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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Travel Vintage San Diego...The Reef Mermaid Lounge at the Handlery Hotel (Formerly Stardust)
Vintage San Diego...The Reef Mermaid Lounge at the Handlery Hotel (Formerly Stardust)
TheTikiGuy
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 31, 2002
Posts: 84
From: Ladera Ranch, Ca.
Posted: 2012-03-05 2:03 pm   Permalink

Stayed at the Handlery Hotel this weekend in San Diego. The hotel is located in the Hotel Circle Mission Valley area. It is near the Crowne Plaza home of Tiki Oasis. As I sat at the new Reef lounge having a rather delicious Mai Tai, I noticed various historical pictures on the wall near the lobby. One really stood out for me. It was a picture of the original Reef Mermaid Lounge (no longer exist). I spoke with the bar manager who told me that the original mermaid pool still exists and was located in back of the executive offices. I walked over the next morning and ran into Jose one of the maitenance workers. He began to tell me some wonderful stories regarding the reef longe and its Mermaid shows. From what I was told the Hotel has a lot of stories, myths and legends attached to it. The hotel is still owned by the Handlery family. It was originally named the Stardust. The golf course located adjacent to the property was also part of the hotel at one time. This was considered a locals hotel. Myth has it that there once was a members only area in the back completed with shoe shine booth food bar and a card room that is now a meeting room. Bugsy Segal was know to visit and play cards.
The Mermaid Reef Lounge was the highlight of the pool area. The sales and executive offices have now replaced the reef but the pool still exists. Jose walked me up a flight of stairs and unlocked the door. He then showed the pool. Was pretty cool to be standing literally on the roof of the hotel with yes a pool. It was kinda of liver shaped with smaller windows on one side and a larger window at the end of the pool. Workers racalled having to adjust colored lights and having to avoid gazing at topless mermaids. Yes the mermaids during late night shows were topless. Well thats all i was able to get from the staff. Nice discovery whil visiting San Diego.
I have included some pictures I took. Hope you enjoyed the information.

Mahalo "TheTikiGuy"




































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Vintage Roadside
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 21, 2009
Posts: 72
From: Portland, OR
Posted: 2012-03-05 2:41 pm   Permalink

Very cool! We included a section on the former Stardust at our Modernism Week presentation.

In the 1970s one of the topless mermaid shows had a Star Wars theme.

Thanks for sharing the photos!


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11141
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2012-03-05 9:04 pm   Permalink

But Jeff, where are the pictures of the topless mermaids !?

Very good urban archeology, Tiki Guy....I think Marina should pitch her show there!


 
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TheTikiGuy
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jul 31, 2002
Posts: 84
From: Ladera Ranch, Ca.
Posted: 2012-03-06 08:59 am   Permalink

Thanks for the reply guys. Its Tiki folks like you and your work/research that have fueled my desire
for urban archeology.
Stay Tiki!! Mahalo
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jmcgehee
Member

Joined: Mar 14, 2012
Posts: 1
Posted: 2012-03-14 9:29 pm   Permalink

I verified that my outlandish childhood memory of the Reef Lounge really was true.

http://www.voom.net/the-underwater-theater

I see from your photos that the bar's large windows into the pool have been made smaller for the office.

[ This Message was edited by: jmcgehee 2012-03-14 21:35 ]


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sugarpie
Member

Joined: Aug 13, 2008
Posts: 2
From: San Diego
Posted: 2012-05-18 09:09 am   Permalink

That's so great! I can't wait to go visit the ancient ruins! Maybe Ken Kramer's --About San Diego" can do a show on the mermaid pool!


 
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sugarpie
Member

Joined: Aug 13, 2008
Posts: 2
From: San Diego
Posted: 2012-05-18 09:10 am   Permalink

That's so great! I can't wait to go visit the ancient ruins! Maybe Ken Kramer's --About San Diego" can do a show on the mermaid pool!


 
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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1286
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2013-07-02 3:34 pm   Permalink

Reef Lounge




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