The Island Breeze Luau is staged at the oceanfront King Kamehameha Kona Beach Resort right at the Kailua-Kona Pier. While this was my second visit to the Island Breeze Luau, it was David’s first. We also met another timeshare traveling couple there, which was especially nice since I had been speaking with her for several weeks leading up to our vacation.
The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that they had changed up their program since my last visit in April 2006. Kudos to the "Island Breeze Productions" folks for keeping it fresh and giving visitors a reason to come back on subsequent visits to the Big Island.
All of the pre-show activities were hosted out on the lawn adjacent to the hotel where the imu (in-ground oven) cooks the kalua pig in a wrapping of banana leaves. We learned how to crack open a coconut in a minute flat...make fish out of palm leaves...and how to do a basic hula dance. Audience participation certainly makes for a fun experience before dinner. If you need help loosening up, enjoy the bottomless canoe of delicious mai tais. For those who choose the non-alcohol version, they have a canoe for you too!
After the imu presentation, the Royal Court arrives on the sandy beach to the beat of the drum and welcome dancing of lovely ladies. The procession makes its way through the grounds for an impressive photo op, after which guests are seated until they are called back to the dinner buffet line.
The buffet meal has pretty much been identical at every luau we’ve attended. We have learned what we like and what we don’t so that we don’t waste plate (and tummy) space on unfamiliar items that aren’t to our liking. I personally load up on the pork, while David allows for the baked fish. The salads at the start of the line are delicious, but it is too easy to fill up your plate there before you even get to the really good stuff. Of course, they will tell you that you must sample poi. I agree, if you’ve never tried it, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. After that first try, I can assure you it tastes the same everywhere and you don’t need to worry about offending your hosts if you pass the next time!
Dessert almost always includes a coconut gelatin much like jello, as well as a white coconut cake and sometimes pineapple up-side-down cake. Mmmmmm...I love the up-side-down cake!
Once you have your dinner plate, there is probably 15 to 20 minutes to eat and refresh your beverages, before the show starts. Island Breeze does a nice job of telling the history of the South Pacific Islands, not only of Hawaii. I have always enjoyed luau shows and this visit was no exception. The music and dancing is said to be authentic and the choreography is well done and entertaining. The other couple who joined us had never been to a luau and commented at how surprised they were at the quality of the event.
Luaus are one of the standard discounted items you’ll find throughout Hawaii. I would never pay face value for one...I don’t think anyone else does either! This particular event has a list price of around $70 per person for adults. You can find discount coupons in many of the local tourist publications, as well as the Entertainment Book for Hawaii. Additionally, I would venture to guess that luau tickets are probably the number one "gift" given to those willing to take a timeshare presentation. The number of vouchers for tickets I saw at the registration desk was probably 4:1. We had bought our tickets in advance through eBay seller Hawaii Savers. We were able to get ours for essentially half price.
More information including up to date pricing and show dates can be found on their website: www.islandbreezeluau.com.