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Fiji Time: 11:18 PM on Friday 25 July

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Grand Old Lady regains her landmark status

Avinesh Gopal
Friday, June 06, 2014

IT is a great event as far as Fiji's aviation industry is concerned .

And there could have been no better place than the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva to hold the gala dinner and celebration to mark the event tonight.

The hotel, once known as the Grand Old Lady, was a landmark of Suva and it is slowly set to regain its status following restoration works to the old building.

A soft launch of the hotel, which has new wings added to the Colonial era structure, is expected to be held this month followed by the grand opening in July.

The Fiji National Provident Fund owns 25 per cent of the hotel while the remaining 75 per cent is owned by two companies from Papua New Guinea.

Before its closure in 1992, the hotel was known for hosting major events and dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth II, who addressed the crowd from the hotel's balcony.

Tonight, Fiji Airways will hold a gala dinner and celebration at the hotel to launch Fiji Link, which is the new brand for Pacific Sun.

During the hotel's birthday celebration last month, FNPF's deputy board chairman Tom Ricketts told the gathering that he had known GPH since the 1950s.

He said he was happy to be on the board of GPH and put it back to where it belonged "and is probably one of the best hotels in the South Pacific".

Like him, there are other people who knew the Grand Old Lady before it closed for business in 1992.

Balram Singh, 73, used to supply seafood to the hotel's kitchen in the early 1980s and he once had some beer at the hotel bar.

Some people who worked there and are still alive also have memories of their employment at the once Grand Old Lady.


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