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Tiki Central Forums General Tiki Caliente Tropics Modifications
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Caliente Tropics Modifications
KreepyTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 18, 2007
Posts: 193
Posted: 2009-03-25 03:35 am   Permalink

I just returned from an interesting visit to the Caliente Tropics (among other places in Palm Springs, such as Haleiwa Joe's which is now "Ocean's 111").

And here's what's up...

It seems that not only is the Reef Bar no more -- the nifty interior has already been gutted -- but the A-frame building that houses it is also being readied for a complete architectural overhaul.

In other words, farewell poly-pop influence and hello trendy modernist re-do!

Sigh...

Well, here's what the building STILL looks like:












And here's what it's GOING to look like:





Well, I spoke to the manager, Ashley, about the renovation process and asked her if anything besides the restaurant and bar was being changed and she wasn't sure. So I can only HOPE that a complete re-do (i.e. "de-tikification") of the entire resort would simply be too EXPENSIVE a proposition to contemplate, let alone realize. Which means, hopefully, that the beautiful and imposingly grand entryway A-frame and the lovely lobby interior, let alone all the wonderful tikis dotted throughout the resort grounds, will be left more or less as is. (Hopefully MORE!)

And as to the new restaurant/bar interior decor?... Well, Ashley gave me a hint by showing me one of the new light fixtures which was cylindrical, white, and with little round pieces of glass of varying sizes set into it, through which the light would shine. And it looked very Mid-Century Modern, which gave me some glimmer of hope.

But what chance do you think there is that the new bar interior will have any hint of tiki? Precious little I'll wager.

Oh well, we mustn't stand in the way of "progress", right, folks?

Cheers








 
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Luckydesigns
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 15, 2002
Posts: 2186
From: Costa Mesa
Posted: 2009-03-25 06:37 am   Permalink

Why in the world would someone think it's a good idea to embark on a project like that, in an economy like this?? Once they are done with it, only to hope for a tenant to pop up?? It's just surprising that they wouldn't want to try and work with what they have already. Build from that..... huh....
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-25 06:57 am   Permalink

I agree that it is a scary thing to see anything change on such a classic building, but I have hope that there will be no major architectural changes at the Tropics. The main solid changes I see are poolside, (those columns, which decidedly look 80s, yes, bad), but the rest are sail-type canvas awnings (even in A-frame shape), and screen dividers. The loss of what was left of the Reef Bar (and all of Ben's and Al's freebee work) is a shame, but the fact that the Reef signs remained so far gives me hope. Stylistically, I do not mourn the disappearance of the Mexican restaurant, and hope that the trend of new mid-century modern oriented design in Palm Springs will find its way into what once was the coffee shop.

 
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KreepyTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 18, 2007
Posts: 193
Posted: 2009-03-25 08:38 am   Permalink

Sven -- at this point I'm somewhat apprehensive because the resort manager did indicate to me that the whole exterior of the bar/restaurant building was going to be changed and, when I asked her if the A-frame section, at least, would be kept and incorporated into the new design, she said no.

The architect is the same who re-did another nearby Palm Springs resort recently, and she said the entire building has been redesigned by him.

However, she also said the Caliente's owner would be best equipped to answer these questions more definitively, though she couldn't guarantee he would be WILLING to do so. And, as yet, I haven't emailed my questions to her so she can relay them to said owner. But, once I do that, I'll be sure to share his replies (if any) with TC.


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-25 09:53 am   Permalink

Hmm, that surprises me, because I was assuming that the resort manager (and also the owner) would be WITH the Tiki program, especially since in a month the manager is part of a panel that specifically discusses mid-century HOTEL PRESERVATION in Palm Springs, on the occasion of the 2009 California Preservation Conference organized by CPF, the California Preservation Foundation:

http://www.californiapreservation.org/tours_2009.shtml#hotel

Here is the program text:


MOBILE WORKSHOPS:
Hotel/Motel Preservation: What Works and Why
Friday, APRIL 17 2:00PM - 5:15PM

This mobile workshop will bring attendees to historic hotels/motels that have been successfully rehabilitated. At each location the property's owner or manager will discuss the rehabilitation and subsequent marketing plan. What worked and why. Anticipated site visits include the Orbit In/Hideaway, Caliente Tropics, Del Marcos, El Morocco Inn, and Hope Springs.

Moderator: Peter Moruzzi, President, Palm Springs Modern Committee
Speakers: Jade Nelson, Manager, Orbit In and Hideaway Hotels; >>Ashley Evans, Manager, Caliente Tropics Hotel<< ; Jack Davis, Manager, Del Marcos Hotel; Bruce Abney, Owner/Manager, El Morocco Inn and Spa; Chloe Peppas, Manager, Hope Springs




Since my friend Pete Moruzzi is the moderator of this workshop, I thought all was peachy. If you folks remember, Pete saved the Tropics in the early 2000s from being turned into a generic Spanish Revival resort (only the name CALIENTE Tropics remained of that idea) by bringing the (then) managers Casey and his business partner a copy of the Book of Tiki, and with its help convincing them that they had something unique.
Now Pete and the Palm Springs Modcom have become a model organization in that, while they vigorously fight for preserving the authenticity of a place, they also work WITH developers to achieve a working solution so their businesses can compete in the market. This is the only effective way to not be shut out completely from the process. But if we are talking A-frame removal here, the architectural integrity of the Tropics would clearly be compromised.

Very interesting, Paul, I appreciate your diligent sleuthing. More on that later.


[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-03-25 09:56 ]


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Mongoloid
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 25, 2008
Posts: 589
From: Long Beach
Posted: 2009-03-25 3:02 pm   Permalink

Kinda sounds like it should fall under the if it aint broke dont fix it philosophy. From what i can gather from other TC members is that the place is usually at 75% occupancy. Why invest money into something proven during these times? From what i see on the picture of what the future design is going to be seems to clash with the rest of the hotel. The reef bar was themed perfectly with the hotel and i just hope its not a slippery slope into same shit different toilet dudsville for the hotel.

 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-25 3:32 pm   Permalink

I completely agree. I was being "positive" in attitude to allow for a modest "facelift", but boy, you touch ANY of the remaining A-frames, my pet symbol of Polynesian pop, you loose my vote! This Motel is pretty much the last intact example of the once dozens of authentic Tiki Motels in California. ANY of the original features of and around the Reef bar, like the wormwood "Beachcomber-style" walls, and the Oceanic Arts signage and A frame beams are all part of the architecture theme. The Reef's two entrances are two of the main photos I used in the Book of Tiki to show how original the place had remained!

And what bar proprietor would want to serve anything else but tropical cocktails in the Tropics' Tiki environment, especially since they are now enjoying a big revival !!? I fear that the owner is not aware of that, and wants to offer a "clean slate" to potential restaurateurs.

Let's hope Paul's findings are not substantiated to this degree...


The Reef A-frame, framed by the main entrance A-frame

All these elements must be preserved:


Left side A-frame beam detail and left wall of Reef Bar


Right side A-frame beam detail and wall of Reef Bar


Poolside entrance door detail with brass O.A. handle ( mounted upside down!)


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3817
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2009-03-26 5:57 pm   Permalink

By the photo, it looks like the A-frame is preserved.
I hope the bar brings in some $$ to Caliente Tropics, somewhat like sacrificing the pool bar for the greater g00d of the hote.


 
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KreepyTiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 18, 2007
Posts: 193
Posted: 2009-03-26 9:28 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-26 17:57, christiki295 wrote:
By the photo, it looks like the A-frame is preserved.
I hope the bar brings in some $$ to Caliente Tropics, somewhat like sacrificing the pool bar for the greater g00d of the hote.



I'm not quite sure what you mean by it looking like the A-frame is preserved? Those photos are pics of how things look NOW, not what they WILL look like once the remodeling takes place.

At this point, I'm not 100% sure WHAT exactly is going to be done or not done with the building that used to house the Reef Bar, other than what the artwork shows. And that rendering only shows the rear of the building next to the swimming pool. The small A-frame is on the SIDE, and the manager seemed to feel it was going to be history. I need to hear that from the owner before I'll feel certain, but I didn't get a real good feeling about it while I was there.

Now, if you mean the great BIG A-frame -- the entryway into the resort -- yeah, I have a feeling that probably WILL be preserved (Ku willing!), unless, of course, they intend to completely revamp/de-tikify the whole place starting from scratch, but I kinda doubt they have THAT much cash lying around.



 
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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5820
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2009-03-26 10:08 pm   Permalink

I know, I'm always the downer responder, but it looks like there is no way Tiki has any reserve/chance in that new design of a hotel.
What is that, space age retro?


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-26 10:22 pm   Permalink

I hope this will be cleared up soon, I am glad you checked into it, Paul, just goes to show how one should always be alert and not self-pacifying about proposed "improvements".
Here is something I wrote earlier today about it:

>>The problem I think the owners/operators have is always the same: They don't want to look "dated". So they make the dated stuff disappear by simply ripping out any weathered structures instead of restoring them, and throw up some cheap cosmetic stuff --I don't think they really care WHAT it is as long as it looks "NEW". <<


 
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Tiki Shaker
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 706
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2009-03-26 10:51 pm   Permalink

I actually think the new design kind of looks dated. To me, it screams early 2000's. It has that first year of Dwell Magazine look to it that has swept much of Palm Springs. Though I'm sure certain examples of that type of design will last for decades (I do like my fair share of it), I don't feel that this example will last long at all. This redesign is not unique nor is it timeless, it's just a simple example of early 2000's design.

What will the name of the restaurant be? I'd bet it will be something along the lines of... Caliente Bistro, perhaps.

Yawn.


 
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Tiki Shaker
Grand Member (6 years)  

Joined: Jun 28, 2008
Posts: 706
From: Menifee, CA
Posted: 2009-05-20 4:50 pm   Permalink

I drove past it today. It hasn't changed since I was last out there in February. No big trash bins and it looks like all construction (or destruction) has stopped. Probably because of the economy.

 
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Lukeulele
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 04, 2006
Posts: 377
From: So Cal-holic
Posted: 2009-05-20 5:06 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-05-20 16:50, Tiki Shaker wrote:
I drove past it today. It hasn't changed since I was last out there in February. No big trash bins and it looks like all construction (or destruction) has stopped. Probably because of the economy.



I live about a mile from the place and drive by it almost daily. It is never busy, even on the weekends. (Trust me, I ALWAYS look over at it when I'm driving by).


 
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christiki295
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3817
From: LA-2547 mls east Hawaii &5500 Easter Is
Posted: 2009-05-20 6:04 pm   Permalink

When I was in PS I Love You a few months ago, the front desk person said that the modification the new owners was almost complete, but that has not proven to be the case.

 
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