Smith's Luau vs. Luau Makaiwa

Tuesday, February 11

What's more quintessential "tourist Hawaiian" than a Luau? 
Are they cheesy and a little kitsch?
But they are also a ton of fun and highlight the cultural dancing and food of Hawaii:) 

There are multiple Luau's on Kuai, and we have been to two of them.  I wanted to give an honest review of both so you can make a good decision! 

Luau Makaiwa
The first Luau is called Luau Makaiwa. It is located in Kapaa at the Sherton right on the ocean. It is in an open air tent on a grassy area adjacent to the hotel. 

The Pro's: This luau is incredibly kid friendly. They had about 45 minutes where they had activities that kids could join in on…from drumming to hula dancing, etc. The best part about this luau was the show! The emcee was hilarious and the dancing superb. You could also sit very close to all the dancers, Avonlea loved seeing them up close and personal. After the luau you could go and take pictures with all the dancers, which was really special for her. 

The Con's: While the setting is pretty, it is not spectacular. The hotel is pretty average, and the tent was pretty basic. The food was average as well, nothing to write home about, but still good and local Hawaiian fare. 

Smith's Luau
The second Luau is located in Wailua River State Park, right along a gorgeous river in a lush landscape, only 10 minutes from downtown Kapaa. 

The Pro's: The scenery here is absolutely stunning. You feel like you are on a movie set, everything is immaculate. Walking through the arches you are whisked away into another world. I couldn't stop gasping at the beauty. The food was delicious, and there were plenty of options to accommodate my allergies to gluten and dairy. All of the staff were incredibly kind as well:) 

The Con's: While I loved almost everything about this Luau, I can honestly say I was a tad disappointed in the show. The dancing was fun and it was a great presentation on a beautiful stage. However, the stage is a little further away from the seating, so it was harder to see everything up close and personal. Avonlea kept asking me if we could go and see the dancers, so afterward we went to find them and they don't come out for pictures. She was pretty sad, haha! 

So…what's my vote? 

Here's the thing…I actually really loved them both, but for difference reasons. 

I'd say, if you want a very manicured and beautiful experience that feels quintessential Hawaiian, go to Smith's Luau. Everything is sooo beautiful and well done. The food is better and the scenery divine. 

If dancing is your thing, go to Luau Makaiwa. It was really cool to be able to see the dancers up close and personal, and then to be able to mingle with the cast after the luau. The fire dancing was also better here. This would probably also be my vote if you have small kids as they had a lot of interactive things kids could participate in. 

Have you been to a luau? What was the most important aspect for you?? 
ps- The pictures in this post are only from Smith's Luau. I didn't take any pictures last year when we went to Luau Makaiwa. 

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