Tunes at the Terrace

June 5, 2012 | By Jason Black

A musical oasis is perched above the beaches of Waikiki.

Craving some much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of thriving Waikiki? Look no further than the relaxed spirit of aloha you’ll discover on the Moana Terrace at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. Overlooking the world-famous beaches of Waikiki, this open-air oasis (open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) is the perfect place to enjoy a memorable evening of happy hour drinks and dinner, a picturesque ocean sunset, and some amazing traditional Hawaiian music.

Strolling upstairs, you’ll encounter a laid-back island atmosphere that includes an inviting bar, a lush pool area, a fire pit, and plenty of lounge seating. It’s a real hidden gem in the heart of this bustling resort area. While you sip a refreshing mai tai or sample some fresh island poke, you can enjoy a nightly rotating lineup of authentic Hawaiian music by notable local musicians including George Kuo, Martin Pahinui and Aaron Mahi, Randy Allen and Kanoe Gibson, The Keawe Ohana & Friends, Kailua Bay Buddies featuring Mark Caldeira and Darryl Aquino, and more.

“It’s like attending a weekend backyard party at a local family’s house,” says acclaimed traditional slack key guitarist George Kuo who’s been playing there weekly on Sunday nights since 1998 alongside fellow slack key master Martin Pahihui (son of famed ’70s Hawaiian renaissance musician Gabby Pahinui) and bassist Aaron Mahi. “There’s always some impromptu singing and hula dancing at our show. We love playing there because of the people, the audience and, of course, the atmosphere.”

“We like to have a lot of fun with the Hawaiian music we play,” he adds. “We also enjoy sharing the cultural significance of the music with our audience.”

On Thursday nights (from 6:30 to 9:30 pm), the Keawe Ohana featuring Gary Keawe Aiko, singer Pomaika‘i Keawe Lyman, singer Momi Kahawaiola‘a and steel guitarist Alan Akaka love to showcase their own original lu‘au-style of Hawaiian music. It’s a family affair as the Keawe clan continues the musical legacy of Auntie Genoa Keawe who’s been playing heart-warming Hawaiian music at the Moana Terrace over the past 13 years.

Finally, on Monday and Wednesday nights (from 6 to 9 pm), you can catch the dynamic duo of Randy Allen and Kanoe Gibson, a former Miss Hawaii, as they move through a wide variety of music styles from standards to ’70s to contemporary featuring popular artists like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, John Mayer, Adele, Pink, and even Lady Gaga. As Allen himself points out, “Moana Terrace is one of our favorite gigs—not only is the atmosphere awesome, but we also get to play for an audience that’s always grateful for live music here in Hawai‘i. We get to do what we love while watching the surfers at Queens and Walls ride until sundown.”

Beautiful music. Beautiful view. So whether you’re a first-time visitor to the Hawaiian Islands or you’re kama‘aina, the Moana Terrace is the ideal setting for making some new memories with family and friends.

Moana Terrace at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
2552 Kalakaua Ave. [C:11 Waikiki Map]
(808) 922-6611

Photos courtesy: Moana Terrace