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Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
In summer, this weeklong international festival attracts big-name celebrities to Maui for cinema and soirees under the stars. Throughout the year, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center presents art-house films on selected evenings, often accompanied by live music, cocktails, and wine. www.mauifilmfestival.com.
Founded in 1974, this nonprofit performing-arts group offers fine productions, as well as dance and drama classes for children and teens. Recent shows have included Macbeth,Nutcracker Sweets, and Les Miserables.www.mauiacademy.org.
This lofty resort's lobby lounge is perfect when you want live Hawaiian music, a bit of hula, freshly prepared sushi, and artisanal cocktails all in one sitting. Gorgeous orange ceilings, stark-white stone columns and modern wicker furnishing pull off understated look quite well. The colorful sunset over Lanai isn't too shabby either. www.fourseasons.com.
By Kaanapali Beach, this luau excels in every category—breathtaking location, well-made food, smooth-flowing buffet lines, and a nicely paced program that touchcs on Hawaiian, Samoan, Tahitian, Fijian, Tongan, and Maori cultures. The finale features a solo fire-knife dancer. You'll feast on delicious Hawaiian delicacies like shoyu chicken, lomilomi (rubbed with onions and herbs) salmon, and Pacific ahi poke (pickled raw tuna, tossed with herbs and seasonings). The dessert spread consists of various chocolate, pineapple, and coconut indulgences. An open bar offers beer, wine, and the usual tropical concoctions. www.maui.hyatt.com.
This feast redefines the luau by crossing it with island-style fine dining in an intimate beach setting. Each course of this succulent sit-down meal expresses the spirit of specific island cultures—Hawaiian, Samoan, Aotearoan, Tahitian. Don't pass up the delicious desserts. Lahaina's gorgeous sunset serves as the backdrop to the accompanying show, which forgoes gimmicks and pageantry for an authentic cultural presentation of Polynesian chants and dances. "Lele," by the way, is a more traditional name for Lahaina. www.feastatlele.com.
At the Grand Wailea Resort and Spa, this show captivates with a contemporary interpretation of Hawaiian mythology and folklore. Indulge in pre-luau fun with Hawaiian games, lei making, and photo-ops with the cast, then witness the unearthing of the kalua pig from the underground oven. Traditional dances share a vision of the first Polynesian voyage to the island, and there are also dancers on stilts, an iridescent aerialist suspended by silk, and many elaborate costumes. As a finale, champion fire-knife dancer Ifi Soo brings the house down with a fiery display. www.honuaula-luau.com.
When ambience weighs heavy on the priority list, this spot at the Ritz-Carlton might just be the ticket. Nightly performances range from jazz to island rhythms. The menu includes such dishes as a fantastic seared filet mignon on a pretzel roll. Step onto the lanai for that plumeria-tinged Hawaiian air and gaze at the deep blue of the Pacific. www.ritzcarlton.com.
One of Maui's hottest tickets, Ulalena is a musical extravaganza that has received accolades from audiences and Hawaiian culture experts. The powerful ensemble (20 singer-dancers and five musicians) uses creative stage wizardry to give an enchanting portrayal of island history and mythology. Native rhythms from authentic and rare instruments are blended with heart-wrenching chants and aerialist precision, making the 75-minute production seem like a whirlwind. Beer and wine are for sale at the concession stand. Check out dinner-theater packages in conjunction with local restaurants. www.mauitheatre.com.
A 65-foot catamaran built specifically for Maui's waters, the Pride of Maui has a spacious cabin with live entertainment, dance floor, and large upper deck for unobstructed viewing. Evening cruises include top-shelf cocktails and an impressive spread of baby back ribs, grilled chicken, warm artichoke dip, Maui onion tartlets, and seasonal desserts. www.prideofmaui.com.
Sailing is at its best on this two-hour champagne cruise. The 50-foot Scotch Mist II, which holds just 25 passengers, gives you an intimate and exhilarating ride, with complimentary champagne, chocolate, juice, beer, and white wine. Private charters are available. www.scotchmistsailingcharters.com.