Updated February 2017
Exclusive: Tower Takeover to feature rum ambassador Ian Burrell, international flair
See below: Tiki Kiliki leaves The Hukilau in December
The Halloween announcement from The Hukilau was certainly not a trick, but rather a treat for fans of the vintage Tiki event returning to Fort Lauderdale in June 2017: Weekend passes plus tickets to two special parties went on sale early.
The top-level South Seas Pass comes with everything you would ever want, including admission to two exclusive parties: A late-night Rat Pack lounge, plus the return of the Tiki Tower Takeover featuring some of the world’s top Tiki bartenders. In addition, all weekend passes include free admission and complimentary cocktails at an Island Pool Party featuring pop-up bars from around the country.
Official website: Get your passes now at TheHukilau.com
The 16th annual edition of the most authentic Tiki event in the world is scheduled for June 7-11 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Last year, top-level passes went on sale in late October and sold out in a matter of weeks, so it’s encouraged that you act now. Similar special event passes also sold out within a few months.
Rooms at the iconic Pier 66, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year along with The Mai-Kai, have already been released at a special rate for guests of The Hukilau, or “villagers” as they’re affectionately known. Rates range from $129 for a standard “double” room in one of the two-story buildings that overlook the marina, to $226 for a suite in the 17-story tower. Other options include $149 for a double room in floors 3 through 8 of the tower, and $164 for floors 9 through 15.
The tower rooms are always the first to sell out, so don’t hold off. To get the special rate, be sure to go to TheHukilau.com and click on the “Book Your Room Now” link.
Here are the details on the announcement:
* Weekend passes are now available online, ranging from $159 to $379. Passes include the Rum Island Pool Party and admission to most of the entertainment happenings and spirits tastings at the hotel. Friday’s Rum Island is a new version of last year’s Tiki Road Trip Pool Party, which featured complimentary Tiki cocktails from five highly-regarded bar teams from across the country. For 2017, The Hukilau promises “longer hours, lawn games, cocktails from pop-up bars and sponsors all included in the weekend pass.”
* The Tiki Tower Takeover returns for a third year on Thursday, June 8, to the Pier 66’s 17th-floor, revolving Pier Top Ballroom. Bar teams will serve up signature cocktails while villagers nosh on appetizers and mingle at one of the Tiki cocktail world’s most exclusive events of the year. The lineup of bars will be announced soon. Tickets are on sale now for this three-hour party for $75, exclusively for passholders (and included in the South Seas Pass).
* Also on sale: A late-night Rat Pack party on Thursday, June 8, in the Saturn Lounge, as the Pier Top is being dubbed for this 10 p.m. event. A sequel to last year’s swanky affair, Shag’s SkyLounge, this party will feature the Rat Pack (or perhaps facsimiles thereof) taking the stage with martinis, showgirls and more. Tickets are on sale now for $55, exclusively for passholders (and included in the South Seas Pass).
* New for 2017: Villagers can also book their reservations for The Mai-Kai on The Hukilau website. The process has been simplified, so all you have to do to secure your dinner reservation for the traditional Saturday night shows on June 10 is fill out an online form. You have a choice of the early or late seating for the acclaimed Polynesian Islander Revue, the longest-running authentic South Seas stage show in the United States, including Hawaii.
All of the above can be accessed via the official website, TheHukilau.com.
The Hukilau’s official artist for 2017 is Tiki Tony, a longtime California craftsman who has been a frequent vendor in the Tiki Treasures Bazaar. You can find his handiwork in the logo at the top of this story and artwork throughout The Hukilau website. Look for special merchandise to be announced in the months preceding the event.
Full details, including bands, symposiums and more special events will be announced in February. You can sign up for e-mail alerts at TheHukilau.com to make sure you’re the first to know all the latest announcements. Also, be sure to follow along on social media:
* TheHukilau.com | Facebook: Page and Group | Twitter | Instagram
Passes are tiered to offer different options for villagers on different budgets, or who may want to attend specific days and/or events. The South Seas Pass includes tickets to the Tiki Tower Takeover and Rat Pack party (plus special benefits). If you buy any of the other passes, you’ll receive access to buy standard tickets for those events before they go on sale to the general public.
To secure your pass, go to TheHukilau.com and click on the “Buy Now” link.
The Hukilau offers a unique opportunity for lovers of Polynesian Pop and mid-century culture to come together and celebrate the classic artistry and classy revelry of yesteryear, shot through the prism of today’s vibrant Tiki scene. It’s a four full days of non-stop parties, meet-and-greets, live performances and educational symposiums – all set in two of scenic Fort Lauderdale’s most well-preserved gems (The Mai-Kai and Pier 66).
Villagers flock from around the world to The Mai-Kai, where the vintage architecture, carvings and oceanic arts recently earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. The sprawling tropical paradise includes a waterfall-filled outdoor Tiki garden, six dining rooms including a lavish showroom under a giant 60-year-old A-Frame, plus a cocktail lounge that alone puts most of the world’s Tiki bars to shame. There, you’ll find nearly 50 classic cocktails featuring secret recipes that date back to the early days of tropical mixology. When The Hukilau brings hundreds of Aloha-shirt-wearing disciples to town, the vintage venue becomes a giant Tiki party with live surf and exotica bands performing in the bar and dining rooms.
At Pier 66, guests enjoy the modern architecture and tropical setting of this well-maintained property that lives up to the Hyatt standards of service. From the iconic rotating rooftop penthouse lounge to the historic marina and close proximity to both Fort Lauderdale Beach and Port Everglades, it offers everything a South Florida vacationer would want. The Hukilau has plenty of space to spread out, from the 7,500-square-foot Crystal Ballroom (site of the Tiki Treasures Bazaar) to the 5,900-square-foot Panorama Ballroom (site of the symposiums and Friday High Tide event). The grounds feature three pools, waterfalls, five restaurants, and plenty of room to relax.
Co-founder Tiki Kiliki bids farewell: ‘This event was for you’
After 15 years as co-creator, co-founder, producer and organizer, Christie “Tiki Kiliki” White announced late last year that she was stepping down.
In her resignation announcement, posted on Facebook on Dec. 15, she thanked her staff and the villagers who make the event special. “I had the very best staff, the very best entertainers, the very best bartenders, the very best support from ALL OF MY VILLAGERS, the BEST VILLAGERS and of course, had the very best Tiki Bar in the world by my side – the Mai-Kai.”
The decision to give up “what I feel like is my child” was bittersweet for Tiki Kiliki. “Sometimes when you make your passion your job it just doesn’t calculate well,” she wrote.
To the end, Tiki Kiliki was dedicated to presenting the very best event for the villagers. “This event was for you,” she wrote. “Every minute, every day, every detail was carefully crafted so that you could have the time of your lives, something to look back on when you are older and know that you had such a great experience. The event was 100% the real thing. You can best believe I will stay a part of the Tiki community and I’ll see you often. I look forward to attending other events and those not yet created.”
In conclusion, Tiki Kiliki called it “an end of an era” but also “a new beginning.” She presented The Mai-Kai’s 60th Anniversary Symposia Series on Dec. 28 featuring presentations by authors Sven Kirsten and Tim “Swanky” Glazner. And her official website features two special products that pay tribute to The Mai-Kai: A limted-edition decanter and Tonga Room Tiki Pole Mug.
“Keep your eye on me … I’m not going to disappear,” she wrote in her resignation. “I will always be the Co-Founder & Co-Creator of The Hukilau and I’m damn proud. Through all my tears I know that it was a blast – my life is richer because of this event – rich in relationships and friends which is the best form of wealth in our world.”
* Related Interview with Tiki Kiliki on the Tiki With Ray blog
More on The Atomic Grog
Exclusive: Tower Takeover to feature rum ambassador Ian Burrell, international flair
The Hukilau 2016 photo recaps
Day 1: Pre-Party at The Mai-Kai, The Wreck Bar mermaid show
Day 2: Savage Jungle Swimshow, Tiki Tower Takeover, Kickoff Party and Tiki Treasures Bazaar, Shag’s SkyLounge, After Party at Kreepy Tiki
* Tiki Kiliki: 15 years of The Hukilau, 15 years of memories
* Video: A look back at The Hukilau’s first 14 years
* Full coverage of The Hukilau