Slated to re-open in November, the Waldorf Hotel in East Vancouver is currently undergoing major restorations and renovations. Located along a lonely stretch of East Hastings, this historic landmark is set to revitalize creative arts and nightlife in this area of town.
While it features a dining room, hotel, cafe, cabaret, salon, and gift shop, by far the most unique feature of the Waldorf is its Tiki Room.
“The Waldorf Hotel, designed in 1947 by architects Mercer & Mercer, was remarkable from the beginning for its modernist style. In 1955, capitalizing on an emerging interest in Polynesian culture, the complex was transformed into one of North America’s most renowned tiki themed bars and hotels. A post-war phenomenon, tiki culture was rooted partially in the nostalgic tropical memories of returned soldiers but also in the erotic fantasies of a middle class fascinated by the exotic and forbidden. The original architects reworked existing interiors, creating a space dedicated to artifice and escapism.” [source]
The Tiki Room has remained intact during the renovation process and for good reason, as its historic significance is unmatched. Themed in the early 50s, it is one of the oldest Tiki Bars of its kind in the world (rumoured only to be surpassed by one San Francisco establishment).
Aside from cashing in on a trend, I was once told that the artifacts found in the room are from the owner’s trip to the South Pacific, including a painting of a naked Polynesian woman that hangs on the wall. The small flower garland worn by the woman was painted-on after it was hung up at the Waldorf (this was to comply with BC liquor board laws at the time).
The Waldorf’s multi-room grand re-opening party will take place October 30th and after that it will be a new hub for dancing, DJs, coffee chats, workshops, unconferences, tweetups, meetups, rock shows, and more.
Photos and fact-checking courtesy of Kris Krug.