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Luau Room, St Petersburg, FL (restaurant)

Pages: 1 15 replies

Name:Luau Room
Street:5250 Gulf Blvd.
City:St Petersburg

The luau room and its Bali Hi Lounge (Rotating! No Less!) Sounds like another unknown gem...

From The Evening Independent - May 7, 1982

The Evening Independent - Mar 12, 1976

Look at that entrance! Man, hotels had it down back then!

[ Edited by: TikiGardener 2009-05-14 12:41 ]

[ Edited by: TikiGardener 2009-05-14 12:47 ]

[ Edited by: TikiGardener 2009-05-14 12:49 ]

[ Edited by: TikiGardener 2009-05-14 12:50 ]

[ Edited by: TikiGardener 2009-05-14 14:44 ]

And look at that crown of what appear to be totally extraneous outrigger beams! Oh man, banjo music in the revolving Bali Hai Lounge --wish I could have experienced that meeting of Space Age, Polynesia and Folk!

TikiGardener - sorry about messing up on the previous references to you on this post.

Here is a nice postcard rendering I have from the Hitlon Inn in St. Petersburg Beach.

The back of the card with references to the the Luau Room, Aekai, and Bali Hi restaurants.


[ Edited by: dustycajun 2009-05-14 19:02 ]

[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2009-05-14 22:32 ]

[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2009-05-14 22:32 ]


Here's another ad from 1975 announcing their new Tahitian Revue :down:

This place seemed to have a pretty long life span. I found mention of it as early as 1963, and it was still alive in the 80's.


I looked over this post and thought how cool this hotel was. Then on taking a closer look I have to thank you guys for helping me put a location to a menu we have. here are the black and gold menus from the restaurants.


The Hilton on St. Pete Beach, now the Grand Plaza Hotel, is still in operation; its outside appearance remains much the same. The observation elevator still takes patrons to the rotating restaurant/lounge on the top floor - but it no longer "sports" a polynesian theme. The food is good and the view from "up top" is simply spectacular. But I wish it had remained the Bali Hi lounge.

[ Edited by: Offenbach 2010-11-09 09:04 ]

Wow, that is good news. The outriggers still look great!:

Looks like they messed with the outline of the building a bit by extending the elevator to the top floor, and unfortunately the swooping A-Frame porte cochere is gone and replaced by something in Taco bell-Tuscany style, as is the case so often.

One added bit of info: the Polynesian Putter putt-putt golf course is also still in operation about a block or so away from the Grand Plaza on the opposite side of the street as you head south (next to IHOP).

Thanks for the tip Offenbach.

The Polynesian Putter has its own thread started by Capt'n Skully in 2005. Unfortunately all the pictures have disappeared. I will post some new ones and update the thread.


On 2012-01-17 16:22, Dustycajun wrote:

Another nice find from the family treasure. There is a thread for the Luau Room that was started by Mo-Eye. You should post that brochure there as well.


Thanks for the heads up DC, I didn't search Luau Room first!

My dad grew up in St. Pete and must have gone back in the 80's to visit, I found this Hilton Inn brochure dated 1981 among some old paperwork he kept for years.

Interesting, at this point in time both restaurants already looked halfway towards a fern bar. I dig the lava rock platform, but they might have thrown out the "dust catchers" (more Beachcomber lamps) and Tikis during a renovation by that time. I believe that's how quite a few Tiki temples faded away: Slowly, gradually (instead of ripping it all out at once), morphing from the golden bamboo and rattan look to the open weave fabrics and beige/brown woodsiness of 80s America.

It was such an imperceptible process of homogenization that by the end of it folks had no memory of why a place had seemed cool to them in the first place. The great forgetting of Tiki was complete.


Good observation, I was wondering why the restaurant scene didn't look quite right -ferns hanging from the ceiling (that should be another Bamboo Ben-ism - NO FERNS)!

Here is another ad for the Luau Room with a cool looking rendering from above.


Oh boy did I enjoy this thread about the luau room and the bali hi lounge. I remember staying at this hotel when I was 7 or 8 and my family went to the Luau room for dinner. I remember my Dad got a tropical drink and I think it was in a moai head glass. I would love to get a hold of one of the mugs from that restaurant. I would even be satisfied with a photo of one. I am 42 years old and just by seeing these pictures brings back so much memory. I feel like I was there last week. Live on Tiki goodness. Any pictures of the mugs would be so fun to see.
Lovin this Thread.



Any family photos around from when you went there? You should check around.

Here is an aerial photo from the SKY, a great look to the modern building lines.


Spotted another great photo of the Tiki modern Hilton building in St pete.

And a few more aerials.

Plus another ad with Bali Hai Lounge, the Luau Room, and the Aekai Dining Room


[ Edited by: Dustycajun 2014-11-13 09:46 ]

I found this decidedly 1970's era drink and diner menu from the Luau Room.

The drink and mug selection was fairly extensive.

The menu was produced by the Ad Art Litho company out of Cleveland.


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