As the sun dips into the Pacific, dancers at Old Lahaina Luau begin to perform the history of the Hawaiian Islands through hula. A guest of the Maui Visitor’s Bureau, I have a ringside seat and the perfect vantage point to take photos. But this is just the beginning of an entertaining evening in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.
Old Lahaina Luau serves up a potent mix of authentic Hawaiian experiences and hospitality (Hookipa) in an intimate oceanfront setting. The hospitality begins when a lei is hung around my neck, a tropical drink placed in my hands and I’m led to a reserved seat where a personalized program explains the evening’s entertainment. And it’s the same for every guest at the luau. The experience is all-inclusive from the friendly staff to the comprehensive buffet and unlimited beverages (including alcoholic).
Arrive early to observe Hawaiian craft demonstrations or watch the kalua pig as it’s unearthed from the “Imu.”
To say the staff is friendly is an understatement. I especially like the way diners are led to the buffet one or two tables at a time. Food choices include authentic Hawaiian dishes like pork wrapped in laulau leaf or something more familiar — grilled steak and Mahi Mahi. A tray of Hawaiian desserts is delivered to the table at the meal’s conclusion. And eager servers make sure that your glass is never empty.
The evening ends in an entertainment extravaganza of authentic cultural dances accompanied by a narration of Hawaiian history. As the Old Lahaina Luau program says, “We are proud to present the Hula as it was meant to be performed with the respect and honor of our Ancestors.”
It’s an enjoyable experience that I’ll be repeating on my next trip to Maui.
Disclosure: Maui Visitor’s Bureau provided this travel experience but the opinions are strictly my own.