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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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Name:Aku Aku Motor Inn
Type:motel
Street:21830 Ventura Blvd
City:Woodland Hills
State:CA
Zip:91364
country:USA
Phone:818-340-1000
Status:operational

Description:
May have had tikis at one day as the architecture has A frame porte cochere with polynesian elements to it. But the rest of the place seems to be de-tikified :(
It's now run by the Best Western chain.

My Sister-in-Law lives about a mile away. I stopped by there last month (in December 2003). There were about 2-dozen toilets in the parking lot (most likely an upgrade to water saving toilets), and the whole place just seemed....old.

Inside the lobby
The lobby seemed quite large considering it was very empty with no couches, chairs or anything to sit down on. You definitely got the feeling that they don't want you to stay in the lobby very long. The ONLY things in there was a coffee pot in the corner and 2 Polynesian (iron?) wall decor pieces on the wall. It looked more like a Christmas type decoration more than anything. There was the standard mini-shelf of brochures of local attractions to see. Other than that, it had absolutely nothing resembling Tiki or Polynesian or even tropical at all. At the desk, there was a taped piece of typewritten paper (about 3"x5") that made reference of the name Aku Aku and Thor Heyerdahl. I asked the heavily accented man behind the desk if they were remodeling (since it was so sparce in the large lobby), and he replied with a stern "NO". I asked if the place was once decorated more towards the Polynesian theme (sort of like The Caliente Tropics in Palm Springs), and he answered, again with a stern voice saying "I don't know". I asked how long the hotel had been there, and my answer back was "Long time". I thanked him for taking his valuable time away from his television and giving me the juicy details of the history of the hotel and walked out to see the rest of the place.

Outside
The architecture is still there, and you could tell that it probably once had a stronger influence of tiki/polynesia, given the fact that the A-Frame was still there, but what was left of the landscape were a few cut stumps that once held palm trees, but were now overgrown with your generic bushes that you'd see on the center dividers of a busy main street. The buildings had at least 10 coats of paint, with the color now at your basic beige with a cocoa colored trim.

The Rooms
At the time of this writing, I did not personally see the inside of the rooms, but I did ask a couple of senior citizens that were heading to their car how their room was. They replied "it was comfortable". I don't know what that would be on a scale of 1-10, since for all I know they could have also thought that McDonald's makes the juiciest hamburgers.

The Pool area
Not pleasing at all. Of the chairs that were at the pool and "spa", you'd be hard pressed to find one that your butt didn't fall through because of the amount of degradation of the outdoor furniture. Actually there were no tables to be found outside at all. I wouldn't swim in the pool, although it seemed clean, it still had a "dirty" feel. Their "spa" was not hot. Hec, it wasn't even warm. I found the temperature gauge, but that gave a false reading since it was broken. The landscape was drab at best and had the same generic bushes surrounding the area like their front entrance.

Overall, this would be a great startup project for someone to come in and buyout the place and really make it a great tropical paradise. Would I stay there in the meantime? Let me tell you in the same way my buddy behind the desk would say: "NO!"

Architect was Lawrence Harris and it was built in 1962.

These are from 2002



Is no longer (sob).
Courtesy of Nichols of Lottaliving:
http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=4924&sid=d8b96209dda5c4973d0b214e636ab1a3

This post was sorely lacking on images so here are a few to remember the old place by.

The great postcard rendering.

A matchbook

A comparison picture, sob sob.

DC

T

TIKI DE-EVOLUTION !!!!

Wow! That is amazingly bad! What is it, 21 Century Vegas style?

T

On 2009-05-27 17:51, bigbrotiki wrote:
Wow! That is amazingly bad! What is it, 21 Century Vegas style?

No...it's called "Taco Bell Tuscanny"

Tikiyaki,

You have coined an architectural phrase for the 21st Century:

Taco Bell Tuscany!!

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

A biz card from the Aku Aku

I have seen another photo postcard of this place. Bigbro??

DC

T

On 2009-07-06 22:04, Dustycajun wrote:
Tikiyaki,

You have coined an architectural phrase for the 21st Century:

Taco Bell Tuscany!!

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

A biz card from the Aku Aku

I have seen another photo postcard of this place. Bigbro??

DC

If I only could take credit for that phrase....my friend's dad came up with that.

It sure fits tho'.

T

Picked up this old room key on ebay last year.

Spotted this very cool postcard on ebay with another view of the Aku Aku sign and motel A-frame, with a little pool cabana too.

DC

Here is a motel brochure card I just got from the Aku Aku Motel.

Close up of that great A-frame building.

The back of the brochure.

With a little story about the Aku Aku name and Easter island.

DC

AF

Glad to see you 'posting up' again DC, I was getting a little worried...! :)

I don't think it's been mentioned in this thread yet that this hotel is not even called "Aku Aku" anymore. The current name is simply Best Western Woodland Hills Inn.

http://bestwesterncalifornia.com/hotels/best-western-woodland-hills-inn

Here are some photos from the web site.

The second picture is interesting because it shows that the pool area hasn't changed much. Dustycajun's "little pool cabana" (see his 2009-12-07 post above) is still there. Unfortunately, that's about all I can see of interest. On the bright side, they do have free breakfast.

A cool little rendering of the Aku Aku spotted on-line.

DC

Wow, thanks for the link. He certainly has worked on an interesting array of projects (to understate it a bit).

Kevin

Nice looking graphics on this vintage Aku Aku Inn ashtray.

DC

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