End is Near for Aku Tiki in Daytona Beach

Aku Tiki Inn, photo by John Holley
Aku Tiki Inn, photo by John Holley

Sad news from the Tiki Talk blog: the Aku Tiki Inn in Daytona Beach is slated for demolition. It is one of several hotels being torn down to make way for a massive new resort development. The new development, El Caribe, is to include over 1,000 hotel rooms and condos, and the resort will span 16 acres. The planning is in its “infant stages,” according to lead developers George Anderson and Doug Cook’s comments to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The plans call for the work to start at the north end of the planned resort; the Aku Tiki Inn is at the south end, and no dates for the development work have been announced.

The plans would also take out the Traders Restaurant, which is attached to the Aku Tiki Inn. The Hawaiian Inn, which is just south of the Aku Tiki, is not included in the development.

The Aku Tiki has a few nice pieces of Witco art, from the days when William Westenhaver was hired to decorate the Hawaiian Inn — if those pieces haven’t been spoken for already, you can be sure they will be — Witco collectors don’t tend to drag their feet. In 2004, the Aku Tiki’s signature Moai was damaged by hurricane Charley; it was replaced with a new one, faithful to the original, created by Florida artist Wayne Coombs.

2 thoughts on “End is Near for Aku Tiki in Daytona Beach

  1. A real sad bit of news, that is. Back in my Teauilla’s Hawaii dancing days (1996-2000), I used to live in a little apartment across and north from the Aku Tiki, with a great view of it’s Moai seen from the porch. Man, I loved that section of A1A. It sure was a drag to see so much changing in the area, that or watching great places get completely neglected, especially as the water park was added and Adams Mark hotel was being expanded. Often, I would go explore places like Julien’s or hotels like the Sahara (which actually had a show stage, concession stand,movie theater, and a bowling alley under the lobby floor!), and talk to old employees that would tell me some terrific storied of the strip in it’s heyday. One could see that storm of mainstream coming, pushing away the kitschy charm of the strip. When I moved away from Daytona to Fort Lauderdale to join the Mai-Kai, I knew it was going to be tough to return and see the completed changes- indeed it has, and continues to be.


  2. The whole neighborhood is kind of depressing. There are so many really neat little places, but the whole place is just dead. I spent some time walking all up and down that strip, and you could tell that once upon a time it was a real tourist center, but now, it’s just blah. No surprise that people are working to revitalize the area, but it’s a shame that it’s being done at the expense of the potential historic character of the area.

    Are you at the Mai-Kai now? I’d love to know if I’ve seen you there.


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