The Nicollet Hotel

Weird Nicollet Tour, Minneapolis

The Nicollet Hotel

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407, United States

Created By: Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District


280 Nicollet Mall, Corner of Nicollet and 3rd Street

At Nicollet and 3rd once stood the Nicollet Hotel, a massive hotel that dominated the urban landscape of this part of Minneapolis. Among other things, the hotel was famous for being the location of the Waikiki room, an elaborate orientalist escape that was built along with the hotel in 1924. To design the Waikiki room, the hotel manager hired a Honolulu architect named Thomas A. Litaker and spent about $1 million in today’s dollars to buy materials from a Honolulu vendor named “Don the Beachcomber.”

On the inside walls of the Waikiki room was a kind of cabinet of wonders from different corners of south Pacific cultures.

According to the list, which was featured prominently on the menu, an observant patron could spot the following artifacts:

Fijian ceremonial pieces
An old carving of crocodile used by the Sepik River tribe of New Guinea — the crocodile carving would indicate to another tribe that war was being declared.
War clubs and island headdresses from Fiji, New Hebrides, Samoa, New Guinea
A canoe paddle, spears, and other weapons from tribes in New Guinea

And much more besides.

According to one newspaper account from the 1930s, “the Waikiki Room's atmosphere was authentically South Pacific. Diners sat in chairs from Hong Kong, at tables from Hawaii, surrounded by Formosan bamboo, Philippine coral, Tahitian flowers, and Samoan decorations. Memories were made while savoring imaginative blendings of seafood or chicken in fruity sauces. And no one would ever forget the rum drinks - tall and frosty, sweet and sneaky."

In 1962, the hotel became the Pick-Nicollet. In the 1970s, it was sold to a church and renamed Soul’s Harbor, a hippie religious group housed the elderly Minnesotans or others who had fallen on hard times.

The building was vacated in 1984 and demolished in 1991.


This point of interest is part of the tour: Weird Nicollet Tour, Minneapolis


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