Waikiki Starlight Lu‘au

No amount of potted plants can hide the fact that this lu‘au is on top of a parking garage. The Hilton Hawaiian Village used to have their lu‘au down by the pool, but anyone from the beach could stroll up and watch. Now, six stories up, the ambiance consists of towers all around and a wall painted like the Ko‘olau mountains. Also it’s exposed to the wind, so the guests and the food can get cold. Despite the lukewarm entrées, we were impressed by the buffet’s best attributes, the non-traditional items: dim sum, sushi rice and paella.

Every guest gets two free drinks, but there’s no bar to walk up to. You must order from your server, meaning you can’t ask the bartender to spice up your drink (and they need it). If you want a third drink, soft drinks are $5, beers are $8 and mai tais are an outrageous $12. The Polynesian revue is pretty good, but the tables are arranged so that half the seats face away from the stage. We noticed a lot of people squirming in the chairs and uncomfortably twisting their necks to see the show. The finale is the best part. They have four talented fire knife dancers performing at once. It’s impressive, but it doesn’t make up for all the shortcomings. $99, or $125 for premire seating. Sunday through Thursday.

Waikiki Starlight Lu‘au (941–5828)

What Readers Have to Say

“I wanted to say a great big huge “Thank you” for printing your “Revealed” series of holiday guidebooks for the Hawaiian Islands. My husband and I recently visited Kauai, the Big Island and Maui and while on Kauai had Hell’s Own job trying to find anything. We landed at Lihue after dark… We had never been to Kauai before and didn’t really know our way around, and the guidebook we picked up at the Thrifty office was (as we here in Australia say) as useless as tits on a bull. The maps were pathetic and we got lost three times before we were pointed in the right direction. It wasn’t until we visited the Wal-Mart in Lihue on Tuesday evening and I discovered your books that we were able to finally enjoy ourselves and find the places that we had been reading about. We bought the books for the islands we were visiting and were totally thrilled at the information contained, the light-hearted way the books were written and the little “surprises” that we also were able to see by going “slightly off the beaten track” as you guys had done… When we come back we will get the other ones you have printed and right from the first day we know we will be guaranteed a great time. Once again, thanks for taking the time to put these books together.”

- S. Philips, Australia