Skipping on a formal, traditional translation, the word "luau" pretty much means big feast, big party, and big family. That spirit pretty much have it’s counterparts throughout the world, such as large summer family picnics held over Memorial Day weekend on the mainland. So the concept and atmosphere of a luau shouldn’t be that unfamilar to most anyone that hasn’t attended one yet. And no surprising, the fun-loving people of Hawaii add their own traditions and culture to make the experience even better.
The Royal Lahaina Luau is one of the bigger name luaus on the island, with capacity to host seatings of easily a few hundred people. It is also one of the more well known luaus as well, so they tend to fill up to capacity regularly. And that’s for good reason, since the Royal Lahaina puts on a very good, extended production with their luau, covering many different aspects of the numerous cultures throughout the Pacific that have insipered the Hawaiian traditions.
With a strong cast of talented performers, from singers to hula dancers to fire dancers, this show does not disappoint. While held on the grounds of the Royal Lahaina Resort, the surroundings and the setup of the luau area helps to isolate you from the buildings around you, and after the sunsets over the ocean to the West, the dark of night completes the atmosphere and you think you’re back with the ancient tribes of Tahiti.
After a little frustration caused by a scheduling snafu resulting in most of the luau guests showing up an our early and having to wait in a long line as a result, it felt like it wasn’t going to be the best of nights.
Once you’re on the grounds and you first see the buffet and seating areas, it looks like 40 small picnic-style tables crammed into too small of an area. It feels a little chaotic when everyone’s up and about trying to get situated, but once dinner is over and the show begins, everything feels like a brand new night.
Despite sounding a little negative there for a moment, we definitely do recommended seeing a large luau of this scale while in Maui, especially if you haven’t seen one before. As mentioned, it is ultimately one big party, and the beauty and ease in which the performers work their craft is truly amazing. You can see the years of practice required for these types of acts, and realizing the historical and cultural significance in many of the performances, you really do get a sense of ancient Hawaii to take way with at the end of the night.