Luaus are big on Oahu. Not just popular, they are BIG. Often with hundreds or even thousands of people in attendance.
When you see pictures of Hawaiian luaus, they usually show a large crowd gathered on a big resort’s lawn. They’re often gathered around large banquet tables enjoying a stage production complete with professional lighting and sound systems.
The big luaus in Waikiki are entertaining and festive and bring many people together in one space. While they are fun parties, they can sometimes feel impersonal and touristy too. And they often don’t offer much in regards to cultural activities or education either.
There is one luau near Waikiki, however, that offers a much more intimate and authentic affair.
Nutridge Luau prides itself on delivering an exciting evening of traditional Hawaiian entertainment, food, and culture. Its much smaller size allows guests to mingle and enjoy the experience in a more intimate setting than other luaus.
The Nutridge Experience: An Intimate Affair
The first thing that sets Nutridge apart from other luaus is its location. Nutridge is set on a historic estate within a state park in the Tantalus Mountains. Nutridge sits high on a ridge above Honolulu with an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. It feels like it is a world away from the bustling city but it is only twenty minutes from Waikiki.
Nutridge intentionally keeps the guest list small to protect the natural area and historic structures. When you’re there, you feel wonderfully secluded from the rest of the world in your little slice of paradise.
Yet the luau is just big enough for guests to enjoy everything you’d expect at a luau. That includes a luau buffet and cultural activities like an imu ceremony and traditional hula dancing.
The performances are smaller and less heavily produced than at the big luaus in town. However, the audience gets to sit much closer and everyone gets a good view and the performances feel more authentic. You might think that watching one fire-knife dancer perform would be less exciting than watching seven, but when you get to sit so close that you can feel the heat from the fire it’s a whole different experience!
The Historic Nutridge Estate
To truly get a feel for history, there’s no better spot than the site of Hawaii’s first macadamia nut plantation. When you visit Nutridge, you’re in good company. Stars of yesteryear including Clark Gable, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Marilyn Monroe all spent time here.
Before dinner, cultural demonstrations are held at different locations on the property. You’ll learn more about the early Polynesians, their belief systems, and how they adapted to life on the Hawaiian Islands. You’ll also enjoy many Polynesian dancing performances, including hula and a thrilling fire-knife dancing demonstration.
There’s also time to play some traditional games. Try your hand at spear throwing or Ulu Maikia which is similar to lawn bowling. Meanwhile, kids can’t resist rolling down the hillside. Or relax and sip a Mai tai while swinging from the ancient Mango tree that overlooks the valley below.
A Traditonal Luau Buffet
Nutridge has everything you could want from a luau, including a delicious spread of Hawaiian-style food, served buffet style. Unlike many luaus, Nutridge offers a farm-to-table dining experience. Enjoy the freshest fruits, vegetables, and seafood the Hawaiian Islands offer!
The luau menu includes Kalua pork, barbecue chicken, rice, vegetables, lau lau, a tossed green salad, taro rolls, and an assortment of desserts.
Enjoy Polynesian dancing and great conversation as you dine. Seating at Nutridge is at smaller tables, so it is much easier to chat with your companions and fellow travelers.
The dining area is located under a tent that will protect you from any passing showers but won’t obstruct that gorgeous sunset.
A Spectacular Sunset View
The emerald-green surroundings create a serene and magical space, especially when the sun starts to dip below the horizon. It’s so easy to get immersed in the experience of Nutridge.
Overlooking the south shore of Oahu, Nutridge gives you the perfect place to sit and watch the sun slowly sink into the sea. From your elevated position, you’re in the ideal location to see the tropical sky turn red and gradually fill with the twinkling of thousands of stars.
There is a lot to love about Nutridge Luau, and it’s going to be difficult to decide which was your favorite part. The exquisite food, the glorious sunset, the intimate setting, and the thrilling entertainment all come together to create one of the best luau experiences on Oahu!