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Best Western Aku Tiki Inn, Daytona Beach, FL (hotel)

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Name:Best Western Aku Tiki Inn, Daytona Beach, FL
Street: 2225 South Atlantic Avenue
City:Daytona Beach
Phone: (386) 252-9631

Stolen from their website:

Directly on the ocean, overlooking the miles of
soft-white sand on the "World's Most Famous Beach", the Best Western Aku Tiki Inn is the affordable, ideally located beach resort you have been looking for. The Best Western Aku Tiki Inn provides great attention to fine details and exceptional service to our guests. You will be conveniently located to the Daytona International Speedway and Florida's many attractions. It is within walking distance to supermarket and shopping.

[ Edited by: crataegus on 2004-10-23 00:08 ]

This is a poolside view of my room at the Aku Tiki over my nine AM bloody mary prior to checking out. I'll post more images later. (I left all my photos in Tampa.)


Their famous, spectacular moai sign was toppled (kinda like the real moai) during the 2004 hurricane season. I went in there on my way to Hukilau, and the management told me that the sign is being restored. Good news.

Here's the original post on the Aku Tiki maoi coming down during Hurricane Charley.


I rode my motorcycle past the hotel last Friday. The original base has been removed and there are three huge steel poles sticking out of the spot where the Maoi used to sit (stand?) Unfortunately, the poles look they are for a sign, not a tiki. I'll keep checking on it.

[ Edited by: kailuageoff on 2004-10-24 19:57 ]

Loki posted on Mon, Dec 26, 2005 6:25 AM

I was in Daytona for the Christmas weekend and the Moai has been put back in place. It looks great, but i forgot my camera. Sorry.


The Aku Tiki Inn was just given the Director's Award, for being one of the highest-scored Best Westerns:

Polynesian-themed Best Western Aku Tiki Inn captures Director's Award

DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. (September 5, 2006) ? The Best Western Aku Tiki Inn, an oceanfront Polynesian-themed property, recently received the prestigious Director's Award from Best Western International. The award is only bestowed upon Best Western properties that surpass the organization's stringent standards for cleanliness and maintenance. To qualify for the Director's Award, hotels must also achieve high customer service ratings and meet specific design standards. Of 395 Best Western hotels in the district, only 11 received the Director's Award, with the Best Western Aku Tiki Inn receiving the high score of 958 (out of a possible 1,000) on its inspection.

"Providing the best possible environment and atmosphere for our guests requires a tremendous amount of hard work and resources," said Blaine Lansberry, VP of Sales and Marketing. "We are excited to receive this award, and are very proud of our staff for making it possible."

The Best Western Aku Tiki Inn is known for its outstanding amenities, such as daily cocktail reception, newspaper, fresh baked cookies, and free high-speed Internet access. Guests enjoy the tropical ambiance created by bamboo, palms, colorful hibiscus and an indoor/outdoor pond. Situated directly on the World's Most Famous Beach, the hotel allows guests easy access to exciting beach play. Its sister property, the Caribbean-style Bahama House, is a boutique hotel located just blocks away. Both beachfront properties are owned by Staed Hotels.

Staed Hotels maintains hotels which cater to families, golfers, corporate travel executives, and meeting planners in search of the best of Daytona's beach experience. Daytona Beach residents since 1960, the Staed family has been active in the hotel industry for nearly 60 years. At the peak of their ventures, they ran 11 hotels, accounting for 1,500 rooms and 9,000 square feet of meeting space in the Daytona Beach area.

For reservations, call the Best Western Aku Tiki Inn at (800) 258-8454 or (386) 252-9631, and the Bahama House at 800-571-2001 or 386-248-2001. For additional information on the properties, visit http://www.BWAkuTiki.com, http://www.DaytonaBahamaHouse.com or http://www.StaedHotels.com.

It's really just a press release, but it's nice to know that the Aku Inn is one of the better Best Westerns (one of the best Bests?). What really caught my eye was the daily cocktail reception, fresh baked cookies, and free high-speed Internet access. Sounds like my future retirement home. In a good way. It's nice also to see them playing up the Polynesian angle.


I drove by when I was heading down to the Hukilau from Orlando. What a great sign...too bad there's power lines all over the place.

The Witco tikis at the entrance:


That shows us how the fact that they JUST spend the money for building that completely new Moai sign is just a drop in the bucket compared to the money that's being exchanged in these mega-developments.

God save Julian's, please!

Thought you might also enjoy these I took a couple months back...while visiting the Aku

Also had the pleasure of dining at Julian's;though I didn't
take my camera along.Drats!..It was awesome too!Though maybe
more Loungish than Tiki-bar.


Here's some more pictures of the Aku Tiki Inn, along with the attached Traders Restaurant, I took a while back. If you're like me, you just can't get enough pictures, so enjoy...

And the Traders Restaurant...

And we can't leave out the Hawaii Motel down the street, whose only redeeming feature is her neon sign:

Nice coverage! Reminds me of that "door handle e-bay scandal" a while back. So these are the returned ones?

Next challenge for Daytona Beach Tiki archeologists: Extensive photos of Julian's, including interior shots of the grand mural and the shield lamps!


Yes, I remembered the thread from a couple of years ago about the missing door pulls when I took that picture. I just went back and re-read it though because I couldn't remember who bought them off ebay (Sabu). So, did he ever return them to the owners? That part of the story was left off. The door pulls in my picture were on the inside doors leading from the hotel lobby to the restaurant. I think the ones that Sabu had (has?) originally came from the outside door to the restaurant, which as you can see in my photos, is just a plain black door now.

Julian's - Yes, I plan to go over some time soon and photograph the inside. I'll post 'em here when I do.

Going to be heading down there in a couple of weeks.

Just wondering if anybody knows of any other "Tiki" places (past or present) in Daytona Beach other than the Aku Tiki Inn, Hawaiian Inn, or Julian's?

Going to get a lot of pics of the Aku Tiki, Hawaiian, and possibly Julian's. I also might make a trek down to the Mai Kai. But I'd also like to seek out any others if possible! :tiki:

Just got back from Daytona.

Stayed at the Aku Tiki for five nights and I must say that I was impressed with the hotel. My family and I have been staying there for over 30 years and I think that the hotel looks better (even more tiki) than ever before.

I talked with the night manager about the future of the hotel. He said that as of right now there is an ordinance of some sort that has to do with beach erosion that is preventing the developers from tearing down the hotel. He said that, that ordinance will remain in place for another five years. After that the hotel is probably history.

So, I would recommend that if anyone gets the chance to visit the hotel. It's in a nice quiet spot on the beach, the staff is friendly and the food and drinks at Traders is excellent!


PatTiki and I were cruising in the Ormond Beach area today and decided about mid-afternoon to stop someplace for lunch. Since Julian’s Restaurant was nearby and the sign said open for lunch, we pulled in, only to find out that they had changed their hours and are now only open for dinner. So we cruised further southward to the Aku Tiki Inn’s Trader’s Restaurant and Lounge in Daytona Beach Shores.

In late 2007, GatorRob posted a nice photo log from his visit. I’m pleased to say that the tiki elements of the place, including Witco carvings, survive to this day, though a bit more weathered.

The inn’s iconic sign, driveway and entry...

Here’s the lobby area adjacent to Trader’s Restaurant and Lounge...

The entryway to Trader’s from inside the inn...

The exterior sign and entry to Trader’s...

Inside the restaurant and lounge...

Memorial weekend business was good at the inn, though we were early for restaurant activity. Pat and I inquired about rum specialties of the lounge and were offered Rum Runners or Bahama Mamas. The bartender also offered Mai Tais and Zombies, so we took a big gamble and ordered the Zombies. They were served in chimney glasses, but were not the Zombies of our experience. With pineapple juice, orange juice, Triple Sec, rum and fresh fruit slices, they packed just enough spirit to make a passable rum punch. We ordered simple lunch fare and were surprised by truly enormous char-grilled hamburgers on toasted buns with the works… really great burgers. Lounge music was 1960s hit songs and the outside view was the inn’s oceanside pool...

Not exactly a tiki immersion experience, but a pleasant place with quite a number of visual tiki elements.


What happened?:

On 2007-11-11 15:49, GatorRob wrote:

Was he being bad?:

On 2011-05-28 19:52, TikiTomD wrote:

Thanks for the Makai scans, Tom, got'em!

Here's a post with the original Aku Tiki brochure, with close up scans that shows you how the place looked originally - not that much more tiki-ed out:


Also, here is a finding that belongs to this thread:

On 2011-05-28 19:52, TikiTomD wrote:
The entryway to Trader’s from inside the inn...

I wanted to add a B&W tourist photo of the Mai Kai entrance doors that Swanky discovered a while back which obviously inspired the above -uh- "zany" interpretation (not by Witco!) of the Cannibal carvings, but I can't find it on TC :(

All I can do is post the MENU cover, which was based on those Mai Kai doors (it opens like the doors, too) and add the Aku Tiki Traders doorway to the list evidence of how much the Mai Kai was influential in the flowering of Tiki style in Florida


On 2011-05-29 20:21, bigbrotiki wrote:

What happened?

Was he being bad?

Good catch, Sven :)... it was so dark in the corner of the restaurant that I didn't realize the Witco table was turned front to the wall until I viewed the photo on my laptop.

Glad that USPS came though and delivered the Makai scans to you... I drove by the Makai today and noticed that the tiki atop the iconic sign was missing. I also saw another sign stating that the Makai has "New Owners." Let's hope that the sign is under repair and that this doesn't correlate to the initial phase of an intended change in style by the new owners. I'd like to reassure GROG that the stone Moai with an attitude remains as it was for the moment.

While at the Aku Tiki Inn this weekend, I picked up a brochure and business card from the front desk for comparison with the vintage articles...

Add a bit of cartoon exaggeration to the Mai Kai cannibals and you get the Trader's entry door cannibals... particularly noticeable in the "grin" and body configuration of the upper carvings... thanks for the insight, Bigbrotiki!


Yeah, well, the lower ones look more like frog-legged chipmunks than anything else :D

Scary to hear that about the Makai sign -after they had just refurbished it. New owners often feel they have to put their "stamp" on things. But good to see the use of Tikis in the new Aku Tiki brochure! If I remember the story right, both Aku Tiki and Hawaiian Inn are run by the same family who built them, and the daughter who manages it now honors the theme that her dad initiated. It was her who spent the money to completely re-build the Moai sign. I was in disbelief until I saw it standing. When everybody else would choose the cheapest option possible, she went all the way.


Thanks for posting all of the photos. Great to see most everything still intact.

Here is an old ad for the Aku Tiki Inn and the Traders.

Not sure what that "Royal Shaft" is all about?


Aloha, DustyCajun, and Happy New Year!

That ad is for a like-named establishment located in Sarasota, rather than Daytona Beach.

I found this brief description of that lounge act, a threesome, in the Google News archives...

Sarasota Journal July 14, 1978 (page 10)



Pat and I drove by the Aku Tiki Inn tonight on our way to dinner. I stopped long enough to snap a few nighttime photos of the iconic Moai on top of the sign...


VERY cool. It' s great that they rebuilt that sign!


DC, you spurred my curiosity: It seemed more than coincidental that there would be two Best Western Aku Tiki Inns on opposite coasts of Florida; there must have been a connection. Well, the following article from the Google News archives shows that there was...

Sarasota Herald-Tribune June 25, 1981 (page 72)

Here’s the relevant paragraph from the article...



Here’s a nice ad for the Aku Tiki Inn from a Hopkinsville, Kentucky newspaper...

Kentucky New Era March 29, 1973 (page 21)


I picked up an old oversized advertising postcard from the Aku Tiki Inn.

Close up of the entrance and the Tiki.

Aerial view of the complex.

The restaurant with some nice lamps and Witcos.


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