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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Tiki Archeology on the Gulf Coast of Florida
Tiki Archeology on the Gulf Coast of Florida
puamana
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 02, 2002
Posts: 291
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2005-02-03 3:45 pm   Permalink

While we were in Florida visiting family over the holidays, Selector Lopaka and I had a chance to do a little bit of exploring around the St. Petersburg area. Consulting with our trusty Tiki Road Trip, we got a few pics of some of the places listed in the area:

Our first stop one day was the Polynesian Putter Mini Golf, on Gulf Blvd. in St. Pete Beach:


There was a large moai facing the main street, with blue lights embedded in the eyes :


We went back at night to get a pic of the eyes lit up, but sadly they weren't working.

The moai was the only thing we could see that was Polynesian related at the mini golf:



Just a bit away from the Polynesian Putter, is a Holiday Inn, at 5250 Gulf Blvd. It used to be called the Hilton Inn, and it also had a Polynesian theme. Here is a postcard I found while there, from its former days as the Hilton Inn:

The back of the postcard calls the Hilton Inn "A Polynesian Paradise", and used to have the Aekai Restaurant on the beach, Luau Room Restaurant on the 10th floor ( Polynesian and American menus), and the revolving Bali Hi lounge on the roof top. I didn't take any photos of the building, but here's a link to the Holiday Inn website to see what the building looks like now:
http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/hi/1/en/hpt/PIESS/1/pt?ptLink=hd

There is also what used to be the Hawaiian Inn at 6200 Gulf Blvd., and now is the Best Western Beachfront Resort (there's a past thread about it here on TC: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=4134&forum=1). We were originally looking for that, and when we saw the round building of the Holiday Inn, I thought that was it. Later that same day when I found the Hilton Inn postcard, I realized that these were actually 2 different hotels very near each other, both with a Polynesian theme.

Another place from TRT we had a chance to get to was the Bahi Hut, in Sarasota:

I'm guessing that those were once electric tiki torches on that sign ?

We were driving by during the daytime, and they didn't open 'til 5, so we only got pics of the outside :







Just after I took the that last photo, my camera batteries died (d'oh!), so I didn't get a photo of the interior through the window that faced that tiki. There was one room (that I could see) with a bar at the back, and a large window that looked onto the tropical foliage. Next time we will have to plan accordingly so we can actually go inside and check it out.

The next place, Tiki Village Campgrounds, in Pinellas Park, was found by Selector Lopaka's mom. Though this probably falls into the "tiki-in-name-only" category, this place was kind of eerie, with just a long driveway lined by abandoned mobile homes on either side... and no sign of tiki, aside from the name :




Here's few other Florida tiki related paper finds from the trip:

Florida See Magazine from 1976 with ad for the Mai Kai:



Postcard from the Kona Kai Motel, Sanibel Island :

Does anybody know if this place is still around ?

Postcard from the Pelican, Clearwater Beach:


[ This Message was edited by: puamana on 2005-02-03 15:49 ]


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Kono
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2005-02-03 3:58 pm   Permalink

Hey, nice sleuthing! I used to work at that Hilton as a waiter back in my beach bum days. That was around 1989 and all the polynesian decor was already long gone by then. Thanks for the pics.

 
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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3172
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2005-02-03 5:16 pm   Permalink

Gosh, that man looks uncomfortable with "voyeur tiki" checking out his "action".
Postcard from the Pelican, Clearwater Beach:

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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3172
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2005-02-03 5:31 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-02-03 17:16, mrsmiley wrote:
Gosh, that man looks uncomfortable with "voyeur tiki" checking out his "action".
Postcard from the Pelican, Clearwater Beach:




Or maybe he is uncomfortable with the fact that his tie is made out of the same material as the tablecloth!
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http://shop.ebay.com/1957sputnik/m.html
If you like it, it is ZAZZ! If you don't it is RAZZ!


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11194
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2005-02-03 7:19 pm   Permalink

Bruce, did you read that James Lilek book lately?

What a great postcard, wish the eyes of the Tiki were movable from left to right...

"Tiki has left the Village" would be a good subtitle for that trailer park.

And the "Bahi Hut" looks like someone turned his home into a Tiki bar:
"Aw fuggit, might as well git me some company while gettin' plastered!"

Wonder if our Florida Tiki (special?) agent Kailuageoff will read this, I know he has some more knowledge...


 
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tikibars
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2002
Posts: 2024
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
Posted: 2005-02-04 11:14 am   Permalink

For more info on the Bahi Hut, beyond what I wrote in TRT, consult - yes - the good old Tiki Bar Review Pages. I do actually add stuff there once in a while (also see updates of Trader Vics Atlanta, and two spots in Kentucky, for example).


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Jax Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 21, 2002
Posts: 137
Posted: 2005-02-04 12:06 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-02-03 17:16, mrsmiley wrote:
Gosh, that man looks uncomfortable with "voyeur tiki" checking out his "action".
Postcard from the Pelican, Clearwater Beach:






Looks like Mr. Tiki is holding hands under the table with the fine Babe!


 
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mrsmiley
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3172
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2005-02-04 12:23 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-02-03 19:19, bigbrotiki wrote:
Bruce, did you read that James Lilek book lately?

What a great postcard, wish the eyes of the Tiki were movable from left to right...

"


YES, that Interior Desecrations book is my reading at the UGH house.


 
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thejab
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 2986
From: Tradewinds Apartments, Alameda, CA
Posted: 2006-10-11 4:59 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-02-03 15:45, puamana wrote:
Postcard from the Kona Kai Motel, Sanibel Island :

Does anybody know if this place is still around ?



I drove past it last week and it appeared to be still open. It had a nice secluded look as it was blocked from the road by a wall and lots of tropical vegetation. Here's their web site:
http://www.konakaimotel.com/. It's a bargain for that area. Sanibel Island would be a nice place to visit for a beach vacation, but it seemed like it would be pretty boring at night. It's all very upscale and proper, with only low wooden signs allowed (mostly in earth tones and pastels). Still, there are some amazing remnants of old Florida nearby, like the Ding Darling Wildlife Reserve on Sanibel (where I spotted an alligator) and Lover's Key State Park south of Fort Myers' Beach, which had beautiful uncrowded beaches covered with shells. But plan on going to bed early.

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I dream of tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 12, 2004
Posts: 494
From: Pittsburgh, PA
Posted: 2006-10-12 05:04 am   Permalink

I love the Kona Kai. I've stayed there at every visit I've had to Sanibel during the last 5 years.

Alas, aside from its name, all remnants of proper Tiki is gone.
In the last few years, I have hesisitated to post the Kona Kai on TC. Had been advised that its not tiki in its current state. Here is a shot we took of the walk up to the office two weeks before Hurricane Charlie hit in 2004.


However, the slight bit of A-frame architecture is still visible on the buildings once you go into the interior of the complex.



EDIT: Addition of Kona Kai motel sign as seen from Periwinkle, the main drag on Sanibel. All shots posted were taken pre-Hurricane Charlie in 2004.

[ This Message was edited by: I dream of tiki 2006-10-12 05:39 ]


 
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tikijaksin
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 26, 2002
Posts: 163
From: Miami Florida
Posted: 2006-10-12 05:23 am   Permalink

these are really cool thanks for sharing . my friend/ partner loon used tolive in that area for a couple of years and we never ran into any of this ,good work.
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Hot Lava
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 01, 2003
Posts: 190
From: Saint Petersburg, FL
Posted: 2006-10-14 11:11 am   Permalink

Oddly, I went to the revolving bar on top of the Holiday Inn and all I kept thinking was what a cool tiki bar it would make. Now I find out is was one!
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A Frame
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 16, 2009
Posts: 259
From: Mr. C's on the Coast Highway
Posted: 2012-01-17 2:03 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-02-03 15:45, puamana wrote:

There is also what used to be the Hawaiian Inn at 6200 Gulf Blvd., and now is the Best Western Beachfront Resort (there's a past thread about it here on TC: http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=4134&forum=1). We were originally looking for that, and when we saw the round building of the Holiday Inn, I thought that was it. Later that same day when I found the Hilton Inn postcard, I realized that these were actually 2 different hotels very near each other, both with a Polynesian theme.




My dad grew up in St. Pete and must have gone back in the 80's to visit, I found this Hilton Inn brochure dated 1981 among some old paperwork he kept for years.






 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4351
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2012-01-17 4:22 pm   Permalink

A-Frame,

Another nice find from the family treasure. There is a thread for the Luau Room that was started by Mo-Eye. You should post that brochure there as well.

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=32354&forum=2&hilite=luau

DC


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