This will (I think) be the last of my posts of the Kauai trip.
We couldn’t be in Hawaii with all our friends without taking them to a Luau. And the one we found most recommended was with the ‘Smith family‘. They have a large estate and so there are a few options that can be a part of your package as well as the Luau itself; we went for the whole thing that included a boat ride to Fern Grotto, time to explore the extensive gardens, dinner and the luau show.
The event started with the boat ride which is a large floating platform holding something like 100 people. The captain gives a talk through of the sights along the way which to me at least sounded very random and odd in places and I think amused him more than some of us (or maybe that is my British-ness); you could tell he’d been telling the same stories for a long time, anyway it was a fun ride with beautiful landscapes.
The boat takes you to a landing stage where after a short walk through jungle-like scenery you find yourself at the grotto. It is very picturesque with a small stream of water tumbling over a cliff with a small cave at the bottom. Unfortunately because of the other 100 people its a little crowded and you aren’t allowed too close which is understandable. Interesting white birds (long-tails?) flew around overhead and a small Hawaiian band played, it was very nice.
Back to the boat and then to where we started with more Hawaiian music and hula dancing along the way; then off to the luau (which was a very short drive of 100 yards to the next door car park (they insist you re-park after the boat trip).
After entering their ‘tropical paradise’ you board a small ‘train’ to take you to the centre of the gardens via a circuitous route, during which the gardens are described in a kind of tour. Then there is a little time to walk around and explore the gardens which are extensive.
Dinner starts with raising of the (Kahlua) pig from the fire pit and then finding your seats (some of which are assigned depending on your group size). Dinner is a buffet style and very well organised with each table being sent in turn. It is an open (drink as much as you like) bar with a selection of typical drinks on offer.
There is entertainment during the meal in the form of more Hawaiian music and dancing; some of it with audience participation.
After dinner you move to the open air theatre for the show. The show is well produced and the participants very skillful with the various dances and musical performance.
This was my first luau. I wasn’t exactly sure it was what I was expecting but I did enjoy it. Dinner was very tasty, the dinner entertainment was a little on the cheesy side and the show was dramatic. One of our guests said she had been to many luaus and this was the best she had seen so that’s a pretty good endorsement.
This may sound negative, it’s not intended to be, but the whole experience is a little cheesy overall and matches what I think American’s did on their vacations in the 70s (think Dirty Dancing). As I said my expectations were slightly off and I am not sure where they came from but I did enjoy it and it was a fun event; if you have never done a luau and you are on Kauai I would definitely recommend the Smith Family Luau.