Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva, Fiji
For me, the most significant place in Suva, the capital of Fiji, is the Grand Pacific Hotel. I stayed there on my first visit, for a conference in 1981. Then, when I got a job at the USP in 1983, our family was put up there until USP found us a house. And when my younger daughter and I were in Fiji most recently, for another conference in July 1999, we went and looked at it.
The photo shows me in September 1983 on the balcony of the GPH holding my elder daughter, who was then four years old.
This is a postcard I bought at the GPH in 1981, showing the pool that was then at the SW corner of the Hotel. I wonder what the hell the guy in the striped trunks near the centre is doing. The chick in the red costume seems impressed.
In 1999, we walked from our hotel, the Suva Motor Inn, towards the Grand Pacific Hotel, from this distance looking unchanged (on the left).
The Government Buildings are on the right of Southern Cross Rd, and you can almost make out through the trees the Kingsford-Smith Pavilion on the edge of the field.
GPH still looks OK from here.
The field I'm standing on - Albert Park - is where Charles Kingsford-Smith landed in June 1928 as the second stop in the first trans-Pacific flight (Oakland-Hawaii-Suva-Brisbane) in the aeroplane called the Southern Cross.
GPH is all boarded up. Just inside the little door there was a security guard. She let me look inside, provided I didn't take any photos. Why not?
It was quite dark inside: I could hardly see even where the staircase was.
I found this photo on the internet somewhere. It shows the interior before the recent renovation.
Queen Elizabeth II stood on that balcony during a visit to Suva in 1953. HRH also hosted a ball in the hotel.
The worst view (in 1999) is from the back. It was near that corner the pool used to be in 1981.
Garry Gillard | New: 14 September, 2009 | Now: 1 July, 2017