This summer, I finally made it to my first Tiki Oasis. I was only able to go for (part of) one day, but it was worth the trip. (I’m still mad that I had to miss Charles Phoenix‘s slide show due to the pesky matter of having to work. Oh well, maybe some other time.)
Tiki Oasis is held at the former Hanalei Hotel, which is now the Crowne Plaza San Diego and has lost the majority of its original tropical flavor. The most obvious loss was the hotel’s original outrigger/bamboo/starburst sign, which caught my attention from the freeway when I was just a kid. (There are some good pictures/renderings of the sign in this Tiki Central thread. Scroll all the way down – trust me.) And, unfortunately, The Islands restaurant was savagely gutted (why?!) and is unrecognizable to anyone who saw the original incarnation. Now it’s so bland I would never have known it once boasted a clamshell fountain, bamboo, matting, fabulous tiki lamps, an outrigger canoe hanging from the ceiling, and a big A-frame entrance.
I can’t tell you what it looked like when it opened in 1966 (Critiki can give you an idea), but there are still tiki touches if you know where to look.
I didn’t have much time to explore, unfortunately. Hopefully I can go again next year, since I would like to attend more than two symposiums!