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Kauai Surf, Kauai, HI (hotel)

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Name:Kauai Surf
Street:Kalapaki Beach


The Kauai Surf Hotel is one of my favorite Hawaiian hotels for collecting Tiki and Hawaiiana stuff. The hotel was located at Kalapaki Beach on the eastern shore of Kauai. The site is now occupied by the Kauai Marriott.

The most recognizable Tiki feature from the Kauai Surf Hotel was the Tiki face logo, as seen here on the matchbook in classic Blue version:

And a slightly different Orange version.

This logo was also used on the hanging lamps in the hotel lobby.

Here is a close up.

There was also a metal sculpture of the logo out front next to a cool Tiki, as shown in this tourist picture I found on the internet. NOW that is a classic shot!

I remember a picture of the front lobby desk that also had the image, maybe someone can post that.

Here is a Hawaiian-style guest room.

(Great Tiki lamp)

They provided swings in the rooms!

This one is with Miss Kauai. I'd like that standard in my room!

The hotel shops with a few fenwood Tikis

Some of the dinning and entertainment options:

The classic Torch Lighting ceremony

The Surf n Sirloin

The Planters Lounge hula dancers

All in all one the great Hawaiian hotels that embraced the Tiki modern style.



Thanks for posting DC. My wife & I spent a week there honeymooning 25 years ago, I need to go back and look at the pictures we took at the Surf!

Good stuff DC here are some more shots.

Capiz shell lamps and white Bertoia chairs gotta love it.

On 2010-06-16 17:01, Dustycajun wrote:
I remember a picture of the front lobby desk that also had the image, maybe someone can post that.

That would be this still from Hawaiian Eye:

Curious, because most of the time the hotel lobby scenes were shot on a set at Warner Brothers in Burbank.


That's the one! Thanks for posting. Surprising that there aren't more photos of the Tiki in the lobby and the Tiki sculpture out front.

Kauai Surf was part of the Inter-Islands resorts that started off with the Kona Inn and the Naniloa, and then added the Kauai Inn and the Waiaka Lodge.

The Inter-Island Resorts had that great wine and liquors menu with the fisherman's god Tiki.


What a hip hotel! I looked this up because I saw one of the Kauai Surf mai tai mugs at a shop today and had to know aobut the background. I just love the archetypal Tiki Modern look of the place. The sleek danish-styled furniture and oranges and yellows juxtaposed with the organic textures of the lava rock wall and raku-fired look of the cylindrical lamps in the lobby. When did this gem close it's doors? From the info in A Frame's post, it must've been open until at least 1985(?) Too cool!

Figured I'd post a picture of the mug I was talking about... The mug design seems to fit the ambience of the hotel pretty well with the color/texture combo. Odd tiki on it though; it's like the body of a hei tiki, with a head transplant.
Borrowed from ooga-mooga, collection of bigredtiki.

What a trip! Here I am in what once was the Kauai Surf hotel, main tower, overlooking the crashing waves. The family has gone to sleep and I get on TC, only to see a post about the Kauai Surf!

Kauai Surf is still with us, in another incarnation and after all these decades, it is still one of the most popular Hawaiian destinations. It was bought by Westin in 1985, completely overhauled (to the tune of $22 million) and reopened in 1987 as the Kauai Westin. Out went the tikis and in came an over the top pan-Asian motif! There are literally dozens of Asian statues, some small, some huge, still scattered across the hotel's incredible 51 acres. What was the KS's pond and gardens, became the Westin's swimming pool, the biggest in the state (!) measuring 26,000 square feet of water surface and 210 feet in diameter. Barely out of debt, the Hotel was devastated by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and stood vacant until 1995, when the property was purchased by Marriott.

Today, it is the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club. Apparently "extensively" remodeled yet again, Marriott replaced most of the Westin's Asian art with Hawaiian art. Many of the Asian statues still remain. Probably too hard to move. Then again, why would they? I'm sure they cost a pretty penny! Throughout the hotel's common areas are dozens of exhibits of shark-tooth weapons, hula instruments and drums and Kapa cloth (a couple of pieces dating back to the 18th century) and all the art is of pre-colonized Hawaii. Bright tropical patterns characterize the newly reupholstered restaurant and lobby furniture. The new lobby area rugs also have tropical themed patterns. Overall you will definitely feel that you are in a Hawaiian resort.

The interesting thing is that despite these extensive remodels over the years, it still looks and feels like the old gal!(I would think) Denise and I were married within it's grounds eight years ago and we've been coming here ever since. The awesome mid-century furniture and swings are gone, and so have the Tikis, except for 3 carvings on the beach, but the rooms still look the same (or maybe it's the amazing view that hasn't changed!) The Planter's Lounge is now Duke's Canoe Club, serving up delectable seafood dishes and IMHO a far superior product to it's Waikiki counterpart.

I am just thrilled and thankful that throughout these remodels, they never tore down or altered the basic structure of the Kauai Surf. A new tower has been added, flanking the pool, but the original towers still remain, seemingly untouched! I've spent many a day at the beach, looking back at the KS main tower, in absolute awe. People stare at me taking photos of it and I'm probably the only one NOT looking at the beach. The view from the main tower (the Kahili tower) is absolutely breath-taking! Built before HI capped Hotels and high-rises to Palm tree height, the Kahili tower boasts 12 floors and the view here is second to none! Even on the 9th floor, where I'm currently sitting on the lanai, facing Kalapaki Beach, the waves crash a stone's throw ahead of me. I think of all the generations that have experienced this very feeling, on this very lanai. I'm totally blown away, again and again and thankful that this gem is still with us, not run-down and a perceived embarrasment, or altered beyond recognition. Instead, it's still going strong, having been given a new lease on life by Marriott.

In front of the Kahili Tower

The rooms today

The breathtaking view from the lanai

The pool, formally the Kauai Surf's pond and garden area

The shopping area as it now looks (boring!)

A tiki or two still stand proud

The lobby has a display of KS pics, with the tagline "The legacy continues"

The Kauai Surf circa 1965

[ Edited by: Molokai Mike 2010-11-27 10:21 ]

WOW!!!! in reference to the photo from 1965--look at all that beautiful unspoiled land behind and to the side of the KS. Amazing to see it like that before all the development. Totally diggin' that furniture and I so want a swing like that in my living room! Or maybe my future tiki bar.....one can always dream :)

Kahalakruzer and Molokai Mike, thanks for adding those posts to this thread.

Here is a postcard dated 1960 with a nice rendering of the Kauai Surf Hotel.

Like most renderings, the layout was a little different that what was built on the ground.

Here is the conceptual beach village hut area

And a geo-dome structure that does not show up in any of the photo postcards.

A few more early photos of the hotel complex for comparison.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2011-01-08 06:41 ]

had a few beers with some guy named Chongolio at that beach last May. seems to be His spot! the swings are awesome in those older pics!


I found some more Kauai Surf postcards last weekend. Other than the first one, that I hadn't seen the others posted here yet.

[i]On 2010-11-26 23:21, Molokai Mike wrote:A tiki or two still stand proud

Tikis still remain on the walkway to Duke's.,
appropriately illuminated by Tiki torches.
Excellent travelogue.

Here is a small ceramic pitcher (creamer?)


On 2012-01-01 11:10, bongofury wrote:
Here is a small ceramic pitcher (creamer?)

Jealous! That is beautiful, Ron. It's the kind of regional Hawaii Tiki pottery that drives me crazy!


Nice pitcher, have not seen anything like that before. Any marking on the bottom?

Here is another tourist photo I spotted online of the Tiki sculpture and the two Tikis out front of the hotel.


New here and im researching something you will like. I found this at a thrift store today.

It is for sale if your interested pm or email me an offer. Thanks

I think this is also what is in front of the woman here at the front table. There are marks where you can tell hot plates have sat on them.

[ Edited by: GameOverRG 2013-09-25 11:26 ]


Red version


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2015-01-06 18:40 ]

Spotted another photo of the Tiki sculpture in front of Kauai Surf.

And some photos from the pool and the Luau.


A cool wooden menu from the Surf n Sirloin Restaurant at Kauai Surf spotted on ebay a while back.

Reminds me of the Lancers bottle menu from Chucks of Hawaii in Santa Barbara


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2016-07-10 19:04 ]

Cool brochures.

Another photo of the Tikis and the sign


I was at a postcard collectors show the other day and came across this groovy postcard from the Kauai Surf Hotel.

Dining Room Kauai Surf Hotel Dining Room Ft Kauai Surf Hotel Dining Room Bk

This started me down the rabbit hole on this property. Apparently the Childs family and their chain of Inter-Island Resorts were really pioneers in opening up tourism to the “other islands” besides Oahu and the Waikiki area. Surf Vs Palms Article

I assumed this place was merely “Tiki adjacent” but then I found this thread here on TC and really enjoyed seeing all the actual tiki iconography they used in their marketing and around the resort. I also discovered some photos on Flickr from a fellow named Ian Lind taken back in August of 1962.

A few of the Sign up front with some very different tikis than in those photos posted here. Kauai Surf Hotel August 1962 Entrance 1 Kauai Surf Hotel August 1962 Entrance 2

Here’s some of the Buffet in the dining room. You can see the canoe in the postcard image posted above in the far left. Kauai Surf Hotel August 1962 Dining Rm Canoe Kauai Surf Hotel August 1962 Dining Rm Buffet

This is a view of the beach with another tiki hanging out. Kauai Surf Hotel August 1962 Beach View Tiki

These kinds of discoveries make me wish I could time travel to experience these things in their heyday.

Great photos, love the cars in the parking lot too.

Pages: 1 27 replies