Caliente Tropics Resort
Hotel/Motel & Bar
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Opened in 1964
Defunct tiki not included,
distances are as the crow flies.
text, 204, 206-207
Oct 30, 2005
A-frame entrance to the Caliente Tropics Resort
September 2003, photo by Humuhumu
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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.