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Review of the Mauna Kea Luau on the Big Island of Hawaii

The Mauna Kea Luau, held twice a week at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, is one of the premier luau's on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Originally created for Newsweek magazine back in the 1960s, the Mauna Kea Luau is a journey through the stories of Hawaiian culture shared through music, food and island traditions all told over a wonderful luau show.

  • Mauna Kea Beach Hotel at the Luau grounds overlooking the ocean 

Dates and Times: 
  • Tuesdays and Fridays from 5:30 - 8:00 PM
  • Premium Seating includes preferred entry, premier seating upfront, special shell lei greeting, complimentary Mai Tai or Keiki Drink, ten percent photography discount and family-style pupus on each table (complimentary local dried fruits, macadamia nuts and potato chips on the table)
    • $137 Adults
    • $92 Children (5-12)
  • General Seating
    • $117 Adults
    • $72 Children (5-12)
    • Includes a complimentary Mai Tai or Keiki Drink.
  • Show Only
    • $64 Adults
    • $44 Children (5-12)
    • Includes Dessert, Coffee and Tea.
Luau Inclusions:
  • Complimentary Mai Tai or Keiki Drink.
  • Traditional Hawaiian Luau Food
  • Dinner Buffet & Dessert 

A Visual Journey Through the Mauna Kea Luau
If you're debating between Premier Seating and General Seating, I would recommend the Premier Seating as you are upfront for show, get first entry to the luau and first access to the buffet.  For the luau we attended, the attendance was smaller than other luau's we've been to across Hawaii and this one was a lot smaller and felt more intimate, so there really isn't a bad seat here.

The luau timeline is as follows:
  • 5:30 PM - Doors Open with Premium seated first, general proceeding after
  • 5:45 PM - Imu Ceremony

  • 6:00 PM - Dinner Buffet Opens
    • The dinner buffet is expansive and includes Lomi Salmon, Poi, Grilled Catch, Fresh Taro Rolls, and much more.
    • Desserts include Haupia, Sweet Potato Haupia, Poi Malasadas, Chocolate Cake, Lilikoi Cheese Cake and more.
  • 6:25 PM to 7:00 PM - Royal Court Introduction & Hukilau Dance Demonstration

  • 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM - Luau Show
    • There are no pictures or video allowed during the main luau show, except for the fire dance at the end.

  • 8:00 PM - Photo Session with Performers

Overall, I highly recommend the Mauna Kea Luau if you'll be visiting the Big Island (and especially if you're staying at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel or Westin Hapuna Beach Resort).  Not only do you get a chance to see talented island dancers performing hula accompanied by traditional Hawaiian music, but you’ll be able to taste your way through a variety of authentic, island-inspired dishes alongside contemporary favorites.  It is a perfect way to experience an evening of culture, entertainment and delicious food and drinks.

Also, if you're planning a trip to the Big Island, be sure to check out my Travel Guide: Hawaii Island Travel Guide: Where to Stay on the Big Island