Con­struc­tion Year Why Stay?

Business Traveler (USA) - - SPECIAL REPORT -

1883 It has hosted roy­alty, prime min­is­ters and movie stars, and is one of the old­est Vic­to­rian-era ho­tels still in op­er­a­tion. The Ho­tel Wind­sor pre­dates many of the world’s grand ho­tels, in­clud­ing Raf­fles, Sin­ga­pore (1887), The Savoy, Lon­don (1889) and The Wal­dorf As­to­ria, NewYork (1894) and is due for a new lease on life.

The ho­tel was built by shipping mag­nate Ge­orge Nip­per, who com­mis­sioned em­i­nent ar­chi­tect Charles Webb to de­sign the build­ing, be­fore sell­ing the prop­erty three years later, in 1886. New owner James Munro burnt the ho­tel’s liquor li­cense and changed its name to the Grand Cof­fee Palace. The ex­per­i­ment failed and in 1897 the ho­tel be­gan sell­ing al­co­hol again. In 1923, the ho­tel be­came known as“The Wind­sor”in honor of a visit by the then Prince of Wales. Threat­ened with de­mo­li­tion in 1976, the ho­tel was bought by the Vic­to­ria Gov­ern­ment and was sold to In­done­sia’s Halim Group in 2005.

Its flam­boy­ant ar­chi­tec­ture mir­rors the so­cial at­mos­phere, buoy­ancy and op­ti­mism of“mar­velous Mel­bourne”in the 1880s. As the largest and grand­est of Aus­tralia’s sur­viv­ing ho­tels of the pe­riod, it is of con­sid­er­able aes­thetic im­por­tance. Rooms are de­signed with high ceil­ings and have mar­ble bath­rooms.

For­mer guests in­clude for­mer Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ters John Howard, Gough Whit­lam and Mal­colm Fraser,

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