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Mira Mar Motor Inn & Restaurant/Ship Room, Oceanside, CA (hotel)

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Name:Mira Mar Motor Inn & Restaurant/Ship Room
Street:815 N. Coast Hwy.

Working hotel with a closed restaurant. No tikis.

Ok, this one took quiet a bit of research.... and the research is not done. But this is what I have. I drive past this place almost every day. Every time I look at it, I imagine it being remodeled into a big tiki restaurant. I also figured that the hotel had to have been tiki at one time, considering the a-frame overhang. I decided to start researching. This is what I have come up with so far.

This hotel was built around 1959. From the postcards, the one tiki element I could find is the tiki shields that were surrounding the pool at one time. The architecture of the place was polynesian pop. Evidence of this can be seen in old the old postcards.

Before the hotel was built, the restaurant existed long before. The restaurant was originally an old house and the place kept expanding. I've included the restaurant in this post because it is apart of the hotel and though it was not tiki, it was a nautical themed. The bar in the restaurant was called "The Ship Room". In front of the hotel was a sign that looked like a boat mast. The sign use to go up and down and sway back and fourth, like a ship. It is not known when this sign was removed.

I talked to the people at the hotel, they knew nothing about the history. I was able to get into the restaurant, because people are actually in there fixing it up. Surprising, because I think this place has been shut down for years. Unfortunately, non of the workers spoke english so there was no information to be had as to what was going on. But luckily I was able to get a few pictures of the enterior.

Postcards, showing how the place changed.

Close up of architectural details.

Close up of tiki shields that surrounded the pool area.

Close up of The Ship Room sign

How it looks now.

The hotel exterior.

Hotel office building/check in. No evidence of The Ship Room sign.

Restaurant exterior.

Side of the restaurant where The Ship Room was located. Kind of looks like a ship's stern.

Nautical stained glass windows, back of restaurant.

And now the inside, thru the back door.

The Ship Room

Cool beam inside the front entrance.


Hey TikiShaker, Interesting post!! Nice photos. The inside of the Ships Room is great! Beautiful woodwork and looks like they are re-doing or fixing it up? That maple side bar area is really nice!!

Very cool to see.
Mahalo, TabooDan

wow cool,

thats next to the Flying Bridge in Oceanside, any updates on that place.
back to the motel, as I drove by it a few times going to the flying bridge to see a band play, I thought hmmm thats vaguely tiki/nautical looking.

now I know why.


I think one of the strangest things is the white roof. In the postcards, it makes it look like the hotel is capped with snow. It looks so un-tiki. I guess it was to reflect the sun to keep it cooler inside the hotel?

Another great post, Tiki Shaker.

I've been wondering about that place for years.

Nice architectural history line up of images. I would love to see close ups of those 2nd post card's two big-ass signs! Now THAT was roadside signage! Later they got more "tasteful".

I support any and all such enthusiastic research, but allow me to differentiate: The fact that this place had mid-century elements like an A-frame, and a nautical restaurant/bar, is great, but as I pointed out in Tiki Modern, the A-frame was a general modernist style element that was not necessarily Tiki: Bowling alleys with other themes, churches and fast food places used it also. The same goes for modest outrigger beams. They were used on all kinds of mid-century modern buildings.

And a nautical bar is just that: A nautical bar (that swaying mast sign concept was cool!) And I am just not quite seeing those Tiki shields (could be crests with crossed oars), and since I do not find any other evidence of Polynesian or Tiki embellishments in any of the images, I would not count it as Polynesian pop.

That is not to say it should not have been posted here, because nautical is a side genre of Poly pop. :)


There's something that's becoming even more rare than Poly / Tiki themed places...Nautical themed restaurants.

Old Tony's on the Redondo Pier is a nice example of Nautical/Mid Century.

Then, Bahooka is a nice mix of both Nautical and Tiki.

I was hesitant to post this up here with out all the complete research, because of the things you mentioned Sven. I guess I was influenced by my luck of finally getting inside that restaurant to take pictures. I thought they were pretty cool and wanted to post them. Plus I thought there was a chance that someone on here might have had some knowledge/insight/history with the place.

As for what influenced me to consider the hotel (not the restaurant, which was created at a much earlier date) polynesian pop, is that fact that the research that I have done at the historical society always refers to that hotel as polynesian, when it was built. So, I kind of tried connecting some very faint dots. Luckily, I just found out yesterday, the head of the historical society has just started looking for more info on the history of the restaurant. Now as for myself, my interest mostly lies with the hotel, since I have seen it referred to as polynesian in more than one instance. But hopefully the historical society will run across info on the hotel as well. Though historical societies surely are not always qualified as to when to refer to something as polynesian or not, I'm hoping because of the frequency of the use of this term on more than one occasion by multiple will in fact better the odds of it being true.

My goal is to continue to find more info on this place. Hopefully with photos to back it up!

Thanks for the info. It would be interesting to find out the first time it was actually referred to as Polynesian. I am fascinated by the fact that people nowadays cannot imagine the absolute dearth of awareness and presence of the terms Polynesian and Tiki until the late 90s/2000s. Often it seems they always have been there. This is how it happens that all kind of Hawaiian stuff like hula nodders is called Tiki now, and any A-frames are often referred to as Polynesian. That's just going overboard a little, and dilutes the definition of the style.

Ok Sven, here are a couple of instances where it was referred to as polynesian.

The first is a historical timeline that was published by the Oceanside Magazine in Fall of 2008. It said:

"50 Years Ago
Construction on a quarter-million-dollar motel addition to the MiraMar Restaurant in Oceanside will begin in about two weeks, O. M. Morris, owner of the property, announced yesterday after opening of bids.

The MiraMar motel will be a two-story building with garage space below the first floor. D. R. Daugherty and Frank Marcom, operators of the MiraMar Restaurant, will supervise construction. Architects plan a Polynesian motif for the motel."

And next is an article in the Oceanside Blade Tribune newspaper from 1958.



Construction on a quarter-million-dollar motel addition to the MiraMar Restaurant in Oceanside will begin in about two weeks, O. M. Morris, owner of the property, announced yesterday after opening of bids.
Lowest of eight bidders on the 32-unit project was E. E. Betraun of Vista. His base bid was $179,932. Morris said that a contract would be signed with Betraun some time this week.
Other bidders were Richardson Brothers, Oceanside, $190,000; Dale Benz, Inc., San Diego, $186,900; T. A. Stanfield, San Diego, $201,462; Riha Construction Company, San Diego, $199,350; Douglass Construction Company, San Clememte, $183,000; Nielson Construction Company, San Diego, $201,404; and; Frank A. Gould, Escondido, $186,664.
Betraun is the builder of the Oceanside Community Center and the local County Health Center.
Including cost of furnishings and value of land, Morris estimated that the total project's cost would be about $250,000. Completion is expected in about five months.
The MiraMar motel will be a two-story building with garage space below the first floor. Features include soundproof walls and floors, tile baths, electric heat, switchboard telephone service, television and a heated swimming pool.
D. R. (Mike) Daugherty and Frank Marcom, operators of the MiraMar Restaurant, will supervise the construction.
Architects Paderewski, Mitchell and Dean of San Diego said they plan a Polynesian motif for the motel. "

I don't know if the architect Paderewski actually worked on this hotel, or if it was someone else at his firm. But here is some interesting info on him.


I'm going to continue to research for better visual proof. Maybe their plans were for polynesian, but were scaled back. I'm hoping to find some visual proof either way, eventually.

Excellent research, T.S., thank you. Wonder if the architects planned it as Polynesian --but the owner didn't? :)

What made me hesitate is the name not being Polynesian but Spanish, yet that might have to do with that it existed before. I am eagerly awaiting further findings beyond mere A-frames, outrigger beams and pool torches!

Dad found this recently

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