Tiki Oasis producer Baby Doe von Stroheim calls the Arizona version of the long-running San Diego event a “university of Tiki.”
Seminars on a variety of topics are a staple at the annual Arizona Tiki Oasis, which returns to Hotel Valley Ho from Thursday, April 28, to Sunday, May 1.
“What’s so fun about our event is that we curate the experience to allow people to kind of dip their toes into a little bit of history with a modern twist to it,” she explains, calling education on everything from cocktails to architecture, fashion and design a popular aspect of the weekend.
But the celebration of Tiki and midcentury style goes beyond simply being like a convention or conference, her husband Otto von Stroheim says, as the pair has “activated every part of the hotel.”
Arizona Tiki Oasis also features an art show, marketplace and even a luau, among other activities to do and sights to see at the historic hotel. From the pool to spa and nightclub, attendees donning island attire can wander the hotel grounds throughout the weekend, checking out scheduled events or just lounging around, sipping cocktails in a sort of island oasis.
“And so you can go to our events all around the hotel and be able to experience every corner of the Hotel Valley Ho, because we love them,” Otto says. “We think they’ve done a great job.”
The Evening Resort Pass, for ages 21 and older from Thursday to Saturday, costs $99 and provides access to a Meet & Mingle event from 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, evening entry to resort pools with poolside entertainment, entry to curated evening events, and intimate tropical tastings in various locations throughout the weekend.
A Deluxe Evening Resort Pass, priced at $200 for ages 21 and older from Thursday to Saturday, provides all the benefits of the previous tier, plus a limited-edition commemorative shopping bag stuffed with items from sponsors, a limited-edition mug designed by Eekum Bookum, and an invitation to a VIP cocktail kickoff party from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
A marketplace, featuring more than 60 crafters, artists, tinkerers and traders, will be free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. During the same hours, the hotel will host an art show featuring more than 25 international Tiki artists; the Meet & Mingle event Thursday serves as the art show’s opening night for Evening Resort Pass holders only.
Admission to the seminars from Friday to Sunday are not included with resort passes. Some are free, while others vary in price up to $50 per seminar.
Similarly, $139 provides admission to a luau from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday. It will feature a traditional pig roast, fresh poke bowl station, grilled options, Hawaiian-themed desserts and cocktails — all while enjoying live music.
Bands who have been tapped to play throughout the weekend include the Surfbroads, Par Avion and Moonlight Magic. Other entertainers will include DJs, cabaret performers, and MeduSirena the Fire Eating Mermaid.
The weekend will conclude with a bartender battle from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Four bartenders will compete, narrowed down from a larger talent pool during the preliminaries in early April. Judging will be based on presentation, taste and creativity.
“The crowd will get an opportunity to sample all four of their cocktails, and then two of them get to go to the final round,” Baby Doe says. “And the judges will give them a secret ingredient and they have to, on the spot, come up with a cocktail.”
More information on vendors, artists and seminars is available online, as is a full menu for the luau and a schedule for the weekend’s happenings.
“I would say overall, the concept of Arizona Oasis is sort of to make your own experience or your own adventure, so we put out lots of different options for people,” Baby Doe explains. “So you could go to a seminar and learn something or be entertained, or you could just hang out at the pool all day. Or during Saturday and Sunday, you can go shopping in our marketplace. … Or at night we have many different things going on — we have a rooftop party, we have a pool party, we have a little cabaret that we set up, we have suite soirees.”
Aside from providing an experience for guests, architectural preservation is near and dear to the von Stroheims. Tiki Oasis was founded in 2001 to support the Caliente Tropics resort in Palm Springs. In 2006, growth pushed the event to San Diego to support the Bali Hai Restaurant and Hanalei Hotel, now the Crowne Plaza — before eventually adding this second event at Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho in 2019.
“We want people to go to these historic places so that they can love them and enjoy them and that they’ll be around for the next generation,” Baby Doe says.
Arizona Tiki Oasis also supports the Arizona Preservation Foundation.
“Since about year three or four, we’ve had beneficiaries — nonprofits and people that shared our views of, like, cleaning up the beach or — I don’t know, who have we had — The Beat Museum (in San Francisco), people that shared our worldview of benefiting people,” Otto adds.
“When we were looking for a partner for Arizona, many people told us about the Arizona Preservation Foundation and the work that they’re doing to secure these places, mostly architectural places, for future generations,” Baby Doe chimes in. “So they work hard to educate people on the historic relevance of locations and properties around Arizona, not just Phoenix and Scottsdale. So their mission statement really speaks to us and is something that’s really important for us with preservation.”
Arizona Tiki Oasis
WHEN: Thursday, April 28, to Sunday, May 1
WHERE: Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 E. Main Street, Scottsdale
COST: $99-$200 for evening resort passes, $139 for the luau, and various prices for seminars; hotel reservation not included