La Vida Tiki: Southern California’s Polynesian Apartments

Tiki Apartments in Redondo Beach
Tiki Apartments in Redondo Beach

In the mid- to late-1960s, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego had literally dozens of apartment complexes with a Polynesian design, and a marketing message to prospective tenants that their complex was an oasis, and escape from big city living into a personal tropical hideaway. Tikis, gas-powered flaming torches, tropical foliage, and water features abounded. Not many have survived intact, but it’s not difficult to see hints of them remaining: a lava rock wall here, outrigger beams there, spindly palm trees poking up… the tikis may be gone, but their shadow remains.

ZuluMagoo is a man possessed… by a love for Polynesian apartment complexes. He recently paid a visit to the L.A. County Library in downtown Los Angeles, and pored through the old Yellow Pages looking for suspect names; he’s posted a list of them for local tikiphiles to explore. ZuluMagoo, Sabu the Coconut Boy and others have recently posted a spate of reports from site visits to tiki apartments on Tiki Central, with many lovely pictures, and a few people have been able to dig up original promotional brochures. I won’t link to all the apartment threads in TC here, there are simply too many, but do look for them in Locating Tiki!

3 thoughts on “La Vida Tiki: Southern California’s Polynesian Apartments

  1. Man does this bring back memories! I lived in a fabulous TIKI Apts. in West Covina in SoCal during my college years. Flaming torches, running pools, numerous tropical plants most with flowers. Those were the best, and most care free years of my life. To top it off one of the guys I shared a class with was a bar tender at the BAHOOKA polynesian bar like no other in West Covina. Needless to say my drinks were “On the house”, and so were some of the fine ladies who went there! Only fond memories to occupy my old age, but no regrets!!! I’m eternally grateful for all of it!

    Liked by 1 person

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