The Victoria Hotel is one of the original hotels Melbourne, established 128 years ago, opening its doors for business on 1 November, 1880, just 45 years after Melbourne was established in 1835.
The Victoria Hotel, an historic hotel in Melbourne was originally known as the Victoria Coffee Palace, founded by a Temperance League as an alternative to the rowdy, bawdy pub accommodation on offer during the late 19th century.
The original lobby is still in use today, minus the skylight dome, removed during WWII to blackout the hotel as a security precaution.
At one stage, The Vic, as it became known, was advertised as the largest hotel in the Commonwealth. Today it remains the largest three ½ star hotel in Australia.
This historic hotel Melbourne known as a luxury hotel in the 20′s and 30′s, prided itself on its guest service, including porters being sent to meet guests arriving at Port Melbourne Docks and Spencer Street Train Station.
A Coffee Palace differed from the regular Melbourne city hotels in another important way – it was a dry hotel – no alcohol! Instead, patrons imbibed Beef Tea, mineral waters and, of course, coffee. Fortunately, things have changed and guests can now enjoy a drink in Vic’s Bar.
The Victoria Hotel was the first in Melbourne to offer electric lights in its rooms.
The founder of the hotel was the Honourable James Munro, a former premier of Victoria.
During W.W.II the American Army occupied a large section of the hotel for many months
The 1956 Olympics in Melbourne saw The Victoria Hotel feature as the main meeting place for the IOC, many of its functions and banquets being held here.
The Victoria Coffee Palace was established in leased premises, known as “Clyde House” taken over from The Victoria Club, which was in liquidation after having been one of the earliest institutions in Melbourne.
Accommodation was provided for 61 guests and approving comments were made of the temperance bar, which provided tea, coffee and mineral waters.
The first meeting of shareholders was convened two months later and a profit of £114.14.8 was recorded. Every available bed was occupied from the outset, including as many as could be extemporised. The main early difficulties were the cramped sanitary arrangements.
At that time, the basement was let as an oyster room. The ladies’ dining room and the smoking room were popular.