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Tiki Central Forums Locating Tiki Outrigger Inn, St. Petersburg, FL (hotel)
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Outrigger Inn, St. Petersburg, FL (hotel)
Mo-Eye
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 17, 2006
Posts: 625
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Posted: 2009-04-24 5:10 pm   Permalink

Name:Outrigger Inn
Type:hotel
Street:6800 Sunshine Skyway Lane South
City:St. Petersburg
State:FL
Zip:
country:USA
Phone:
Status:defunct

Description:
A Hawaiian / Polynesian themed hotel / motel with restaurant and nightly Polynesian shows.



 
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Mo-Eye
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 17, 2006
Posts: 625
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Posted: 2009-04-24 6:54 pm   Permalink

I went though all the google timeline papers to try and put together a history of this place. I know this place is already mentioned in the Trader Vic's thread that was built there afterwards, but I figured I would start it's own thread since some of the timeline is wrong in the other one.


The Outrigger's original address was 6800 34th Street South, which was later turned into Sunshine Skyway Lane.

The Outrigger Inn had a fairly short life span. I couldn't find an exact date, but it looks like it opened in 1961. It was built out of the combination of the Doctors Motel, built in 1957, and the Skyway Motel, built in 1954. It was bought by Sheraton in January 1966 for $1.2 million and was briefly known as the Sheraton Outrigger before it became the Sheraton Bel Air Resort in 1971. In 1987, the property became the Days Inn Marina Beach Resort, and then turned into a Holiday Inn Sun Spree resort in 1998, which it still is today.

Here is a great article / review from the Feb. 20, 1963 issue of the St. Petersburg Times describing the Inn:

----------

The Outrigger Inn is all aglow these weeks with top entertainment for the tourist season. Based on a South Sea Island motif and as plush as can be, The Outrigger Inn is like a visit to another world. It offers a breathtaking view of the skyway bridge which also acts as a guide to visitors who are new on the Suncoast. the Outrigger Inn is located just north of the toll gate on US 19 (34th St.)

The atmosphere in the Outrigger Inn is such that you expect to see Marlon Brando pop around the corner and do a scene from "mutiny on the Bounty," or perhaps the "Hawaiian Eye" might even show up from TV.

The food consists of tantalizing Polynesian dishes as well as American food if desired. You'll find all the favorites such as Hawaiian luau's, roast duck Mandarin, sub gum chicken chow mein and many more.

The drinks are on the exotic flavor and just as daring. The "Outrigger Swizzle," "Headhunter," and "Pineapple Royal" are all to be approached with caution.

Even the entertainment has an island flavor. Susie Kawana, Leiana )from the Hilo Hatti Show), Karl Kalani and his Outrigger Boys play all the island tunes. Bob Lovell and Eleanor Carline begin the music festivities at 7:30 pm and then alternate with Karl's group throughout the evening. The music is a delight and perfectly compliments the Polynesian food and cocktails.

Go in a group and have a night to remember at the Outrigger Inn. Reservations are suggested.

P.S. - All the St. Louis Cardinals are staying there, so you may catch a glimpse of your favorite baseball player,

----------


and here is more about their shows from a Apr. 26, 1963 Evening Independent article:

----------

The show at the Outrigger Inn continues to be the most colorful anywhere. the happy Hawaiians in the cast are inspired perhaps because of the Hawaiian wedding ceremony of last Sunday. the bride and groom will live forever in great happiness if the love and affection shown them last Sunday is any criterion. The Outrigger Riders play the most danceable music, plus backing the show with an able beat. "The King and I" and "South Pacific" are presented in miniature form. The drinks are exotic, the food is exciting and the Outrigger Inn itself is so lovely.

----------

The wedding from above took place on April 22, 1963, where Chief Nakoa K Willis married Judith Marica McCann. Nakoa was from Hilo, Hawaii and did the fire knife dance in the Outrigger Inn shows, and Judith was a hostess there.

and again from the same paper on July 19, 1963

----------

At the Outrigger Inn there are two dazzling floor shows nightly. (The big 'round the world buffet on sundays draws the show folks and seems to inspire impromptu entertainment) During the week though, the "Outrigger Riders" present their island music with Leiana, featured dancer, in the show. The hula has never been presented more gracefully by anyone than Leiana. She is truly poetry in motion. The exciting knife dance is also one of the most daring bits of entertainment presented in any floor show. The authentic South Sea Island decor is relaxing and different. Spend an evening with the delightful Hawaiian entertainers at the Outrigger Inn - the happy people from the south Pacific.



---------


Another cool bit of history is that on March 4th, 1965 Chrysler presented one of their Turbine cars to a Gulfport family and that presentation took place at the Outrigger Inn.


Here are some ads for the Outrigger Inn:














And here is a postcard from another post.




And now, the demise:

When Sheraton bought the hotel in 1966, they still kept some of the Polynesian flare. There are references to their "Outrigger Restaurant", island food and the "Shell Bar", but it looks like they got rid of the Polynesian show, replacing it with just standard lounge acts. It looks like Sheraton then did a major renovation in 1971 when it became the Sheraton Bel Air, so that probably destroyed the remaining elements of the Outrigger Inn. This renovation included replacing the Outrigger Restaurant with a Trader Vic's, which opened in January 1972.

And here is a 1968 ad for the hotel showing its layout then.




That's about all, for now. Not too bad for not having to leave the computer...


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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-04-24 7:19 pm   Permalink

Great research and great post

DC


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11088
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-25 07:55 am   Permalink

Indeed! Exemplary armchair archeology!
A place that has been flying under the radar pretty much. I think I saw that great "Jet" sign somewhere, on a matchbook or so, but who was to know that was not just an average motel with a cool sign! Amazing.


 
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Mo-Eye
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 17, 2006
Posts: 625
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Posted: 2009-04-27 03:37 am   Permalink

Here's another vintage postcard from eBay:




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Mo-Eye
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 17, 2006
Posts: 625
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Posted: 2009-04-27 04:02 am   Permalink

And another amazing article describing it, from the Evening Independent, Dec. 7 1961:

Exotic Club Opens Doors on Saturday

An elaborate fountain with intricate waterfalls and flaming torches at the entrance to the newly remodeled Outrigger Inn is typical of the tropical isles decor throughout the spacious grounds and colorful interior.

The Outrigger, which combines the former Doctors Motel and skyway Motel at the approach of the Skyway Bridge will open Saturday, boasting 150 rooms and complete convention and catering facilities designed to accommodate as many as 500 people.

Under the policy direction of Jim Walter and the executive coordination of Henry J. Hayne, general manager of the properties, the Outrigger offers exotic beauty and comprehensive service facilities to the motoring public and area residents.

The gracious Polynesian and international dining room overlooking Tampa Bay and highlighted by a complete bar decorated in tropical splendor will feature food creations from around the world. The new catering manager is Maurice Helou. His assistant is john Hargrave.

In addition to the spacious dining room, there are complete convention and banquet facilities consisting of a main ballroom and banquet hall, surrounded by three meeting rooms and exhibition area.

Fine murals throughout the establishment, executed by Phillip Brinkman, internationally famous muralist, depict tropical life at tis best. A corner leading to the dining room displays South Sea items available for purchase.

The main dining area with its raised stage will provide Polynesian entertainment by Nani Maka, French Tahitian dancer, and the South Seas Islanders. Jules Landy and Art Baumgartner will supply intimate violin and piano music for the cocktail lounge.

The enclosed patio, with its myriad of colored lights, boasts a huge, kidney shaped swimming pool and descends to a beach with 800 feet of white sand. Complete marina and docking facilities are included also.

With completion of the renovation program the Outrigger opens its hospitable doors as a splendid addition to the Suncoast's attractions.



And now, the best part....










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Mo-Eye
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 17, 2006
Posts: 625
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Posted: 2009-04-27 04:19 am   Permalink

Regarding the muralist in the above article, there's a website run by a relative dedicated to him:

http://www.philbrinkman.com/


He's famous for his WWII bomber nose art, and I bet they don't even know about these murals.
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Mo-Eye
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 17, 2006
Posts: 625
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Posted: 2009-04-28 12:51 am   Permalink

A Feb 7, 1963 Evening Independent article states the Outrigger Inn has a new Hawaiian entertainer now, Leiana Ikamohihana. She comes here from San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel and appearances at Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. I assume they mean the Tonga Room.
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TikiGardener
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1360
From: 1st website dedicated to Tiki Gardens
Posted: 2009-04-28 12:31 pm   Permalink

Great work you've done here! Check out and see if you can come up with anything on The Inferno Room which was a bar that was started by one of Trader Frank's bartenders.

When I started doing Tiki Gardens research for The Tiki Gardens Memorial Website, all I could come up with was a few articles on The Byar's Obituaries. Which did provide bits and pieces of info, but I would have killed for those articles you found!

Great to see all of these other places we didn't know about.

TG
http://exotic-tiki-gardens.com

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Mo-Eye
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 17, 2006
Posts: 625
From: Costa Mesa, CA
Posted: 2009-04-28 4:20 pm   Permalink

I'll have to see if I can find anything on the Inferno Room. I still have dozens of articles on Tiki Gardens to go through.
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11088
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-28 11:42 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-04-28 12:31, TikiGardener wrote:
Great work you've done here!



Indeed! With the help of Humu's link, Mo-Eye has single-handedly given Florida's Gulf coast an equal status to its Atlantic shores, which until now had the lead in Polynesian pop prevalence. While Tiki Gardens, the Hawaiian Village in Tampa and the Tahitian Resort in Tarpon Springs seemed like isolated islets until now, they now all circle around the hub of St. Petersburg, with its Outrigger Inn, Black Pearl, Bali Hai, Headhunter lounge and more!

What's also so intriguing is how short-lived (exactly only during the peak-Tiki period) most of these establishments were...

Now if we just could get good photos of all!


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2009-05-18 6:35 pm   Permalink

Matchbook from the Outrigger Inn with the classic logo.





Heliport?

DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-06-10 11:47 am   Permalink

Picked up a menu from the Outrigger Inn



It has a very nicely illustrated tropical drink page.




A few close ups, you get the glass for $2.50 - just like the old days at the thrift stores!








A few illustrations from the menu.





The salutation on the back cover.



Always nice to read one of Mo-Eye's research pieces.

DC


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 4240
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-08-31 9:22 pm   Permalink

Here is another addition to this great Mo Eye research thread. I picked up this old news photo from the Outrigger in St. Petersburg' taken on New Years Eve in 1966.



Love the scene with the handsome couple decked out for the night and the Tiki watching the New Years toast.




DC


 
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abstractiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 604
From: Lodi, CA
Posted: 2011-09-01 5:25 pm   Permalink

That is a fantastic pic, absolutely classic.

 
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