A trip to Hawaii today is a big investment, but one that many families are able to make happen thanks to cheaper flights. But, in the 1950s and 1960s the tourist scene there was still getting off the ground. Despite the high cost mainland Americans and foreign tourists alike fell in love with the depiction of Polynesian culture that most hotels and resorts offered at the time. Handmade leis of real fresh flowers were the norm and hula dancers performed nightly in huge displays that often ended in pig roasts and other traditional feast items.
While this isn’t an exacting depiction of traditional Hawaiian life, everything Hawaii soon caught on worldwide, but in the U.S. in particular. Polynesian print dresses by Alfred Shaheen, carved wooden shoes in tropical scenes, and the infamous Hawaiian shirt for men were just a few of the fashion items that became mainstream during this era. Elvis Presley films like Blue Hawaii and Paradise, Hawaiian Style further stirred the public imagination of this Eden in the Pacific.
But, what was it really like to travel to one of the resorts back then? In 1967 a Pathé news crew visited the island of Oahu and the Ilikai Hotel resort. Even as bustling as it is in these clips, it is nothing compared to how busy it has become in recent years. If you ever visited during this era seeing it again might be quite nostalgic.