction of fabric from trees and shrubs—coconut husking, and flower crafting. The feast itself is one for the records: a buffet-style extravaganza that includes grilled teriyaki steak, seafood pasta, pineapple coleslaw, and Molokai sweet potatoes. The Marriott Wailea Luau is located on a bank of grass above glimmering water, the kiawe and palm-fringed views of the Pacific are nothing short of astounding. But it’s the special, authentic touches—from displays of Polynesian weaponry to fishing demonstrations—that makes this ‘aha‘aina so delightful.

Know Before You Go:

  • Offers shows on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays
  • Children 5 and under are free
  • Cultural interactions
  • Located at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
  • Premium Seats are available

book now
 
 

Maui Nui Luau at Black Rock – Sheraton Luau

Sheraton Kaanapali LuauThis is one of our favorite luaus largely because of the location.  Don’t get me wrong, everything else they’re doing is on par with the best Maui luaus, but the Sheraton Luau has an amazing, large private lawn right on the ocean.  You can walk down and dip your toes in the ocean while watching the torch lighting ceremony and watch the cliff diver jump off Black Rock at sunset.  Guests will be treated to lighthearted, entertaining commentary along with Hawaiian and Polynesian songs, dance performances and an impressive fire knife dance. Sunset views and tropical cocktails make this the perfect date night activity, or night out with friends and family.

Know Before You Go:

  • Offers Monday and Wednesday shows
  • Great for couples and for families
  • Fresh flower lei greeting
  • Located at the Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa


 

 

Old Lahaina Luau

Old Lahaina LuauOld Lahaina Luau is consistently ranked the number one luau on the island. And for good reason: Its sensitivity to cultural accuracy renders it exceptional. Traditional luaus attended by native Hawaiians furthered their connection to the land, in that meals were served and eaten from lauhala mats on the ground. Old Lahaina Luau honors this custom, just as it honors Hawaii’s ancient form of storytelling through a passionate insistence on precision (and details that speak volumes). What’s more, Old Lahaina Luau serves uala—authentic sweet potato beer brewed exclusively for the event by Maui Brewing Co. The celebration’s ocean-side location adds to its brilliance, while the West Maui Mountains in the foreground offer a sense of mysticism.

Know Before You Go:

  • No fire dancing is offered
  • Books up months ahead
  • Offers shows 7 nights a week
  • Traditional, modern, and vegetarian options
  • Located off Front Street in Lahaina

 

hyatt fire dancers


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