Luaus, babies, and toddlers don’t seem like they should mix in my head. Something about sitting in a large group, eating, and then having to sit through a show as bed time comes and goes seems to go against all things I have learned as a parent. I could not have been more wrong. The luau at the Grand Hyatt Kauai was not only kid friendly, it was also set up for parents to enjoy even when the kids got antsy as the sun set.
Our entire family had the pleasure of being guests of the Grand Hyatt for their bi-weekly luau on Thursday night in January during our tour around Kauai. The hotel, which is located on the south side of the island, screams luxury from the moment you step out of the car and you are adorn with a lei and swept into the gargantuan lobby. Upon checking into our rooms we had one hour to check out the pools (yes, there were several) before washing up and heading down to the luau.
Causal elegance is one of the most infuriating descriptions I have ever come across, but it really works in this case. You want to come clean, and without sand all over your body and hair poking out at every angle, unless of course that is your natural hairdo, and nothing can be done about it. Sundresses with Hawaiian prints, and Hawaiian shirts on men were very common. Slacks and a clean t-shirt were also not out of place. Maxi dresses and sandals also abound, particularly on my form. Kids should be clean, but their dress code is a little more informal. Dek was in a t-shirt and cargo pants, but more than one father son combo were in matching Hawaiian shirts.
Before dinner and the show start, many of the performers are out and about interacting with guests while other guests wait to check in, get photos taken with diners, and showing the kids some of the fun accessories the dancers use in their traditional dances. Waiters are quick to bring you a drink, whether it is a fruit punch, mai tais, or a local brew. All too soon you are being called to your seats and the master of ceremonies takes to the mike.
Grab your toddler’s little hands and head to the buffet line. Better yet, leave them at the table with one parent or relative. Load up two plates, one for you and one for the kid, and bring it back to the table as quickly as possible so everyone can dig in before the baby, who is dying to start eating table food, begins to fuss and wind down for bedtime. Your menu will include the ever-present roast pig, fish, chicken, possibly beef, and a wide range of sides like rolls, salad, poke, and potatoes. Save room for dessert! The coconut cake should not be missed and deserves a second or third helping. If you do bring your kids up to the buffet, make sure you explain they can look but not touch. When we let Dek loose near the dessert he almost put his fingers in every single cake. Not what the other guests wanted to see I’m sure.
The actual performance is what I was most worried about with Dek in attendance. He doesn’t always have the longest attention span. We already planned on getting baby Ty (9 months old then) into his pajamas, strapping him into the baby carrier, and walking him to sleep. That plan didn’t work at all, but at least he was happy. Dek on the other hand sat engrossed in the show from start to almost finish. The fire dancer towards the end was naturally his favorite, but he couldn’t get over the dancers. He wanted to get up and join them in fact! He did get up to stretch his legs a few times, and we made mad dashes to the restroom, but not until the end did he feel the need to hang out in the back with his dad who was walking baby Ty and a few other parents with restless kids.
This is the time to scoop up the kids, snap a few pictures with the performers (Dek had no interest but Ty was more than willing to flirt with the female dancers), and head to bed. We were all pretty keyed up after the show, but Dek was more than ready to pass out, even with the lights on in our room. Ty went down pretty quickly in his travel crib in the bathroom, a favorite spot for us to stick the baby so he can have a quiet place to settle in, and not be disturbed by us. Once the kids were in bed I went out onto the lanai of our room. I could hear the ocean waves crashing onto the shore, and the drifting sounds of guests continuing to leave the luau along with the clanking of dishes being whisked away into the kitchens.
The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at the Ilima Terrace in the resort before taking a stroll through the grounds to see what we had missed the night before. The kids loved the in-house parrots, and of course Dek wanted to jump back into the saltwater lagoon, our favorite spot from the day before. Sadly we did not have more time to explore. It was time to check out and head up to Waimea Canyon. No rest for this family on their way to adventure around the garden island of Hawaii.
Know Before You Go
- Grand Hyatt Kauai Luau, 1571 Poipu Road, Koloa, HI 96756. Tel: 808-742-1234
- Dates: Sunday and Thursday evenings, 6pm-8:30pm
- Cost: about $100 per adult
- What’s included? Dinner buffet, open bar, Hawaiian craft demonstrations before dinner, hula lessons, and photo ops with the dancers.
- Get a room? Having a room to go back to directly after the luau was the easiest way to make a trip with babies and toddlers work. We could run up to the room to grab any forgotten items, change the baby into his pajamas, and not worry about driving somewhere after the show. If you are excited about the open bar then you should definitely consider spending the night at the Grand Hyatt Kauai. It’s worth the splurge.
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Disclosure: Many thanks to the Grand Hyatt Kauai for hosting our family for one night at their resort and Thursday night luau. As always my opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know.