111 Spring Street (Hotel Windsor)

A photograph of 111 Spring Street.
Name
Hotel Windsor
Address
111 Spring Street
Type
Commercial residential
Status
Extant
Floors (above-ground)
7
Height
Unknown
Architect / architectural firm
Charles Webb,
Construction firm
Unknown
Construction start date
Unknown
Construction end date
1884
Architectural style
Victorian Second Empire
Ownership history
  • 1884 - 1886: George Nipper.
  • 1886 - 1897: James Munro, James Balfour.
  • 1897 - 1920: unknown.
  • 1920 - 1976: unknown.
  • 1976 - 1990: Victoria State Government.
  • 1990 - 2005: Oberoi Group.
  • 2005 - present: Halim Group.
Current Tenant(s):
Profile

The Hotel Windsor was, for a long time, the largest and most luxurious hotel in the city of Melbourne, and although it has lost those distinctions by the present day, it remains the last surviving grand hotel in the city - all others having been demolished.

The first part of the current building - what is now the south wing - was built in 1883/4 by shipping magnate George Nipper, designed by Charles Webb, in order to capitalize on the Gold Rush. At the time, the Hotel was known simply as "The Grand". In 1886, due to business difficulties, Nipper sold the Hotel to James Munro and James Balfour, who added the central and north wings, and with them the grand ballroom, grand staircase and twin towers. Munro was the leader of the temperance movement in the state, and banned the sale of liquor at the Hotel - renaming it the Grand Coffee Palace. In 1897, Munro was declared bankrupt, and a new owner (name unknown) took over the hotel, reinstated the sale of liquor, and changed its name back to The Grand.

In 1898, shortly before the Federation of Australia, the Drafting Committee for the Federal Constitution finalised the Constitution of Australia in a suite at The Grand, and many representatives stayed and hosted meetings thereat. For decades, it was the preferred hotel for Prime Ministers, politicians, royals and celebrities visiting the city. In 1920, it was acquired by another new owner (name also unknown), and it was renamed the Windsor Hotel in honour of a visit by the Prince of Wales.

With changing tastes and the inception of more modern hotels in the 1960s, the Windsor declined in popularity. By the mid-1970s, the Windsor was the last of the major 19th century hotels in the city still operating, run down, and under threat of closure and demolition. In 1976, it was directly purchased by the Victoria State Government in order to spare it from this fate, who in turn leased it to the Oberoi Group in 1980. In 1983, Oberoi undertook a major restoration of the hotel which was successful, to a degree, at reinstating its former status. In 1990, Oberoi gained full ownership of the edifice.

In 2005, Oberhoi sold the Hotel to Halim Group. In 2009, Halim proposed the construction of a large contemporary tower behind the façade in order to increase the number of rooms. This was virulently opposed by preservationists such as the National Trust of Australia. This initial dispute has since developed into a lengthy and convoluted controversy which remains unresolved as of 2020. It is unclear whether Halim still intends to proceed with the development, although as of 2020, no construction has been undertaken. The Hotel remains in operation, but although still upmarket, it can no longer lay claim to being the most prestigious in the city.

Building manager / body corporate / owner's corporation
Unknown
Phone no.
Email address
info@thw.com.au
Postcode
3000