Caliente Tropics Resort

Hotel/Motel & Bar
411 E. Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, California, United States
Ph: (760) 327-1391 - Website
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Opened in 1964
Defunct tiki not included,
distances are as the crow flies.
Tonga Hut, Palm Springs 1.5 mi
2.3 km
Bootlegger Tiki, Palm Springs 2.5 mi
4.0 km
Toucans Tiki Lounge, Palm Springs 3.3 mi
5.3 km
Hawaiian Interiorz, Palm Desert 13.7 mi
22.0 km
Tropics Motel, Indio 19.4 mi
31.2 km
ad, 209
picture, 208-209
text, 204, 206-207
photo, 107
A-frame entrance to the Caliente Tropics Resort
September 2003, photo by Humuhumu
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Humuhumu’s description:

The Caliente Tropics Resort began its life as simply "The Tropics" when it was opened in 1964 by Ken Kimes. Kimes owned 40 motels, and five of them were the Polynesian-themed Tropics chain with locations in Blythe, Indio, Modesto and Rosemead. The Kimes family later earned headlines when Ken's wife Sante and son Kenny were wanted, and later tried & convicted, for a variety of crimes including murder and kidnapping.

After a shining history as a swinging hot spot for the '60s jet set, the Tropics fell into rough times in the '80s, attracting unsavory characters who disrespected the hotel. The hotel was rescued by new in 2000, and after a $2.2 million renovation, it was restored to its former tiki glory.

A couple years later, The Reef Bar was remodeled to bring it up to speed with the newly refreshed hotel, with bamboo work by Bamboo Ben. In 2006, the Reef Bar was transferred to independent owners, and was called Hawaiian Bill's.

In 2009, the Reef Bar/Hawaiian Bill's had been gutted of all tiki details, and the hotel was advertising the restaurant/bar space on site as available for lease. They were planning on making some major architectural changes to the building, including the removal of an A-frame entrance to the bar and restaurant. Thankfully, that didn't happen.

In 2015, new hotel owners reinvested in the tiki theming, having the artist Bosko complete large tiki signs ringing the courtyard, representing different Polynesian islands.

How to find it:
Caliente Tropics is on Palm Canyon Drive, just after it stops running north-south, and bends to start running east-west. It is on the south side of the street, look for the masive A-frame entrance.
Caliente Tropics has its own parking lot.
There are 4 comments.
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May 2, 2009, 10:01 PM
This place would be so much more fun if The Reef bar was open and serving better drinks than the ones we got in 2007 and 2008.
Tiki Kim has visited Caliente Tropics Resort.

May 22, 2011, 10:22 AM
Update: One of the main support beams on the A-frame entrance broke and one corner of the roof collapsed to the ground. The structure is still standing, but it has be roped off, preventing any vehicles or guests to pass under it. The restaurant space is still for lease.
Otherwise, it's still a very cool place, plenty of tikis.
slickster has visited Caliente Tropics Resort.

February 28, 2012, 5:14 PM
Not a bad little place the last time I was there. A mini tiki lounge with lots of bamboo and local regulars-a-plenty.
Kim Reynolds has visited Caliente Tropics Resort.

November 12, 2015, 12:20 PM
More for architecture, mid-century and Googie fans than tikiphiles. A rather awesome place to stay mid-winter to chillax in the hot tub and put a dent into that bottle of El Dorado 21 while appreciating snow-covered Mt. San Jacinto.
Otto von Abbattoir has visited Caliente Tropics Resort.

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