Underneath a star filled sky, I admire the palm trees swaying above my head. The sound of waves crash in the distance, accompanied by the rhythmic striking of a drum and strum of a ukulele. Our dining table is illuminated by torch-light, and the sea breeze causes the fire on top of the torches to dance. The setting is absolutely perfect for our evening at the Old Lahaina Luau in Maui, Hawaii.
We couldn’t ask for better ambiance on this August evening. Josh and I had spent 5 days and nights exploring the beautiful island of Maui. Neither of us had been here before, but we were really enjoying our visit. Mostly, we did our best to stay away from some of the major touristy areas because we were traveling on a budget. But who travels to Hawaii and doesn’t attend a luau?!?
I have been to a number of luaus over the years, and even visited Hawaii before. So I have very high expectations for luaus. However, Josh had never attended one before. Of course, this meant that I had to find the very best luau of them all. I knew a luau would probably be the most expensive thing that we would do on Maui, but I felt it was worth it. After doing my research, we decided to go with the Old Lahaina Luau, as it is consistently voted one of the best on the islands.
The Old Lahaina Luau – Maui, Hawaii
Located in the historic town of Lahiana, on the western shore of Maui, the Old Lahaina Luau strives to provide an authentic Hawaiian luau experience. Lahaina is easy to get to, and there are many accommodation options nearby; however, we chose to stay elsewhere. Even if you don’t stay in Lahaina, be sure to allot some time to walk the town. This historic town used to be a whaling village, and even the captital of the Hawaiian Kingdom before it moved to Honolulu. So you will find a lot of historical sites in this charming and walkable town.
Upon arrival at the Old Lahaina Luau, we were greeted by our friendly hosts and given beautiful fresh leis, my favorite! We were also handed a refreshing and tasty mai tai to sip. Our host gave us a quick tour of the grounds and activities, and then took us to our table. When you make your reservations, you can choose whether you want traditional style seating, which is on the ground front and center to the stage, or if you would prefer tables and chairs.
Personally, I would have liked to do the traditional seating; however, we booked our tickets too late and they were full. Plus, Josh wasn’t quite sure how comfortable he would be on the floor with his back and knees (and sadly, me too!).
Arrive Early to Enjoy the Activities!
After getting settled at our table, we got up to explore. They have a number of activities all around the property, so be sure to get there early so you can explore! The Old Lahaina Luau property sits along the beach and provides beautiful views of the setting sun. During our walk around the grounds, we learned about the taro plants and tasted poi for the first time! Poi is ground up taro root that is then mixed with a bit of water. It was a staple in the ancient Hawaiian diet. Basically, it is a starch that they served with most everything to help keep their bellies satisfied.
Poi doesn’t taste like much, but we learned that when you combine it with the salty meats (which they had to salt to preserve) then it would help counteract the salty taste. After tasting some purple Hawaiian sweet potatoes (yes, purple) we headed over to play some traditional Hawaiian yard games, as well as checking out the pig roasting in the ground.
Then at 6:15 we settled back in our seats with our drinks and prepared to watch the first show of the night, the presentation of the pig from the oven and then we were ready to feast!
The Old Lahaina Luau – Feast!
The Old Lahaina Luau is a buffet, all you can eat. But we were impressed with the set up of the lines and the system that they had in place to get everyone through efficiently. We were also highly impressed with the food! I have been to luaus before where the food was only marginal, but the food at the Old Lahaina Luau was fantastic! As you can see by the menu items below, they had a wonderful assortment of traditional Hawaiian dishes, as well as more typical dishes to please the American palate.
During dinner, there were a few short dances performed on the stage and a bit of music and chanting. But it wasn’t anything extravagant to take you away from enjoying your meal. Once dinner was nearly complete, the main show began. We enjoyed this because even though all the tables had a good view of the stage, because dinner was over people were able to turn their chairs for even better viewing.
The Old Lahiana Luau is a traditional luau. This means that you won’t get some of the flashier performances, such as the fire dancers. But that doesn’t mean that the show isn’t impressive. The Old Lahaina Luau dancers are very skilled, and the production was beautiful. We loved the fact that it was a traditional show, and they took the time to explain the different dances that were being performed. They wove history and story telling into the performances, which is what a luau is all about.
We would absolutely recommend The Old Lahiana Luau to anyone who is visiting Maui. While it is spendy, it is well worth the price. The facility is top notch, as is the service, and the food is incredibly good. Plus, it is all you can drink (in alcoholic beverages) which is a nice perk. Lastly, the ambiance of the setting and the show itself really make for a memorable evening.