Aloha, Great question, I feel that attending a traditional Hawaiian Luau is an essential part of a proper visit to Hawaii.
Having worked at a lot of different concierge locations in Waikiki over the years it seems all hotels and booths have a different favorite luau on Oahu and usually its because they get a higher commission for selling a particular one. With that being said, I like this site because I have no reason to give a biased opinion.
The main difference in a Luau is the location, quality of food, and quality of entertainment, here is my personal list by preference (I included a few others as well)
- Polynesian Cultural Center - Best show, best quality, best cultural experience / full day
- Paradise Cove - Highest quality, beautiful sunset but a long drive from Waikiki
- Germaines Luau - Reasonable price, excellent show, strong drinks
- Ka Moana - most beautiful location (sea life park) but their is no sunset on that side of island
- Diamond Head Luau - very convenient (Waikiki aquarium) but kind of a small show
- Chiefs Luau - excellent performers (very authentic) but a long drive (moved to wet n wild)
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Luau - Convenient but lacks quality and has long lines
All are a great time, you probably only need to do one, book in advance when possible, same day bookings are possible but keep in mind drive times and their days available.
Most people wear a bright Aloha shirt or a Hawaiian print dress and sometimes have a flower or shell lei, bring a camera, be hungry, and have a drink before you go - they might ask you to come on stage to hula!
Book directly or go to groupon.com for the best price.
Be aware that timeshare and travel club concierge are everywhere and will offer you discount tickets for attending their presentations. It is up to you to decide if that is worth it to you, but I highly advise you to look at the reviews of those products before entering their presentations.
Mahalo, and have fun at the luau!