Chief’s Luau Review (2023): Is It Worth the Money?
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Are you considering going to the Chief’s Luau in Oahu but unsure what to expect?
Have no fear! In this blog post, we’ll take you through the different experiences and activities you can enjoy at the luau. We will also help you decide if the Chief’s Luau is worth a visit and provide some tips to help make your experience even more memorable.
The Chief’s Luau is undeniably one of the most iconic luaus in Oahu, and for good reason! It is a great way to immerse yourself in the history and traditions of the Polynesian culture.
Come along with us and enjoy the beauty of a traditional luau that features everything from delicious food to mesmerizing dances, music, and beautiful crafts.
Why should you trust us? We’ve spent several hours researching and gathering consumer feedback on the best luaus in Hawaii and Oahu. Most importantly, we’ve been to almost all of the luaus on Oahu and have seen the Chief’s Luau several times. We know all about the food, entertainment, and activities that make this one of the top-rated luaus on the island.
Before we begin, let’s answer the big question below:
Is the Chief’s Luau Worth It?
Absolutely! The Chief’s Luau is an experience that you will remember forever. From the entertainment to the interactive activities, it has something for everyone.
Not only will you get a flavor of the Polynesian culture with a traditional feast, but you’ll also get to witness a fantastic fire show, learn some hula dance skills, and so much more.
If this is your first time attending a luau, you’re in for a real treat!
About the Chief’s Luau
The show’s host, Chief Sielu, is a world-champion fire knife dancer. He and his family perform at this top-rated luau at the Wet’n’Wild Hawaii water park.
Chief is hilarious, so be ready to laugh your heart out throughout the night as you enjoy the show!
You’ll also be entertained by the thrilling Samoan dance, haka warrior dance, hula dance, and much more.
Getting to the Chief’s Luau
Location: 400 Farrington Highway, Kapolei (Inside of the Wet’n’Wild Hawaii water park)
Visitors have three main options to get to the luau:
Drive: The Chief’s Luau is located in Kapolei, about 45 minutes from Waikiki. This is the fastest and most convenient way to get there if you have a rental car. Parking is $10.00 (cash only).
Shuttle: The Chief’s Luau offers a roundtrip shuttle service from Waikiki for $39.00 per person. If you choose this option, arrive at your pick-up spot 10 minutes before your scheduled time.
There are seven pick-up locations in Waikiki from 3:55-4:40 pm, depending on your departure location.
Taxi/Uber/Lyft: Taking a taxi, Uber or Lyft, is also an option; however, it will likely be a lot more expensive than the shuttle service. We highly recommend the shuttle so that you don’t have to deal with waiting for your ride after the show.
Side note: Going to Oahu and looking for another luau option? Check out our review of the Toa Luau—another top-rated luau in Oahu
When Is the Luau
5:30 pm to 8:15 pm, six days a week (closed Tuesdays). Check-in begins at 5:00 pm.
Chief’s Luau Tickets
Packages: There are three different packages to choose from:
Note: we only included the adult prices. Click the link to check additional price options.
Aloha Experience ($135/adult)
- Seating in the Aloha section
- Shell lei greeting
- Luau feast
- One adult beverage
Paradise Experience ($170/adult)
- Seating in Paradise section
- Kukui nut lei greeting
- Luau feast
- Two adult beverages
Royal Experience ($215/adult)
- Seating in the Royal section
- Fresh flower lei greeting
- Mai tai greeting
- Luau feast
- Three adult beverages
- Souvenir gift
Chief’s Luau Paradise vs. Royal Experience
The biggest difference between the Paradise and Royal experience is the seating and type of lei greeting. The Royal section tables are closer to the stage, and you also receive a fresh lei instead of a kukui nut lei. The other difference is the mai tai greeting and souvenir gift you receive with the Royal package.
Both experiences offer a fantastic night filled with entertainment for family and friends.
Which Package Should You Choose?
It depends on your budget and the type of experience you’re looking for. If you want all the bells and whistles, the Royal package is the right choice.
However, the Aloha and Paradise packages will suffice if you’d like to save some money but still have a great time.
We went with the Paradise package, and it suited us just fine. Our assigned table was closer to the back but center stage, and we could see the show just fine.
It’s also worth noting that there were two empty tables behind us, and we had the option to stand if we needed to see the show better, but there wasn’t a need to stand since we could see just fine.
As a note, we’ve been to this luau in January and February, which is the slower season, so you might have a different experience if visiting in the summer.
Also, we have heard some remarks from people seated in the wing sections that they couldn’t see the fire show. These people most likely went during the high season as additional tables are added to accommodate the larger crowds.
So if you want to ensure a full view of the show, we suggest booking the Royal Experience. Also, with the Royal Experience, you get to eat sooner since those tables are called to the buffet line first.
If you want to risk it, the Aloha and Paradise sections are still good options. Just remember that the Aloha Experience, while cheaper, will have you seated furthest from the stage. You will also get to the buffet last.
When to Book
We suggest booking your tickets ahead of time, especially if you plan on going during peak season (May-August) or any holiday. Tickets are often sold out, so get yours in advance.
Also, if you want the Royal Experience, you should book sooner rather than later, as those tickets sell out quickly.
If you need to cancel your ticket for any reason, the Chief’s Luau has a good cancellation policy. All full refund requests must be done at least 24 hours before your reserved date.
Chief’s Luau Itinerary: What to Expect
Check-in begins at 5:00 pm. There will be three different lines based on the ticket package you purchased. This is where they will provide you with your drink tickets.
Once checked in, there is a colorful Chief’s Luau sign to the right that you can take photos at if you’d like. This is a great way to remember your visit!
After you check in, there will be another line where you get your lei greeting and have your professional photos taken. You have the option to purchase these photos later during the show or after the show.
After the photos, you will then head to the luau venue. At the entrance is a table with drinks, and you can use one of your tickets for an adult beverage. After that, a host will then show you to your assigned table.
Also, during our visit, everyone received a free headband the team had weaved the night before. I don’t know if this is the norm, but it was a pleasant surprise.
While the Chief’s Luau is held at a water park, we found the setting to be very tropical and one of the most beautiful settings we have seen at luaus. There is a man-made waterfall on stage with some tropical plants and trees that make the perfect backdrop for the show.
I also enjoyed taking photos here with the beautiful backdrop, and the team was very happy to assist with taking my photos every time I asked. While not located on the beach, this setting is still beautiful.
The show takes place on a flat grassy surface with open-air seating. Since the venue is outside and uncovered, the show may get canceled due to inclement weather. Luckily, this is the dryer side of the island, so rain is less common than on the windward side of Oahu.
If the luau is canceled, a staff member will contact you to reschedule or cancel the luau.
We always recommend scheduling your luau at the start of your trip instead of the end in case you have to reschedule.
Finally, the tables are banquet-style, and you will be seated next to other guests if your group does not fill a table.
Pre-Show Cultural Activities and Demonstrations
Once you get to the venue, guests will have time to explore and participate in multiple activities before dinner.
You can also take photos with the staff members on stage during this time. I love that the Chief’s Luau allows you to take pictures before and after the show. I had so much fun taking photos with all of them!
The cultural activities and demonstrations are fun, engaging, and educational. The team will show you how to weave a basket, make a headband, hula dance, open a coconut, fire-starting, and more. The fun part is you can participate in some of these activities yourself!
During the hula lesson, they called volunteers to go on stage, and by far, this is the most people I have seen voluntarily participating at a luau. Usually, people tend to shy away, but at the Chief’s Luau, everyone was excited to go on stage.
Maybe it’s because of the Chief himself – he definitely has a way of making people feel comfortable in his presence!
The imu demonstration wasn’t your typical imu ceremony where they unearth the cooked kalua pig – it was more of a show than a traditional ceremony. They brought the pig on stage and carried it to the buffet area for everyone to see.
While this was our experience, it might be different during your visit. I have heard people say they have seen the traditional imu being performed during their visit. Regardless, the imu demonstration was still quite interesting and educational.
The buffet is towards the back of the venue, past the entrance.
The food is your typical luau buffet-style assortment with all your favorite Hawaiian dishes like kalua pork, lomi lomi, poi, purple sweet potatoes, and more.
They also had chow mein noodles with char siu pork, a unique and satisfying option that wasn’t offered at any of the other luaus we attended.
Chief’s Luau Menu
- Slow Cooked Kalua Pork
- Roasted Tropical BBQ Chicken
- Sauteed Asian-Style Fish
- Lomi Lomi Salmon
- Taro Rolls
- Steamed White Rice
- Purple Okinawan Sweet Potatoes
- Fresh Cut Sauteed Vegetables
- Chow Mein Noodles w/Char Siu Pork (the green onion garnish is on the side)
- Mixed Island Greens
- Ranch Dressing
- Diced Pineapple
- Pineapple Cake
Overall the food was good. The buffet set up/ambiance wasn’t what you would see at Paradise Cove or the Polynesian Cultural Center, but the food was still tasty, savory, and pretty much what other luaus have.
It’s hard to compare the buffet setting between the Chief’s Luau, Paradise Cove, and the PCC since the former are big production shows.
Also, during dinner and the activities, you will have time to get free drinks from the bar or purchase some. There is also a free non-alcoholic punch available.
This is also your opportunity to purchase delicious tropical cocktails in real pineapples. While these are somewhat expensive, they are definitely worth it and a great way to take photos for your Instagram if you care to do so! I mean, did you even go to Hawaii if you didn’t take pictures of your pineapple drink?!
After dinner, it’s time for the main event – the show! If I am being honest, this is why most of us go to luaus.
The Chief himself and his talented team will perform different dances from the islands of Polynesia. They will also explain the history and significance of each dance.
From the thrilling Samoan dance and the haka warrior dance from New Zealand to the mesmerizing Tahitian dance and the hula dance from Hawaii, you will be in awe of the captivating performances.
The grand finale of the show is a thrilling fire knife dance. It is an experience you don’t want to miss! This is my favorite part of the luau and something I always look forward to the entire night.
As mentioned, the Chief and some of his team members have performed worldwide, and their fire knife dance is spectacular. Overall, the entire team does a tremendous job with the fire knife show and all of the other performances.
After the fire show, they honored those celebrating an occasion such as a birthday, honeymoon, or anniversary. They even called couples on stage and performed a song for them while they danced.
While some might call this cheesy, this luau has a great vibe and atmosphere, so if this is what you are looking for, I highly recommend it.
As mentioned, The Chief’s Luau will allow guests to take photos with the crew after the show. This is a great way to remember your time at the luau, and it’s always nice to get a picture with some of the performers, including the Chief himself!
Many people leave without taking photos, so take advantage of this opportunity. If you are in a hurry, try to be one of the first few people on stage for photos.
What to Love About the Chief’s Luau
The performance, tropical scenery, and lighting were all fantastic – by far my favorite luau photos!
Also, I loved that this luau moved faster than other luaus we’ve been to. There were few big breaks between activities, keeping us engaged and entertained. At the same time, the show didn’t feel rushed.
What’s Not to Love About the Chief’s Luau
- A 40-minute drive from Waikiki: While not as far as the PCC, this luau is located in Kapolei. You also have the option to take the shuttle (at an additional cost).
- No traditional imu ceremony: However, they quickly demonstrated how they cook the food and start a fire. They also brought the pig on stage and showed it to the crowd.
- The buffet presentation could be improved: While this didn’t bother us much, it is worth noting that the buffet presentation was not as great as some of the other luaus we’ve been to.
Chief’s Luau Vs. Paradise Cove Luau
This one is hard to compare since they’re both so great in their own ways.
To start, Paradise Cove is a big production luau designed to service large groups of people.
It is located directly on the beach in Ko Olina, about a 7-minute drive from Chief’s Luau, while Chief’s Luau is located at the Wet’n’Wild Waterpark.
The advantage of Paradise Cove is that it’s right on the beach, so you can enjoy a gorgeous sunset, while Chief’s Luau offers the experience of being in a tropical setting within a water park.
If you love a good setting and want a luau by the beach, Paradise Cove is the one for you. This is one of the few luaus in Oahu directly on the beach. When it comes to location, Paradise Cove is stunning and wins this category.
When it comes to the food, both of them offer excellent selections. Paradise Cove offers a more extensive selection of food and more dishes, but again, they cater to a much larger crowd.
When it comes to entertainment, both luaus provide a fantastic show with live music and traditional dances. However, the Chief was a little more entertaining than Paradise Cove.
As mentioned, the Chief’s show was very interactive and engaging, while Paradise Cove was a little more laid-back. Also, the fact that the Chief himself is there and participates in the performances is a sweet bonus.
The Chief’s Luau is great for those that prefer a medium-sized luau compared to the bigger luau shows like Paradise Cove and the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Both of these luaus are great, but the Chief’s Luau is definitely a more personal experience than Paradise Cove. So if you’re looking for a more intimate luau experience, the Chief’s Luau is worth checking out.
Frequently Asked Questions
What to wear at Chief’s Luau?
There are no dress codes at most luaus I have been to in Hawaii. You can literally wear whatever you want. We recommend wearing what makes you comfortable, but if you get cold easily, remember to bring a sweater or jacket for the nighttime since it can sometimes get chilly!
Most women usually wear dresses or skirts, and some men wear regular shirts or aloha shirts with shorts. You can also wear matching outfits with your partner if you want to go all out.
There are multiple shops around Waikiki, including the ABC Stores, where you can purchase matching outfits.
What Is the Souvenir Gift at Chief’s Luau
The Souvenir might vary depending on the night, but it can be something like a mug or a souvenir photo.
The Chief’s Luau is definitely worth your time. It has a great vibe and atmosphere, educational and cultural activities, tasty food, and an incredible show.
If you are looking for a good luau experience on Oahu, this is one to check out! We had a great time and would highly recommend it. Plus, you get to meet the Chief himself, making the whole experience even more special.
Mahalo for reading our post. Until next time, Aloha!