The Feast at Mokapu is one of the newest Luau’s to hit Maui’s already pretty saturated Luaua Market. Situated and hosted by the seriously high-end and plush Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. The Luau is billed as being ultra-premium and second to none on the island. To match this claim the Luau comes with an eyewatering price tag. Is the Feast at Mokapu worth this incredible price tag? Could any Luau be worth that?
Naturally, we headed along to check it out and bring you our Feat At Mokapu Luau Review. This put a big dent in our travel budget so we were really hoping it would be the best Luau we have ever attended, but feared it could be a soulless overpriced Hotel Laua, geared at taking the money of the guests staying at the Andaz, who we can assume are fairly flush, after all, they could afford the outrageous hotel rates charged by the Andaz.
Without spoiling the whole article, we would say the truth is somewhere in the middle!
- Event: Oceanside Luau Feast and Show
- Location: Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort – Oceanfront
- Cost: $280 – Adult – $140 Child (4-12yrs)
- Drinks: Premium Open Bar
- Included: Shell Lei – Welcome Photo
- Best for: Money No Object Luxury
- Premium Options: $340 – Adult – $180 Child (4-12yrs)
Feast at Mokapu Luau Review
Is It Worth Attending a Luau
Before exploring whether this Luau is worth it, we need to look at whether you bother with a Luau at all. For many, a Luau is one of the first things they think of when looking at things to do in Hawaii. And overall we think they are a great part of any Maui vacation.
In all honesty, the nightlife in Maui is pretty poor and once darkness falls there isn’t much to do. A luau is a great way to spend an evening. Out under the stars, with a good meal and a fantastic show. It is a great night out and we really put visiting a Luau right up there as a must-do.
Some people feel that they have become too commercialized and they are no longer the traditional Hawaiin experience they once were. While this is true. They have never been the traditional Hawaiian Luau of years gone by. These great feasts were the mark of royalty and bear no resemblance to the fun tourist attraction modern Luaus are. That is not a reason to shun them, you are not going to find an authentic Hawaiian experience on Maui, as it really does not exist anymore. The Hawaiian Culture was a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and life has moved on from this, for better or worse.
A Luau is about embracing the fact you ARE a tourist and getting out and enjoying the Island as it is today.
The Feast at Mokapu is an ultra-high-end Luau Fest and Show situated at the swanky new Andaz Maui Resort. The Luau feast is a 3-course Tasting menu of traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian delights and is designed to take you on a journey of culinary discovery.
Everything, from the food, drink, location, table-setting, and show, are all high-end and top quality as you might expect at such a prestigious resort and with such a high price tag attached.
This is the sort of experience you would expect when staying in such a high-class hotel, but the Lusus is open to anyone and not reserved for Hotel Guests so we need to look at it based on it being a stand-alone attraction and compare it to the many other Luaus in the area and on the Island. With such a high price tag, it is not ok for this to be just ok, it has to be exemplary and class-leading, so let’s take a look and see if it is.
What is Included at the Feast at Mokapu?
- 3-Course Gourmet Meal
- Vibrant Luau Show
- Premium Open Bar
- Premium Shell Lei on Arrival
- Complimentary Souvenir Photo (Digital Download)
- Free Temporary Tattoo
- Welcome Drink
You do get a lot for your money, the premium Open Bar is worth $80-90 easily depending on how much you drink, and could work out a lot more if you are very thirsty! The three-course meal would set you back around $100 in a fancy restaurant, and would not provide the variety and culinary journey you get with the tasting menu. And the Show is up there with the best on the island. You also can’t ignore the view, the setting is truly wonderful and we all know you have to pay for a view these days.
The rest are more add-ons. Nice extras but do not add real value. We always prefer flower leis. there really is nothing better, but the Shell Lei here is really good quality, 3-4 strands of Shell woven into a full Lei, it’s way better quality than the cheap one you usually receive.
We also like the option of having a professional photo taken for free. They Photographer just has the angles down perfectly and we were really happy with the result. Very few people want to pay for photos in this day and age when we all have smartphones in our pockets, so it’s a nice touch to have for free.
Getting a temporary tattoo was also a fun touch, but we found the cultural activities really lacking!
There are two main options for booking. And these options only relate to seating locations. The Standard seating is further from the stage and the Premium Seating is situated right up front in touching distance from the stage.
Overall, the Luau is pretty small and even the worst seats in the house offer a great view. The stage is elevated and you get a great view where ever you are seated. We also noticed some of the premium seats, while close to the stage, were far off to the left or right and actually did not offer the best view. You can see below our view from the standard seats.
Most premium booking options at Luaus come with various upgrades but here everything is pretty much the same and the only difference is the seats. We think it best to keep the $60 upgrade fee in your pocket.
The Luau is situated at the very fancy Andaz Hotel so you get the fun experience of arriving at the hotel and sauntering through the lobby like a person who can afford a $1000-a-night hotel. The Luau is actually pretty hard to find and we had to ask for directions a couple of times. You need to keep heading down past the tiered pools and around the main pool and restaurant. Not surprising really as it is an oceanside Luau. With hindsight, we would have been better off walking up the Wailea Beach Path.
Once in the Luau we were checked in and provided with a welcome drink. A tasty coconut lime-based drink that really helped kick things off. We were seated at a table of 8 with 3 random couples. We like getting to know the random people we are seated with so this is no issue, but premium seats will see you seated as individual groups. Seating was pre-assigned so there is no need to arrive too early to try and bag a good seat.
After settling in we explored the grounds and the cultural experiences. These are basically limited to a tattoo display, where you learn about the ancient method of tattoos, and why these were important and you can receive your very own temporary Tattoo. There is also a Free photo so we headed over to the Photographer before the queue grew too large. This was a quick couple of snaps in a pre-defined location and we were really happy with the results.
The table was pre-set and was very pretty. There was a basket of taro rolls and a nice creamy dip, so we could keep the hunger at bay while we waited for the feast to begin. We also headed over to the bar which was excellent, more details are below. The drinks were not provided as table service but you had to head to the dedicated bar yourself. This worked well for us as we often find ourselves waiting for servers to bring drinks.
Check-in started at 5 pm and the first course arrived just before 6 pm. We will go into detail on each course below but the first course is a selection of Hawaiian appetizers, Pupus, served in a bento box. Just before the course arrived the Luau Pig was brought u from the pit. We found it a little disappointing that the unearthing was done privately and not part of the show.
The show began at around 6 pm and most people had not quite finished the first course, however, it was a short overlap and then you could focus on the performers. The show began with a Hawaiian Paddle Dance then some colorful Hula dancing.
After the first section of the show which lasted around 30mins, the main course arrived. This was a selection of various meat, fish, beef, chicken, and pork with sides. It was more filling than we expected really nice tasting, although maybe not quite the standard we had expected for $280.
As we were finishing this course the second part of the show began. This was a little more aggressive and was more Polynesian than Hawaiian, and featured more chanting and fire. This took us up to around 7 pm.
During the final interlude, dessert was served. Three miniature desserts that were a little underwhelming. After this, the finale of the show started up with a Hawaain Hule goodbye followed by the Samoan Fire Knife Dancer. The performer was exceptional but the display was little more than the standard routine.
The Show wrapped up around 7:20 pm and with the bar closed once we finished our drinks there was little to hang around for so we headed back into the Hotel and then back to our resort.
The whole experience was around 2.5 hours and while this is possibly a little short, it’s fairly standard and any longer would be overkill. We would have preferred one more drink at the bar, but overall everything was as to be expected. We have skipped over the food, drinks, and overall show experience so let’s take a look at these in more detail.
Ogo + Kula Onion + ‘Alae Sea Salt
Traditional Poi From Waikapu
SHRIMP & POHOLE
Ha’iku Tomatoes + Maui Onion + Shiso Ginger Dressing
WAIPOLI GREENS SALAD
Hamakua Mushroom + Sugarcane Vinaigrette
GRILLED MAUI GOLD PINEAPPLE
Li Hinh Mui Dresssing
The first course came in a modern and stylish Bento Box-style serving plate and is a selection of traditional Hawaiian delicacies. The ‘Ahi Poke was really good, some of the best we have had, and the Ogo, Seaweed, added a great touch. The Shrimp and Pohole salad was really fresh and had really unique taste due to the Pohole Shoots. The Salad was pretty good, but nothing to really get excited about. The Maui Gold Pineapple was phenomenal, a bit like Mexican Mango with chili/tamarind, it has a super sweet but spicy kick.
The Poi was disgusting, but then Poi always is, if you have never tried it, then it’s worth a try just so you can say you have and so you know to never bother again…we never learn and just hope one day it might be nice.
ʻAlae Sea Salt + Hawaiian Chimichurri
Smoked Hawaiian Salt
BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIB
LOCAL CAUGHT FISH
MOLOKA’I SWEET POTATO MASH
ʻUlu + Sea Salt
Coconut And Lemongrass + Ginger
The main course comes with a lot of elements to it, and they are not really linked or meant to complement each other. This feels a little like a Buffet plate that a chef has put together for you. Which considering the cost we hoped for a bit more of a fine-dining concept.
The elements were very good, but it really was 4 pieces of various types of meat, on a plate, with two sides. The Purple mash was tasty and provided the starch the meal needed and the Jasmine rice was seriously good, but a little sweet to accompany the meats.
The Chicken was very so-so. It was fairly dry and felt like it had been mass cooked in a large pan, the Chimichurri lifted it somewhat but the meat was just not well done. We think they could have stretched to grilling it considering the price point. Luckily things improved.
The fish was excellent and while it may have had the same cooking method as the chicken the timing was better and the fillet was still moist and tasted great. It is supposed to be fresh local fish and changeable based on availability and it certainly tasted that way. We got Mahi Mahi, but this will change with the seasons.
The Kalua Puu’a was phenomenal. It has tons of smokey flavors and was soft, moist, and delicious. The small portion was a little troubling after they have cooked an entire Pig!
We left the best till last and the short rib was just perfect. This is a Korean dish but it has been adopted by the Hawaiians and we are seriously glad. The Beef just fell apart if you touched it with a fort and the Sticky Sweet Jus, just married with the robust beefiness perfectly. Honestly, it would have been criminal, but we would have gone him happy if this is all they had served!
The meal did not look like much but it really went further than we imagined and we were left quite full. We find with these sorts of tasting plates the Chefs assume most people will not eat everything due to tastes and dislikes. But there is very little we won’t try and we normally find we like most things so we cleaned up both plates…apart from the Poi, obviously.
TRADITIONAL STRAWBERRY COCONUT HAUPIA
LILIKOI CUSTARD TART
HĀNA GOLD FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE
We love pretty much everything about Hawaii and its culture, with one exception. Dessert. We are yet to get what we really consider a good Luau Dessert, but maybe with a $280 price tag the Feast at Mokapu would oblige…
…Not really. Don’t get us wrong it was ok, and we certainly managed it, but it was still a little bland. The Haupia lacked any real flavor and the Tart, as with most of these types of dessert was all pastry. The Chocolate cake was actually really good. It had deep cocoa flavors and was soft, creamy, and delicious. It wasn’t enough to save the plate, however, and while it will go down as one of our better Luau desserts, it’s still not something we will yearn for again.
Drinks – Open Bar
The Bar was excellent. Drinks were not brought to you but instead, you simply headed up to the bar to order. This may be a turn-off for some who are expecting full table service, but for us, it meant we could drink at our own pace, and talk to the Bar tenders who were actually mixing the drinks.
There is no Cocktail Menu which is a little odd, but it meant the Bartenders would just make whatever you wanted, as long as they had the ingredients. This was not a FULL bar, so some things were missing, our amazing Bar Tender could not make it a Martini, as they did not have vermouth, we were offered straight vodka instead but even we thought better of this. They lacked Ginger beer so could not make Mules, but instead whipped up something very similar.
We loved this interaction and were very happy when we were offered the choice of REAL Trader Vics Mai Tais or a tourist-friendly sweet version! Rejoice, and naturally, we had the real recipe with just Lime, Orgeat, Triple-Sec, and Rum. Spirits were all* high-end, if not top-shelf, and everything we had was excellent
There was a decent selection of wines including Rose and Fizz, and a good selection of Craft beers including Maui Brewing Company, which was my tipple of choice this trip.
*apart from the Gin, Beefeater may be considered High-end in the USA but over in blighty that’s a real low-end gin that even the lowliest Gin drinker would snub!
If we had one criticism of the Bar, it was the fact they closed just a little bit too early. We can’t remember the exact timeline, but it felt like the right time for one last drink to finish the night off, but we found the bar had shut up, possibly while the fire dancers were on. It wasn’t a huge thing but just left us wanting just one more for the road.
In the end, we polished off a good 6 drinks during the event. And these were mainly quality hand-crafted cocktails. Check any bar menu and these will easily cost $15 each, so the $90ish dollar value helps offset the huge cost just a little.
It is also worth noting, we never had a single line at the bar the whole time we were there. The numbers are pretty small at this Luau and the bar functioned perfectly with No lines. Every time we wanted a drink we walked straight up and got served immediately!
Dietary Requirements or Fussy Eaters
The menu is pretty set and while we were questioned about dietary requirements and allergies, it was not obviously clear what we would have been offered if we did have any allergies. Again there was a lot of meat and fish on the menu and vegetarians or vegans may have an issue. We were not at any point offered a Vegetarian or Vegan offering and there is nothing on their site about this. We have at this point reached out to see exactly what the situation is.
Fussy Eaters may struggle a bit as well. The Prawn and Fern Shoot salad was excellent, but it is definitely an acquired taste. Poke is raw fish and the Salad and Pineapple were not exactly filling. The main was a little more basic, with the Short Rib, Chicken, and Pork all fairly familiar flavors. But it could still be a small and expensive meal if you are not very adventurous in your eating. This is why we like Buffets for these as you can usually find something and then just fill up on that. Overall this is a culinary experience and if food choice is an issue for you it may not be your cup of tea. For the asking price, you are going to want to enjoy every element to justify the splurge!
What is the Show like?
The show is produced by Tahiti Productions which is the largest entertainment company in Hawaii and is responsible for more Luau shows than anyone else. This gives them an unrivaled talent pool and fantastic training opportunities. This leads to really slick and polished performances that are pretty much the best in the business.
But that really doesn’t mean all that much to the Guest sitting at the side of the stage. So let’s look a little more deeply at the actual show.
The first thing to note is the setting. The Stage is a large mound of earth overlooking the stunning Wailea Beach Path offering stunning views and absolutely magical sunsets. The backdrop consists of the constantly changing color pallette of the sky as the sun dips into the ocean. Bright yellows and blues give way to orange and red then purples and blues and eventually starlight. It really is the most perfect backdrop.
The performance is a little flat in the way the acts developed and is more a display of Polynesian dance rather than a show. We prefer a Luau show to tell a story with the dance, and while there is a little bit of this, as the various acts tell us of the arrival of the voyages and what the settlers faced, there is no cohesive plot and is more about the history.
Over at the Old Lahaina Luau, the history is just as informative, but the whole show flows together telling the story with a cohesive plot, start, middle, and end and the dance fills in the pieces. This is more of a short intro and then a dance to match.
The performances are all exceptional though. Timing and choreography are all perfect with vibrant lighting and costume and a really slick sound system that delivers the music, singing, chants, and hollas directly to your ears. The sound aspect is part of a show we had never really considered until we experienced it here.
The show is mixed in with your various courses and starts as you near the end of the First Course with breaks for the main and the Dessert. We are not fans of this style of intermission as it takes your attention away from either the show or the meal. We like to eat, then settle in for the show. However, it works better here than at Feast at Lele as there are fewer courses to cause a break.
Overall it is a really good show, it’s fabulously performed, engaging, and mesmerizing at times, and that backdrop is just sensational. It may have a few issues, but these are more nitpicking than gaping flaws. However as the most expensive Luau in Maui, we expected the best show, and it falls short of that measure, that still goes to the Old Lahaina Luau.
Overall – Is the Feast at Mokapu Luau Worth It?
Really, it is hard to accept that $280+ is ever going to be good value for a Luau. They would have had to pull something so incredible out of the bag to justify the cost, we are not even sure what that would be! But being the most expensive Laua on the island does come with some expectations.
We would expect it to be the best meal, and for us, we think the Feast at Lele trumps it. The multi-course tasting menu there is just more varied and pretty on par with the quality. It also feels more like a crafted menu and here, the main course especially, felt like it was just buffet food but plated up for you, good buffet food, but still.
We would also expect the best Show, and as we have said the Old Lahaina Luau show blows this out of the water. You can still expect a great show here, but it fails to upset the old guard, we don’t even think the show here is better than its south Maui Rivals, it’s about a draw, especially compared to Ta Au Moana, which his a near identical Tahiti production.
The pre-show entertainment was a letdown, basically just the tattoo station, the Free Photo was nice, but in the age of Selfies, nice is about all it gets.
Where it did top the tree was the location and setting. It is incomparably beautiful down by the ocean in Waiea and just about pips the other Wailea Locations. The Lahaina luaus are just too close to the sea, that sounds odd but a touch of elevation really helps.
The Bar was also about the best we have experienced at any Luau. Normally they are just churning out pre-mixed drinks but here we had trained Bartenders putting together proper cocktails.
All in all, er have no option but to accept the Feast at Mokapu is overpriced. Really all Luau’s are, but this is an especially tough pill to swallow.
If we ignore price, the Old Lahaina Luau and The Feast at Lele both beat the Feast at Mokupo as an overall offering. Given the choice, we would pick those over the Feast at Mokapiu. And they are around $100 cheaper. The issue here is they are all the way over in West Maui.
For anyone staying in West Maui, heading over here would be MADNESS. You can get better for less, closer, lucky you. However, we are of the opinion that The Feat ay Mokapo IS the best Luau on the South Coast of Maui. And while the West Maui luaus are considerably less expensive the cost of all South Maui Luaus has skyrocketed.
This is in no small part due to these Luaus being geared toward the Resident of Wailea’s ultra-pricey luxury resorts. They are relying on the kind of guest that just heads to the hotel concierge and asks to book a Luau on the Amex Platinum. However, even for the more savvy traveler staying in Wailea, it leaves you with two unsavory choices.
Pay over the odds for a South Maui Luau, or trek all the way over to West Maui, a double issue and expense if you plan on enjoying the Open Bar!
For those that opt to stay within staggering distance, and really that would be our choice, The Feast at Mokapo probably is worth the extra cost over the others. The whole experience is at least as good as the others and in many ways better. The food and drink are top notch and the show is as good as any other. And the location and backdrop are just incredible.
It’s a tough ask to recommend it at this price point, but if you are not staying in West Maui it is probably the best option.
Compared to a Hotel Restaurant meal?
The final way to look at is what you would pay if you did something similar without visiting a Luau. Maui’s restaurants are ferociously expensive and a multi-course meal in one of these would easily be over $100 plus drinks and tip. You really are looking at nearly $200 per person. The food would undoubtedly be better, but all you would be getting is the food. With the Luau, you get the show, activities, island culture, and a full evening event. We know you could get a cheaper meal at many restaurants than $200 but not really a 3-course slap-up dinner with 5-6 cocktails, or a couple of bottles of wine included, as you can easily manage at a Luau.
Overall these are getting seriously expensive events, but then everything is right now in Maui.
Te Au Moana Luau – $240 pp
This is our favorite alternative in South Maui. The Te Au Moana has a lot in coming with the Feast at Mokapu, including Tahiti production shows. It’s ocean-side and has the ocean as a backdrop. The meal is currently served as a 3-course table service meal, although it is served Family Style. This used to be a Buffet and remains to be seen if they return to this or stay in a table service format.
The Luau is a little cheaper and has a few extras such as a flower lei. But it’s a big luau with a lot of people attending and not quite as picturesque. It’s a good choice if you just can’t run to the Feast at Mokapu.
Feast at Lele – $193 pp
The Feast at Lele offers a similar format to the Mokapu. However, the meal is even more of a gastronomic journey. We feel the food is superior at Lele, but the show and setting are better at Mokapu, but the price difference is striking.
Old Lahaina Luau – $229 pp
Simply put, this is the best Luau on the Island. The price has shot up recently and is now not far behind the South Maui Luau’s but you get a first-rate meal, a stunning location, great drinks, and the best show available.
Have your Say
Have you been to the Feast at Mokapu? How did you find the experience? Did you think it was worth the high cost? How was the meal? Did you enjoy the open bar? And how did you find the show? Let us know your thoughts in the comments and if you have any questions just fire away.