UPDATE: Unfortunately, Kona Village Resort closed in Spring 2011 due to tsunami damage. It is my understanding that all operations at Kona Village Resort are closed, including this luau. I will keep this review available in the event that they might reopen.
Since we’ve been to a number of luaus all over Hawaii, we have a good comparison base to evaluate the quality of the experience. The Friday night luau at Kona Village definitely offers a top notch dinner and show.
The Kona Village luau set by the private lagoons of this tranquil resort village. Kona Village has dedicated luau grounds with a covered buffet area, two stages and an excellent lighting system that brought the show to life.
At this luau, there’s almost constant entertainment including a coconut opening demonstration, a fantastic imu ceremony, excellent live music, and then the Polynesian dancing on two different stages.
To be honest, I don’t normally have high expectations of the food at luaus. I think I feel that way because I’m not a fan of buffets and most of the luau foods we’ve had in the past were nothing to write home about. However, we thought that the Kona Village luau food was excellent and the selection far exceed what we’ve experienced at other luaus in Hawaii.
The Polynesian dancing show was presented on two stages – a large stage situated across a small lagoon and a smaller stage that was close to the audience. I think that having the show on two different stages helped to keep our interest in the performances. Like other luaus, this show takes you on a journey through the major Polynesian islands, so you get to see a variety of Polynesian dances and costumes.
Other aspects of the Kona Village luau we enjoyed:
– This luau presented one of the best imu ceremonies we’ve seen. There was plenty of space around for guests to observe the unearthing of the foods. The mistress of ceremonies used a microphone to explain what was cooked, how it was cooked, how it was removed, etc. Unlike some other luaus, it was easy to hear and see the process.
– At some luaus, you don’t really eat what you observed at the imu ceremony. I’m pretty certain that what we had was actually cooked that day in the imu. The kalua pork was hot and fresh.
– We thought the kulua pork was some of the best we’ve had in Hawaii. For those watching what they eat, you might like the turkey that they cook in the imu. I’ve not seen imu-cooked turkey offered at any other luau.
– The grand finale of the show featured an excellent fireknife dancer.
Some other considerations:
– Kona Village offers luaus on Wednesdays and Fridays.
– If you stay at Kona Village Resort, your admissions to their luaus are complimentary.
– Some luaus are set ocean side or with ocean views. The Kona Village Luau does not have ocean views.
– This luau is somewhat pricey compared to other Big Island luaus. This luau cost $98 per person plus tax. Admission includes gratuity, an orchid lei crown for the ladies and one drink per person. For children, admission pricing is $67 ages 6-12 and $40 for ages 3-5.
Andy snapped a bunch of photos from this luau. You can look at all four pages of them here.
Have you been to the Kona Village Luau? How was your experience?