The Best Luau in Waikiki

Diamond Head Luau Setting

Aloha savvy travelers! Since you’re here, we’d venture to guess that you’re still planning out some of the details of your Hawaiian getaway. Every time you think you’re done, something comes up and reminds you that you’re never really done planning a vacation of this caliber. The latest item on your to-do list—booking a Hawaiian luau—quite possibly arose from the insistence of a coworker/friend/neighbor/something-in-law who promised you’ll “have the time of your life!”

Ha! Now you’ve got that song stuck in your head, don’t you? You’re welcome.

And 80s earworms aside, your eager coworker/friend/neighbor/something-in-law isn’t wrong. Book the right luau and you will have the time of your life. You’ve decided that you want to stay close to home base for your luau. Given Oahu’s notorious traffic, that’s a swell idea.

So, What’s the Best Luau in Waikiki?

Surprisingly, given the wide variety of tourist activities in Waikiki, there are only two luau options there. Both of them are terrific choices, but you asked for The Best. Read on, dear visitor, for our answer.

Waikiki’s Luaus

Rock-a-Hula: The King makes a fitting entrance

Rock-a-Hula: The King makes a fitting entrance

A quick bit of research will tell you there are two very popular luaus in Waikiki. Note, that’s just Waikiki. Oahu is crawling with luaus, but we’re staying close to home base. The two Waikiki luaus are Rock-A-Hula, located in the Royal Hawaiian Center, and Diamond Head Luau, adjacent to the Waikiki Aquarium.

These two luaus are very different from one another, a fact that’s even reflected in their names. While Diamond Head Luau is linked to an ancient volcanic crater, Rock-A-Hula’s name is an indication of the musical spectacle that unfolds before your eyes. If you’ve been to Las Vegas,you’ve likely heard of the Legends in Concert show that features impersonators of classic rock ‘n roll artists. Same deal at this aptly named luau, featuring spot-on impersonations of Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. That’s right – two Kings in one show!

Rock-A-Hula gives the luau a decidedly modern spin, which guarantees a unique experience even if you’ve been to a luau before. It mixes traditional with modern music, creating a hybrid that’s entertaining and loads of fun. It’s easy to look at the concept behind Rock-A-Hula and immediately assume it can’t get much better than this. Great company, delicious food, a rock ‘n roll production – it’s entertainment at its best.

Diamond Head Luau offers the islands' only farm-to-table buffet

Diamond Head Luau offers the islands’ only farm-to-table buffet

But does it represent luaus at their best? The nearby Diamond Head Luau may have something to say about that. While it’s only a few blocks away, Diamond Head Luau feels like a completely different world. Where Rock-A-Hula sets out to “wow” guests with its slick, choreographed rock show featuring tributes to two of the biggest names in show biz, Diamond Head Luau takes its guests on a cultural journey.

That journey, of course, includes a large spread of delicious Polynesian cuisine, and Diamond Head Luau takes it a step further by offering Oahu’s only true farm-to-table luau buffet. The only way the food could be fresher is if you went out into the fields and picked it yourself. This farm-to-table focus ensures you’re getting the freshest tasting food, and it’s something you can distinguish right away. Bring your appetite – there are lots of tasty, exotic dishes to try.

Diamond Head Luau includes free admission to the Waikiki Aquarium

Diamond Head Luau includes free admission to the Waikiki Aquarium

When it comes to entertainment, Diamond Head Luau is no slouch, either. In addition to some of the most talented musicians and hula dancers around, the thrilling display of fire-knife dancing will have you on the edge of your seat. Expertly trained performers twirl and spin fire like it’s no big deal.

So, each of these luaus has some awesome selling points, and in the end it might seem like a toss-up as to which is The Best. But then Diamond Head luau pulls out its ace in the hole: your ticket to the luau also includes free admission to the Waikiki Aquarium! You read that right. In addition to all of the fun pre-feast cultural activities the luau offers, you can arrive early and explore the world-class aquarium right next door!

And the Winner Is…

Dudes twirling flaming things!

Dudes twirling flaming things!

Don’t get us wrong. Rock-A-Hula is a hugely entertaining evening production that has guests of all ages dancing in their seats, and we recommend it wholeheartedly. But all things considered, Diamond Head Luau comes out on top. As we’ve seen, there are actually a few reasons why Diamond Head Luau is the best luau in Waikiki, but perhaps the biggest one of all is that it’s a more authentic Hawaiian experience. If you’re looking for a traditional luau, Diamond Head delivers, and then some.

Now that you know what the best luau in Waikiki is, it’s time to lock in your spot. Reserve your seat today and you’ll be able to check this item off your to-do list—and hopefully get that nagging song out of your brain!