Makena Beach and Golf Resort Rating: 4.0 Pearls

The luau features torch-lit hula performances.

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Luaus of Hawaii (2 of 24)

 The luau features torch-lit hula performances.
The hotel's weekly sunset luau is $88 for guests and $98 for nonguests; the price includes a buffet dinner and open bar. The luau features torch-lit hula performances. The buffet at the luau is decent, but not as grand as the one at the Marriott Wailea. Turtle Bay's weekly luau features an impressive fire dancing. "The Myths of Maui" is a nightly luau with good entertainment and a mediocre Hawaiian buffet ($92 for open seating). The Kaiulani's luau-like show, Creation: A Polynesian Journey relives the history of the Hawaiian islands through music, dance, and pyrotechnics. The show features a fire-eating juggler and impressive costumery (including the requisite loincloths and coconut bras). The $39 fee includes two drinks. The Sheraton's $75 weekly sunset luau alongside the beach isn't quite as good as the Grand Hyatt's luau -- the MC can be a little corny. The Hilton Hawaiian Village's legendary Starlight Luau is a good choice for frist-timers, and one of the few luaus in Waikiki proper. But the location on the roof of the Hilton's large conference center will disappoint those looking for a more classic beachside experience. The luau features dance performances by Tihati Productions dance company, fire sword swallowers and hip-shaking hula dancers. Tickets are $100 for adults and $50 for kids. Chief Sielu Avea, one of the world's most famous fire dancers, performs at the resort's weekly Fia Fia Luau. He has appeared on a number of TV shows including Oprah and The Tonight Show. The buffet at the Fia Fia Luau has a kids' table with child-friendly options, and there are arts and crafts activities before the show. Paradise Cove luau, which has been featured on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, is one of Hawaii's best-known (and has the crowds to prove it). Vacationers make the trek from Waikiki just to see it, but guests staying at the Marriott Ko Olina or JW Marriott can jet right over on the resort shuttles. The Paradise Cove luau performance includes a ceremonial pig roasting. The Paradise Cove luau's oceanfront setting is stunning at sunset. The on-site Drums of the Pacific luau, $96 to $119 for adults, includes a buffet dinner, unlimited drinks and a live performance. There's no pre-assaigned seating, so even guests who pre-book their tickets line up hours ahead of time to get good views. Lines for The Sheraton's mediocre luau are long. For a better show in a more intimate setting, check out the Old Lahaina luau. The Marriott's Honua'ula luau is the best in Wailea, and is held every Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. Standard seating costs $98 and can be booked through the hotel; be sure to book as far in advance as possible. This three-hour extravaganza has all the essential luau elements, including traditional food like poi and kalua pork. Cirque-du-Soleil-style spectacles include Spanish web acrobatics and a riveting performance by the three-time fire-dancing world champion. The Grand Hyatt's outdoor luau features the standard offering of dances, storytelling, and popular old ditties like Don Ho's hit Tiny Bubbles. The $98 admission fee includes a buffet of island cuisine. The Hanalei is an unplugged resort on Kauai's stunning north shore. Too bad that its mediocre weekly luau is inside instead of set against a backdrop of the resort's rare oceanfront views.
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