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Waldorf Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia (hotel)

Pages: 1 2 3 117 replies

Name:Waldorf Hotel
Street:1489 Hastings St. East
country:British Columbia

This is merely for reference. Here are two photos of the two main rooms in the Waldorf Hotel in Vancouver, B.C.: Polynesian Room and Tahitian Room. These are scans of postcards from the 1950s. In all these years, the rooms and decor haven't changed all that much.

The Waldorf Hotel certainly isn't what it was (operational-wise), but it is still currently home to the larger B.C. Lounge and Tiki events that happen on occasion, and was the monthly location for The Blue Lizard Cocktail Club in the mid to late 1990s.



[ Edited by: DJ Terence Gunn 2005-07-10 16:57 ]

some great news for people in or visiting vancouver -- the Tiki Bar at the Waldorf Astoria, Vancouver is going to be OPEN for business again as of this Saturday, March 4, 2006 and then on weekends from there on...I'm here in Van shooting a movie and we are using the bar for a shoot on sunday, March 31 -- if you're around and wanna be in a movie come on down!

Gasp! This is fantastic news!


Great news...that was my first tiki experience. I love this place

That's terrific. I talked myself inside a few years ago and took about a hundred pictures. That place is totally amazing. If you are shooting a movie, please be careful with your lights. Some other crew burned up the handpainted ceiling.

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff 2006-03-01 19:20 ]


Terrific news!!! I've heard rumours about this but now it's confirmed...yay! Looks like we'll be going out on weekends more often!

That's the best news I've heard all year and it's only March! If a deal goes through The Road Kutters Car Club will be moving our Annual Rockabilly BBQ Bop - Car Show to the Waldorf... bigger location than our existing digs. He's hoping!

It was also rumored that they had opened it on weekends for Techno nights... Tiki & Techno... YUCK!

[ Edited by: roadkutter 2006-03-02 11:33 ]

Fabulous news. But don't come on April 29th--we've got it booked for our wedding!


On 2006-04-11 10:32, wordcakes wrote:
Fabulous news. But don't come on April 29th--we've got it booked for our wedding!

and you didnt invite us? tsk Tiki People give good gifts ~ although that's offset by the amount of booze we drink...

have a WONDERFUL wedding..and a fantastic marriage... and for heaven's sake POST PICTURES

what she said!

Is this place still open to the public on weekends? I read a few posts and have seen that they are and also that they are not. Does anyone local know?

Hi, I went to a large Halloween party at the Waldorf on Friday October 28th and the cool tiki bar room with the Leetegs was open as were all their bars. Here is a picture of my GF in front of a Leeteg. Sorry for the crappy photo, but I didn't take it.

The tiki rooms are now open Friday and Saturday nights from what the lady at the Waldorf told me, however, if you wanted to go tonight November 3rd, for instance, you would have to see and pay for an alternative rock show to view the cool rooms. Events usually cost $8-15 depending on what it is. You can visit the bar, but unfortunately it probably won't be a quiet tiki/loungey night like one might like. It all depends on the event going on that night. I would call first because different rooms can be booked and then you won't see the cool Leeteg room as it may be privately booked. Call 604-253-7141, which is the Waldorf, and they will be able to tell you if the room will open to the public on the night you want to view it. I hope this helps a bit.


Last week, Heritage Vancouver and Funhauser (local tiki store) put on a "tiki talk" here. There was a short talk on tiki history by Don Luxton who is an architectural historian and tiki fanatic--an a fabulous public speaker! After the talk, we were allowed to wander around and check out the different spaces. It really is a phenomenal place.

It was a fundraiser for Heritage Vancouver and the place was packed. They were talking of doing a larger scale event in the summer; keep your fingers crossed.

Folks, I fear for the Waldorf!
Some of you might know, I've been co-organizing an event (Lost Paradise) at this last great Tiki venue in Vancouver. We've been working alot with the management (a challenge to say the least!) and some things have been coming to light which make me wonder about it's future. They're facing serious liquor licensing issues, fire regulation violations, lack of business and the inevitable 'land is more valuable than the building' scenario (thanks to Vancouver's insane real estate market). Couple this with an indifferent ownership that I really don't think appreciates what they have, I'm not so optimistic about it's future. The manager (the third manager in six months!) also told me that our event is the second to last one booked...yikes!
After reading other threads about the death of so many great venues, I feel a little depressed that our last & only original Tiki venue may join the list.
When you see that the most active & organized efforts like the TV Hollywood campaign fail it's a little discouraging. I guess I'm venting a bit because I'm not sure what the solution is, if there even is one. It would just be sad to lose it.

Yeh, that's right Pepe!!!
See this Tiki Mecca before it's too late!!
Check out the events page for a great opportunity this coming July 21st!!

Below is an OLD ad from the Waldorf Hotel advertising the Polynesian Room. This add (note the old telephone number) is from 1959 and is rare to see. This will probably be the first time it has ever been documented online.

These rooms opened in 1955 so this is one of their first ad's. This ad features the figure from one of Leeteg's famous paintings, The Tahitian Drummer. This velvet painting is still located upstairs in the Tahitian Lounge. The Waldorf used this figure on menu's, matchbooks, stir stix, paper work, cheques, receipts and lots of other printed matter. The later ad's had just the Waldorf Palm Tree exterior sign pictured on it. I will add one of these later.


Edited to fix picture size.

[ Edited by: TabooDan 2009-05-21 21:08 ]

On 2007-06-22 15:44, Pepe le Tiki wrote:
When you see that the most active & organized efforts like the TV Hollywood campaign fail it's a little discouraging. I guess I'm venting a bit because I'm not sure what the solution is, if there even is one. It would just be sad to lose it.

My Missus and I went last year, but I lost all my photos when my hard drive crashed. What a bummer!
Anyway, I think a big part of the TV Hollywood campaign failure was the fact that we knew it was going to close and the fact that Hilton shut down the restaurant without letting anyone know when. They were trying to avoid the publicity that a big event might draw.
If you're concerned about the fate of the Waldorf, then the time to act is now! Get going on all the historic places register stuff before the place is slated to be demolished, and before there's a development plan for the area. What a tragedy it would be if that place disappeared. I'd never seen so many black velvet paintings in one place. Awesome. Just awesome....


I hope this place lasts, I have been wanting to go for years!! This year, I am out of days off so I can't make it for the July event; http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=22849&forum=4&hilite=waldorf

have a blast evryone!

On 2007-07-14 15:21, mrsmiley wrote:
I hope this place lasts, I have been wanting to go for years!! This year, I am out of days off so I can't make it for the July event, have a blast everyone!

Mrsmiley, No excuses!! This IS the event!! Phone in Sick, phone in Twisted!!
You gotta see this place before it is gone! If you can get the opportunity, you gotta get up here. Hey....only a three hour flight!!

I'll have a drink in the name of all the TCer's who cant make it.

Mahalo!! TabooDan

Just an update on the Waldorf. Sadly, one of the rooms (The Menehune Room & downstairs bar area with the fabulous village mural) are now closed to the public. We were actually very concerned that the whole place was going to be closed prior to our event (as late as last Thursday).
The Fire Martial has deemed the rooms a fire hazard (..and having been through the back work rooms, I'd have to agree) and all the matting will have to be fire proofed, replaced or removed. The GM told me they were being inspected almost daily and that the rooms had to be dealt with or the entire place including the hotel would be closed.

On a brighter note, I was told by the folks at Heritage Vancouver that there was a real interest by the owners in keeping the place going. Time will tell!

The Polynesian Room (with giant mural) & Tahitian Lounge (with Leetegs) are still open.

One thing's forsure, filling the Tahitian Lounge with exotica music & entertainment and people decked out in their finest tropical attire made everyone realize the potential of the place.

Oh, to win a lottery!



Is there any update on this? Where can I find tiki in Vancouver BC on June 21, 2008? We have only 1 night!



Just for reference, folks may want to check out http://www.sevenpleasures.org/gallery/waldorf these 8 albums of pictures from the Waldorf that we took over 2005's "Holy Crap it's a Tiki event in Vancouver!". They're not great photography, and they don't begin to do the place justice, but they at least give hints and perhaps some feel for how incredible the Waldorf really is.

It is simply a truly elegant, richly layered, magnificent series of spaces. Absolutely one of the most amazing survivors I've ever seen. It's as if via some magic rip in the space time continuum it's still possible to wander what in its day was the place, now a time capsule from another age.

Were it not on the other side of the continent from me... .

In any case, seriously folks, run don't walk! Don't postpone. It's simply incredible. Helping ensure its survival should be a real Tikiphile priority.

Pepe le Tiki would be the fellow to ask about it's current status.


Thanks Sabina - Great pictures - I will run there (but not until June ;-( )!



Aloha, The Waldorf is still standing and not too much to be reported. The Menehune Room remains off limits and the Lounges are still closed unless there is an event. I have been talking to the new manager there who has been hired by the owners and he is good to deal with.
He was around at the July and August 07' Events and he likes the interest that the Tikiphiles have and also the rockabilly/hotrod scene. There may be another show/event there this summer so I will keep you all informed.
The manager was asking me for some pictures of our event that we had for his website so that does sound a little promising. I will keep you posted.

As for something Tiki in June....keep checking back here for future events and updates. Don't know of anything planned yet. Whoever comes up to Vancouver BC has to go to Funhauser Decor ( http://www.funhauserdecor.com ) for good eye candy! Lot's of cool stuff and also art from local Tiki artist's. No Tiki bar's up here anymore.
There is a place called Tropika which is a Malaysian Restaurant that features tropical drinks and has drawings in it's menu of Trader Vic mugs and bowls.
They have a few behind the bar but none are for sale. Still kind of cool to see a large selection of classic tropical drinks on a menu and they are actually pretty good. Mahalo!! TabooDan


Thanks TabooDan! Sorry to hear that there's not any tiki bars in Vancouver - but I'll still swing by the Waldorf to take a look at what ever I can, and Funhauser decor - sounds pretty cool. Thanks for the first hand update!

I would HIGHLY ENCOURAGE all Tikiphiles -- and other lovers of cool stuff - to stop into Funhauser whenever you are in Vancouver...it is a great store and very unique; Vancouver - heck, Canada! - doesn't have anything like it and in all my world travels i frankly have never seen anything like it...Peter and Alan are terrific guys too, and great to deal with. A definite MUST on anybody's list when they go to Vancouver.


Well we made it to Vancouver on our way to the great white north, and as TabooDan said - the Tahitian Lounge in the Waldorf hotel was really great. (We didn't make it to the funhauser store though - our ship would have sailed without us :( ) - It looks as though they intend on keeping it up - we got a tour from the manager, and had mai tais at the bar - which were just alright - not great. Here's some pictures:

[ Edited by: tikigap 2008-07-10 09:06 ]

Wow, looks like they're doing a major overhaul of the Menehune Room (the room that was shut down by the fire inspector when we were out there for the Heritage Vancouver fundraiser whenever that was). I hope that's not an acoustic tile drop ceiling (or even worse, a "sunshine" ceiling).


Nice post with some great pictures Tikigap!! Too bad you couldn't check out Funhauser!! Next time!!

That IS a drop tile ceiling!! Brings a couple tears to my eyes!! That leaf and bamboo roof was awesome before!! It would have cost them a small fortune to box that one in though and do all the wiring and ducting right. The owner does not really want to spend the funds to do it right, just make it safe for use again.

The room is great but that ceiling will take alot of the old character away!!
I gotta get in there and get them doing this half right! I will try to at least get them to paint it all black!!

to be continued..... TabooDan

I'm cringing as I look at these photos but I guess I'm not surprised! The condition of this great venue has seriously declined in the last few years. The Menehune Room will never be the same!!! Even a brown hanging ceiling would be better than what's being done.... ugh!!! (granted they're not finished yet)

Glad you got into the Waldorf Tikigap!! It's still a treasure and is worth every effort to see it!!

On 2008-07-10 09:00, tikigap wrote:
Well we made it to Vancouver on our way to the great white north, and as TabooDan said - the Tahitian Lounge in the Waldorf hotel was really great.

I can't believe that the Waldorf is doing this kind of work on what once looked like this in the Menehune Banquet Room:


That's always SO painful to see. I'm thinking in addition to the Regrettable Tiki Paint Jobs thread, we need one dedicated to regrettable tiki remodeling jobs! I've seen enough good (bad) examples of it here over the years.

..i just heard the place is getting turned into a sportsbar by the children of the original owners..this comes from a source in canada...any truth to this??

On 2008-11-20 11:24, Tipsy McStagger wrote:
..i just heard the place is getting turned into a sportsbar by the children of the original owners..this comes from a source in canada...any truth to this??

God, I hope not! Just what Canada needs, another f*(kin' sp*rts bar!

You know, I wouldn't even be shocked if this is true. It would probably make more sense than having these rooms closed to the public. Damn! I knew I should have just gone in and seen if I can take a look around when I was in Vancouver this summer. I only drove by it about 15 times! Where's Taboo Dan with the inside scoop?

I recently found this hiding in a bag of swizzles:

new photos
Any more info on this sports bar rumour??

[ Edited by: Brandomoai 2009-11-28 13:29 ]


No news to report yet but there are rumblings that it will be for sale which basically means it will probably be destroyed. It is very hard to get information from the owner or any of the constantly new managers. All the rumors right now are just that.
The Tahitian Lounge is still open on Saturdays for Mexican nite which seems to be pretty busy and is the only steady event that happens there.

How the Waldorf looks according to Google Street view.

Here is a nice little table menu that sold on ebay recently showing the Polynesian Dining room and the Menehune Banquet room at the Waldorf.


Went by during the week. The Waldorf is apparently under new ownership/management and is completely closed for renovations. Much construction going on.

Check out the Waldorf Hotel page on FaceBook for information on the new leaseholders and their plans.

Here's the press release I just got today:

For Immediate Release

September 29, 2010

Vancouver's Famous Waldorf Hotel to Reopen in November 2010 as a Multi-Venue Concept Hotel

Vancouver, BC; The Waldorf Hotel, designed in 1947 by architects Mercer & Mercer, was remarkable from the beginning for its modernist style. In 1955, capitalizing on an emerging interest in Polynesian culture, the complex was transformed into one of North America's most renowned "tiki" themed bars and hotels. A post-war phenomenon, tiki culture was rooted partially in the nostalgic tropical memories of returned soldiers but also in the erotic fantasies of a middle class fascinated by the exotic and forbidden. The original architects reworked existing interiors, creating a space dedicated to artifice and escapism.

In 2010, Musician Thomas Anselmi (Slow, Copyright, Mirror) and restaurateur Ernesto Gomez (Nuba) took over operations of the Waldorf and are working with architect Scott Cohen (designer of Gastropod, Les Faux Bourgeois) to reimagine the property. Collectively this team has a vision to develop the Waldorf into a creative hub in the heart of East Vancouver where contemporary art, music, food and culture convene under one roof. The programming for the space will be both artistically expansive and thematically inclusive.

The hotel's interiors are virtually untouched in many areas and the new vision expands on the theatricality and surrealism of the original concept. The hotel complex consists of thirty rooms, two restaurants (directed by Ernesto Gomez and executive chef Ned Bell), a Tiki bar (restored and retrofitted with a vintage analogue audiophile sound system), a hair salon (run by Barbarella Hair), a gift shop, a nightclub and a live music venue. In the works are a multi-media theater space and recording studio (tied to a residency program for visiting musicians).The Waldorf joins a new wave of Vancouver businesses that are conversing with the city, setting a benchmark for culture and hospitality.

  • 30 -

Images available upon request.

The Waldorf Hotel
1489 East Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V5L 1S4

Media Contact:
Daniel Fazio
[email protected]

The new logo artwork shows some promise, although I'm still skeptical. It sounds like only one of the rooms will be saved, but which one? Apparently, there's going to be an opening/Halloween party. I'm gonna' need some West Coast volunteers to attend and report back to us (with photos). So, who's going...

Found this link to someone's Flickr photostream (a contractor or designer, I'm guessing):
Looks like they're keeping the Tahitian Lounge, which makes me happy! It's too bad that on my last couple of trips to Vancouver I didn't take the time to see the place before these renovations. However, if this means the Tahitian Lounge is going to be open permanently, instead of just on Salsa Saturdays or whatever, then I'll have nothing to complain about. It seems like an ambitious plan. I hope everything works out in the long run!

Thanks for posting the link to the Flicker Shots. A few very cool ones on there. If you go through them, check out the one that shows the cash machine. In the foreground you can see the very rare 3 Ku Ceramic Tiki Lamps that were on the tables in the dining rooms back in the day. You can also make out a Tiki Bowl there as well. I saw this Bowl there in the back storage rooms a few years ago along with about three Fogcutter Mugs.
These were all marked and were from Trader Vic's. Trader Vic's at the Bayshore Hotel was once only about 7 minutes away. Maybe these items were there as maybe a example or something the Waldorf was possibly planning on one day creating or maybe just getting ideas. Who knows, but it was very interesting to see Trader Vic items at the Waldorf sitting on a shelf for over 40 years!

You can also see the all the wood bowls and other items that have been dragged out of storage as well. The old owners kept everything and it's all been tucked away hidden in the maze of old store rooms under the Hotel. I would have loved to been able to explore under there even more and dig out all the relics.

I stopped by a few weeks ago to see what I could but there really wasn't anyone I could talk to. I checked around the back of the Hotel and there were no hints of anything Polynesian in the couple of garbage bins they had back there. The Pub and Hotel foyer were completely gutted and under major reno and almost the whole building was behind scaffolding.

I will try to find out about the three rooms this coming week and see if I can get a look. It does seem promising so far from what we have read. At least the new owners know what they have and seem to be interested. Maybe they will be alot more willing to deal with the Tikiphiles and other interested parties as opposed to the previous owner. Time will tell.

Mahalo, TabooDan

mick9 posted on Thu, Oct 28, 2010 2:48 PM

Looks like it opens on Saturday Night!with the original JBL speaker system from the 50s and DJs spinning vinyl

On 2010-10-28 14:48, mick9 wrote:
Looks like it opens on Saturday Night!with the original JBL speaker system from the 50s and DJs spinning vinyl

Wow! Please, any local Tiki agents, report, with photos!



Yeh Yeh Yeh....after all the delays, wishful thinking and rumors, the whole story is here! The Waldorf will be open again!!!

If you are traveling here or plan on coming to Vancouver BC, you gotta stop by the Waldorf hotel! It's a must if you come even close to the city! We all have to support what has been done and the vision that has tried to be saved and revisited here.

Check out this awesome article in the Vancouver Sun. Read the story as it's got some very cool stories about the history of the Waldorf and it's beginning. Also some cool facts about the velvet paintings!!


Don't forget to check out the photos.

Hopefully I can get down there on Saturday and report back with some of the details.
Mahalo, TabooDan

[ Edited by: TabooDan 2010-10-29 05:28 ]

Can't wait to be able to see it next time I'm in town!

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