Hotel Victoria - Front early postcard

The Hotel Victoria, when completed in 1899 was the largest hotels in Newquay. The idea for the hotel was conceived by a group of town councillors who formed the Hotel Victoria Company.

Construction of the hotel began in 1897 on land owned by Liskeard-based contractor Thomas Lang. The building was erected by district councillor John Ennor and designed by John Samson of Liskeard in a Victorian Gothic style. Notably, it was one of only two hotel buildings Samson ever designed.

Hotel Victoria Newquay
Hotel Victoria - Under construction
Hotel Victoria - 1898 nearly completed

During the construction of the Hotel Victoria, Silvanus Trevail’s Headland Hotel was also being built. The chairman of the company, Michael Williams, and other invested councillors, including the company's secretary G.C. Bullmore, faced significant delays and public riots due to construction at the Headland, causing considerable frustration. The Hotel Victoria afforded a smaller total building cost compared to the Headland Hotel which incurred much higher costs, largely due to its iconic terracotta elements. A unique feature of the Hotel Victoria was its lift that connected every floor to the bathing beaches below, claimed to be the only one of its kind in England. This feature made it a strong competitor to the Headland Hotel. Construction of the Victoria was completed in 24 months, and the hotel opened on 1st June 1899, a year before the Headland Hotel. It was advertised in the ABC Railway Guide as the biggest hotel in Newquay.

Hotel Victoria - Front entrance with porters
Hotel Victoria - Postcard view from the beach
Hotel Victoria - Procession band with police at front

Upon opening, the hotel accommodated 100 guests and their servants in suites of apartments, under the accomplished management of Miss Williams, formerly of the Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth. The Hotel Victoria spared no expense in perfecting its sanitary arrangements and boasted a certificate from the local authority. Its rear terrace and lawn offered unobstructed views of Newquay Bay and was a popular lounging spot for guests. The hotel was regarded as one of Cornwall's finest modern establishments, featuring lofty, spacious, and comfortable rooms with all modern conveniences, including an efficient electric lighting system. The drawing room offered a superb view of Towan Head, while the dining room faced the sea, providing guests with unparalleled scenic beauty.

Hotel Victoria - 1897 advert pre-completion
Hotel Victoria - Guide advert 1902
Hotel Victoria - Dining Room
Hotel Victoria - View across rear facade
Hotel Victoria - Entrance to the beach tunnel and lift

The Hotel Victoria boasted 50 large bedrooms, lavishly decorated and fitted with all the modern amenities of the time, including electric lighting and a modern telephone system installed by the National Telephone Company. The hotel was heated by Spencer's patent "Ventilo" Radiators, manufactured by W. F. Spencer at Crossbank Works, Oldham, and 145 Queen Victoria Street, London, E.C.

The hotel also featured a billiard room with two tables by G. Wright & Co, adding another attraction to the indoor life of the hotel. Additionally, the hotel possessed a unique feature with its passenger lift allowing guests to be conveyed through the solid cliff to a subway tunnel connected to a small cove on the sands at any tide. This arrangement was very welcome to visitors and unique not just in Newquay but throughout the country. In later years, the hotel was enlarged to cater for more than 200 guests, notably adding a new sun lounge.

Hotel Victoria - Interior [Billiards Room]
Hotel Victoria - Interior view

The late 20th century saw development of Berties pub and a large underground nightclub, both of which were very popular with local people throughout the year. In 2012, a group of men on a stag party who were using the lift were injured when it unfortunately malfunctioned dropping to the beach level. The lift was replaced but no longer goes to beach level since the incident. The beach entrance has also been destroyed in recent times through the collapse of the cliff face above the tunnel entrance.

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