Aloha Oe is one of the most famous songs from the beautiful Hawaii. Here is the chorus:
|Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe||Farewell to thee, farewell to thee|
|E ke onaona noho i ka lipo||The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers|
|One fond embrace,||One fond embrace,|
|A hoʻi aʻe au||'Ere I depart|
|Until we meet again||Until we meet again|
Our one big night out on Maui was visiting the Old Lahaina Luau. Old Lahaina is the only one that greets every guest with a traditional lei and beautiful fragrant flower (like a cross between a rose and jasmine) to be worn in womens hair. A lovely bride and groom on my plane were getting married on Maui, and their Maui wedding planner booked them and their wedding party at the Old Lahaina Luau because the planner believes it is the best luau on the island. Coincidentally, the bride and groom were booked on the same day we we booked to partake in the luau. It was fun to congratulate the young couple on the island, as well as the time we were on the plane.
When on Maui, or Hawaii in general, I highly suggest partaking in a luau. Each time I was on Oahu when I was child on vacation, and just a couple weeks ago on Maui, the allure, kitchiness, beauty, tradition, and experience of the luau is still touching my heart. It is dinner theater, it is like summer camp, it is like getting on a cruise ship, it is a luau. It requires just letting the mind go into the dinner theater and enjoy what the highly trained staff has to offer in hospitality, food, drink, surroundings, and of course the luau show. This Hawaiian staff offers the luau 7 days per week for 440 people everyday, and most everyday of the year, the tables are full. It seems that locals take visitors to the Old Lahaina Luau for the luau experience, the wedding planner directs her clients to the Old Lahaina Luau, and my group found it to be a great luau experience.
This luau is assigned seating when reservations are made by phone or online. The reservation price includes all food, drink and show. It does not include gratuity, so remember to bring extra cash for your servers. There is no reason to get to the door early because it is assigned seating. As we walked in, we were greeted with a lovely lady lei-ing us with fragrant leis. Then one step later, we greeted by a young man handing out the 1st of many mixed drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. If you plan on drinking, you can drink a lot here, so bring a designated driver with you.
A staff member in a beautiful floral sarong showed us to our table, and pointed us to about a dozen arts and crafts stations around the grounds, and various areas that were perfect for sunset photo ops. The arts and crafts stations reminded me of summer camp in a way. There were stations that were showing how to make a lei, tikis, Hawaiian style jewelry, floral hair clips, hula lessons, photo ops, etc. The photo ops of the sunset over the ocean was just unbelievable. Just the visual at this pretty location was worth the price of admission. The arts and crafts stations were Hawaiian kitchy, and should be completely enjoyed because there is no where else in the USA that you can have this experience besides a luau. Off to one side was the giant sand pit that was roasting the pig were were going to eat as part of our dinner. That was a rather big show to unearth the pig. How the pig is actually cooked is by steam, not direct heat from coals. I believe the pit is filled with coals, then lined with water soaked banana leaves, and then the pig is placed into the leaves and covered up with more water soaked banana leaves. Then the pig is piled high with sand to keep the heat from the coals in, and the pig cooks overnight and into the next day to be ready for the luau. All of this, and unlimited drinks were all going on before dinner and the hula luau show.
Once the chef prepared the pig for us, it was time to go sit and get ready for dinner. Did I say unlimited drinks yet? The table staff came and asked us if we wanted more drinks from the drink menu that had all the tropical drinks you could want, and if you wanted to design your own, you could. Old Lahaina has all the fruit juices, mixers and liquors you would want for a tropical drink. The tables at the Old Lahaina Luau are spacious enough for 8 people, and are made of hard wood. The design of the dining "room" or outdoor dining area is really nice, and exactly what you would hope for in a luau venue. Even though my party shared the dining area with 430 other people, it did not feel over whelming at all. It was really well down. We sat at a table with chairs. There are some select tables where guests could sit on the ground. It seemed as though the younger people with little kids opted for the traditional sitting on the ground, and seemed to enjoy that. The ones who sat on the ground got to be closest to the stage too. Our seats were the next tier up from the tables with seating on the ground, so we too had a great area to view the show from.
After we were all seated, had plenty to drink, and the dessert tray was delivered to every table, the staff got ready to present the luau hula show. This one is slightly different from most, as it is not about fire twirling and hula lessons, rather it tells the story of Hawaii through traditional interpretive hula dance, songs, chants and rhythms. The story begins with Polynesians traveling to the beautiful islands of Hawaii, through the arrival of explores and conquerors who brought diseases and the banning of hula dance and chants, through the taking the land and slavery for plantations, to modern day when the people of Hawaii are once again allowed to live and celebrate their heritage through language, hula dance, chants and rhythms.
I really enjoyed this luau a lot. I appreciate the staff, dancers and performers who offered the story of their homeland. It was just a really good time. When I go back to Maui, I am going to this luau again.
Labels: Maui Eats