Minimalist Tiki

Mai-Kai update (February 2024): Exterior reimagination up next as $15 million Mai-Kai project plows ahead

The light at the end of the tunnel is about to become much brighter at The Mai-Kai in South Florida as the historic restaurant prepares for an ambitious transformation of its sprawling 2.7-acre grounds.

Jump below: Latest refurbishment news | Landscape reimagination imminent |outside Update on permits, timeline
* The Mai-Kai at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Preview: The Mai-Kai and The Atomic Grog at Tiki-a-Go-Go

A view of The Mai-Kai from Federal Highway. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)
A view of The Mai-Kai from Federal Highway. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)

Meanwhile, the artists working in and around the vintage A-frame building have turned the energy level up a notch in anticipation of the home stretch of Phase 1 of the multi-year, multimillion-dollar project. All available information points to a summer reopening, with the most optimistic estimate being June.

Excitement for the reopening was fueled in late February by an article in the Wall Street Journal that proclaims Fort Lauderdale a “cool” destination for “hip, hungry travelers.” While extolling the city’s “booming food scene and throwback architecture,” the article mentions the reopening of The Mai-Kai:

Fans of midcentury design are waiting for June, though, when the Mai-Kai will reopen after a 30-month, $15 million renovation. The Polynesian-style restaurant, built in 1956, was arguably the apotheosis of tiki culture. Partnering with distiller Maison Ferrand to resurrect the high ester rum used in classic tiki cocktails like the Jet Pilot, it hopes to retake that honor.

Modern Caribbean Rum
New owner Bill Fuller is leading the restoration efforts, including the creation of a new signature rum. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward)
New owner Bill Fuller is leading the restoration efforts, including the creation of a new signature rum. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward)

The Journal got that information directly from owner Bill Fuller, who assembled the team that purchased The Mai-Kai in September 2021 after a catastrophic roof collapse over the kitchen forced the October 2020 closure that has now stretched past three years. Fuller’s historic preservation firm, Barlington Group, spearheaded the purchase. Another company he owns, Mad Room Hospitality, will operate the restaurant along with the founding Thornton family. The new Mai-Kai Rum No. 1 is a blend of Barbados and Jamaican rums created by master distiller Don Benn at the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados, where it will will shipped directly to Florida to be bottled.

That $15 million figure is new, a much higher number than we’ve previously seen reported. It speaks not only to the extra time spent on the detailed restoration, but also the unwavering commitment from the ownership group. Back in June 2022 during a presentation at The Hukilau, Fuller told the faithful fans of The Mai-Kai: “If we need to spend an extra million dollars or two, we’re going to do it because we want it to be perfect.” He has obviously doubled down on that promise.

And while a June reopening date is far from certain, it’s a goal that Fuller and his team have set. Like everything else involving this restoration, it doesn’t hurt to set the bar high and reach for the stars.

The entrance to The Mai-Kai is about to receive a total transformation as crews prepare for a new driveway to be installed. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)
The entrance to The Mai-Kai is about to receive a total transformation as crews prepare for a new driveway to be installed. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)

Recent coverage
* Renovations engulf entire property, reopening estimated for summer (January 2024)
* Mai-Kai refurbishment 2023 year-end recap: Updates, photos, timeline

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FEBRUARY 2024: Restoration efforts reach new heights, expand in new directions

As detailed in our previous reports in January and February (see links above), we’re limited from showing the exquisite interior renovations during the final stages of work, but we did get a chance to chat in late February with creative director “Typhoon Tommy” Allsmiller, who filled us in on what he and his crew were up to during that month. Fellow Central Florida artist Scott “Flounder” Scheidly shared some images of their work on social media, which you can find below.

We also paid a visit to 3599 N. Federal Highway in Oakland Park to document the work on the exterior, briefly chatting with manager Kern Mattei and South Florida artist Tom Fowner, who recently joined the restoration team full-time. Fowner has worked with The Mai-Kai previously, most notably on one of the three Tiki carvings that greet guests near the porte-cochère.

Overall, February was very productive. “I feel that we’ve done more this month,” Allsmiller said. Following are some of his thoughts on what was accomplished, along with what’s still to come.

The addition of Fowner has helped Allsmiller, Scheidly and artist Conrad Teheiura Itchener expand the scope of their work in their central workshop in the Hawaii dining room. “We needed help, and he was free,” Allsmiller said.

Artist Tom Fowner strips all the old material off a vintage lamp that hangs high under The Mai-Kai's A-frame. After the lamp frame is shored up, he will restore the outer materials and it will receive new bulbs and wiring before it returns to its perch. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, March 2024)
Artist Tom Fowner strips all the old material off a vintage lamp that hangs high under The Mai-Kai’s A-frame. After the lamp frame is shored up, he will restore the outer materials and it will receive new bulbs and wiring before it returns to its perch. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, March 2024)

Fowner, who recently contributed his Tiki-carving talents to the build-out of the new Don the Beachcomber in Madeira Beach, went right to work at The Mai-Kai refurbishing some of the massive lamps that hang high under the 40-foot A-frame. We caught him out front, stripping everything off one of the well-worn frames. He said they’re trying to restore them “in a similar fashion” to the originals.

Reaching these uppermost areas filled with vintage lamps, many created by Oceanic Arts in the 1950s and ’60s, has been the most challenging. The crew used scaffolding to reach the ceiling in the rear of the building, above the Tonga dining room. Allsmiller said they removed the large signature fish trap and cleaned it up. “It’s ready to go back up,” he said.

The area behind the showroom stage was a different story. The floor is wildly uneven, with a winding path heading up toward the rock and Tiki garden near the front of the building. No standard equipment or scaffolding would work, so Allsmiller said he and his team built a special sliding platform to be able reach the lamps.

Scheidly shared a sequence of photos on Instagram that shows some of his latest work on a complete lamp restoration. Many of the hundreds of lamps hanging in The Mai-Kai needed a lot of TLC, but as Scheidly reports, the team is “starting to whittle these down!”

Photos by Scott "Flounder" Scheidly show his work on a full restoration of a lamp in The Mai-Kai in February 2024.
Photos by Scott “Flounder” Scheidly show his work on a full restoration of a lamp in The Mai-Kai in February 2024.

Now that the large lamps are being refurbished with new fabric and bulbs, Allsmiller said, the showroom “is really going to be beautiful when it’s done.” To enhance that beauty, The Mai-Kai has started working with California interior designer Shawna Marie Tice, aka the Pleated Peacock, who specializes in artificial floral arrangements.

Allsmiller said Tice is responsible for the flowers in the Enchanted Tiki Room rehab at Disneyland. A lot of her work has already been installed on the rocks in The Mai-Kai garden area behind the stage. “They’re amazing artificial flowers,” he said, and will create a very “Instagrammable” space.

Scheidly shared a video on Instagram on Feb. 21 that pans around the interior of The Mai-Kai to show the central workspace of all the artists in the Hawaii Room. You can see Itchener and Fowner working on lamps, along with Allsmiller amid all his tools. If you look closely, you can also see some of the artificial flowers for the arrangements mentioned above.

In addition to pure restoration, Allsmiller is also leading efforts to create new immersive spaces. Back-of-house areas that had previously been unthemed are being reimagined to look like the guest areas. Walls are covered with matting and bamboo, and all the trim is being hand-routed by Allsmiller and his team.

He’s also expanding his scope to create new themed locker rooms for the staff. The men will get a “Pele/lava/fire” theme with red tiles and accents. The women’s locker room theme is Tangaroa, the god of the ocean, featuring blue tile and accents. “All the trim work has the wave carved into it,” he said.

A new handicapped accessible restroom, located next to the gift shop and adjacent to the existing restrooms, is also getting Allsmiller’s design touch. The woodworking crew (aka “the Ramons”) is adding wood and theming to make it look similar to the nautical design in The Molokai bar and other areas of the building added in the 1970 expansion.

“They’re burning the wood to give it texture so it’s not so perfect and smooth,” Allsmiller said. His over-arching theme for the space is “captain’s quarters,” designed to look like an exclusive area inside an old ship, he said.

The Mai-Kai's new restroom for handicapped guests will have a similar nautical theme to The Molokai bar. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, May 2023)
The Mai-Kai’s new restroom for handicapped guests will have a similar nautical theme to The Molokai bar. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, May 2023)

Elsewhere in the back of house, Allsmiller and his crew are working on enhancements to the main service bar that will turn it into a showplace rather than the rudimentary space that it was. Guests will be able to view the head bartender though a themed window in the gift shop, he said.

The vintage rum collection will return to shelves in the upper reaches of the bar, and the walls will document the history of the cocktails and the program’s founders: owners Bob and Jack Thornton, and original mixologist Mariano Lucidine. Bartender workstations are already installed, he said, while the nearby kitchen is “real close” to getting equipment.

Meanwhile, the restoration of the existing restrooms is pretty much finished, Allsmiller said. After acquiring vintage mirror tiles from the 1960s to refurbish the women’s room, they found they had enough to restore some areas where tile had long disappeared.

The ornate space, which was a finalist in the America’s Best Restroom Awards in 2014, also has many new decorative panels, repaired and rebuilt stalls, plus new wallpaper, Allsmiller said.

The gift shop, which has the same Asian theme, is also nearing completion. Much of the water-damaged floor was replaced and treated to look just like the existing wood. The huge 250-pound hanging lamp in the center of the room was also cleaned and repaired, Allsmiller said. [See if you can spot it in Scheidly’s video]

The centerpiece lamp in The Mai-Kai gift shop is seen before its recent refurbishment. Hiroa Nui, a carving by South Florida artist Will Anders, remains a centerpiece photo op in the outdoor garden. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, June-July 2023)
The centerpiece lamp in The Mai-Kai gift shop is seen before its recent refurbishment. Hiroa Nui, a carving by South Florida artist Will Anders, remains a centerpiece photo op in the outdoor garden. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, June-July 2023)

An eye toward theming and design is used in even the most mundane changes. In the rear of the building, steps that lead down to the Tahiti Room and the outdoor garden were replaced with a ramp that meets ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines. Railings were also needed, so Allsmiller repurposed the carved stanchions that were just outside the kitchen entrances. He said they also plan to add metal railings that will be sculpted to look like bamboo.

Outside in the garden, Allsmiller said, he started working on a new treatment for the giant rock displays. They will be “Hawaiian stone color,” including lots of reds instead of the old blues and greens, he said. The same design will carry through to the rocks in front of the building, he said.

They want the displays to look like one piece of rock with different layers, like big unearthed stones. He said they also plan to mix in some black volcanic rock along with bright green “moss” befitting the jungle atmosphere with its many waterfalls. The overall atmosphere will be similar to what you might see in a major theme park experience.

The garden will also get more flowers, both artificial and real, Allsmiller said. The walking paths will also be rethemed. Allsmiller said the plan is to make them “look like you’re walking on dirt but it’s really themed concrete,” similar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Allsmiller is a veteran theme park designer with both Universal and Disney projects under his belt, so these thematic changes are in good hands.

The themed wooden bridges that rumble under vehicles as they enter The Mai-Kai will be restored and included in the new entryway. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)
The themed wooden bridges that rumble under vehicles as they enter The Mai-Kai will be restored and included in the new entryway. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)

Landscape reimagination will take The Mai-Kai to a new level

The most ambitious thematic changes planned for Phase 1 of The Mai-Kai restoration project are already underway outside and visible to passersby. What appears to be simply crews with heavy equipment plowing dirt around is actually the beginning of a grand new experience for guests, equal to any theme park.

In front of The Molokai, a boardwalk that was previously used only by staff has been refurbished. The bridge was raised higher and the railings will be done in bamboo, Allsmiller said. The back entrance will become a door both guests and staff can use to access the new outdoor areas. Plants will be added to make it more lush, and there’s even talk of the old hut that sat up on pilings being restored.

The boardwalk outside the back entrance to The Molokai bar is being rebuilt as a guest space. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)
The boardwalk outside the back entrance to The Molokai bar is being rebuilt as a guest space. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)

Along the front of the property on Federal Highway, all of the water features are drained and ready to be restored. The rock work is repaired and awaits the new theming. We spotted multiple earth movers working on the area to the right of the main entrance, where the Bora Bora Room once stood.

Around the back of the property, you can see the vast expanse of the parking lot along the Northeast 20th Avenue wall now nearly completely flat, with most of the digging complete. The work on the light poles also appears to be done, save for the final theming.

What comes next is more than a simple repaving of the lot. Not by a long shot. In fact, the only asphalt will be in the north and south wings of the back parking lot, Allsmiller said, explaining that the entrance and roundabout in the center will be stylized pavement.

Refurbished light poles line the rear of The Mai-Kai parking lot as the large space awaits a transformation in the coming months.  (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)
Refurbished light poles line the rear of The Mai-Kai parking lot as the large space awaits a transformation in the coming months. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)

When the entrance is finished, vehicles crossing the restored wooden bridge will follow a road that looks like Hawaiian red dirt around the expansive banyan trees to the right of the porte-cochère. “It will really feel like you’re driving up on an island, surrounded by trees with lanterns hanging from the branches,” Allsmiller said. “It will just be a magical experience when you come in.”

The vision for this space comes from Orlando-based landscape architecture firm Perry-Becker Design, whose past work includes projects at Disney World, Universal Orlando, and Dollywood.
The plans include a lushly landscaped parking lot featuring a new traffic flow and roundabout with a faux volcanic caldera, new water features, plus many immersive touches that follow traditional South Pacific themes.

Mattei compared the experience to Lion Country Safari, the drive-through animal park in nearby Palm Beach County that dates back to 1967. Orlando’s Walt Disney World didn’t open until 1971. Both were pre-dated by more than a decade by The Mai-Kai, which set a high standard for a themed and immersive experience. As the years went by, the 1970s-era parking lot ceased to meet those standards, so these latest changes to the outdoor spaces fit into the new ownership team’s plan to return the restaurant to its original vision.

Right now, it may appear to be just a bunch of dirt, but Allsmiller is excited about the future. He said the crews have been busy leveling all the ground after the completion of months of underground work. They need to make sure everything is solid and flat before the road bed can be built.

Crews level the dirt where The Mai-Kai's new entrance will take vehicles into a new themed environment. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)
Crews level the dirt where The Mai-Kai’s new entrance will take vehicles into a new themed environment. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)

Then crews will come in and do the rock work and calderas, he said. “It’s going to be special.”

If anyone still has any doubts about how special it will be, Allsmiller shared the names of the two firms who will be in charge of bringing the project to life:

  • COST of Wisconsin, a longtime theme and specialty construction company, whose six decades of work can be found at zoos, theme parks, casinos, resorts, museums, botanical gardens, residential communities, golf courses, family entertainment centers, themed retail stores, and restaurants around the world.

  • Industry leader BrightView Landscapes, whose projects span commercial, residential, retail, sports and many large public and private sites from coast to coast.

These companies’ expertise speaks for itself and makes us even more eager to experience the reimagined Mai-Kai in all its glory.

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A view of the rear of The Mai-Kai from the back entrance on the south end of the property. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)
A view of the rear of The Mai-Kai from the back entrance on the south end of the property. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, February 2024)

TIMELINE: Permits show work approved into June and July

Here’s an update on the construction permits filed with the city of Oakland Park, which we detailed in depth in our January report. There was not a lot of change in the past 30 days, though several were extended slightly and one new permit was added.

As of early March, we found 10 permits in the city database that appeared to be active. Always note that this information is far from definitive and subject to change. But it gives us a good idea of an overall timeframe for the upcoming work.

Two permits that cover a new fire sprinkler system and new dumpster enclosure will expire in March, but it’s possible they will be extended since these projects don’t appear to be time sensitive.

The timeframe for a new fire alarm system was extended from April 16 to May 14, while the interior renovations permit was pushed forward from April 25 to June 6.

The water features that once surrounded the Bora Bora building will be repurposed as part of the reimagination of the entryway.
The water features that once surrounded the Bora Bora building will be repurposed as part of the reimagination of the entryway.

With work cranking up in the parking lot, the permit covering drainage, asphalt, and other projects remains set to expire April 25, though this too could be extended. A new permit was issued Feb. 14 for the installation of a new irrigation system, already tagged as 79 percent complete as of early March. It doesn’t expire until June 6.

Five permits expire in early June, while the build-out of the new bar under the porte-cochère remains set to end on July 17. This all indicates that June or July is likely for a reopening window, though many other factors (most notably staffing and training), will dictate the speed at which The Mai-Kai reopens.

Speaking broadly, the summer season remains a good bet, though attendees of The Hukilau in early June may not see a fully functional restaurant. Organizers, including Mai-Kai investor Richard Oneslager, are committed to offering exclusive tours and possibly other Mai-Kai programing unique to the June 6-9 event. We’ll share the latest news on the long-running Tiki weekender when it’s available.

MORE COVERAGE: News, photos of The Mai-Kai refurbishment

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The Mai-Kai returns to the Art of Tiki at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

The Mai-Kai has a long association with Appleton Estate, the venerable Jamaican rum brand. Rums from the distillery, the oldest in continuous operation in Jamaica, have been featured in Mai-Kai cocktails since the 1956 opening.

Mai-Kai manager Kern Mattei mixes up his Gula Melaka Swizzle, assisted by Molokai Bar server Claudia Marmolejo, at the Art of Tiki event on Feb. 23 during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The drink was served to the judges in a new Tiki Farm mug (designed by Donella Vitale) that will be available when the restaurant reopens this summer. (Photo provided by Kern Mattei / Screen shot: BizBash.com)
Mai-Kai manager Kern Mattei mixes up his Gula Melaka Swizzle, assisted by Molokai Bar server Claudia Marmolejo, at the Art of Tiki event on Feb. 23 during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The drink was served to the judges in a new Tiki Farm mug (designed by Donella Vitale) that will be available when the restaurant reopens this summer. (Photo provided by Kern Mattei / Screen shot: BizBash.com)

Appleton’s legendary master blender, Joy Spence, has visited The Mai-Kai multiple times, including August 2019 for a memorable rum tasting we were lucky enough to document. Even during the closing, Appleton and Spence have supported The Mai-Kai, recording a special video message that was played on the big screen during the Hulaween drive-in movie party in October 2020.

So when Appleton asked The Mai-Kai to participate in the annual Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, an event it sponsored this year, the owners and manager Kern Mattei jumped at the chance. Winning the competition would be nice, but the goal was to get the restaurant’s name (and delicious cocktails) back out in the public eye during such a high-profile event.

While Mattei and his Gula Melaka Swizzle cocktail didn’t take the top prize, the event was a clear public relations success. Mattei said he and Claudia Marmolejo, the past and future Molokai Bar server assisting him, heard from fans all night who were excited to see The Mai-Kai back in action. The appearance earned a mention in a story on the festival by BizBash.com.

Creative director “Typhoon Tommy” Allsmiller crafted a special display featuring a spot-on scale replica of The Mai-Kai’s iconic streetside sign. The cocktail was presented to the judges in a new signature pineapple mug designed by Florida artist Donella Vitale and produced by Tiki Farm. It will be available for guests to purchase in the gift shop when the restaurant reopens.

Mai-Kai manager Kern Mattei presents the Gula Melaka Swizzle to judges at the Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown on Feb. 23 during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. (Photo provided by Kern Mattei)
Mai-Kai manager Kern Mattei presents the Gula Melaka Swizzle to judges at the Art of Tiki Cocktail Showdown on Feb. 23 during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. (Photo provided by Kern Mattei)

Mattei’s Gula Melaka Swizzle featured Appleton Estate 8-year-old rum and a special syrup made from gula melaka, a sugar sourced from the sap of flower buds from the coconut palm. Coconut rum added a little extra flavor while a homemade ginger-cinnamon syrup added spice. The exotic cocktail was rounded out with lime and pineapple juices, plus Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters. It was garnished with pineapple leaves and a cinnamon stick.

The drink was very well-received, Mattei said, but The Mai-Kai was edged out in the balloting by Sarasota’s Bar Hana. Guests had one token each to award to their favorite drink, and the bar with the most tokens earned top prize. The judges selected their own favorite, the cocktail from Miami’s Beaker & Gray, a past winner at the event.

This was The Mai-Kai’s third appearance at the long-running tropical cocktail competition held during the annual festival sponsored and hosted by Food Network. Mattei and his bartending team previously competed in the first two years: 2015 (with the Molokai Swizzle) and 2016 (with the Pupule Punch).

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UPCOMING EVENT: The Mai-Kai and The Atomic Grog at Tiki-a-Go-Go

Next month’s update on the progress at The Mai-Kai can be experienced live at a new event launching in Orlando on April 5-7. Tiki-a-Go-Go will feature two days of live music and entertainment, vendors, guest Tiki bars, and tons of symposuims. Among the presentations are two hosted by The Atomic Grog. Here are the details:

The Mai-Kai's creative director, "Typhoon Tommy" Allsmiller (left), and The Atomic Grog's Jim "Hurricane" Hayward in The Molokai bar. (Atomic Grog photo)
The Mai-Kai’s creative director, “Typhoon Tommy” Allsmiller (left), and The Atomic Grog’s Jim “Hurricane” Hayward in The Molokai bar. (Atomic Grog photo)

Return to Paradise: The Mai-Kai Rises Again (11 a.m. Friday, April 5) – An exclusive panel discussion that explores the history, the renovation, and the future of South Florida’s beloved Polynesian palace. Get insights from creative director “Typhoon Tommy” Allsmiller, artist Scott “Flounder” Scheidly, and others directly involved with the refurbishment. The panel will also include Jesse Muller from landscape architecture firm Perry-Becker Design, historians Sven Kirsten and Tim “Swanky” Glazner, plus special guests to be announced. Moderated by Jim “Hurricane” Hayward of The Atomic Grog.

Mai-Kai Cocktails: Tiki History in a Glass (3 p.m. Saturday, April 6) – For more than 67 years, The Mai-Kai cocktail menu has remained frozen in time, a throwback to the golden age of tropical drinks. Jim “Hurricane” Hayward of The Atomic Grog blog traces the lineage of the classic cocktails through the years, from Don the Beachcomber to today. Learn the lore and secrets that surround these delicious libations that we can once again enjoy when The Mai-Kai returns from its refurbishment.

Other presenters include Ed Hamilton, Spike Marble, Tiki Tom-Tom, Margo “Rocket Betty” Scott, David “Dr. Skipper” Marley, How Bowers, and Mike Skinner. The new Don the Beachcomber team will host a panel and serve up cocktails, along with Aku Aku, Suffering Bastard, Tiki Underground, and other guest bars. Musical guests include The Hula Girls, the Intoxicators, the Disasternauts, and The Kreepy Tikis.

The inaugural Tiki-a-Go-Go will be held in April at the Caribe Royale Resort in Orlando.
Sunshine State emerges as epicenter of Tiki revival in 2024

In addition to the Friday-Saturday events at the Caribe Royale Resort, Sunday will feature the annual Magical Tiki Meet Up at the Magic Kingdom and Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World, hosted by Allsmiller and his wife Kari.

Tickets and hotel rooms are still available on the official website. Check out the full lineup of presenters and entertainment as well as the full schedule. You don’t want to miss the inaugural Tiki-a-Go-Go.

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MORE ON THE MAI-KAI

The Mai-Kai official sites and social media
MaiKai.com | Facebook | Instagram

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RECENT COVERAGE FROM THE ATOMIC GROG

FEBRUARY 2024

Mai-Kai update (January 2024): Renovations engulf entire property, reopening estimated for summer
Mai-Kai update (January 2024): Renovations engulf entire property, reopening estimated for summer
Extensive infrastructure work moves underground, artists expand scope of restoration as project points toward completion by middle of the year.
Detailed coverage: Latest news on the refurbishments | Timeline of current projects

JANUARY 2024

The Mai-Kai refurbishment 2023 year-end recap: Updates, photos, timeline
Mai-Kai refurbishment 2023 year-end recap: Updates, photos, timeline
Everything you need to know about the ongoing restoration, plus a comprehensive compilation of 2023 highlights.
The year in review: 2023 timeline, past coverage

DECEMBER 2023

Beyond Bora Bora: Reimagination of Mai-Kai entry experience evokes original vision
Beyond Bora Bora: Reimagination of Mai-Kai entry experience evokes original vision
A new driveway and lushly landscaped parking will completely immerse guests in a South Seas fantasy world, just as the original owners envisioned.

NOVEMBER 2023

Mai-Kai update, fall 2023: Artists shine amid construction as final renovation projects take flight
Mai-Kai update, fall 2023: Artists shine amid construction as final renovation projects take flight
While multiple construction projects are underway inside and outside the historic property, a small team of craftsmen is bringing the vintage decor back to life.

SEE ALL THE PAST STORIES ON THE RENOVATIONS

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SPECIAL FEATURE

Okole Maluna Society: The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide
Okole Maluna Society: The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide

Hurricane Hayward reviews and rates the historic restaurant’s current and past tropical drinks, plus reveals a treasure trove of ancestor and exclusive tribute recipes.

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