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Humphrey's Half Moon & Suites, San Diego, CA (hotel)

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Name:Humphrey's Half Moon & Suites
Type:hotel
Street:2303 Shelter Island Dr.
City:San Diego
State:CA
Zip:92106
country:USA
Phone:800-784-1180
Status:operational

Description:
This is a large hotel (two stories, 182 rooms) on Shelter Island, built in 1960 with heavily Polynesian touches in accordance with the Harber Department's requirement that all structures on the artificial island be Polynesian in appearance. Room prices start at about $96. There is a good article about the place's history at http://www.thelog.com/special/specialview.asp?c=75577


Here is a night photo of the portico I shot in early May of 2004.


Here are two of the tiki poles. This post is an April 2007 restoration of Shutterfly photos and I no longer remember the poles' exact placement, but one was in the pool area and shot from outside the pool fence.

[ Edited by: tikijackalope 2007-04-19 22:23 ]

P

Wow. Three years since the last post in this thread. Well...let's bump this puppy back up. It's such a nice place even to this day...it deserves a bit more memorabilia. :wink:

Our family used to stay at the Half Moon Inn back in the mid 1960's thru the early 70's when we would visit relatives in San Diego once each Summer. My folks made it sort of a mini-vacation (we lived in Costa Mesa, CA...so it wasn't like it was a long ways away). We thought we were on some exotic tropical isle...and in a way...we were! Some of my fondest memories growing up revolve around that huge wonderful pool and all the fellow outta-town teenage girls we'd hook up with there. :)

In 1973 at age 18, I stayed there for the first time as an adult with a new girlfriend of mine. I don't remember much of the hotel or grounds from that trip other than I believe they might have created too much of a romantic atmosphere! I don't think we ever left the room! :wink: But on the many subsequent trips over the years, I did get to enjoy the hotel facilities a bit more again.

Anyway...going through an old scrapbook from the times (yes, we used to do cut-and-paste scrapbooks)...comes this brochure from 1973 during the second year that Sheraton owned and operated the hotel:

Those that actually read the brochure text above may note that it rather optimistically states the hotel is only a 3 1/2 hour flight from New York!!!

That would be corrected in this next one from 1976...still the Sheraton years:

Aah. We're up to a more realistic 4 1/2 hour flight now. :wink:

And I've got the rate card and map from that 1976 one:

Also you can see this was during the period that today's "Humphrey's" restaurant was known as the "Port Royale Restaurant."

I find it also interesting that in the early 1970's...the hotel's marketing folks favored a very colorful photo of the Putting Green, with a happy Aloha Shirted guest being assisted by two lovely Eye Caddies who obviously know how to handle a putter...

...and yet a few years later they somehow favored a rather lifeless substitution shot...

Boring! What happened to the bikini babes? With crummy shots like that, I wouldn't be surprised if Sheraton's business slowed, and they sold the hotel (which they eventually did).

:)

Here's an old ashtray I had laying around. Not sure of the age of it.

On 2007-04-13 15:07, PremEx wrote:
Boring! What happened to the bikini babes?

Political correctness, that's what happened!

Here is an interesting piece of Shelter Island history: As evidenced by this architectural rendering, the Half Moon Inn initially was supposed to house a Steve Crane Ports of Call, as other Sheratons did. Now that would have been an added bonus!

I know it would make the cost of Tiki Oasis weekend way more.
But I really thing that it should be held here, now that Hanalei is a shadow of its former self.

Jeff(bigtikidude)

Here's a postcard I just found (circa 1985 according to the postmark):

P

Just posting their web site address...for the Google impaired.

http://www.halfmooninn.com

:)

..how is the tiki decor in the place?? is it still intact or do we start callin' this place "humprhey's half-ass inn"??

Interior-wise, it always had a low TIPSY factor (like, nil), but there are some around the pool, they even took some over from the Kona Kai Club down the street, when they obliterated that and turned it "Mediterranean" style (how unique!)

Humphrey's restaurant, L'Escale (initially the "Tahiti", BOT p. 134), not only...


...featured an imposing A-frame...


...but also had outrigger beams, Tiki torches and a Tiki outside...


...yet the inside was decidedly mid-century modern!

Now, kids, who wants a time machine ? :)

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2007-04-18 13:32 ]

P

On 2007-04-18 11:11, Tipsy McStagger wrote:
..how is the tiki decor in the place?? is it still intact or do we start callin' this place "humprhey's half-ass inn"??

There are several mentions of tikis on the grounds in this old thread...

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=15921

...but unfortunately, all the photo images are now dead links.

G

On 2007-04-18 11:43, bigbrotiki wrote:
Now, kids, who wants a time machine ? :)

Me, me, ME! I want a time machine Daddy, and I want it NOW!!

God, that place must have been amazing...

H

There are a whole mess o' pics I took back in 2003, plus an old matchbook from Cherry Capri, in Critiki:

http://www.critiki.com/cgi-bin/location.cgi?loc_id=151

If you want to see more pictures from my trip to San Diego, there's a ton here:

http://photo.humuhumu.com/v/thanksgivingsandiego/

PremEx, you inspired me to restore the ex-Shutterfly pics at the top of this thread.

P

On 2007-04-19 22:27, tikijackalope wrote:
PremEx, you inspired me to restore the ex-Shutterfly pics at the top of this thread.

Hey...Thanks! And to all the others that have posted pictures and links too! :)

On 2007-04-19 13:09, GatorRob wrote:

On 2007-04-18 11:43, bigbrotiki wrote:
Now, kids, who wants a time machine ? :)

Me, me, ME! I want a time machine Daddy, and I want it NOW!!

God, that place must have been amazing...

And still is!

I love the Shelter Island area. I go fishing out of Point Loma and always try to stop by the various Tiki places when I am down there.

Here is a nice postcard with a night-time shot of the Half Moon Inn

And the back of the card

I took the family down to San Diego for the Charger/Bronco game this weekend and stayed at the Half Moon Inn for the first time. Fun place with the kids and a pool-side room.

There were a couple of nice masks inside the lobby with the great entrance.

There are still a few old tikis hanging around the pool area ...

They even added a new Tiki by the pool.

I was walking down a pathway towards the outdoor concert area and to my surprise found this guy (note the curious on-lookers!).

This tiki and fountain are located next to the old putting green area.

Went to happy hour at the Backstage Lounge which is in the old restaurant building. Still a great A-Frame. Good happy hour food at half price but bad Mai Tais, so we walked over to the Bali Hai for some real drinks.

DC

Forgot to post this Tiki from the recent trip. He is outside of the pool area.

Found this matchbook with a nice Tiki illustration.

DC

Picked up this older brochure from the Half Moon Inn.

A rendering from the room rate card.

Nice shot of San Diego from Shelter Island, you can see the Bali Hai Restaurant on the left side.

Some more images from the brochure.

They had a Tiki Tram to give you rides around Shelter Island!

DC

On 2004-05-10 20:41, tikijackalope wrote:


Here are two of the tiki poles. This post is an April 2007 restoration of Shutterfly photos and I no longer remember the poles' exact placement, but one was in the pool area and shot from outside the pool fence.

This place is paradise! Still quite a few Tikis! Great pool, right off the bay so virtually surrounded by water, albeit not necessarily by a beach, and every room has an incredible A-Frame decor! And, right by the Bali Hai.

But, alas, no more bike rentals.

I picked up a matchbook from the very early period of the Half Moon Inn.

DC

On 2007-04-14 13:09, bigbrotiki wrote:

Here is an interesting piece of Shelter Island history: As evidenced by this architectural rendering, the Half Moon Inn initially was supposed to house a Steve Crane Ports of Call, as other Sheratons did. Now that would have been an added bonus!

Interesting indeed, Bigbro. Must have been close to happening, I spoted this standard Kon Tiki Ports menu that listed a Ports O Half Moon, Shelter Island location of the inside!

It is an early menu and there were other Kon Tiki/Ports o Call locations that opened after it was printed, wonder why this one fell through? Man that would have been something, right down the street from the Bali Hai!

DC

Snarky ashtray from the Half Moon Inn from ebay.

DC

Found this great old photo of the A-Frame restaurant building.

DC

P

Humphrey's Half Moon Inn is undergoing a facelift. They are replacing the old wood and brown painted-over brick 'n slop exteriors, with a more contemporary stucco and stone. Wood railings being replaced by formed metal. Interiors are getting a much needed updating too. Not too sure how I feel about this. The place needed some work, to be sure. But will sort of miss the old rustic look of the place. Still...I think it will maintain that great Poly vibe overall. Landscaping is still spectacular. And glad the owners are continuing to invest in the place. Here's some pics:

And for reference...a shot of the old façade from a post above:

Just spent a few wonderful nights here on the non-refurbed side. Had a great time. Weather was perfect.

[ Edited by: PremEx 2015-04-15 10:26 ]

P

While web searching the history of the Half Moon Inn this past weekend, I came across this article on Miss Billy Riley.

http://www.travelwritingbycynthiadial.com/riley.html

Here's the relevant excerpt:

From 1949 to 1961, she was the receptionist for a doctor who was also an investor in San Diego’s first resort property, the Half Moon Inn on Shelter Island. The property was struggling. Tourism hadn’t yet come to San Diego—it was still just a Navy town.

Riley was hired to handle the resort’s public relations. As the San Diego Union said, “. . . The owners bet on a long shot. They sent in a doctor’s receptionist, a woman with a man’s first name, to do some promotion . . . Billy Riley put on its feet a nine-year-old resort hotel that had arrived before its time.”

“Those were desperate, desperate times,” she says. “Occupancy was low—5%. So I had all the hotel employees park their cars in the spaces reserved for guests and I turned on every light in the place at night. That brought in the first tourists. I knew times were changing when I could quit sewing together twin sheets if we needed a king-sized bed that night.”

Riley’s ingenuity was recognized and she eventually became assistant manager and soon manager and vice president. Her entertainment background surfaced and she began “staging” her first hotel.

The Polynesian paradise

The Half Moon Inn was transformed into a Polynesian paradise and Billy was as comfortable in her muumuu as she is today in a lace period dress. Even the trams that transported guests had “the look” with their thatched grass roofs. Guests described the property as being “more like the islands than the islands.”

The reputation spread and the resort soon became a haunt for celebrities. Nan and Frankie Lane lived there 13 years and regulars included Desi Arnaz, Xavier Cugat and Lana Turner. And because of its romantic charm, many newlyweds honeymooned at the Half Moon Inn, including President Johnson’s daughter, Lynda Bird, and her husband Charles Robb.

In 1969, Sheraton bought the thriving Half Moon Inn and Riley went to Los Angeles as a vice president for Amfac hotels

She still lives in San Diego and sounds like an interesting person to talk to. I wonder if any of you San Diegans might look her up and perhaps scan a few goodies from this:

After he saw old scrapbooks from Riley’s Half Moon Inn days—the resort’s transformation and its appeal to celebrities—Pearson repeatedly asked Riley to manage the Gaslamp property.

She's also mentioned here:

http://legacy.utsandiego.com/news/metro/20031201-9999_1m1island.html

Against a backdrop of marinas, boat repair and boat building, owners of hotels and restaurants in the early years strove to imbue the area with a Polynesian sensibility. The Bali Hai Restaurant, for example, offered a Polynesian floor show six nights a week. The mai tai, the rum-fueled cocktail, was a popular beverage.

"The key to everything was our Polynesian atmosphere," said Billy Riley, 85, a pioneering businesswoman on Shelter Island. "We were more Hawaii than Hawaii."

Riley, who managed the Half Moon Inn and was later a part owner of a Shelter Island restaurant, said the Polynesian patina lured winter tourists from the Midwest and Phoenix.

Riley joined with Tom Ham, the energetic owner of Bali Hai, to relentlessly publicize Shelter Island. Riley customarily wore colorful muumuus, while Ham favored splashy open-collared Hawaiian shirts and white slacks.

"We had to promote it like crazy to get it going," Riley said.

Thanks for the updated photos and history, PremEx.

But...yuck! I may have to turn my head when we're down there next week.

My wife CeCe and I are here now warming up for tomorrow nights event at the Bali Hai. We are in the room that has the Macaws right next to our outdoor seating area. We have had this room before-it’s our favorite! There is one of the older larger Tiki’s within touching distance of the outdoor seating area. We just “closed” the Bali Hai, Tom gave us a little history lesson. I would add pix but they would be out of focus. Good Times.
Cheers

AF

Here's a Half Moon Inn matchbook not seen here yet, it includes the same drawing shown on DC's room rate card.


On 2010-04-07 15:15, Dustycajun wrote:
Picked up this older brochure from the Half Moon Inn.

A rendering from the room rate card.

DC

AF

On 2007-04-18 11:43, bigbrotiki wrote:
Interior-wise, it always had a low TIPSY factor (like, nil), but there are some around the pool, they even took some over from the Kona Kai Club down the street, when they obliterated that and turned it "Mediterranean" style (how unique!)

Humphrey's restaurant, L'Escale (initially the "Tahiti", BOT p. 134), not only...


...featured an imposing A-frame...


...but also had outrigger beams, Tiki torches and a Tiki outside...


...yet the inside was decidedly mid-century modern!

Now, kids, who wants a time machine ? :)

While researching the modern architect Hiram Hudson Benedict recently, I found a Shelter Island /Half Moon Inn connection to him and also spotted a very cool postcard type photo and Armet & Davis architectural drawing of the Tahiti restaurant Sven mentioned…both belong here.

You can also see both and read the article by Martin S. Lindsay on the "Classic San Diego" site. He’s written some interesting Shelter Island history on the Half Moon Inn and the restaurant.

He also wrote on SD Tiki history which can be seen by clicking the “Tiki” tab at the top of the page here: http://classicsandiego.com/restaurants/tahiti-restaurant/

AA

Very nice Anders. CeCe and I luv to stay at the Half Moon. Crawling distance from the Bali Hai
Mahalo for your efforts.

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