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049. Matchbook Delight! Part 12, PSA Hotel Islandia.

I liked the look of this matchbook, with its jaunty, pre-Starbucks mermaid logo and friendly logogram, rendered in orange in a chubby-serifed variant of the Cooper typeface that I used for the Matchbook Delight! logo above. I had to do a little web-browsing to learn the very 1970s story behind this hotel.

The “PSA” of the hotel’s name refers to Pacific Southwest Airlines. Old-timers might remember the smiley-faced paint scheme of this regional carrier’s jets. Orange and black were their signature colors, as used in the hotel’s logogram. In 1970, PSA reached for horizontal integration by getting into the hotel business, starting out by purchasing the Islandia Hotel in Mission Bay, San Diego (designed in 1961 by the firm Liebhardt & Weston). The Islandia was a low-rise hotel of 105 rooms built in the Polynesian-Gabled style in a waterfront district heavy with nautical and tiki architectural influences. The existing buildings featured double-mansard roofs, probably covered in cedar shakes. The 266-room, concrete tower was built by PSA.

The photo on the reverse of the matchbook shows the juxtaposition of old and new – in the foreground stands the restaurant, built on posts literally above the bay, with peaked roof jaunty and flags flapping. The restaurant, now called Red Marlin, still operates today, looking pretty good on the exterior per Google’s Street View imagery. The tower looks groovier on the matchbook than it does in today’s off-white paint.

The hotel now operates as the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay, and might be worth some consideration when planning that San Diego Tiki-Road-Trip Lomoventure.


Renga, Alan and Mark Mentges. Images of Aviation: Pacific Southwest Airlines. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2010. p. 85. Accessed on Google Books.

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