'Aha 'Aina is an intimate beachfront luau in Waikiki

Did you know there was a luau with a full-on buffet at The Royal Hawaiian?
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The next time your out-of-town guests want to go to a luau, you don’t have to trek to the North Shore or to Kapolei. 

‘Aha ‘Aina, a Royal Hawaiian Luau, is the perfect opportunity to treat visiting family and friends to an authentic luau without leaving town. ‘Aha ‘Aina is not just about the food — it’s an enriching experience that gives guests a better understanding of Hawaiian culture. It's also Waikiki’s only beachfront luau. With picturesque views of Diamond Head and the wide blue sea in the background, guests indulge in a delicious buffet and a unique, interactive storytelling of Hawaii's history. 

On Mondays and Thursdays, ‘Aha ‘Aina kicks off at 5:15 p.m. at The Royal Hawaiian’s Ocean Lawn with cultural activities. There's a poi-pounding demonstration, a painless fake tattoo station and traditional Hawaiian activities like making kapa (cloth made of pounded bark) and na lawai’a (tending of fishing tools).

At 6 p.m., the Royal Feast begins. Unlimited access to the dinner and dessert buffets comes with two drink tickets that guests can exchange for Mai Tais, wines, cocktails, beer and more.

Chefs slice fresh kalua pig at the carving station, one of the buffet's highlights.
From fresh poi and ahi poke to kalbi and garlic fried rice, there's something for everyone at the dinner buffet. 

Here’s what you can expect for dinner:

  • Poi and Poke Station: Poi with fresh salted salmon, Ho Farms tomatoes and Maui onion ahi, shrimp, tako, Hamakua tomato and mushroom poke on ice
  • Island Fruit Station: Sliced pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, Kula strawberries, mojito-style mango
  • Island Salads Station: Island coleslaw, white anchovies and pipikaula and more 
  • Huli Huli Grill Action Station: Local island chicken, garlic fried rice, wok-fried choi sum with crispy shallots, roasted vegetable curry
  • Kiawe Wood BBQ Station: Korean BBQ kalbi ribs, Chinese steamed monchong with ginger and scallions
  • Dessert Station: Royal Hawaiian bread pudding, pink haupia cake, halo-halo flan, Waialua Estate chocolate-coffee tiramisu
  • Real Above-Ground Kalua Pig Live Carving Station
The pink haupia cake is one of The Royal Hawaiian’s signature desserts.

At 7 p.m., the story of Helumoa — Hawaiian for “chicken scratch” — unfolds, and guests learn more about the Hawaiian Islands, Waikiki and The Pink Palace of the Pacific. ‘Aha ‘Aina's unique approach sets it apart from other luaus: The story of King Kamehameha I and his successors is told through a lively presentation of music, dance and storytelling. 

This is a more intimate luau experience. ‘Aha ‘Aina is about one-third the size of other luaus, rewarding guests with more attention and top-notch service. While it has been at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel for a decade, it was only offered once a week. Increasing popularity has now doubled the availability.

‘Aha ‘Aina takes place every Monday and Thursday. Tickets for adults are $187.43. Have a special occasion? Upgrade to premium seating with lei greeting and priority access to the buffet lines for an additional $21. Tickets for children ages 5-12 are $105.76, and for children under 5 years $20.94. Groups of 10 or more can get a discounted rate of $166.49 per guest.

If you want to enjoy the show without the buffet, a cocktail seating option is available. For $85, you can get two drinks (choose from beer, wine, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages) and luau show seating (please check in by 5:15 p.m.). For all ‘Aha ‘Aina attendees, validated parking is available for four hours. 

‘Aha ‘Aina, A Royal Hawaiian Luau
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort 
2259 Kalakaua Ave. 
Waikiki
Luau reservations: 921-4600
Every Monday and Thursday evening, 5:30-8 p.m. (5 p.m. check in time)
Validated parking at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel (four hours)