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February 02, 2009

"Gathering of the Kings" Luau on Hawaii's Big Island

By Ben Sumner

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PLAYING WITH FIRE: A performer at the "Gathering of the Kings" luau (courtesy, The Fairmont Orchid Hawaii)

Sure, the travel-writing gig undoubtedly has its perks, but there is a simple irony to being in Hawaii, one of the most romantic places on Earth, with only a notebook for company. On a recent weeklong trip to Hawaii, I toured around Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island, checking out romance-ready properties like The Fairmont Orchid Hawaii on the Big Island and Grand Hyatt in Kauai. At The Fairmont’s "Gathering of the Kings" luau, which shows Saturdays, the director of banquets got word I was a journalist on assignment for I was seated first, front row center, ahead of couples celebrating their anniversary or honeymoons. No mad dash for the buffet... my table got to go first. There wasn’t a better view of the show than the one I had. And while you can put this VIP treatment down to the PR people playing their game well, I’m happy to report that this is one show that’s worth the price of admission if you want a multisensory taste of what it is to be Hawaiian.

"Gathering of the Kings" wasn't anything like the first luau I had attended at Kauai’s Grand Hyatt a couple days earlier (which I’m told was your typical pig roast). It was more like a Broadway production, using both traditional and modern dance choreography, as it tells the story of the journey of the Polynesians who settled the Pacific. The show was excellent, and for dinner, I was treated to the tastes of Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, and Tahiti, the pride of Polynesia. Most importantly, I had the best view of a native teaching us how to open a coconut. Tough gig, huh?

Tickets to the “Gathering of the Kings” are $99 for adults, $65 for children ages 6-12 (ages five and under are free), and are available to guests not staying at the Fairmont. Price includes dinner and performance.

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Related Topics: Hawaii Vacation · Trip Ideas


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