I had previously visited the Luau at the Hilton, several years ago, and much enjoyed it. Except for the buffet. This year, we did a gigantic Luau during our cruise to Kauai. Imagine almost 1,000 people being fed simultaneously. Yikes! We left before the show had begun…
Having brought my elderly dad with us, I still wanted him to enjoy a Luau and so our concierge recommended us this show. Dinner would be served, white linens, open bar and a show depicting the royal traditions of Waikiki as pertaining to the hotel (in part.) Sold!
The show is at the Royal Hawaiian, one of the classic hotels on Waikiki, a beautiful centennial (almost) sitting there, right on the beach in pink. I wonder what it must've looked like back then, without all the other towers sitting right on its doorstep? Impressive, for sure.
The system of getting into the show is in need of some improvement. We, and about a hundred other guests, were stuck in a queue to get in for almost 30 minutes, and since hotel guests were given priority seating in the first row, there were two lines to get out onto the lawn, but only one line to check in. We were handed tickets, which no one ever claimed. Odd. But alas, when in Rome?
Beautiful leis were once again handed out (I think we walked home with 10 lbs of nut and shell leis) and we were finally seated, drink in hand. The food was amazingly delicious given that about two hundred people were served simultaneously, the wine was good even without being able to choose one, and the show was very entertaining.
The whole thing started out with a few stations where traditional Hawaiian crafts were demonstrated, from food preparing to cloth making. Any look, no one trying to sell you anything!!! That alone was worth the price!
The show consisted of dances, singing and the tale of how Waikiki was settled, how it developed, how the king Kamehameha united Hawai'i, and then moving on to the modern days of beach boys, surfing, World War II and the modern era, always accompanied by song, dance and the backdrop of Waikiki beach and the ocean.
The highlight (spoiler alert!) is of course the Samoan fire dance you see at every Luau in Polynesia (?), and the house (lawn) exploded. Magnificent.
If you consider a Luau, but want something more VIP, less mass service, this may be the place for you. Just remember, it's a weekly show, on Mondays only.
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