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The Ultimate Luau Experience: Our Thoughts on the Fairmont Orchid Luau

Are you looking for the best luaus in Kona, Hawaii? Keep scrolling for this honest review of the Fairmont Orchid Luau on the Big Island.

Planning a trip to the Big Island and looking for some fun things to do?

While there are many things to do in Hawaii, one of the most popular activities is attending a luau. But with so many luaus to choose from, which one should you attend?

We’ve been to our fair share of luaus in Hawaii and we’re excited to share our honest review of the Hawaii Loa luau at the Fairmont Orchid Resort on the Big Island. Spoiler alert – it was awesome!

Keep scrolling to see our honest review of the Hawaii Loa Luau at the Fairmont Orchid Resort on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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What is a Hawaiian Luau and What Should You Expect?

A traditional Hawaiian luau is a community event that consists of Hawaiian food and entertainment.

A commercial luau in Hawaii will typically have a bar, live Hawaiian music, either a buffet or plated dinner, and hula dancing (or other Polynesian dancing).

If you are attending a luau, expect it to last about 2.5-3 hours. Most of the time the drinks are complimentary (or they will give you drink tickets).

There are often souvenir photos, as well. I’ve got a whole post about what to expect at a Hawaiian luau, including Big Island luau prices.

There are NO free luaus in Hawaii. You can see free hula shows at shopping centers, but that is NOT a luau.

Where is the Fairmont Orchid Luau on the Big Island?

The Hawaii Loa Luau takes place at the Fairmont Orchid Resort on the west shore of the Big Island. The address is: 1 N Kaniku Dr, Waimea, HI 96743.

It takes about 30 minutes to get there from the Kona Airport and it’s just a few minutes away from most Waikoloa resorts.

The luau itself is tucked away near the tennis courts off to the side of the Fairmont Orchid Resort.

What to Expect at the Fairmont Orchid Luau


It’s always hard to know when to arrive to a luau. Usually, they give you an arrival time but sometimes there’s already a massive line by then. And since many luaus seat people as they arrive, we always try to get there early.

When we arrived, we checked in at the desk and received our leis. We knew we were a little early, so we took our time walking over there.

Image of a stand filled with kukui nut leis at the Fairmont Orchid Luau
Everyone gets a complimentary kukui nut or shell lei. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

After we got our leis, we posed for professional photos. Since we opted for the VIP package, our photo was complimentary. I love how it turned out!

Image of a mom and son posing for a photo before the Fairmont Orchid Luau on the Big Island
I always love luau photos! Photo credit: Hawaii Loa Luau

Next, we slowly wandered over to the event space. We had about 15 minutes before they started seating people but we wanted to be one of the first in line.

Image of a server offering tropical drinks at the Hawaii Loa Luau in Waikoloa
I LOVE it when luaus serve drinks to people as they enter! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by a friendly server who had mai tais and tropical punch. Then, we were escorted to our seats.

Image of a boy wearing an Aloha shirt sitting at a luau table in Hawaii
My son LOVED his front-row seat! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Since we booked VIP seats, we got to sit right in the center. And since we got there a little bit early, we were in the front row!

Pre-Show Activities

My 9-year-old is all about the pre-show activities for kids. And this luau did not disappoint!

The first activity he tried was a Polynesian stick game. We actually played it at Aloha Adventure Farms earlier in the week so he was really excited for it!

Image of kids holding large sticks playing a game at a Hawaiian luau
This stick game was quite popular! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Next up was a lawn game that was sort of like bowling. We played it at the Experience Nutridge Luau on Oahu so we knew what to do.

Image of Hawaiian lawn game at the Hawaii Loa Luau on the Big Island
This game is trickier than it looks! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Finally, the last activity involved temporary Polynesian tattoos! These were done using a stamp that had been brushed with paint.

We saw tons of people get in line for their tattoos. The funniest was a balding man who got a tattoo smack dab in the middle of his forehead!

Hawaii Loa Luau Bar Options

The Fairmont Orchid luau offers a full bar as part of your luau package. This is in addition to the welcome drink as you arrive.

Image of people waiting in line at the bar at a Hawaii luau
This is what the bar looked like during the pre-show activities. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

They have a full bar of mixed drinks, beer, wine, and soft drinks. We were fine with my mai tai and my son’s fruit punch so we never ventured over here.

But the people sitting next to us grabbed drinks there and said they had a lot of great options.

Fairmont Orchid Luau Menu

Since we had VIP tickets, our server brought our table some fresh fruit to enjoy during the pre-show entertainment time.

Image of a tropical fruit plate at a Hawaii luau
This was such a great fruit plate! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Typically, luaus will have some pineapple on the table. This plate was so much more!

Not only did they have sliced pineapple (both plain and with li hing mui powder), but there was rambutan, longan, blueberries, ahi jerky, and macadamia nuts.

I’ve been to a LOT of luaus and I’ve never seen a spread as impressive as the Hawaii Loa Luau buffet. I’m not joking.

Poke Station

  • Poi
  • Ahi Limu Koho
  • Spicy Shellfish
  • Surimi Crab & Broccoli
  • Garlic Sesame Edamame Soy Beans
  • Lomi Lomi Salmon
  • Cucumber Namasu
  • Molokaʻi Sweet Potato Salad
  • Heirloom Lettuce Salad
Image of a plate full of Big Island luau food
Here’s what I put on my plate. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Dinner Buffet

  • Teriyaki BBQ Chicken
  • Miso Glazed Chef’s Catch
  • Kiawe Wood Smoked Kalua Pork
  • Stir-Fried Vegetables
  • Furikake Rice
  • Taro Rolls
  • Kalbi Style Hawaiian Low Line Beef w/ Ginger Soy Glaze
  • Sugar Cane Skewered Shrimp Yakitori
Image of a boy at a kids buffet at a luau in Hawaii
I love how the kids table was shorter and had kids plates. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Keiki Buffet

  • Mini Hot Dogs
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Taro Rolls
Image of a Hawaiian dessert buffet
There are SO many dessert options! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung


  • Hawaiian Dark Chocolate Lava Cake
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake
  • Molokaʻi Banana Bread
  • Coconut Cream Haupia
  • Big Island Fruit Salad

Fairmont Orchid Luau Show

We thought the show itself was really well done!

Like most traditional Hawaiian luaus, this one started off with a man blowing a conch shell to signify the start of the luau. It actually happened right before dinner started.

Image of a man blowing a conch shell at a Kona luau
It started off with the traditional blowing of the conch shell. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

There was lots of great live Hawaiian music during dinner and our emcee came out and welcomed everyone.

They started the show with a hula kahiko performance. That’s the ancient style of hula dancing and it was really well done.

Image of hula dancers wearing purple costumes at a luau in Hawaii
Hula kahiko performance. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

They also did Tahitian dancing, which is always a crowd favorite! Our emcee talked about how people from Polynesia used the stars to navigate and arrive in Hawaii.

Image of Tahitian dancers at the Hawaii Loa Luau at the Fairmont Orchid
Tahitian dancing. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

They also did a bunch of contemporary Hawaiian hula dances that were in English as well as Hawaiian.

The show ended with a cool Samoan fire knife dance. It was mainly performed on stage but the dancer also came into the front row of tables and high-fived guests and ate fire in front of us!

Image of a man performing a Samoan Fire Knife dance at the Fairmont Orchid Luau on the Big Island
This is always a crowd-pleaser! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

My son and I clapped enthusiastically at the end of the luau because it was such a fabulous show!

Why I Went to This Big Island Luau

I was a hula dancer for 20 years and I always love supporting anything having to do with Polynesian culture when I visit Hawaii.

One of the reasons that we stayed at the Fairmont Orchid Resort is because it’s the home of the Hawaii Loa Luau.

We’ve been hearing good things about this luau for years and I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. It totally did! Check the latest rates and availability.

It was so nice to be able to just walk back to our room after the luau, as well!

Is this Kona Luau the Best Luau on the Big Island for Families?

We’ve been to a LOT of luaus in Hawaii. I’m a self-proclaimed luau addict. We’ve visited several on the Big Island.

Image of hula dancers using hula implements at the Hawaii Loa Luau on the Big Island
This is such a fun Hawaii luau for the whole family! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Out of all the Kona luaus that we’ve experienced, this is by far my favorite for kids.

I love that they serve drinks right away, which can be a lifesaver for thirsty kiddos. They also have fun children’s activities, a kids’ buffet table, and lots of grassy areas to run around before the show.

How Does the Fairmont Orchid Luau Compare to Other Hawaii Luaus?

The Hawaii Loa luau ranks right up there with the other luxury luau experiences we’ve done on other islands. It’s very comparable to the Auli’i Luau on Kauai.

It’s geared toward people who don’t mind spending a little bit extra for outstanding food, great drinks, and a fantastic show. Check the latest rates and availability.

Big Island Luaus FAQs

What are the best luaus on the Big Island?

The Big Island of Hawaii has several popular luaus, and the best one for you will depend on your preferences. Some popular options include the Hawaii Loa Luau, the Legends of Hawaii Luau, and the Royal Kona Luau.

Are luaus on the Big Island suitable for children?

Yes, many luaus on the Big Island of Hawaii are family-friendly and suitable for children. Some luaus even offer special children’s menus and activities, such as hula dancing lessons, lei making, and Hawaiian games.

Are luaus on the Big Island canceled due to weather?

In the event of severe weather conditions, such as heavy rain or high winds, luaus on the Big Island may be canceled or rescheduled for safety reasons. It’s recommended to check with the specific luau venue for their cancellation policy and procedures.

Can I participate in the hula dance at a luau on the Big Island?

Usually, there is a place in the luau for audience participation. This is when the emcee or a hula dancer teaches the audience a simple hula dance.

What is the cost of attending a luau on the Big Island?

The cost of attending a luau on the Big Island of Hawaii varies depending on the venue, location, and level of experience offered. Generally, the cost of attending a luau can range from around $120 to $200 per person for adults, and around $60 to $85 per child. Some luaus may offer VIP packages that include additional amenities and services, such as premium seating, private bars, or exclusive menus, which can be more expensive.

So, Would I Recommend the Fairmont Orchid Luau?

If you’re going to book a luau on the Big Island, this is definitely the one to do. It’s in a beautiful setting and the experience is well worth the money. Get your Fairmont Orchid luau tickets.

Looking for more Big Island luau reviews? Check out our review of the Royal Kona Luau!