Welcome to the Tiki Central 2.0 Beta. Read the announcement
Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Catamaran Resort Hotel, San Diego, CA (hotel)

Pages: 1 13 replies

Name:Catamaran Resort Hotel
Street:3999 Mission Blvd
City:San Diego

A classic Tropical/Tiki resort hotel on Mission Bay. Originally built by the Scripps family as a Spanish Colonial style summer house, the buildings were rebuilt in a Hawaiian Colonial style in the late '50s to better fit in with the tropical grounds. The hotel's been renovated many times since then without loosing it's Tiki touches.

From the Catamaran Resort Hotel's website:

Throughout the decades, the Evans family has gone to great lengths to import traditional Pacific Island art. All of the ethnic art including spears, personal jewelry, hand-woven rugs, and warrior shields are from New Guinea and were made prior to World War II. As you face the front desk, look above and you will see a very large Tapa cloth made of Mulberry bark. It is from the New Hebrides Islands located off the coast of New Guinea. When this piece was commissioned, it was the largest one done since 1920 and took many different island families over a year to make. The wood that makes up the front desk is called Black Koa wood, which is native to the Tahitian Islands. The totem poles throughout the property were handcrafted in Bali specifically for the Catamaran. As you approach the stairs on the way to the Atoll restaurant, look to your left and you will see large carving encased in glass that looks like a stool. This piece of art is known as the "speaking stool." It was found by Michael Rockefeller in a headhunter village in 1961. This stool is the second largest one known in existence.

thejab posted on Mon, Feb 7, 2005 2:09 PM

Just curious, are there any tikis left there? Was there more of a tiki style in the past? I have always wondered about the history of this place.

The hotel seems to play down the Tikis on the grounds, and there's probably less than on the grounds of the Red Lion Hanalei, but there're still there:

From an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Nov 2003:

At the Catamaran, the most impressive specimens sit in display cases, out of reach, un-rubables. But the directional signs on the resort's lush grounds are attached to tikis, and Menkin identifies each one.

"The iguana tikis."

"A fertility tiki."

"The pirate tikis."

I'm looking for a good image of the beautiful tapa cloth over the front desk, you can see small images of it on their webpage on the Resort Tour or Panoramic Photos pages.


There is also the Cannibal Bar at the hotel, but everytime I have been there (only a couple of times, and they were quick drop-ins just to check it out) the bar has been closed.

Some pictures of the Catamaran I took earlier this month:

The Tapa Cloth displayed over the main desk.

The waterfall in the lobby. You can see some of the giant Koi fish that live in the pool below, but the parrot that spends days there had gone to sleep for the night already.

The Catamaran that hangs from rope & tackle above the stairs in the lobby. You can see several PNG shields mounted on the back wall of the lobby behind the boat.

2 of the many PNG carvings that line the halls.

The Speakers Chair that Michael Rockefeller brought back from PNG.

One of the Tikis on the grounds. This one is just outside of (the still closed) Cannibal Bar.

The Cannibal Bar looks to be in the middle of a major renovation, either that or it's being used as a store room by a contractor while he's renovating another part of the resort. None of the other Bars or Restaurants look to be very Tiki, nor do they display any PNG carvings in them, but it's interesting to wander the halls & lobbys to see what's displayed on the walls & in cases around the resort.

Was it this parrot?

Nice post. That place is right on the water. I often wondered if it could be a cost-effective LA getaway, with a Hawaii-like vibe.

Looks great!

We stayed a few years back at a place Called Humphry's in Shelter Cove, here's a link with a photo of the front of the place:


And here's the website:


And it was walking distance to Bali Hai:


And you could take a water taxi to Petco Park, home of the Padres... Awesome.

I want to go back, now!!!

Bosko's cool presentation at Oasis inspired me to post some pics. One of the brief discussions centered around whether or not "the Cat" was "Tiki". The resort's new health spa retained the defunct Cannibal Bar's signage which I believe sports a pair of conjoined tikis on either side... aren't these guys great?!

This too.

Here's a pic of the support beams below the glass a-frame.

Birdwrangler & trainees...

I think his name is Charlie.

Hey Hank thanks,

The Catamaran (although very beautiful) was not Tiki per-say it most certainly had an exotic South Seas tropical theme but they describe the structure as “typical colonial Hawaiian architecture” what ever that might be?
The carvings they refer to as “totem poles” made in Bali, enough said.


It looks like Tiki has survived the Catamaran's transformation into the 21st Century, thankfully.



Nice, thank you hang10tiki.

My pleasure

Pages: 1 13 replies