In my life, I’ve attended three luaus, so I’m not an expert. But I do know good food and a good show when they are presented to me. I also know exceptional customer service when I receive it. I found all three of these at the Old Lahaina Luau.
Easy to find, just behind the Cannery Mall in Lahaina, awaits a wonderful evening of Hawaiian culture, cuisine and tradition. I was anxious to attend the OLL because I have heard from several different people that it is THEE luau to attend when you are on Maui, and as this particular trip was my third trip to Maui since 2013, I was anxious to see for myself.
First, conveniently located on Front Street, they have use of additional parking in front of the Cannery across the street so getting there and parking were easy. Thank you. I hate dealing with parking; so that part being easy for me went a long way.
It is organized. You are greeted. Things are explained to you in a nice and welcoming manner. You are never wondering what is next or where to go. I dig that. I’ve already traveled over 5,000 miles to be there. Make it easy for me.
The customer service is ridiculous, as in ridiculously good. Honestly, I’ve traveled all over and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a nicer server than our server at OLL that night (Jonathon). It’s not just about being helpful and available, but he was respectful and kind. I felt welcomed, taken care of, and appreciated. And not just in a service industry kind of way, this young man was just kind to his core. Our whole table loved him and his spirit of aloha was contagious.
Tradition: Lots of neat pre-luau activities to partake in: Hula lessons, coconuts, wood carving, music (Did I mention the live music? Because it was pretty awesome), and of course, the tradition of taking the pig from the ground. I rarely eat meat so, you know, not my favorite, but I could appreciate the tradition of it. There were also lots of opportunities to get pictures. If you wanted a professional photo to comemmerate your holiday, they took those too, with the ocean and sunset as the backdrop. Also, you were under no obligation to purchase one (though I did because its hard to take pictures of yourself and I wanted one for a souvenir. Sometimes, a selfie just doesn’t do the view and experience justice).
Food: Thank goodness I had spent the whole day hiking in Hana and upping my metabolism because it was really good. There was a fantastic selection of dishes, and plenty of vegetarian dishes. My favorite was the taro rolls. It was NOT a low carb day. Food was buffet style. A nice touch–desserts were served right to your table; a lovely dessert tray assortment…all delicious. You can check out their menu online here.
The Show: I’m not a big luau show fan. While I love the hula and the music and the pageantry of them; the “idea” of them, I usually find myself bored and hoping it to be over soon while they are half way through. This one told the history of Maui in a completely engaging way and I found myself anxious to hear what happened “next” in the story. Shorter segments made for better attention-getters than other luaus that had longer performance numbers. All of a sudden it was over. What? I checked my watch. It was the same length of time as other luau shows I had seen, it just seemed shorter because I was interested the entire time. The only thing it didn’t have that other luaus I have attended in the past did was a number where people danced with fire. So if that’s your thing, they don’t do that. However, the quality of the show, food, and service should more than make up for that for you. Unless you really have a thing for fire dancing…
Special touches: Every one got a beautiful fresh floral lei upon arrival. Everyone got a gift of homemade banana bread when leaving. Mine was my breakfast the next day. It is also worth mentioning that it was an open bar, with drinks included in the cost of the luau.
I’m not associated with OLL in anyway, but if you go to Maui, chances are, someone in your party is going to say “I want to go to a traditional Hawaiian Luau”. This is the one to spend your money on.
TRAVEL TIP: It books out, especially in high season so get your reservations before hand, preferably prior to arriving on island–especially if you want to be seated at the more traditional seating (low tables with pillow seats right in front of the stage) as opposed to table and chairs. Otherwise, call the day you get there, but if you wait till then, you might be disappointed if they are sold out the week you are there. Per their website, OLL operates at nearly 100 percent capacity year round, and seats 440 guests, seven evenings a week, with Hookipa (hospitality) being the hallmark of the evening. I couldn’t agree more.
Is going to a luau on your bucket list?
Lahaina, Maui, Hawai’i 967611-800-248-5828
Worldwide (808) 667-1998