Save the Tonga Room!

defenestr8r reports:
Plans call for deconstructing the [Fairmont] tower and replacing its rooms with as many as 160 condos [...] The plan does not include retaining the Tonga Room. Please join me in emailing the planning department (instructions below) TODAY expressing how you feel the Tonga Room is a historic site that is worth saving.

Update: There is a much longer article about this, with some history of the place and photos, over at Laughing Squid.


16 Responses:

  1. shatter707 says:

    Hmm, the Gym is right across form there, and I have a bit of interest in it's well being.

    I'll see what I can find out because we would know about it pretty early on.

  2. tjic says:


    I know you've had tons of problems with the city micromanaging your club, arguing over hours, the layout of the kitchen, inappropriate actions by third parties, etc. , etc.

    It would seem that the take-away here is "third parties micromanaging your actions stinks".

    ...and thus, I'd suggest that it's not hugely cool to jump on the bandwagon and try to get the government to micromanage some other person's property.

    • schoschie says:

      Never been there, never seen it except on the photo, and I say it's positively worth saving, all micromanaging aside.

      • radparker says:

        Time for you to go check out the Tonga room. I was just there a few days ago. It's goofy, but fun. It'd be a shame to lose it.

    • fantasygoat says:

      I think you misunderstand the concept of micromanage. Saving the Tonga Room, which I gather is a somewhat historical artifact and an excellent example of the mid-60's Tiki movement, is more about preserving a vanishing style than telling them where to put the bathroom.

    • radparker says:

      Asking somebody to reconsider (tiki-) torching a landmark is a far cry from fucking with the DNA Lounge because the city and ABC secretly want it closed.

    • jwz says:

      Just because I used to be a hacker doesn't mean I'm a Libertarian. I don't think that roads are things that just magically appear during the night, and I believe that civic planning has merit. Obviously it can be used for good or evil. Preservation of historic landmarks would generally be in the "good" column.

  3. dojothemouse says:

    Couldn't they relocate the Tonga Room to absolutely any basement pool?

  4. mhat says:

    Man, the food at Tonga Room is just bad.

    The 60s tiki loung feel is cool, but the prices and quality are so bad it's hard to want to save it.

  5. ms_nobizit says:

    <3 Tonga Room
    Wish I'd seen this sooner.

  6. ekesobriquet says:

    My parents used to take me there in the 80's a whole bunch. They were cool with bringing in a kid and everything. But yeah, the quality of food and the drink prices eventually made it hard to keep coming back. Haven't been there since 2000. Maybe I'll have to pay it a final visit.

  7. biggeek says:

    "By 1917, D.M. Linnard took over the management, and in 1924, bought the controlling interest from the Oelrichs family. Linnard had a chain of hotels in California. In 1929, he sold the Fairmont to George Smith, a mining engineer, who had just completed the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Smith undertook a major renovation, including adding an indoor pool, the 'Fairmont Plunge.'"

    I remember seeing pictures of the Fairmont Plunge which had a 2-level diving board and high ceilings draped with fabric.

    Young men who were diving enthusiasts took to sneaking into the pool to practice...Since guests usually just lounged with drinks or took a dip in the shallows. The hotel had problems with these non-guests as they launched themselves from the highest diving board and attenpted to snag the fabric hanging from the ceiling.

    I would really rather see them restore the original Fairmont Plunge with it's 30's splendor than a ticky tacky tiki bar.

  8. loosechanj says:

    History means nothing when there's money to be made. I've seen a couple of these situations, and they never end in history's favor.

  9. lohphat says:

    The one of the reasons I left Orange County 15 years ago was the county sups would not rest until every square inch was paved or beset with some concrete monstrosity.

    Just waht SF needs: more overpriced, ugly condos.

  10. defenestr8r says:

    Thanks for the repost. I was afraid that people might think I was neglecting the DNA's looming needs, but rest assured, I am rustling the gay mafia and an email/post.