Built in the early-1950s by Joe Hart, founder of the Pickin' Chicken restaurant chain, The Castaways began as a three-story, ocean-side motel designed by M. Tony Sherman in a vague polysian style. In 1958, a 132-room addition was built on Fairyland Island and designed by architect Charles F. McKirahan in an Asian-Polynisian style.
The main attraction was the teahouse, its floor-to-ceiling windows were topped by a double hyper-parabolic roof that was just two-and-one-quarter inches thick and covered with a gold foil and laminate. The structure contained the renowned Shinto Temple Room, where elegantly dressed couples could dine and dance beneath cherry blossoms and hanging lanterns.
The Castaways eventually grew to 540 rooms and featured five swimming pools, tennis courts, a putting green and a fishing pier.
It featured seven bars, including the world famous Wreck Bar, decorated in a sunken galleon theme. Cypress planks covered the walls, ropes, nets, and chains hung from the ceiling and porthole windows gave visitors an underwater view into one of the swimming pools. Throughout the years, the Wreck Bar attracted many celebrities, like the Beatles 1964 or Jimi Hendrix in 1968. Bill O'Reilly used to teach high school English in Miami during the day and work as a bouncer at the bar at night.
By the 1980s, a less savory crowd began visiting the Castaways and its popularity declined. Joe Hart sold the property for $14 million in 1979 to real estate developers but the resort continued operations until it closed in 1981. In 1984, the Castaways was demolished and two 20-story condo towers were put in its place.
— Bullet 2014/02/06 22:01