Sunday, April 25, 2010

Down for a few days

Aloha, Friends.

I have received word from several of you out there that there are actually readers who enjoy this small niche of tiki culture. Thanks for the kind words and comments.

This blog is supposed to be all about eye candy. That said, I have been pretty disappointed with the quality of the imgaes so far (e.g. the Tiki Room Penguin art looks terrible). I have been using blogger to host my images, but when they are posted they have significantly lost resoultion and look terrible. I also don't like the fact that you can't click an image to see the larger version. Over the next few days I'll be looking for a third party to host the images, repair the previously posted pics and then continue on with this oddball exploration of tiki architecture.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bali Ha'i Restaurant - New Orleans, LA

The Bali Ha'i at the Beach was located on Lake Pontchatrain in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is a nice example of how the architects took a very simple single story restaurant, added some peaked A-frames onto the roof after the fact and created a great looking tiki restaurant. They spruced it up with some exterior landscape elements and transformed a very simple structure into this great tiki establishment.

The bamboo screens along the back of the A-frames are a nice touch. You can't tell from the angle of this picture, but I assume there are tikis inside of each of the A-frames. There are also two nice large entrance tikis in the middle of the building at the front

Inside of the restaurant they had a great mural painted along the back wall of the Hawaiian Islands. Note the large Ku tiki along the left wall.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kona Gardens - Garden Grove, California

The Kona Gardens complex is VERY unique when it comes to tiki apartments. It is special because they actually maintin their free standing tikis. I mentioned a few days ago that it is very rare to still find free standing tikis, but here at Kona Gardens there are lots of them.

The complex directory and map encased in the glass box.

The guardian tikis surrounding the swimming pool. It's great that the tikis still stand to this day, but there is a tradeoff. To keep them from rotting away, they have fully painted them green.

In addition to the tikis, they do have some nice exotic architectural elements to the buildings.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Kona Kai Hotel - Dumas, Texas

Here is a fine example of just how popular the Polynesian Pop Culture was during the 50s and 60s. Proprietors were trying anything to cash in on the craze. For instance, the Kona Kai hotel in Dumas, Texas.

They put a polynesian name on the place and added some fantastic roadside signage......and done. Now we have a tiki hotel. No, not really. There is nothing exotic about this place. But they are fun to look at, a majority of these type of hotels had some great signage.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Islander Apartments - Santa Ana, CA

The Islander apartment complex in Santa Ana, California is a typical SoCal tiki themed apartment complex.

It has all of the elements that make a great tiki complex.

1. Lots of lush landscaping around the pool and garden paths.

2. It has a central swimming pool. It is very common to see a large A-frame structure around the pool building.

3. This complex has a little history associated with it because it was where storied beachcomber, Mr. Eli Hedley, retired to.

4. When hunting down these complexes today, it is actually pretty rare to still find tikis unless they are an integral part of a struture and can't be removed. The remaining tikis here at the Islander fall into that category. The free standing tikis are long gone or rotted away.

This tiki is still here because he is holding up the roof.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Penguins in Tokyo?

Walt Disney Imagineering, the creative think tank that fuels the Walt Disney Company, has developed some of the most incredible and beloved theme park attractions in the world. They create a massive library of ideas for shows and attractions for their parks around the world. However, a majority of the ideas and concepts they come up with never see the light of day. As is the case with this WDI concept for an overlay for the Enchanted Tiki Room at Toyko Disneyland.

The Enchanted Tiki Room at Toyko Disneyland.

This proposed overlay had the Tiki Room being taken over by a bunch of musical penguins bound for the South Pole, but have since taken up residence in the Tiki Room due to their airplane crashing into the building. You can read a little more about it over at the Neverland Files.

Several items of note in the drawing.
The ‘Bird Mobile’ has been replaced with a damaged airplane engine, the plane was named ‘Carribe Queen’.

On top of the plane engine you can see several musical penguins playing trumpets and a steel drum.

The Enchanted Fountain has been replaced with more musical penguins. The leader is wearing an old aviators outfit.

A Pele tiki is sitting between the crates in the old fountain and is now playing the bongos.

Some new Flamingos have joined the party and are singing behind the old fountain.

Two additional penguins are up top, the lounging male and the singing Carmen Miranda inspired female.

Several elements of the original show remain, including:
Three of the host birds
The tiki drummers
The chanting tiki poles
The singing birds of paradise.

It does snow at Tokyo Disneyland, the penguins would be right at home.

However, this entire concept was tossed in favor for the Stich overlay that was installed back in 1999.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Backyard Polynesia - Part 2

Another fine example of a backyard poolside Shangri La.

Location: Orange County, California

This 'Aloha' sign looks like it came from Oceanic Arts over in Whittier, CA.

Anyone bring their swim trunks?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Backyard Polynesia - Part 1

Tikiphiles are a creative bunch of folks. Those who are not lucky enough to live in a tiki house or themed apartment complex can do some pretty amazing transformations to their backyards and create their own personal Shangri La.

Location: Orange County, California.

Note the white sand beach in the photo above.

Reminds me of the old Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse attraction at Disneyland.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Royal Hawaiian Apartments - Huntington Beach, CA

Tiki themed apartment complexes, I love them!!

Polynesian Pop culture became so popular that residential developers began to incorporate the tiki theme into their projects, both multi-family apartments and single-family residences. I hunt down tiki apartment complexes and homes everywhere I go. I have found tiki apartments in California, Arizona, Texas, Colorado and Florida. I will showcase LOTS of tiki residences on my blog. What self respecting tikiphile wouldn't want to live in one of these places?

Pass thru the gate into the garden courtyard.

A few of the poles in the courtyard that support the second story of the complex have been decorated with tikis.

And then there are these tikis that are outside the building in the carport.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Waikikian - The End

December 1996, Hawaii's Most Beautiful Hotel shut it's doors for good. The Waikikian delighted Hawaiian bound tourists for 40 years and was the most exotic hotel in Waikiki. There was nothing else like it in Hawaii. Those who traveled to Hawaii and stayed at the Waikikian got to experience a true Hawaiian Holiday!

I first visited Waikiki in March 1997 and missed my opportunity to explore the Waikikian Hotel by 3 months. I did however make the trek to the property to see the structures. A chain link fence had been put up around the property, but the buildings were still standing. The hotel's gift shop (pictured behind the limo in the pic below), long since converted into an ABC store (Hawaiian version of 7-11) was still open. So I went in, looked around and bought a Coke. I'm glad I got to experience a very small slice of the Waikikian and see the buildings in person before the end.

This picture is similar to the state of the Waikikian when I got there in 1997, except there was a fence in place.

The extreme irony of this story is that two significant tiki events occurred in 1996. The Waikikian closed in December, echoing the end of the Polynesian Pop era in Waikiki. But over on the mainland, Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily's 'Tiki - Native Drums in the Orange Grove' was on exhibit from July to Sept. of the same year at the Anaheim History Museum in Orange County, California. Kevin and Jody's exhibit was one of key factors that kicked off the rebirth of Polynesian Pop Culture in the mid 1990's.

The end is near.......

In January, 1997 an auction was held on-site at the Tahitian Lanai to sell off Waikikian items.

1964 - Standing in front of the Ilikai Hotel (next to the Waikikan) looking back at this beautiful example of tiki architecture. The tiki tower on the right and the Ravi Lobby with the 'hyperbolic parabolid' roof on the right.

2008 - Exact same spot looking back at the Waikikian. This is an architect's rendering of the new development. The Waikikian property was purchased by the adjacent Hilton Hawaiian Resort and razed to make way for this 3rd tower that was added to the Hilton property. The Hilton named this building 'The Waikikian Tower' in tribute. If you ask me, I think that is more of an insult than a tribute.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Waikikian - Part 8

A few odds and ends as we wrap up our visit to the Waikikian. Here is an aerial postcard with the Hilton Hawaiian Village in the center of the card, directly above the lagoon. Just beyond, you can see Henry Kaiser's Dome. This is before the Hilton updated their property and built their Rainbow Towers around the lagoon. The Waikikian is along the far left side of the picture. You can see the long guest room buildings that extend almost down to the lagoon. At the curve in the road, you can make out the roof of the lobby.

Before Photoshop, some people just knew how to take fantastic pictures! This is an awesome postcard.

An evening poolside at the Tahitian Lanai. Can you taste your Mai Tai?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Waikikian - Part 7

The Tahitian Lanai! Inside of the building was the hotel restaurant and the Papeete Bar. Here on the roof and the exterior of the building you can spot more of Brownlee's carvings that he created for the resort.

Note, due to the sloped shape of the Tahitian Lanai's A-frame roof, the shutters were all custom made to fit.

Interior detail shot of the kitchen. I love the huge tiki and moai carved panels. The one on the right reminds me of the logo that Kevin Kidney did for the Lucky Tiki bar in the San Fernando Valley, California (now closed).