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Holiday House, Kingman, AZ (motel)

Pages: 1 11 replies

Name:Holiday House
Street:U.S. 93

I got this oversized postcard yesterday from the Holiday House Motel located on U.S. 93 outside of Kingman, AZ.

The hotel building and sign had some googie styling.

The inside restaurant, some fish floats and a fish mount.

But wait, what's this? Two Some Tikis behind the coffee shop counter. Also looks like a black velvet painting on the wall.

The info on the back of the card.

I found a few matchbooks for sale on ebay that also show the googie sign.

There is still a Holiday House Motel listed in Kingman, although I could not find a photo to compare.


Wow, those are some lonely fishnet floats! As sparsely as this place is decorated, why were the few decorative items Tiki?
Was the equation Holiday=Tiki? Is it supposed to be "Tiki Modern" (Modernism=sparseness)? Or was it a nod to the tikified Tropics motels and the Kon Tiki in Phoenix? Will we ever know? Does anybody care? :D

On 2011-05-15 13:17, bigbrotiki wrote:
Wow, those are some lonely fishnet floats! As sparsely as this place is decorated, why were the few decorative items Tiki? Was it a nod to the tikified Tropics motels and the Kon Tiki in Phoenix?

A few fishnet floats and Tikis is better than none!

I think the Holiday House simply wanted to exceed the TIPSY factor of the Jade Restaurant located down the road in Kingman, AZ which had a lone Tiki out front.


On 2011-05-16 07:55, Dustycajun wrote:
A few fishnet floats and Tikis is better than none!

Absolutely! I hope you are not misunderstanding my post as a put-down, I was just marveling at the oddness of the minimalist decor. And my self-reflective "Does anybody care?" was making fun of myself developing all these theories as to the why and wherefores of the decor of some long gone, obscure place in some desert town. Of course, I care and YOU care...but does anybody else?

And here I go with another theory: What if the mom & pop owners of this motel went on a HOLIDAY to HAWAII, and actually CAUGHT the fish, and BOUGHT the masks and the velvet at a tourist shops in Hawaii, and displayed them as proud trophies of "We have been to Hawaii !" ?

As to the Jade Tiki: That's a whole 'nother story, involving Chinese relatives that worked in the kitchen of a place in.... :wink:


No offense taken, I like to hear your theories! That last one on gathering artifacts during a trip to Hawaii could actually be true.

I think I will post some more really obscure Tiki places to see if anyone cares. It is Tiki Central after all.

Ever hear of the Bonnie Oaks Lodge Beachcomber???



Looks like ships lamps on the tables to the left there...

Also, they would have picked up those masks in Mexico, which makes even more sense, since it's so close by. The sailfish could have been caught in Mexico as well.

I'm working on a post about those particular type of Mexican folklore masks that ended up in so many tiki bars even though they were not officially "tiki". I've got old newspaper articles from the 60s showing how they were a popular tourist item. I'm a fan of them myself and like how they added to the mongrel-ization of the tiki movement in the 60s. Tiki Ti still has one up on their wall.

Yup, those were the ones I always passed over in thrift stores, they once were as common and cheap as the big spoon & fork sets here in Southern California. There are some passable examples, though.

There have been posts about these here, in response to Tiki finds...but maybe I am thinking about the more Asian looking "pointy fangs" Devil masks....I think those may constitute their own genre of carved tourist crap.

The one on the left has a distinctly Hawaiian Ku-style mouth, though:

...which, come to think of it, does not necessarily mean that the Mexico theory is wrong, these tourist stores offered a merry mixture of multi-cultural pieces.

If this postcard had better resolution, we could zoom into the black velvet and determine if it was a Mexican motif. All of a sudden it looks kinda like a bullfighter to me. :)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2011-05-17 12:22 ]


Not really a topical comment, but I really like what the wide angle lens does to the diagonally striped carpet in this shot. And the alternating colors on the counter seats, to offset some of that yellow-on-yellow scheme.

Also, I might be imagining what looks like a payphone on a giant shell on the wall through the doorway on the left in this picture.

Then down on the other side of the bar, a framed portrait of the color yellow. Tres moderne!


In the close-up photo, you can see the blocky "shoulders" and slightly asymetrical, tilted head on the mask, which are two of the key indicators that it's likely of Mexican origin (though these are not always necessarily present). The fact that some definitely do have a Ku-like mouth could be coincidence or perhaps due to the Mexican carvers getting feedback that their masks were being used in Hawaiian restaurants and adapting them to fit their new market? I wish I knew.

The ones like your image above, with the blocky shoulders or torso seem to have come from Monterrey and other Northern border cities. I've got a brochure from Texas showing how you could buy them from border tourist shops. Sometimes they had a snake carved on the forehead as well.

The very similar asymetrical ones with eye-slits cut just under the carved eyes on the mask seem to originate mostly from Michoacan. So I suspect they are copies of the dance masks used in the Viejitos Dance of that area, and were supposed to look like old men. Not the fine Viejitos masks they actually used - but cheap tourist knock-offs for hanging on a wall, that they sold for less than a dollar.

The "Dragon" masks with the pointy fang-like teeth that you mentioned appear to come from Indonesia or that area of the world and deserve a post of their own.

Randy - I think you're right on the shell phone. I also like the color scheme of yellows and tans.

[ Edited by: Sabu The Coconut Boy 2011-05-17 14:08 ]

I think it's this place:


Good find all the way from Stockholm! But the Coffee shop/restaurant on the right is not part of it anymore....

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