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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Waldorf Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia (hotel)
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Waldorf Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia (hotel)
Pepe le Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 09, 2005
Posts: 325
From: Vancouver, BC
Posted: 2011-01-15 1:57 pm   Permalink

I finally made it to the Waldorf!!! I have to say I'm very happy with what they've done. I could be critical of the food, drink and what was removed but really, what's important is that we still have this great treasure. Moonbeach and Eddy Brazil basically covered most of the details. Since then, they've opened The Leeteg Room which is in the back area of the cafe (separated by a newly built partition). Velvet paintings, carvings, bamboo chairs and wooden tables create a dining area in the true spirit of the Waldorf. I was quite giddy, sipping a Mai Tai and looking around the room which was full of patrons, finding it hard to believe I was in Vancouver let alone the Waldorf itself. The chalkboard above the food service counter had a Leeteg quote: 'My paintings belong in a gin mill not a museum'. I can't say the food and drinks were outstanding but definitely beyond better than what was offered there before!!! Regardless, I plan to be a regular!!
Here in Vancouver, there's a real buzz in the local media about the new Waldorf and judging by the very diverse crowd it seems to be gaining popularity. They made a real effort to preserve the history and look of the place. Over all, what may have been lost is eclipsed by what's been gained. So it gets a big thumbs up from me! I highly recommend anyone visiting from out of town, stay there and experience the place in all its glory! (..and let me know so we can join you for a drink!) I feel inspired to get some sort of event going, even if it's just a small one. The venue can easily host a large amount of people and all types of functions. The new management is very eager to make this place work and have the right attitude, unlike previous ones. It needs an invasion of Tiki loving folks who will really appreciate it and I know we'd be more than welcome by the saff. I think we might need to get the local Tikiphiles to gather there one evening and make ourselves known to each other and them! Gotta start somewhere.. right?

I did take some photos and will post them soon...

ps.. Sweet Daddy Tiki, be sure to let us know when you come to town so we can enjoy it with you!!


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MoonBeach
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 03, 2010
Posts: 12
From: Vancouver BC
Posted: 2011-02-05 3:08 pm   Permalink

I see Heritage Vancouver has arranged an event at the Waldorf in March - check out the Heritage Vancouver website...

 
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Sweet Daddy Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2003
Posts: 1063
From: Edmonton
Posted: 2011-02-06 08:08 am   Permalink

I saw that too. Here's the link on the Waldorf's site

http://www.waldorfhotel.com/events/heritage-vancouver-presents-an-evening-of-tiki/

and a link to Heritage Vancouver's site

http://www.heritagevancouver.org/index.htm


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Because crap doesn't buy itself.

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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4082
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-02-08 7:15 pm   Permalink

Great to see this place regain some of the old form.

Here is a rather tattered matchbook I have from the old Waldorf



featuring the Leeteg drummer image.



DC


 
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Sweet Daddy Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2003
Posts: 1063
From: Edmonton
Posted: 2011-03-11 11:13 pm   Permalink



I stayed at the Waldorf for four nights in February and I had a wonderful time despite a movie shoot closing down much of the hotel for a good part of the time I was there.



The tarp is covering the entrance to the Tiki Bar and the hotel's 2 restaurants (The Leeteg Room and Café Nuba)



Craft services tent outside the basement Cabaret.

The movie was the latest Alvin and The Chipmunks sequel, "Chip-wrecked" in 3D (opens before Christmas). They were shooting in the Tiki Bar, the restaurants (which they dressed as a casino) and the two basement rooms (the cabaret and the club). No, I didn't see any chipmunks (or any other stars for that matter), just some extras. Hotel management compensated me very well for the inconvenience of the movie closing down the stuff I came to the hotel to enjoy, for which I'm grateful.



The rooms are large, bright, clean and comfy.







Vintage art.



This lovely lady creeped out some of my visitors (the eyes are a little dead – they don’t have any whites or highlights) but I think she’s a beaut.



My friends Michael & Marlena had this gorgeous painting in their room. Looks like black velvet but is painted on wood.



The rooms have 70s stereos. Mine had this Marantz tuner-amp, with a dual cassette deck with mix tapes recorded by DJs in the Tiki Bar.



Hallway.



There's bamboo everywhere.



Carved mask in the hall.



On the weekend there was a vintage clothing sale happening in the hallway right outside my room.



PNG shield in lobby.



Lobby.

The hotel was very quiet while the movie was shooting because none of the music venues were operating. On the weekend when things got back to normal, my room was quite noisy until 2:30 in the morning (I could hear the bass from the music in the club 2 storeys down). My friends were in a room a couple of doors down and say the music didn't bother them, so if you plan on staying there, ask for room 131 or 132 at the back of the hotel (I was in room 125). If I'd needed a good night's sleep I think I'd have been pissed, but I was up until late watching TV anyway. If quiet is really important to you, I'd stay somewhere else.



On Friday night the Tiki Bar reopened.





Atomic Al.



Al & TabooDan



Pepe le Tiki (right), and TabooDan's friend (whose name I forget).



Pepino Magico: tequila, cucumber, lime juice, agave sweetener, chili-salt rim.

There are no classic Polynesian cocktails on the menu right now but they're working on a new drink menu. I was told they’ll be relaunching soon with a Mai Tai, Blue Hawaiian and some other drinks.



Paloma: White tequila, soda, grapefruit juice, sea salt.



TabooDan stuck with good ol' rum & Coke







The famous Leetegs:







The two restaurants share a beautiful space on the main floor that used to be the Grove Pub. On Saturday night my friends M & M and I had a lovely meal in the Leeteg Room.



Leeteg quote on chalkboard: "My paintings belong in a gin mill, not a museum"

The menu is Spanish bistro food and is a little on the spendy side (appetizers $9-$12, main courses $18-$23).



Manchego cheese and Serrano ham.



Fabada Asturiana (sort of a Spanish cassoulet).



We had 3 of the 4 desserts on the menu - I recommend them all (this one is Arroz con Leche Quemado - caramelized rice pudding).



On Sunday morning we had Mexican brunch with Al and Pepe.



Sun streamed into the beautiful cafe space.







Huevos Rancheros with Chorizo.



In the evening we ate dinner at Café Nuba - in the same space where we had brunch. The menu is Lebanese and is very affordable.



Crispy cauliflower



Beef tenderloin kebab.



On Sunday afternoons the downstairs Cabaret (formerly a restaurant) hosts a very adventurous film series. The rest of the time it's a multi-use live performance venue.



The wall-length Hawaiian mural is behind a curtain that can be pulled back. There's a stage on the far right of the picture (in front of the half-moon window).

I don't have a picture, but hotel staff showed us the other basement room, the former Menehune room, which is now a dance club. The thatched ceiling has been replaced because it was a fire hazard. The large carved wood pillars have been hidden behind bamboo for their own protection (one of the carved menehunes lost a nose).

I asked for some souvenirs with the hotel's new logo - matchbooks, postcards, etc. They didn't have anything yet, but they gave me this vintage postcard



and this vintage swizzle spoon



The figure at the top is the drummer from one of the Leetegs in the Tiki Bar.



I love this hotel. I think it's a little gem. I look forward to my next visit (when they have a full-on tropical Tiki drink menu).



_________________
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Because crap doesn't buy itself.

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[ This Message was edited by: Sweet Daddy Tiki 2011-03-12 07:36 ]


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2011-03-12 05:48 am   Permalink

Wow, that looks wonderful! From the purist p.o.v., it is sad that they got rid of some of the rattan and bamboo, and did not keep ALL of the "authentic" Poly pop style elements. But there still is so much, and the additions are done smartly, it seems. The place has a great vibe, and locals seem to dig it, I wish them the best. I wish there was a hotel/bar/restaurant combo like that in L.A., for Tiki visitors. Thanks for sharing all those pictures, SDT!

 
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Sweet Daddy Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2003
Posts: 1063
From: Edmonton
Posted: 2011-03-18 6:31 pm   Permalink

I see that the Tiki Bar at the Waldorf has launched their new cocktail menu, designed by Steve Da Cruz (don't know who that is), "inspired by bar cultures from Mexico, Spain, North America and Polynesia."

Here's the list of cocktails:

Air Mail
Amaretto Royal Sour
Aviation Nº 1
Between the Sheets
Blood & Sand

Blue Hawaii (Havana rum, curacao and pineapple)
Boulevardier
Dark & Stormy (Gosling’s dark rum and ginger beer)
El Diablo
Hemingway Daiquiri (Rum, grapefruit, maraschino)
Journalist
Mai Tai (Havana Añejo, cointreau, Orgeat & Lime)
Moscow Mule (Vodka, Ginger Beer & Lime)
Penicillin
Pink Lady
Planter’s Punch (Dark Rum, Grenadine & OJ)
Red Hook
Rob Roy
Root Beer Float
Sidecar
Sing Sling
WhiskeySour
Zombie (doesn't say what's in it)

A Young Coconut (with booze and a bendy straw).
Coco Loco (re-fill your coconut with an El Diablo - tequila, ginger beer and cassis).

Most of the cocktails are $9 (the Zombie and young coconut are $12). Menu is
here (pdf).

I'm going to have to go back to Vancouver to check 'em out (maybe later this year??), but can someone there report back in the meantime? Thanks.
_________________
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4082
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-11-09 4:31 pm   Permalink

Sweet Daddy Tiki,

Great photos. I can't believe they still had that old postcard and swizzle hanging around, you must have been happy to get those.

I found this old photo of the Polynesian Room at the Waldorf circa 1953 in a Vancouver Sun article.





Glad to see that it has retained much of its old charm.


DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4082
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-12-20 4:51 pm   Permalink

Anybody ever catch this show on Wednesdays?



Looks like a Tiki Revival in the making.

DC




 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11004
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2011-12-20 6:50 pm   Permalink

Yes, I too am very curious and very hopeful that the NEW Waldorf is doing well, I desire an update on that! They did a fine job at renovating and modernizing, the food and drink looks great- if that place does not fly, what will!

 
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MoonBeach
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jun 03, 2010
Posts: 12
From: Vancouver BC
Posted: 2012-02-02 7:12 pm   Permalink

Link to blog with January 24, 1949 announcement of Waldorf Hotel opening. This was several years before the tiki lounge addition to the building: http://grandviewheritage.blogspot.com/

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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4082
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-02-03 09:40 am   Permalink

Here is an ad for the opening day of the Polynesian Room at the Waldorf from September 12, 1955.



And while not really related, this ad was conveniently placed right next to the Polynesian Room announcement!



Never heard of this brand before?

DC




 
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Brandomoai
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 05, 2008
Posts: 321
From: Edmonton, AB, Canada
Posted: 2012-02-04 09:44 am   Permalink

Great ad, DC! About Lambs rum, it's one of our "Canadian" rum brands where the rum is imported from various Caribbean sources and bottled in Canada. They still have Navy. It's definitely not 100% Demerara anymore! But they also have Navy 151, which is a reasonable substitute where LH151 is not available (ie. ALL OVER CANADA!). Anyway, they also have white, amber, and spiced varieties that I probably wouldn't touch with a 10-foot swizzle.

[ This Message was edited by: Brandomoai 2012-02-04 19:03 ]


 
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Sweet Daddy Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2003
Posts: 1063
From: Edmonton
Posted: 2012-02-16 12:29 pm   Permalink

The City of Vancouver Archives has a set of 14 photos of the Waldorf from the 1950s on their Flickr site. You can order high-res digital files from them.

Here's the archive's complete holdings on the Waldorf.




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Because crap doesn't buy itself.

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tikitabby
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Dec 25, 2007
Posts: 25
From: Naramata, B.C.
Posted: 2012-02-16 9:34 pm   Permalink

Great links SDT -thanks for sharing them!
I grew up in Vancouver and had my first Tiki Revelation at the Waldorf when I was about six years old at my mother's office Christmas party. It was life changing to be sure!
I attended the now legendary re-opening/Hallowe'en party back in 2010 and have been back many, many times since. They've done a great job with the reno, resurrecting it from the nightmare it had become in the 1980's-90's.
The food is okay - not brilliant - and the cocktail list was very rocky for awhile. At one point they'd removed Mai Tais completely because they were "too labour intensive". But I do keep returning as it's the only game in town as far as Tiki goes and it reminds me of home ( I work in Vancouver although I don't live here - long story.)
The Tiki Bar is gorgeous and the Leetegs truly amazing. You really feel like you're in another place, and not one famous for endless rain and hockey riots...
Part of me thinks they really didn't know what they had when they reopened. On my second visit after the opening party the Menehune room was closed but they did take me on a tour when I asked and very reluctantly pulled back the curtains to reveal the murals which they seemed almost embarrassed about - crazy! They thought the makaki'i were "space helmets"! Aggh! And when I asked if they were going to have their own tiki mugs they looked at me and asked if I meant "those brown things"....*sigh*.
Hopefully with the response they've had over the last year and a half they have a better appreciation of the treasure under their feet. It really is a jewel especially in Vancouver which seems so trigger-happy when it comes to erasing its history.


 
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