Is the World your Oyster?

Travel to See the World Unravel

Polynesian Designs 폴리네 시안 디자인 波利尼西亚设计 (Part I)

on July 4, 2011

Was surfing around the web looking at vintage illustration forms and chanced upon Arkiva Tropika.


Arkiva Tropika is the online archive of the collection of Mimi Payne. This large collection includes a wide array of mostly pre-1970 menus, postcards, matchbooks, and paper ephemera souvenir items, mainly from Polynesian and other Exotic themed restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, bars, and the like.


Polynesia, as defined by Wikipedia:

Polynesia (from Greek: πολύς “polys” many + νῆσος “nēsos” island) is a subregion of Oceania, comprising a large grouping of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. The people who inhabit the islands of Polynesia are termed Polynesians and they share many similar traits including language, culture and beliefs.[1]

The term “Polynesia” was first used by Charles de Brosses, a French writer, in 1756, and originally applied to all the islands of the Pacific. In 1831, Jules Dumont d’Urville proposed a restriction on its use during a lecture to the Geographical Society of Paris.

Wikitravel lists the following destinations in Oceania as part of Polynesia:


Thought of sharing some of my favourite designs ranging from dinner menus, cocktail menus, free drink card, punch table card, travel guidebook and travel brochure.

All the following designs and articles are copied from Arkiva Tropika.

All Rights Reserved for Arkiva Tropika.


cocktail menu from Bali Hai – location unknown

Both this cocktail menu and also the dinner menu from this Bali Hai are loaded with tropical island imagery and greetings beckoning its patrons to their “Isle of Enchantment”. Interesting, though, that neither menu has any mention of where this dining paradise was located !

Here’s what’s written on the inside foldover page of this 1962 cocktail menu:

” Dreams, if dream’t on a high enough plateau, can be more blissful, than any human creation in the world”. So stated King Lombok of Bali 1534 A.D.

“This, we, the management, have found to be. With the creation of “Bali Hai” we have replaced a dream with a reality. Many, many people of today, yesterday and also of tomorrow, have dream’t or will dream of being on a South Sea Island – Somewhere – Sometime.

We, now extend a most cordial invitation to our and now yours, “Bali Hai”, The Isle of Enchantment. Linger here a moment and in imagination travel, as we have traveled for many years and thousands of miles, to Tahiti, Bora Bora, Samoa, Moorea, Tuamotu Islands and many many others. Hear, feel and taste all the wondrous things “Bali Hai” has to offer you – hear the pounding surf, now booming, now singing for you alone – listen to the rustling palms, feel the coolness of the wind as it blows gently over and around you… the same wind that has brought pirates and adventurers to these wonderful islands, and later took them away to spread their wondrous tables. Watch the sky change to indescribable colors as the sun sets behind Mt. Opunohu and changes the lagoon from a light blue to the deepest of purples. Watch the sand as it comes to life and it too changes from the whitest of whites until it also becomes a shadow, and out of the shadow steps a dream – But how could it be a dream? This beautiful Island Vahine, with a touch of soft velvet around your neck, places a lei. Before you she places food and drink. Food from many far away islands and drink that the pirates and adventurers and the Island people themselves have brought with them as they came in on the tradewinds. Out of the mountains and along the beaches you hear the pulse-pounding and emotion-driven music of Polynesia.

Now and now alone your dream has become a reality. With these wondrous thoughts and feelings, we now turn over to you the Isle of Enchantment – “Bali Hai”. May your stay be as wonderful and exciting as we have found it to be. May your ship find nothing but fair winds and blow you back to us many times more”.

1962 cocktail menu, front cover “Bali Hai, Isle of Enchantment”

1962 cocktail menu, inside foldover page w/greeting & tikis

1962 cocktail menu, inside page spread w/drink illustrations

1962 cocktail menu, inside left page w/ rum cocktails

1962 cocktail menu, center page drinks & “Invitation to Island Adventure”

1962 cocktail menu, center page detail, ” Invitation to an Island Adventure”

1962 cocktail menu, inside right page w/more rum cocktails

1962 cocktail menu, back cover w/ beers & regular cocktails


dinner menu from Dinkler’s Luau – Atlanta, GA

1960’s dinner menu, front cover

1960’s dinner menu, back cover


free drink card from Sakura Bar – Kowloon, Hong Kong

This vintage free drink card entitled bar patrons to their second drink free at the Sakura Bar on Granville Road.

free drink card, side 1

free drink card, side 2

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