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The deluxe Grand Pa­pua Ho­tel, built in 2011, sits on a ridge at the top of Port Moresby’s busi­ness dis­trict where guests are treated to good views of the sea.

The owner, the Steamships Trad­ing Com­pany, has be­stowed the su­perla­tive moniker of ‘grand’ on the ho­tel to dis­tin­guish it from pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions of the Pa­pua ho­tel that have ex­isted in al­most the same lo­ca­tion dur­ing the past 100 years.

Most peo­ple see the ho­tel from Hunter Street, its rear en­trance; but the main en­trance porte cochere is ac­cessed from the nar­row Mary Street.

Gen­eral man­ager Alex Wilson says: “We are a bou­tique, top-end ho­tel with 161 lux­ury rooms and suites with an over­all stylis­tic theme of colo­nial meets con­tem­po­rary PNG. We have all the fa­cil­i­ties that gov­ern­ment or pri­vate-sec­tor ex­ec­u­tives re­quire.”

The pre­vi­ous two ho­tels of the same name also strived to be the most lux­u­ri­ous in the coun­try at the time. Black-and-white pho­tos of the orig­i­nal Pa­pua Ho­tel can be seen in the hall­ways of the cur­rent ho­tel.

The orig­i­nal, built in 1909, boasted ‘mod­ern nov­el­ties’ such as elec­tric light­ing and re­frig­er­a­tion, along with good sta­bling for horses.

It was de­mol­ished in 1941 and re­placed by a new build­ing in the same year, on the ad­ja­cent block on the cor­ner of Mus­grave and Dou­glas streets. It was im­me­di­ately com­man­deered un­til 1947 by the Aus­tralian Army as head­quar­ters for the Eighth Mil­i­tary Dis­trict. Gen­eral Dou­glas McArthur was one of the first ‘guests’.

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