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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Getting to Know Hawaii: Chief's Luau

The Need to Knows
  • Chief's Luau is located at Sea Life Park at 41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI 96795.
  • Chief's is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays from 5PM to 9PM.
  • This luau is tiered when it comes to pricing like most other luaus on island.  They offer a Standard package (adults $80, youth [ages 13-20] $69, child [ages 5-12] $58); a Paradise package (adults $111, youth $96, child $79); and a Royal package (adults $145, youth $127, child $111).  Kids 4 and under are free.
  • As with the other luaus, discounts are available, especially if you are kama'aina or military.  If you are military, always check with your local ITT office for deals.
  • Round trip transportation is available from Waikiki for $13.75 (I'm not 100% sure if this is per person, but I'd bank on it being so).
  • At least one alcoholic beverage is included in your package, but be prepared to pay for the rest of your drinks (I'd keep cash on hand).  Complimentary fruit punch and water are available as well.
  • The dress code is standard luau attire (most people dress casually and comfortably).
  • For more information on the package choice specifics, the menu, what the schedule of events looks like, or anything else, check out Chief's website here.
When Mr. L's family came in to visit around the beginning of the summer, one thing that Mr. L's sister requested was a luau for her birthday.  Since Mr. L and I have been to both Germaine's Luau and Paradise Cove Luau, we decided this time we'd give a rather newer luau over in Waimanalo a shot called Chief's Luau.  We hadn't heard too much about it, but from what we'd seen on Yelp there were some rave reviews.  It was a bit pricier than the other luaus, but thankfully our ITT office came in handy with some discounts!

Waiting for the luau to open
Mountain views from the entrance area
Since we've lived here, traffic has always been an issue.  You have to plan around it or you find yourself stuck, and that can definitely ruin your afternoon or even a vacation.  So for us, it was nice that in order to get to this luau, we got to drive in the opposite direction that all the afternoon traffic was driving in!  It's the little things, people :)

Taking pictures with performers when you first walk in (you can purchase them later)
The tables set up family-style
Now, if there is one thing Chief's Luau has going for it, it is absolutely the views.  It may not be located directly on the beach like Germaine's Luau or Paradise Cove, but the stunning scenery definitely makes up for it!  Looking out at Rabbit Island made for a beautiful backdrop as the night went on and the luau festivities began.

Rabbit Island (Manana) to the left and Kaohikaipu Island to the right -- both State Seabird Sanctuaries
View of Makapu'u Lighthouse
Like Paradise Cove, Chief's also offers up a variety of activities to participate in while you wait for the pig to finish up and dinner to be served.  There's games, headband weaving, hula lessons, fire-making demonstrations, tattooing, and spearthrowing, or if you just feel like sitting back and people-watching, there's a cash bar too ;)

I'm not sure what this game was called, but it looked like fun!
Learning to hula
Headband weaving
Mr. L and his finished headband!
And, of course, the bar :)
After everybody worked up their appetites, it was time to eat!  We missed the 'imu (pig) ceremony because the area around the pit was so cramped.  I definitely preferred how the other luaus had a separate area with plenty of viewing space, but I didn't mind too much since I'd seen the presentation before.  But soon after they opened up the buffet lines and we went to fill our plates.  And I apologize -- once again, I forgot to take a picture of my food :(  I was hungry!  So here is Yelp user David D.'s picture showcasing the cuisine:

Via Yelp - featuring chicken yakitori, kalua pig, white rice, mahi mahi in mac nut cream sauce, lomi lomi salmon, salad, taro roll, and fruit
From what the members of Mr. L's family told us, they all thoroughly enjoyed the food, and Mr. L and I did as well.  I enjoyed the chicken yakitori as well as the pig and I always love a good taro roll!

View of the stage from our table
After we stuffed ourselves silly, Chief came up to the stage and began the performance portion of the luau.  He cracked a lot of jokes and was overall very warm and funny.  It got a little bit raunchy at times, but he had the whole audience laughing and cheering.  It was a great way to get us warmed up for the performances ahead!

The show itself was really entertaining too.  Unfortunately Mr. L and I missed a good majority of the end (he was having some pain issues) so we didn't get to see the whole show (no fire dances this time for me!), but from what we did see, the dancing was really great and the performers looked like they were having a blast.  The audience really got into it as well which is always fun!

Overall, I'm really glad we decided to check out a new luau this go around.  Chief's was very entertaining with some delicious food.  The activities were fun and the drinks were good too, if a tiny bit watered down (gotta stay honest!).  And you really can't beat this location!  It's probably my favorite location out of the three luaus I've been to.  So if you're in the market for a luau, definitely look into Chief's, especially if you value some lovely scenery!

Do you have a favorite luau on Oahu or another Hawaiian island?

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