Splendor in the Grass Hut

I'm embarrassed to admit how much I love the silly Polynesian theme park known as Mai-Kai. Thank god they're finally open again. Not that their oversized tiki cocktails and lobster pango-pango are anything to write home about (although the Mai-Kai's daily happy hour in the bar, with half price food and drinks, is fair game for any bargain-hunter). The Polynesian dance and fire-eating shows are fun, for sure. It's just that you can't set foot in the place without succumbing to a deep enchantment: You've entered a waking dreamworld, part Blue Lagoon, part Monkey's Paw. Maybe because it's dark as a cave, or because you're never more than 10 feet from running water; or because the cocktail waitresses are dressed in Barbarella-era bikinis; or because, as you grope your way through room after room lit by jewel-colored lanterns, there's a kitchy-surreal surprise around every corner. By the time you finally make your way out to the winding, torch-lit path in the garden, you're feeling as intrepid and remote as Henry Morton Stanley trailing Livingstone through the Congo.

Mai-Kai

3599 N Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale.

Call 954-563-3272

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