Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Waikikian Hotel - Part 1

A great way to kick off this blog is to showcase the Waikikian Hotel, a shinning example of extreme tiki architecture. The Waikikian Hotel, billed as Hawaii's Most Beautiful Hotel, was built in 1956 in Waikiki, Hawaii. It was designed by a local architect named Pete Wimberly and his Honolulu architectural firm Wimberly & Cook.

Pete was responsible for establishing the tropical resort design style in Hawaii. Prior to the mid 1950's, most of the architecture of the resorts on the islands in Hawaii were based on plantation or colonial designs. Pete's exotic designs in Hawaii included the The Waikikian, the International Market Place, Don the Beachcomber Restaurant (Pete and Don Beach were close personal friends), The Coco Palms Resort, the Kona Hilton and several more.

Pete was a very laid back personality and would show up to his office in shorts, short sleeve shirt and sandals while others in the profession were wearing suits and ties to work. One of his quirks was that he hated air conditioning. He would close off the vents in his office and open the windows to allow the constant tropical breeze found in Hawaii to flow through his office. He echoed this philosophy when he designed the Waikikian. The resort did not have AC.

Pete excelled at the conceptual designs of his projects. He would comment that his job was to create sketches and the other architects in his firm would be responsible to create the plans and designs based on his rough sketches. Here is one of Pete's drawings for the Waikikian.

Based on this sketch, a color rendering was created. It was also reproduced and sold as a print in the lobby of the hotel.


  1. Ah, fondly remembered

    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

    > < } } (°>

  2. 1968...stayed there with family on R&R from Vietnam..good memories

  3. Great blog. Been doing some research on his Bank of Hawaii building in Honolulu and ended up here. Now I can't leave...

  4. Husband and I stayed here - R & R 1968....awesome time....great memories

  5. I love live in his personal house, and it is an amazing place.