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

Tiki Central / Locating Tiki

Orchid Island Hotel, Hilo, HI (hotel)

Pages: 1 12 replies

Name:Orchid Island Hotel
Street:211 Banyan Drive


The Orchid Island Hotel was located on Banyan Drive in Hilo. The hotel had a soaring A-frame entrance and a large Tiki in front. I have quite a few postcards featuring the entrance.

This place reminds me of the Taharaa located in Tahiti.

A night time shot.

The mod lobby entrance when you came through the A-Frame

Two renderings, the first shows the A-Frame but no Tiki.

The second shows the beach-side view.

And a matchbook.

I read that the hotel burned down, wonder what happened to the enormous Tiki? Maybe Phillip Roberts ended up with it!


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2010-08-14 16:06 ]

Great Hotel and Tiki, here is a napkin and another postcard from this Temple.

from 1971

hotel pool

Great images. I just found 3 of these postcards myself and I'm glad to see the images already made it on here.

The Swizzle.

Zeta posted on Mon, Jan 10, 2011 9:34 PM


Gracias amigos! Ese lugar es super fresco!


Notice the renderings, both of the A-frame by day and from the pool side, shows a fifth floor, a sort of roof garden, maybe a bar or sundeck...? Now look at the PHOTO of the pool area, and look up to the roof: there's a big blocky thing up there with a row of chimneys, probably HVAC, which would block the view from the proposed rooftop zone; it would also have been visible in the photos if it existed. Guess: Whatever was planned to go up there didn't happen. Did this hotel maybe have plans for a snack bar or small lounge that never materialized?

Not that I have any other evidence, or that this has any bearing on any existing discussions. Just something I spotted.

[ Edited by: TorchGuy 2011-01-11 08:31 ]


That was originally a penthouse for the owners (my Dad was one of them) to stay in while they were on the Big Island. It did not work out because of some height restrictions for the area. The government wanted to keep it low key and homey in those days. I agree. We still ended up with some pretty cool suites in the corner of the A frame. My Mom did most of the decor at the hotel, with the help of a designer. It was a great place, and the employees were awesome.
Unfortunately for the owners, they had a schyster of an accountant who basically stole the hotel from them. Then it burnt down due to shoddy electrical workmanship (guess who hired the contractors???) that was in 1986. The guy died of a heart attack soon thereafter and (I hope) is getting bitch-slapped in hell by Hitler (now tell us how you really feel...).
The monkey bar was actually my Dad's idea. He lived in Panama as a teenager and had a pet monkey. he thought it would be cool for the bar guests to see the monkeys playing there. Anybody remember Arthur Lyman playing in the Monkey Bar?? He sang me happy birthday for my tenth BD. I thought that was cool.
So - the original renderings were done before they got any permits. The architect who did the drawing was from a firm in Los Angeles (where all the dentists who owned the place were from).
Anyway - I hope that answers your questions.

Update - I had to do a lot of to get the scoop. The tiki went up with the hotel. It was wood. A local guy named Steve carved it, and it was AWESOME! I loved that tiki.
One resource:
http://archives.starbulletin.com/96/06/17/features/story1.html - skip tot he part about the slowest elevator. I agree.

The only other thing I found was facebook blogs and my older sisters excellent memory.

I'm glad to see everyone's interest in this hotel. It was a neat few years of my childhood.

Hawaii Kai resident from 1967 to 1982
Missing sno-cones, laulau, lihimoi, and Michaela Lau (you punk - where are you?)

[ Edited by: Shortie 2014-12-16 16:37 ]

Ah. It's a shame they weren't able to build that penthouse on the roof. That would have been beautiful. Thanks much for giving us the history, Shortie. I didn't know the hotel was destroyed by fire. Do you know if that giant tiki in front stayed till the very end? Do you remember it as a kid?

Thanks again,



Amazing that nothing has ever been built on the property since, but if you've ever been to Hilo, you'd probably know why. It's very slow, and rains ALL the time.
Not exactly a vacation destination.

Shortie, please tell us more.

[ Edited by: tikiyaki 2011-02-17 21:36 ]

Old news press photo of the great Orchid Island Hotel A-Frame spotted on the interweb.

The story sums up the growth in Hawaii after the advent of direct airline flights to the mainland.


Good Story by Shortie, I hope he posts again, Wendy

Great Poly Pop architecture. Shortie's story was great also. Proving what Sven has always said, and I agree, that Poly Pop architecture was a Californian construct that then immigrated to Hawaii. I loved the lobby and of course the entrance with the giant tiki was the bomb. If I was super rich I would rebuild it but add a couple more smaller "A" frames to back entrances of each wing and one in the corner, in the back, poolside. AND add a matching stand alone "A" frame at poolside for a bar. Being born in Hilo, I never knew the place but of course I left when I was 11 months old and didn't return till long after it was gone. At least I used to hang at the Waikikian on O'ahu. If I was super rich I'd rebuild that too!

Found this in Waikiki

Pages: 1 12 replies