Why Oahu’s Mauka Warriors Luau is Worth the Drive

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Luau tables at sunset at Mauka Warriors Luau Oahu

Inside: Looking for a fun Oahu luau with a fantastic show and terrific food? The Mauka Warriors Luau is a great choice.

Since my husband and I moved to Oahu, we have attended several Luaus (primarily when friends and family visit). And if I’m being honest, we’ve enjoyed them all.

I mean, come on, there’s great Hawaiian food, talented performers, and terrific music. And it’s all located in a spectacular tropical setting somewhere around the island.

That’s a win-win in my book any day of the week.

But a Luau is a fairly pricey experience, so you want to be sure you’re choosing a good one when you visit Oahu.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to book through these links, I receive a small commission, which I will likely blow on mai tais, poke, and shave ice.  All of this internet voodoo takes place at no additional cost to you. 

And that’s where I come in.

In my last Oahu Luau review, I covered the island’s longest-running Luau, Germaine’s Luau. Today, I’ll review Oahu’s newest Luau experience, the Mauka Warriors Luau.

So let’s get to it!

Overview 🌺

Located 22 miles from Waikiki at the Hawaii Country Club, the Mauka Warriors Luau showcases a unique aspect of Polynesian culture, the region’s history of wars and ancient Hawaiian warriors (hence the name).

I had the opportunity to attend the Mauka Warriors Luau recently when we had friends visiting with their 7-year-old granddaughter. My husband was away on business so it was just the four of us that night.

The Luau’s focus on Hawaiian war history and historical re-enactments sets it apart from other more “tourist-oriented” Luaus on the island and that’s one of the things I enjoyed most about this one.

Now, let’s dive into the details…

Location & Setting 📍

Location: 94-1211 Kunia Road, Waipahu, HI 96797

The location of this Luau and the distance from Waikiki is the only thing I don’t love about it. Don’t get me wrong, the setting on a mountaintop overlooking the ocean, Waikiki, and Diamond Head (from a considerable distance) is pretty.

But it’s no match for a beachfront luau like Germaine’s Luau (my favorite beachfront luau on Oahu). Or the convenience of a Luau located in Waikiki.

And while the Hawaii Country Club is nice, it’s not the lush Luau garden of the Hale Koa Luau, for example. It is, however, the sacred site of the battle of Kipapa which is part of the island’s rich heritage. 

Stage at Mauka Warriors Luau with Honolulu Skyline behind
Honolulu views behind the stage

Days of the Week 📅

The Mauka Warriors Luau takes place on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday each week.

Check-in starts at 5:15pm and the hula grounds open for activities at 5:30pm. Dinner is served at 6:30pm, and the show begins at 7:15pm.

the check-in tent at the Mauka Warriors Luau Oahu
The check-in tent

Things typically wrap up around 9:00pm (we were back home in Waikiki by 10:00pm).

Luau Package Tiers 🎟️

Like most Luaus in Hawaii, the Mauka Warriors Luau has three pricing tiers from the basic experience (think shell lei and last in line for the buffet) to a VIP experience that includes first crack at the buffet and a special gift.

Here are the 3 packages available at the Mauka Warriors Luau:

  • Moi Experience (Royal Package) – For a VIP experience, book this package. It includes a Fresh Flower Lei greeting, reserved seating in the front row of tables, first “dismissal” to the buffet, a “Welcome Mai Tai” plus 3 drink tickets for alcoholic beverages, and a premium souvenir gift for every 2 adults.
  • Ali’i Experience (Premium Package) – This mid-tier package includes reserved seating in the central section of the dining area, a Kukui Nut Lei greeting, 2 alcoholic beverages, and a classic souvenir gift (1 per party of 4).
  • Koa Experience (Classic Package) – This budget-friendly package includes seating on the back row of tables, a traditional shell lei greeting, and 1 adult beverage.

All packages include complimentary professional photos (digital), an all-you-can-eat buffet, and free mini golf.

For kids and non-drinkers, it’s worth noting that soft drinks are $4 (though they can be purchased with a drink ticket).

We booked the mid-tier Ali’i Experience package

This is the most popular package and, overall, I think it’s a good value and reasonably priced compared to other Lauas on Oahu.

The “Classic Souvenir” gift is a wooden jigsaw turtle puzzle. It was a nice gift but since we booked the mid-tier package, we only got one for our group of four. (And since that group included a 7-year-old, I’ll let you guess who scored the gift.)

Wooden turtle jigsaw puzzle gift at Mauka Warriors Luau
The Classic Gift turtle puzzle

By comparison, at the similarly-priced Germaine’s Luau, everyone in our party of 4 received an individual gift.

How to Purchase Tickets

Prices are always subject to change but generally, the basic package starts at $139 and ranges up to $199 per person for the premium Moi Experience package.

They also offer a “Show Only” package starting at $79 for adults.

Mauka Warriors Luau emcee during the show

Mauka Warriors Luau

With a gorgeous view of Honolulu, a stellar show, and a delicious buffet, this is one of Oahu’s best Luau experiences.

How to Get Great Seats

Seating is assigned based on the package you book. Both the table and the seat numbers at the table are assigned in advance. Some Luaus let you choose your table or seats but this one does not.

So, if you want great seats, I’d recommend booking early and selecting the premium Moi Experience package.

It’s worth noting that all tables at the Mauka Warriors Luau are uncovered. That means if it rains you’ll get wet.

We had great weather the night we went but it’s a roll of the dice, especially up in the mountains where rain is more common. It can also get a little chilly up there after dark.

Bringing a light rain jacket is a good idea since the show goes on rain or shine.

How to Get There 🚗

Located in Waipahu, the Mauka Warriors Luau is a good distance from Waikiki. But like most luaus around the island, they do provide convenient round-trip bus transportation from Waikiki for $30 per person.

If you’re staying in Ko Olina, the drive time is about 20 minutes. But from Waikiki, plan on an hour if you’re driving (Honolulu traffic in the pre-luau hours is generally awful, it won’t take as long to get back after).

We left our condo in Waikiki at 4:00pm and still barely got there when the luau grounds opened at 5:30pm (we went on a Thursday and traffic was awful). With the show ending around 9:00pm, by the time we finally made it home at 10:00pm, it was a long evening (especially for the kiddo).

If you drive yourself, plenty of free on-site parking is available.

Pre-Luau Cultural Activities 🥥

When you arrive, everyone is welcomed with a lei greeting. Then you’ll have the opportunity to pose for a souvenir photo before heading into the Luau grounds.

Guests arriving to a lei greeting at the Mauka Warriors Luau
Our friends getting their Kukui Nut Lei greeting

After the photos, it’s time to explore the pre-Luau cultural activities. And the variety of activities at the Mauka Warriors Luau is excellent. Better than all of the other Luaus I’ve attended so far.

There’s a lei-making station, headband weaving, cooking activities, a (temporary) tattoo artist, and even a mini-golf area. The educational demonstrations, hands-on activities, and panoramic vista over Oahu as the sun sets really make the time fly by before dinner.

This Luau gets 5 out of 5 stars from me for cultural activities so it’s a great choice for kids. The 7-year-old in our group loved it all, especially her hibiscus tattoo.

There’s even a group hula lesson on the stage at 6:10pm. That one is a lot of fun for both kids and adults.

Hula lessons on the stage as the sun sets over Honolulu in the background
Hula lessons on the stage during sunset

The Imu Ceremony

At 6:20pm, everyone is invited to gather at the imu for the cooking presentation and imu ceremony. An imu is a traditional underground oven used for cooking that delicious Kalua pig!

Cooking demonstration at the Imu oven Mauka Warriors Luau
The Imu oven and cooking demonstration

After the presentation of the pua’a (pig) at the imu ceremony, guests head back to their tables to be called for dinner.

Then, each table is invited to the buffet in the order of the package they purchased.

Food and Drinks 🍹

Some Luaus in Hawaii are buffet-style and others are plated meals. The Mauka Warriors Luau is an all-you-can-eat Polynesian buffet.

A buffet is always my preference since it allows you to try foods you might not otherwise try. (And to go back for seconds of the traditional island favorites you love. Tip: Don’t miss the taro rolls!)

The buffet display under a tent at the Mauka Warriors Luau
The Luau buffet

Most Luaus are more about the show than the food but this one manages to excel at both food and entertainment.

The food at the Mauka Warriors Luau is delicious. The Lomi Lomi salmon was great and the Kalua pork was the best I’ve had on the island since we moved here.

Dinner plate of Luau foods at the Mauka Warriors Luau
The Luau dinner

There were plenty of choices on the buffet and everything I tried was tasty. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars for food.

As far as the drinks go, those were pretty good, too. They have a full bar and plenty of beer options but oddly no wine (maybe I missed it?). The drink tickets are only good for a few things on the drink menu but the purchase prices are reasonable if you want something else.

I also liked the option to order drinks at the table via a QR code on the drink menu. Because, trust me, you don’t want to miss a minute of the show!

And speaking of the show…

Entertainment 💃

My favorite part of a Luau is always the entertainment.

From hula to fire dancing, the typical Luau show offers a fun-filled hour or two of solid entertainment with a storyline focused on Polynesia’s history and Hawaiian culture.

Fire dancers during the luau show at the Mauka Warriors Luau
Fire dancers during the luau show

Honestly, I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a bad show at a luau, but some are better than others. They all tend to incorporate similar elements like humor, music, and incredible dancing.

The show at the Mauka Warriors Luau is an action-packed 90 minutes that centers around famous battles in Polynesian history. There are battle re-enactments, Polynesian cultural dances, and an exhilarating fire-knife performance.

The interactive performance highlights the legend of King Kamehameha, Hawaii’s greatest warrior.  

I loved every minute of the show at the Mauka Warriors Luau and so did the 7-year-old in our group.

Warrior performers dancing at the Mauka Warriors Luau
Warriors performing during the show

Highlights 🌟

There’s a lot to love about the Mauka Warriors Luau.

In addition to the terrific food and the top-notch performances, the emcee was excellent. He was very charismatic and the audience was fully engaged and laughing out loud throughout the show.

Mauka Warriors Luau emcee during the show
The excellent emcee of the show

I also love that the show recognized not just Hawaiian warriors but also all active-duty military and veterans present. During one song, service members were asked to stand while the dancers bestowed a flower lei on each one of them (the same lei included in the premium package).

They also recognized everyone celebrating a birthday and those visiting Hawaii on their honeymoon or for their anniversary. Our friends were celebrating their anniversary and were invited on stage with other couples for a dance.

So this Luau is a good choice if you’re celebrating a special occasion while in Hawaii.

What You Might Not Like 👎

No Luau experience is perfect and there are a few drawbacks to the Mauka Warriors Luau.

The primary drawback is the location. Though many top Oahu Luaus are a considerable drive from Waikiki, this one is a bit more remote than most. It can also get a bit chilly after dark up there so bring a sweater or a light jacket.

I also wish the stage was a little higher for better viewing of the show. Since we were in the second row of tables, our view of the show was often partially blocked by people in the front row holding up their phones to take pictures and videos.

Overall Experience & Value 🏆 

Our friends really loved this luau. And it was a lot of fun for their 7-year-old as well.

Compared to other luaus around the island, the package prices are reasonable, the show is exceptional, and the food was a pleasant surprise.

Despite the drive, I would definitely bring friends and family to this one again.

So if you’re looking for an authentic Luau experience on Oahu with terrific food and an exciting show, the Mauka Warriors Luau is a solid choice.

Mauka Warriors Luau Best Oahu Luaus for Kids
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