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Wednesday, February 25, 2009 

The Tonga Room....Going to the big Tiki Room in the sky?

The Tonga Room
Originally uploaded by Kenn Wilson.

Oh...no! One of my favorite little haunts when I lived in San Francisco looks like it is on its last MaiTai.

Looks like twilight time for the tiki torches in the Fairmont Hotel's famed Tonga Room.

The Nob Hill hotel's owners are looking into a big-time condo conversion in the Fairmont tower, and the Tonga Room - with its tropical decor and Hurricane Bar - isn't included in the plans.

The Tonga Room is one of the nation's oldest tiki palaces, dating back to 1945 when MGM's top set director, Mel Melvin, was brought in to transform the Fairmont's indoor swimming pool into a nautical bar.

The result was a South Seas paradise - with a lagoon and a floating stage for the orchestra, a dance floor built from the remains of an old lumber schooner and even periodic tropical storms, complete with thunder and lightning. -

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