The Alii Luau is a “royal feast” that has been awarded the Kahili Award for being the most authentic Hawaiian luau. This luau is held on the grounds of the Polynesian Cultural Center. A tall lava rock wall with waterfalls and tropical plants make for the backdrop for the luau performances. The open air seating arrangement is covered by a pavilion, which would be quite useful when it rains.
The luau started with a welcoming fresh flower lei greeting. A hostess directed us to our table. We were there in June on a particularly crowded day. I was at the Hale Aloha luau venue that seats 700 people and I believe it was at capacity. Even though the venue is rather large, all the tables appeared to offer a nice view of the festivities.
The luau featured live music and traditional Hawaiian song and dance. A “royal” Hawaiian court was presented to add to the feel of being at a royal feast. The delightful host, “Cousin Benny”, explained all the songs and traditions.
The luau included an imu ceremony which involves removing the pig from the underground oven. One nice feature of the Ali’i Luau is that everyone has a clear view of this process. Other luaus that I’ve been to don’t have the tiered seating arrangement that allows you to see the process like the Polynesian Cultural Center does.
Dinner was served buffet style, which is quite common at luaus. The food includes a wide selection of Hawaiian specialties such as kalua puaa (pig cooked in the underground oven), island fish, poke (marinated raw fish), lomilomi salmon, and pipi kaula (seasoned beef). Of course, taro is represented on the buffet with traditional poi and my favorite, taro rolls. The buffet also included fresh tropical fruits, and a salad bar. For kids who prefer foods that are more familiar, there are hot dogs, potato wedges, and chicken fingers. A delicious assortment of desserts were available. I particularly liked the coconut cake.
Overall, the luau was quite interesting and fun. If you are looking for a luau in Oahu, the Ali’i Luau is a wise choice for an authentic Hawaiian experience.
Tips for Enjoying the Alii Luau
- You can save 10% or more off a Polynesian Cultural Center package by booking directly with the Polynesian Cultural Center online.
- Most seats are first come first serve, so the earlier you arrive, the more likely you’ll have good seats.
- Be aware of that busiest times are January, June, July, August, and December, so book ahead for those months. I was told that all Polynesian Cultural Center luaus were sold out the day I was there in mid-June.
- Be prepared that luau food may have different flavors than you are accustomed, so make a point to try and enjoy new foods and preparations.
- See my review of the Polynesian Cultural Center for more information about the cultural center and watch for a review of their superb evening show, HA: Breath of Life.