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

Pages: 1 29 replies

Tucson has one other tiki relic to go with the Kon Tiki and the Magic Carpet Golf tiki, here it is... the Tiki Motel. It appears to be closed and I couldn't find any other signs of tiki around the place.

Humuhumu, I didn't know that you were coming to Tucson or we would've met up with you at the Kon Tiki. Mr. Cheeky Half and I live within stumbling distance and we do like to stumble frequently.

If it's closed you should by all means try to get that sign...that's as classic as it gets.

While you're at it, grab the "No Tell Motel" sign in Tuscon.

While you're at it, grab the "No Tell Motel" sign in Tuscon.

...now taking orders for vintage Tucson signs.

P.S. Who's got welding gear?

Can anyone tell me where this sign is located in Tuscon?

The exact address is 2649 N Oracle. It's just north of Grant if that means anything to you.

Not only is the Tiki Motel open, but it's neon sign is fully operational. I was thrilled to photograph it on a trip to Tucson in early October, 2003. The spotlight in front of the face part of the sign makes it look like the tiki is speaking into a microphone, but other than that, its great. They even have business cards with graphic art of the sign as a logo. If you like googie and googie-ish motel signs, be sure to drive South to see the Tucson, the Flamingo and the Sahara. To the North of the Tiki Motel, be sure to turn left (West) onto Miracle Mile to see the sign for the Tropicana Adult Theater; I'm sure it was once a motel. Be careful in this area at night though...way too many guys just hanging around looking like they wondered how many rocks of crack they could get for my camera. By the way, the No-Tell Motel had no business cards, but the nice (if befuddled) man at the desk gave me a match book...a fine souvenir or great practical joke item for slipping into a friend's pocket before his wife does the laundry.

There was also a Tiki Inn in Palo Alto, Ca.

Here's another shot.

I just did something crazy, and called the Tiki Motel, to see if they have a website or shirts for sale. This was the conversation:
(7 rings)Hello?
Unga-Is this the Tiki Motel?
Lady-Yes it is, what do you want?
Unga- Do you have a website?
Lady-What's that?
Unga- That's OK, never mind. Do you sell t-shirts?
Lady -Just in our lost and found. What did it look like?
Unga - Uh, sorry to bother you. Goodbye

M

The tiki motel in Tucson is Tiki in signage only. And a cool sign it is! I think someone posted photos around the beginning of 2003. The motel is of the early motel design in which each room is separated by a covered parking space for your car. The manager seemed interested that Tiki is having a resurgence and that his motel was mentioned on Tiki Central.

I don't think they would conceive of having t-shirts, Unga Bunga, though the iconic simplicity of the logo would make for a great one. I did get this business card, although Shutterfly seems to have cropped it.

Some night shots:

The North side of the sign is blocked by the building unless you are some distance away. It is not as well maintained:

Happy hunting, everyone!

Has anyone actually stayed in one of these mid-Century marvels?

Or would you?

I'd like to before they are all gone, although one the other hand, maybe a photo safari would suffice.

M

On 2004-11-09 19:11, christiki295 wrote:
Has anyone actually stayed in one of these mid-Century marvels?

Or would you?

I'd like to before they are all gone, although one the other hand, maybe a photo safari would suffice.

Mr Smiley sure gets around!!! Yes, He has stayed at the Tiki Motel. The owner was very happy to show all the interior renovations he was doing. Not to my taste his style of interior decorating, though. The place is Tiki in sign and name only-no Tikis hidden elsewhere, I don't even know if it had a plam tree on the grounds! For variety, I would probably stay at the No-Tel Motel a block away next time. :)

Hey tikijackalope- You'll be glad to know that the Tiki Motel sign has been repainted and it looks fantastic! Good as new, really, and all of the neon was in working order last time I drove by at night.

On 2004-11-10 09:12, tikitucson wrote:
Hey tikijackalope- You'll be glad to know that the Tiki Motel sign has been repainted and it looks fantastic! Good as new, really, and all of the neon was in working order last time I drove by at night.

ZAZZ!!

[i]On 2003-10-31 13:53, Unga Bunga wrote:
I just did something crazy, and called the Tiki Motel, to see if they have a website or shirts for sale. This was the conversation:
(7 rings)Hello?
Unga-Is this the Tiki Motel?
Lady-Yes it is, what do you want?
Unga- Do you have a website?
Lady-What's that?
Unga- That's OK, never mind. Do you sell t-shirts?
Lady -Just in our lost and found. What did it look like?
Unga - Uh, sorry to bother you. Goodbye

I called myself last night and was unequivocally told that it there was nothing tiki about the Tiki Motel, it was just a motel.

A

I called myself last night and was unequivocally told that it there was nothing tiki about the Tiki Motel, it was just a motel.

Hmm, that's funny; everytime I try calling myself, my line is busy.

(sorry)

-Randy

Thanks Tikitucson; its great to hear that the Tiki Motel sign has been painted.

Mrsmiley, let us know what the No-Tel is like if you stay there. Last time I stopped in, the owner was glad, (though perplexed) to give me a matchbook. I wonder how many of their clientel have been undone by a forgotten matchbook when the wife does the laundry. I love the colors in the sign; if adult places shared a flag, it'd be red and yellow.

Sound? Boom-a-chuka-chow-chow, boom-a-chuka-chow-chow.

christiki295 wrote:

Has anyone actually stayed in one of these mid-Century marvels?

Or would you?

I'd like to before they are all gone, although one the other hand, maybe a photo safari would suffice.

I might stay in such a place as the No-Tel or the Tiki (IF I saw a room and it was clean - more or less), especially as I hate banal corporate motels. I would be careful though as that area has a lot of obvious drug dealing. I think I'm about two years past my "I'll stay anywhere that has a cool sign" period.

One of my sadder street people encounters happened when I was shooting in that neighborhood. A woman yelled at me to put away my camera as she approached (as is usual in such cases, I wasn't even shooting in her direction). She declared that she was carrying a letter from the Governor stating that nobody could shoot her picture. She walked past without stopping, and her eye contact shifted to a point beyond me though it was clearly me she was still yelling at. She passed on by, ranting at the now imaginary me in front of her and waving her letter, which looked suspiciously like a Wendys wrapper. I guess I joined the cast of people that live in her head.

If you can handle such encounters, the Miracle Mile/Oracle/Drachman/Stone zig-zag is a rewarding photo safari with over a dozen mid-century motels. Here's an example:

The clock is ticking on such places. When I was there last year, The Hacienda on Ocacle took down part of it's sign just as I was shooting it in order to come into compliance with a chain of extended stay places they had joined. The next day, instead of "Hacienda" it had a plastic banner for something like "USA Extended Stay."

[ Edited by: tikijackalope on 2004-11-12 14:23 ]

[i]On 2004-11-11 12:27, tikijackalope wrote

One of my sadder street people encounters happened when I was shooting in that neighborhood. A woman yelled at me to put away my camera as she approached (as is usual in such cases, I wasn't even shooting in her direction). She declared that she was carrying a letter from the Governor stating that nobody could shoot her picture. She walked past without stopping, and her eye contact shifted to a point beyond me though it was clearly me she was still yelling at. She passed on by, ranting at the now imaginary me in front of her and waving her letter, which looked suspiciously like a Wendys wrapper. I guess I joined the cast of people that live in her head.

Sorry, that was me!!! I was off my meds that day. Love , Mrs. Miley. :)

[i]On 2004-11-11 12:27, tikijackalope wrote:

The clock is ticking on such places. When I was there last year, The Hacienda on Ocacle took down part of it's sign just as I was shooting it in order to come into compliance with a chain of extended stay places they had joined. The next day, instead of "Hacienda" it had a plastic banner for something like "USA Extended Stay."

Mahalo for the update. I understand, unfortunately - The Hanalei on Hotel Circle in San Diego, numerous mid-century marvels in Anaheim, all have suffered a similar fate.

M

On 2004-11-11 20:11, christiki295 wrote:

[i]On 2004-11-11 12:27, tikijackalope wrote:

The clock is ticking on such places. When I was there last year, The Hacienda on Ocacle took down part of it's sign just as I was shooting it in order to come into compliance with a chain of extended stay places they had joined. The next day, instead of "Hacienda" it had a plastic banner for something like "USA Extended Stay."

Mahalo for the update. I understand, unfortunately - The Hanalei on Hotel Circle in San Diego, numerous mid-century marvels in Anaheim, all have suffered a similar fate.

It is really short-sighted and downright stupid to think that replacing a stylish neon sign with a bland flat plastic one is somehow an improvement! I believe Lady Bird Johnson somewhat started that fallacy with her "Highway Beautification Act" of the sixties which called for the removal of many old signs on the old highways. But I think she was going more for the clutter aspect as opposided to the neon=sleazy train of thought.
Ok everyone, yell this out loud with me, "neon is not sleazy, it is beautiful!"

How could anything think that a rectangular sign with block letters saying "Hacienda Motel" (or something like that) is an improvement over a stylish one of a cowboy riding a bucking bronco? (for example).
Cities are going to one day regret their wanting to remove neon signs, because in my opinion the cheap plastice ones add more to urban blight than the old neon ones.
Rant done for now. Always trust Mr Smiley!! :)

On 2004-11-12 15:26, mrsmiley wrote:

How could anything think that a rectangular sign with block letters saying "Hacienda Motel" (or something like that) is an improvement over a stylish one of a cowboy riding a bucking bronco? (for example).

It's not AS bad as it sounds. Yes, they did screw up the sign a bit but the bucking bronco is still there- they just covered over the "Hacienda."

Interestingly, the sign that's up now is at least the second version of the Hacienda sign. I have a postcard from the early 60's that shows the sign and "Hacienda" is written in a rather stylish, slightly cursive script.

[ Edited by: tikitucson on 2004-11-12 15:58 ]

M

On 2004-11-12 15:55, tikitucson wrote:

On 2004-11-12 15:26, mrsmiley wrote:

How could anything think that a rectangular sign with block letters saying "Hacienda Motel" (or something like that) is an improvement over a stylish one of a cowboy riding a bucking bronco? (for example).

It's not AS bad as it sounds. Yes, they did screw up the sign a bit but the bucking bronco is still there- they just covered over the "Hacienda."

Interestingly, the sign that's up now is at least the second version of the Hacienda sign. I have a postcard from the early 60's that shows the sign and "Hacienda" is written in a rather stylish, slightly cursive script.

[ Edited by: tikitucson on 2004-11-12 15:58 ]

thanks for the info--I was just using this case as a generic example-I have never seen the current plastic sign. It was a rhetorical example, if you will. :)

Not taken by me but thought they should be added to the site. A couple shots of the sign at night, The first one is a great shot by Leaky_Tiki's and the second from Architheque.

As a resident of Tucson since 1953, (I was 3 when we moved here from NY), we used to stay at the Tiki or a few other places on Miracle Mile (Oracle RD.) after rock concerts either here or in Phoenix. It was basically a good place to crash we we were to stoned to go home and face the inquisition of our parents. There is an artist here who makes 3" to 5" great "refridgerator" (sp) magnets of perfect replicas of all the old Tucson haunts like the Tiki, Vinces italian restaurant, the Thunderbird motel etc etc. I will post a pic tomorrow of the Tiki Motel magnet I bought last month. The No-tel Motel is still open I think but alot of the other old cool ones bit the dust long ago.
check out this: http://www.pbase.com/bearpaw/tucson_at_night

[ Edited by: drgoat456 2009-04-21 11:31 ]

Amazing signage. When there for a TC night at the Kon Tiki a few years ago, I loved seeing the Tiki Motel and the Tucson Inn signage!

The clerk at the Tiki Motel was even kind enough to turn on the sign even though it was not yet dark.

8T

Just picked up this postcard and posting it because the previous members photo above has disappeared.
Mine is postmarked 1965. Sign was repainted after the postcard photo was taken. Notice how the sign used to say Kitchenettes and was changed to COLOR TV.

Detail of the sign:


I once was lost.....but now I'm found.....

[ Edited by: 8FT Tiki 2016-09-12 20:04 ]

Pages: 1 29 replies