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The Polynesian Village, Boston, MA (restaurant)

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Name:The Polynesian Village in Boston, MA
Street:Somerset Hotel - 400 Commonwealth Ave.

The Polynesian Village was evidently at one time, Boston's main competition for Trader Vic's. It was located off the foyer in the Hotel Somerset. Opened in 1948, it closed in 1968 when it was bought by Bobby Seto, who moved it's furnishings to Cambridge's Fresh Pond area, where it was reincarnated as the Aku Aku. The large entrance-tiki, which resided in both locations was bought by a private party in 1999.

Here is a postcard view of the interior of The Polynesian Village:

And some closeups:

Mmmm. Cigarettes and Rum Drinks in Pineapples.

The back of the postcard reads:
The Polynesian Village. Somerset Hotel. The most unusual restaurant in New England specializing in exotic Canonese food and tropical drinks. The decor of the village is completely authentic constructed of materials imported from the Pacific and other far off lands.

Here's a nice ashtray from the restaurant as well:

I believe Puamanu will be adding photos of her menus next.


[edited by hanford to fix the subject formatting]

[ Edited by: hanford_lemoore on 2003-07-25 03:50 ]


That's a great ashtray & postcard !

Here's a cocktail & appetizer menu from the Polynesian Village:

There was also a Polynesian Village at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago (the menu below is from the Edgewater location):

This style of die cut menu was also used by The Polynesian Village in Boston, and one just sold on ebay a few days ago :
It looks identical, with same illustrations, type style, etc. Inside the above menu, it states that both the Somerset Hotel
in Boston & Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago were owned by the Hotel Corporation of America. Were there more
Polynesian Village locations owned by this hotel chain, or was this just a borrowed idea for menu graphics?

[ Edited by: puamana on 2003-07-24 12:33 ]

I recently picked up one of these matchbooks from the Polynesian Village.

Here is another cool postcard from the Polynesian Village on Mimi's website.

And here is a postcard from the Polynesian Bar in the Somerset Hotel.


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2009-01-23 18:20 ]

[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2009-01-23 18:21 ]

Here is another old postcard from the Polynesian Village at the Somerset.


On 2003-07-24 12:26, puamana wrote:

There was also a Polynesian Village at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago

Here is the same matchbook from the Edgewater location that was used at the Somerset. Wish we could still see that menu.


Interesting that their matchbook and ash tray logo Tiki was manufactured as a swizzle stick until recently:

and also resembles this Kahiki mug and its later incarnations:

One of those "Which came first-the chicken or the egg?" type of Tiki mysteries.

The mug, the swizzle, or the rendering?


Very nice matchbook from the Tiki Club in Thibodaux, LA. You need to add that to the Cajun Tiki thread I started a while back. Is that Huki-Lau swizzle also from the Huki-Lau in Metarie, LA?

I'm thinking the graphics came first then the swizzle. I need to start getting more swizzles.


I don't own that matchbook, DC, I borrowed it for the BOT --from which I got this scan. :)
And no clue as to the swizzle's exact origin. The hyphened spelling seems to be unique, no?

Saw this ashtray on ebay and thought I would add the images since Sabu's have succumbed to the dreaded Red X.

Also the postcard that started this thread.


Some images of the drink and appetizer menu from the Polynesian Village. Several references to Skipper Kent (who started the restaurant).

Including a drink named after his boat the White Cloud.


I found this info re: White Cloud:

Frank "Skipper" Kent earned his nickname as a yachtsman in the 1930s and 1940s. Skipper owned two yachts, "Magic Carpet" and "White Cloud". Known for rubbing elbows with California's rich and famous, Skipper sailed with actors Errol Flynn and Humphrey Bogart. Together they visiting exotic ports throughout the world, sailing to remote ports in the Caribbean, Australia, Indonesia, and the Phillippines. Skipper competed in yacht racing events throughout the 1940s, winning second place in the famed Transpacific Yacht Race in 1941 and 1947.

Trad'r Bill,

The White Cloud legacy in the Tiki history is pretty cool. As reported by Bifcozz, Skipper Kent gave the Sheraton hotel chain of Poly Pop restaurants to Steven Crane when he decided to move to Hawaii. So that is how we got...

Photos of the White Cloud build with Steven Crane.

I have to assume that this was part of the original Skipper Kent design that Crane implemented when he got the Sheraton gig.


Very cool DC! That's a great connection between SK and Steve Crane re: the Sheraton deal.

I scored one of the drink menu table toppers that I had posted images of before. There was one more side of the menu that shows the Skipper Kent connection, his own drinks!

Skipper Kent's Grog and Skipper's Gold

And while we're on the subject of the Polynesian Village, how about this photo of Ramine, the dancing star form the Cinermera South Seas Adventure film with the head chef at the Polynesian Village.

How timely with the approaching showing of the movie in Hollywood.

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=43422&forum=17&hilite=south seas adventure

And lastly, one more little piece of history I found in my research. Skipper Kent's wife helped paint the walls at both the Boston and Chicago Polynesian Village establishments.

" Lucille Kent, wife of noted restaurateur Frank Skipper Kent, was an accomplished California painter, well known on the West Coast and in Hawaii. Her studies took her from San Francisco and Berkeley as far afield as Chicago, the Instituto at San Miguel Allende, and the Bellas Artes in Taxco Mexico. Kent studied under such noted artists as Thomas Leighton, Arthur Palmer, Peter Blos, Marques Reitzel, Joseph Bennet, Senor Pinto, Don James Oats, and Senor Fidel Figueroa.

In addition to many solo exhibitions, Mrs. Kent designed and helped to paint the Polynesian Village dining room and the banquet area of the Edgewater Hotel in Chicago, and a similar Polynesian Village in the Somerset Hotel in Boston. "

It boggles the mind to consider how different the Tiki scene would have been if the Kent's had not opted out for Hawaii.


Found this photo on-line of a splendid Barney West Tiki at the Polynesian Village, Somerset Hotel, Boston.


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