Caliente Tropics Resort

Palm Springs, CA
Hotel/Motel & Bar
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411 E. Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA
Opened in 1964
(760) 327-1391

Critiki ratings

Caliente Tropics Resort



by 88 people



Everyone You
Decor 8.2
Product Quality 7.4
Service 8.1
Tikiness 8.7
Tilt 8.2
Vibe 8.1

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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
Tropics Motel
Blythe, CA
, Indio
Tropics Motel
Indio, CA
, Modesto
Tropics Motel
Modesto, CA
and Rosemead
Tropics Motel
Rosemead, CA
. 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.
In its '60s heyday, the Tropics, especially its Congo Room steakhouse and underground Cellar bar, attracted the celebrities of the era who lived and vacationed in Palm Springs, including members of the Rat Pack. The front of the resort held a Sambo's coffee shop. In later years, the Cellar bar was closed, and the Congo Room became the Reef Bar.
The Tropics fell into rough times in the '80s, attracting unsavory characters who disrespected the hotel. The hotel was rescued by new owners 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
Bamboo Ben's Showroom
Huntington Beach, CA
. In 2006, the Reef Bar was transferred to independent owners, and was called Hawaiian Bill's
Hawaiian Bill's
Palm Springs, CA
Bar & Restaurant
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. The grounds still have several detailed vintage tikis by carver Ed Crissman. In February 2017, Rory Snyder took over and refreshed The Reef Bar
The Reef Bar
Palm Springs, CA
Bar & Restaurant
overlooking the pool.


October 15, 2016, 2:00 PM
Stayed here for two nights. The hotel itself has been improved, in that it's no longer falling apart. But in other ways, it's still a little shabby.

Doors have no chain locks, and the keycards are extremely temperamental.

Room interior is pretty standard motel decor, with vaguely tiki bedspreads and art.

Since out flight out left way after checkout time, we planned to check our luggage at the hotel lobby so we could spend time in town unencumbered. Nope. Apparently their 'new policy' doesn't allow guests to check luggage. Don't think I've EVER heard of a hotel not allowing that.

The drinks are pretty standard, extra sweet tiki drinks, and the restaurant menu is not Polynesian themed. Music piped into the pool area is standard classic rock.
Otto von Abbattoir
Otto von Abbattoir 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.
Kim Reynolds
Kim Reynolds 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.
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