If some of Maui’s best luaus were compared side-by-side, which would come out on top?

In this edition of Luau Showdown, we’ll compare two of Maui’s most popular luaus. The Royal Lahaina Luau (Myths of Maui) vs. the Grand Wailea Luau. These two luaus are located on opposite sides of the island and have different price points, but each brings something unique to the table.

We’ll be dissecting the major aspects of each luau, like food, drinks, and entertainment, as well as smaller details like location, pre-show activities, and kid-friendly-ness.



Royal Lahaina vs Grand Wailea Luau

 

Food and Drinks

Royal Lahaina Luau: You can expect typical luau fare at the Royal Lahaina Luau, like imu roasted pig, fresh poi, Molokai sweet potatoes, teriyaki chicken, and lomi lomi salmon.

The buffet also has some basic options, like macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. This might seem odd at a luau, but it does score points with picky eaters or families with young children.

Guests 21+ can enjoy complimentary alcoholic beverages from the open bar, but premium liquor and blended drinks cost $5 a pop.

Royal Lahaina Luau Dinner

 

Grand Wailea Luau: The Grand Wailea Luau has a more limited menu than the Royal Lahaina Luau, but the selections are delectable. In addition to luau staples, Grand Wailea also serves fresh ahi poke, pipikaula (Hawaiian dried beef), and mahi mahi with coconut curry sauce.

Food is served family-style at your table rather than at a buffet – this means no lines! The Grand Wailea Luau also includes an open bar.

Grand Wailea Luau Dinner

 

…and the winner is: Grand Wailea Luau

 

The Grand Wailea’s food is top quality. Plus, this luau also scores major points for serving the meals directly to the table.

 

 

Location

Royal Lahaina Luau: This luau is held on the oceanfront grounds of the Royal Lahaina Resort in Kaanapali, just steps from the sand at Kahekili Beach. The grounds are bordered by tropical foliage, bamboo fencing, and naupaka hedges, which gives the space a secluded tropical feel.

From the grounds, you’ll get views of the north end of Black Rock and the neighboring isle of Lanai. It’s a truly beautiful space, especially at sunset. The only downside is that the luau grounds tend to feel a little cramped if it’s a full house.

Royal Lahaina Luau Site

 

Grand Wailea Luau: The Grand Wailea Luau takes place on the resort’s expansive oceanfront lawn amid a smattering of swaying palm trees. There is plenty of room to explore, take photos, or let keiki run around.

The views from the grounds are stunning as well. You’ll have a front-row seat to the sunset and soak in views of Kahoʻolawe and West Maui.

Grand Wailea Luau Site

 

 

…and the winner is: Grand Wailea Luau

 

While the Royal Lahaina’s grounds are beautiful, the Grand Wailea Luau is much more spacious – and just as pretty!

 

 

Kid Friendly

Royal Lahaina Luau: The Royal Lahaina Luau has some awesome keiki-friendly buffet options. (Remember the macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets we mentioned above?) Plus, the festivities commence with an on-stage hula lesson, which can be really fun for confident keiki.

Royal Lahaina Luau Kids

 

Grand Wailea Luau: Unlike the Royal Lahaina Luau, you won’t find chicken nuggets and mac and cheese on the menu at the Grand Wailea. However, the staff does well to accommodate guests with dietary requests. If you know you have a picky eater, inquire beforehand about alternative dinner options, and they should easily be able to accommodate you.

The Grand Wailea also offers a range of kid-friendly pre-show activities, like a temporary tattoo station, ukulele lessons, and Hawaiian games like ulu maika (Hawaiian bowling). The entertainment portion of the show also kicks off with an interactive hula lesson.

Grand Wailea Luau Kids

 

…and the winner is: Tie!

 

The Grand Wailea has more pre-show activities to keep keiki occupied, but the keiki buffet items at the Royal Lahaina are a thoughtful touch. This one is a draw, folks.

 

 

Entertainment

Royal Lahaina Luau: The Royal Lahaina Luau is the longest-running luau on Maui, so it’s safe to say that it has its performances on lock. The show features both hula kahiko and hula auana (traditional and contemporary hula), as well as a range of dances from across the Pacific. The best part of the luau is the tantalizing fire knife dance.

Royal Lahaina Show

Grand Wailea Luau: The details at the Grand Wailea Luau are impeccable, from the costumes to the props to the choreography. Even the storyline is entertaining and easy to follow, which isn’t the case at all luaus.

Some performance highlights include a silks dancer hanging from a palm tree, a comedy-infused fire dance, and the depiction of voyagers from the Marquesas Islands arriving in Hawaii, complete with large wa‘a (canoe) sails as props.

Grand Wailea Luau Show

 

…and the winner is: Grand Wailea Luau

 

The Royal Lahaina Luau is certainly entertaining, and the performers are talented, but the Grand Wailea Luau really takes the show to the next level.

 

 

Budget-Friendly

Royal Lahaina Luau: The Royal Lahaina Luau runs $185 per adult and $115 per child. Adult VIP tickets go for $235. There are also a few upcharges you might have to watch out for, like $5 per premium drink.

Royal Lahaina vs Grand Wailea Luau Cost

 

Grand Wailea Luau: A general seating ticket at the Grand Wailea Luau costs $265 per adult and $170 per child (but kids under two go free). A premium seating ticket will cost you $325 per adult and $195 per child.

 

…and the winner is: Royal Lahaina Luau

 

There’s no disputing that the Royal Lahaina Luau is the less expensive option. If budget is important to you, you’re better off booking the Royal Lahaina Luau.

 

 

Parking

Royal Lahaina Luau: Royal Lahaina Luau offers parking on-site, which is convenient and easy. But you’ll be expected to pay $10 per car.

Royal Lahaina vs Grand Wailea Parking

 

Grand Wailea Luau: You can valet your car at the Grand Wailea Luau for free with validation, but the tip is not included.

 

…and the winner is: Grand Wailea Luau

 

Nothing beats the ease of free valet. Just think of your parking fee as being included in the ticket price.

Grand Wailea Entrance

 

And the overall winner is: Grand Wailea Luau

 

Although pricey, the Grand Wailea Luau is one of the better luaus on Maui. From the food to the pre-show activities and mesmerizing performances, the Grand Wailea Luau delivers a memorable, high-quality experience that all ages can enjoy.

Grand Wailea Luau Sunset

 

Thank you for reading the Royal Lahaina vs. Grand Wailea Luau Showdown. Check out our luau page for more great Maui luaus.


 

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