Review of Our Evening at Old Lahaina Luau

Updated Nov 23, 2022

Luaus are a great way to spend an evening when you’re looking for something to do in Maui. They provide entertainment, food, drinks, and a place to sit for a while and unwind.

We had our son’s girlfriend with us on our last trip to Maui and it was her first time on the islands. He was excited to show her around and requested that we attend a luau. We decided on the Old Lahaina Luau as we’ve enjoyed it with family in the past and knew it would be a great evening.

This review is going to be more about what it’s like at the Old Lahaina Luau rather than if it’s good because as you can already guess, we’re fans. Going to luaus brings back memories of some of our first trips to the islands, so I was glad we could share that with her.

Should You Attend the Old Lahaina Luau?

I’ll get right to it for those that want a quick answer. You can’t go wrong with the Old Lahaina Luau. It’s considered one of the most authentic commercial luaus in Maui and it’s easily one of the most popular. The owners have been running this luau since 1986 and have greatly improved it over the years based on guest feedback. Book your reservations well in advance if you plan on attending as it sells out quickly due to its popularity.

Arriving at the Old Lahaina Luau

The Old Lahaina Luau is located on the water at the end of Front Street in Lahaina that’s closest to Ka’anapali beach. It’s a beautiful location set up like an amphitheater that gives you incredible sunsets and a good view of the show from any seat in the house.

Once you’ve parked and made your way to the entrance, you’ll walk through the lobby (there may be a quick line) that’s filled with items and information about the history of the luau and Hawaiian culture. Be sure to take everything in as there are a lot of interesting things to see here.

After that, you’ll check in and be greeted by your host with the gift of a fresh flower lei that you can wear throughout the evening. Your host will escort you to your table where you can place drink orders before dinner starts.

A table and chairs or traditional mat seating with a low table are offered but can only be chosen when making your reservation. Additionally, seating assignments are in order of first reserved, so be sure to make reservations well in advance!

Walking the Grounds

After you’ve been seated and had a few sips of your Mai Tai, take some time to walk the grounds at the Old Lahaina Luau. There are a number of activities and things to see including wood carving and lei making with items to purchase if you’d like to take something home.

This is also a good time to visit the water to check out the oceanfront view. Just before dinner, you can snap amazing sunset photos here depending on the clouds.

The Imu Ceremony

An imu is an oven created by digging a hole in the ground and is traditionally used at Hawaiian luaus to cook the kalua pig. The imu is covered with layers of cloth and leaves which helps keep the steam in and slow cook the meat.

The imu ceremony is held before dinner and is relatively quick so be sure not to miss it. During the ceremony, you’ll learn more about luau history as your hosts lift the cloth and leaves covering the pig. The pig is then transferred to a large metal container where it will make its way to the kitchen to be shredded and served as tasty kalua pork.

Dinner at the Old Lahaina Luau

After you’ve had a chance to walk the grounds and check out the imu ceremony, it’s time to settle back into your seat and get ready for dinner. This is also a great time to order another drink (it’s an open bar so keep them coming).

The dinner portion of the Old Lahaina Luau used to be a buffet but since the pandemic, it has changed to table service. We’ve done the buffet before and found that we actually enjoyed the table service better, so that was a welcome change!

Dinner starts out with a basket of taro and sweet potato chips along with coconut haupia and sweet kūlolo followed by salad and a bread basket. Next, you’ll be served an assortment of kalua pig, laulau (pork wrapped in taro leaves), ahi poke, and lomilomi salmon for the table to share.

For the main course, each person gets their own plate that consists of steak, chicken, fish, and island veggies. The Old Lahaina Luau does accommodate vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free meals with 24 hours of advance notice.

Finally, your dinner will conclude with a decadent dessert that consists of mango coconut bombe and macadamia coconut crunch with mango anglaise. There’s also a coffee and tea service if you need something to perk you up for the trip home.

Hulu Dancing and Hawaiian Music

Before dinner starts and during your walk around the grounds, you can hear the sounds of local musicians playing a variety of island songs that add to the ambiance of the evening.

During dinner, you will be treated to a traditional Hawaiian hula show and music that takes you on a journey through the history of the Hawaiian islands. You’ll hear the beat of the drums as hula dancers tell the story of early Hawaiians all the way to the present day.

The hula dancing at Old Lahaina Luau is spectacular and fun to watch. The dancers are all well trained in hula and many have been practicing it since they were children. They take it very seriously and the show they put on does not disappoint.

One thing to note is that the Old Lahaina Luau does not have firing dancing. That is because fire dancing is not a traditional part of Hawaiian luaus as it is on other islands in Polynesia (Old Lahaina Luau strives to be authentic). If fire dancing is important to you, consider checking out Feast at Lele which is operated by the same company as Old Lahaina Luau.

Old Lahaina Luau Reservations

Old Lahaina Luau Hula Dancing

Most people will tell you to make your reservations well in advance because tickets sell out quickly. As of this writing, I’m able to book a table three months in advance. So I would say somewhere between three to six months in advance is probably safe.

When booking your reservation you will have the choice between table and chairs or traditional mat seating in the front row. We’ve never done the traditional mat seating before but I bet the view is pretty good!

Click the button below to check your dates and see what the cost for your evening will be.

More About the Old Lahaina Luau

Old Lahaina Luau Sunset

Is the Old Lahaina Luau Authentic?

The Old Lahaina Luau is often billed as authentic because it only includes elements from traditional Hawaiian luaus instead of all Polynesia like some other luaus. So in that sense, it is an authentic Hawaiian luau. However, that isn’t a good or bad thing. It just means the food and entertainment are strictly Hawaiian. Check out the Feast at Lele if you’re interested in a luau that covers more than just Hawaiian culture.

Location and Parking

The Old Lahaina Luau is located at 1251 Front St in Lahaina on Maui’s West Side. There is a parking lot but it’s often full early. When that happens, you can park across the street at the Lahaina Cannery Mall. The walk back is only a couple of minutes.

What to Wear?

This isn’t a formal feast, it’s a casual party. Wear whatever is comfortable or bust out that Hawaiian shirt you’ve been dying to show off! I’ve seen some people mention a light jacket but I’ve never needed one. The temperature is still usually great at that time in the evening.

How Long is the Luau?

The Old Lahaina Luau runs about three hours with five showings a week and starts between 5:15 and 6:15 pm depending on the time of year.

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