When I was invited to be a guest at the Paradise Cove Luau, I was somewhat apprehensive. I had previously attended two luaus on Oahu and was extremely disappointed. One was just to touristy and a bit rowdy, the other had poor food and very mediocre entertainment. I was beginning to think that no luau on Oahu could approach the excellent luaus I've found on several of the other Hawaiian islands.
Having now experienced the Paradise Cove Luau, I can say that not only is it the best luau on Oahu, but one of the best I've attended anywhere in Hawaii. It especially impressed me that they are able to accomplish what other Oahu luaus have failed to do, that is host a huge crowd of hundreds of people and do so in a way that you don't feel that you're a lonely cow in the middle of a huge cattle drive. As strange as that sounds, it's the most common complaint I hear about these larger luaus on Oahu. They host so many people that the experience becomes very impersonal.
Thus, the real challenge facing the owners of the Paradise Cove Luau is how to handle a large crowd and yet do so in a way that each guest feels that they have had a good luau experience. Paradise Cove accomplishes this very well through some very innovative techniques and the fact that their site is very spacious with plenty of room to spread out.
Paradise Cove Luau Location
The Paradise Cove Luau is held at the beautiful Ko Olina Resort and Marina, an area that just a few years ago was a barren industrial and commercial port area located near an active military base. Today Ko Olina is home to the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, vacation ownership condominiums through the Marriott Beach Club, the new Disney Aulani Resort & Spa, private communities of luxurious residence living, 18 holes of Ted Robinson's exquisite championship golf course, and a a 43-acre marina with 330 full-service slips.
Getting to the Paradise Cove Luau
Most guests arrive at Paradise Cove by bus. The luau's buses pick up at most hotels and resorts in Waikiki. The bus hosts loosen up their passengers with activities and songs along the way. Some folks elect to drive to Ko Olina (about 45 minutes to an hour from Waikiki) while others, like me, were lucky enough to just walk (since I was staying at the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa.)
Upon arrival guests receive a complimentary fruit punch or mai tai and lei and then make their way through a quickly moving line at the end of which their photo is taken with one of the entertainers. From there guests are quickly shown to their table where that can either rest for a few minutes or move on to experience the variety of pre-dinner entertainment offered throughout Paradise Cove.
Activities and Pre-Dinner Entertainment
Paradise Cove offers an extensive array of activities and entertainment for two hours prior to the Hawaiian buffet dinner and Paradise Cove Extravaganza.
Hawaiian Arts and Crafts are a popular activity. Guests can learn to make a flower lei, weave palm fronds or get a temporary Hawaiian tattoo. You can also take part in the unique games of Hawaii including oo ihe (spear throwing) and ulu maika (rolling stone disks). You can even wander down to the beach for a ride in an outrigger canoe.
Entertainment is ongoing throughout this two hour period. One of Paradise Cove's unique concepts is that guests are guided from one entertainment to another by following the sound of a conch shell. Whether it be a chance to learn hula, watch how a coconut is husked or view the lovely Shower of Flowers, it's so easy to find your way without missing anything.
There's also ample time to wander through Paradise Cove's marketplace and gift shop or just stop by the refreshment center for an island cocktail.
You can view all of these activities and entertainment options in our huge Paradise Cove Luau Photo Gallery.
Next PageHukilau, Royal Court Procession and Imu Ceremony
Hawaiian Luau Buffet
Paradise Cove Extravaganza
If You Go