Normally I’d write a Xmas blog celebrating all the fun things that have happened through the year, but I’m turning this one over to a call to action to save an iconic MidCentury venue. Trader Vic’s tiki bar in the basement of the Hilton Hotel in London’s Park Lane – operating constantly since the Hotel was opened in 1963 and still in its original condition – has been served with notice to close at the end of December. In one respect, it’s no surprise as the Hotel has done little to promote it or cherish this icon of design, but the decision to close it down at short notice (no doubt for redevelopment as some bland ‘bling’ bar with no aesthetic merit) has come as a shock. I’ve raved about it here in the past in this article, and it’s just as good today.

Devotees of Trader Vic’s are running a campaign to save it – once it’s gone, it’s gone and could never be restored. At the heart of the campaign is a petition, along with an approach to Historic England the Twentieth Century Society seeking spot listing, but we’re also asking those who care about these things to use all the means at their disposal to demonstrate the level of support that’s out there. That helps to show both that people care about not losing it, but also to reinforce that this is a commercially viable, highly marketable, jewel in Hilton’s crown – if they’d embrace it rather than trying to get rid of it.

If you’d like to add your voice, please sign the petition, but also consider sharing the following campaign message on whatever platforms you use:

Hilton hotels, please speak to your customers and answer us these questions…
The cultural institution that is Trader Vic’s London is due to be thrown out of its home just short of its 60th birthday celebrations.
Hilton have critically underfunded the venue to the point they can use this as an excuse to close it. Please tell us this Hilton:
  • Why is there a multi million pound refurb planned for the lobby, rooms and a new restaurant and bar at the London Hilton Park Lane, with nothing allocated to Trader Vic’s?
  • Why have you given yourselves a five year plan for post pandemic recovery, and not extended this to Trader Vic’s? Anyone would testify financial recovery has been tough across the industry.
  • Why have you put no investment or reinvestment into looking after the Trader Vic’s fixtures and fittings for a full ten years? These are culturally and historically significant objects you have in your care.
  • Why have you spent close to no investment on PR for Trader Vic’s while continuously promoting your other bars and restaurants? Across the past two years there have been 58 posts about Hilton Park Lane’s restaurants and bars – 56 of these were not about Trader Vic’s. One included Trader Vic’s but only in a carousel. With no promotion by the Hilton it’s amazing how well it does – and do you know why? Because it’s treasured by those who ever visit and attracts huge repeat custom.
  • Why have you stymied Trader Vic’s by not allowing them to sell mugs post pandemic – this would have brought in a steady revenue stream from loyal Tiki followers that travel to London specifically to visit Trader Vic’s, as well as souvenir collectors.
  • Why did you leave it until so close to Christmas to break this news, and even then not made an announcement but tried to keep it under the radar. Was this to give as little time as possible for people to react and to bury the story?
  • Why have you refused to engage with loyal Trader Vic’s customers about the closure – there has been a continued silence both to us and to the press, who have been in contact and refused comment.
Trader Vic’s is a much loved institution – it has attracted big names from the 1960s right up to today. A recent sold out ‘Save Trader Vic’s’ event packed the place and proved it is still hugely popular and loved.
Walk into Trader Vic’s and you’re walking into a Tiki time capsule. Hardly changed since its opening in 1963, this restaurant and bar epitomises the swinging sixties.
Rather than embracing its history and USP, Hilton have decided to replace this icon of the hospitality world with something lacking its impressive heritage and no doubt far less joyous.
In the words of Greg Votolato, renowned design historian and author, Hilton Park Lane are, ‘sitting on a cultural treasure that, with a bit of creative marketing on their part, could also be once again a long lasting financial asset.’
We urge Hilton to rethink this short sighted decision – embrace this beloved London landmark, grant our Christmas wish and #SaveTraderVicsLondon #HiltonHotels #Hiltonhhonors #HiltonParkLane #SaveBritainsHeritage #LondonIcon #CulturalInstitution #Tiki #TraderVics #SaveTraderVics

And if you’ve never seen it, here’s what you’re missing….

Please join the campaign – this is where you can make your MidCentury voice count!