Metropole Hotel, Launceston, Australia

Murray View No. 42. The Hotel Metropole, Launceston, Tas.
Publisher: Murray VIews, Gympie, Queensland

Built as the Launceston Coffee Palace (opening 1882), also known as Sutton’s Coffee Palace and Metropole Coffee Palace. Demolished 1976.

Google Street View.

Prominent amongst the new erections will be a three-storey building in Brisbane-street, opposite the Brisbane Hotel, for Mr S. J. Sutton. In this Mr Sutton intends to carry on the business of a first-class coffee palace, similar to that in Collins street, Melbourne, and the establishment will be denominated the “Launceston Coffee Palace.” Mr Sutton has recently returned from a visit to Victoria, where he has had ample opportunity of observing the management of coffee houses, and intends to adopt the style of the Collins-street Coffee Palace.

The internal arrangements of the coffee palace will be very complete. The entrance hall, 8ft wide, will be in the centre of the frontage, and a shop will be provided on either side. On each side of the hall will be the public rooms, consisting of a coffee-room, commercial-room, smoking-room, and ladies’ dining-room, a special feature of the arrangements being that these rooms are readily accessible to the public, instead of being placed in some out-of-the-way part of the house. The public dining-room will be across the end of the hall, and will be an apartment 36ft long by 19ft wide. There will also be a kitchen, pantry, and bake-house in the rear. The second storey will comprise, in addition to the arcade already mentioned, two commodious par lours and nine bedrooms, four of the latter being 16ft by12ft, and the remaining five smaller apartments. The third storey will contain sixteen bedrooms. The building will be fitted with bathrooms and other conveniences, and there will be fire escape from the rear of the second flat. Every attention will be paid to ventilation, such sleeping apartments as will not containg fireplaces having flues leading from the floor to the top of the parapet.
The Launceston Coffee Palace will be built of brick with a cement front and iron roof, and Mr Sutton expects it will be completed and ready for occupation in November.
Launceston Examiner, 21 May 1881

The new coffee palace being built by Mr S. Sutton is making rapid progress, and is already being roofed, and will be ready for occupation by the 1st of December next. The architecture of the elevation is of a highly pleasing style, looking both light and graceful, while the building is really a very substantial peace of work. The basement is divided into two shops, coffee-room, smoking-room, commercial-room, ladies dining-room, and large dining hall. These rooms are lofty and commodious, and are divided by a spacious hall 8ft. wide, with a large staircase as near the front of- the house as possible. Overhead are 27 bedrooms and two bath-rooms, and in the rear a large- kitchen and pantry are yet to be built, also a ten-stalled stable. The new bake-house at the rear has a steam boiler, and machinery for making biscuits, besides other patent appliances of recent invention.
Telegraph, 20 August 1881

Brisbane Street, 1897-99, with the Launceston Coffee Palace second from the corner. (Photo from the Archives Office of Tasmania1897-99.)

A change has taken place in the management of one of the most important city establishments, the Metropole Coffee Palace, Brisbane-street, where on Saturday Mr W. Hunt, formerly for very many years chief steward on the Pateena, took over control from Alderman S. J. Sutton
2 September 1901

Read more

Empress Hotel, Victoria, Canada

Empress Hotel, Victoria, B.C.
1912-1928 (see below)
Publisher: Coast Publishing Co, Vancouver

Google Street View.

Picture of the palm gardn

Built for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), the Empress Hotel is one of a series of Chateau-style hotels built by Canadian railway companies in the early 20th century to encourage tourists to travel their transcontinental routes. Popular with the travelling public for their elaborate decor and comfortable elegance, these hotels quickly became national symbols of quality accommodation. The Chateau-style vocabulary used by the railway hotels evolved as a distinctly Canadian architectural type. The Empress signals the beginning of this evolution from a strictly Chateau-style design towards one that incorporated contemporary forms. Built in 1904-08 to designs by Francis M. Rattenbury, the Empress was enlarged in 1910-12 to designs by W.S. Painter and in 1928 to designs by J.W. Orrock.
Parks Canada

Construction on the building began in 1904 and took nearly four years to complete. Rattenbury’s initial plans called for the development of a seven-story structure similar to Québec City’s Château Frontenac. As such, the nascent hotel’s appearance drew largely upon Châteauesque-style architecture as a source of inspiration. Similar to the other grand railroad hotels of the Canadian Pacific Railway, The Empress incorporated exterior walls built with stone and brick cladding, topped by a steep-pitched copper roof. Ornate dormers and gables defined the structure of the roof, which was lined with a series of polygonal turrets. Rattenbury did not exclusively rely upon Châteauesque architecture, either. On the contrary, he also used additional architectural forms whenever appropriate. For instance, the hotel’s spectacular porch used design principles based on Tudor Revival-style design aesthetics, while Second Empire architecture was present within the layout of several interior spaces. The Empress was unlike the hotels operated by the Canadian Pacific Railway in other ways, too. Rattenbury’s blueprinted followed an asymmetrical floor plan centered somewhat on an arcaded central loggia. Many projected pavilions accented by oriel windows defined the loggia, as well. Yet, the hotel’s most distinctive feature was a glass-roofed palm garden decorated with Chinese-inspired motifs.
Fairmont Empress

Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, USA

Fairmont Hotel, on Nob Hill, San Francisco, Cal.
Publisher: Pacific Novelty Co., San Francisco
Prnter: A.F. Broad, 48 3rd Street, San Francisco

The Fairmont San Francisco is an AAA Four-Diamond luxury hotel at 950 Mason Street, atop Nob Hill in San Francisco, California. The hotel was named after mining magnate and U.S. Senator James Graham Fair (1831–94), by his daughters, Theresa Fair Oelrichs and Virginia Fair Vanderbilt, who built the hotel in his honor. . . . The hotel was nearly completed before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Although the structure survived, the interior was heavily damaged by fire, and opening was delayed until 1907. Architect and engineer Julia Morgan was hired to repair the building because of her then innovative use of reinforced concrete, which could produce buildings capable of withstanding earthquakes and other disasters.

Fairmont San Francisco is the city’s grande dame, a Beaux-Arts masterpiece where notable events happen — and have ever since it opened its venerable doors in 1907. The fabled history permeates the walls — you feel it as soon as you step into the sumptuous lobby. The hotel has hosted world leaders, diplomats, entertainment stars, cultural icons, and also staged star-studded galas and internationally impactful events. Fairmont San Francisco earned the moniker “White House of the West” for having welcomed every U.S. President visiting the city since the hotel’s inception. This flagship has also witnessed numerous historic firsts. A pioneer in the industry, Fairmont San Francisco introduced America to hotel concierge services, and was the first hotel in the city to house honey beehives on its rooftop garden to raise awareness of the world’s collapsing bee colony population.
Fairmont San Francisco

Ball Room, Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, Cal.
Publisher: Newman Post Card Co., Los Angeles

Google Street View.

Fairmont floor plan

The Gold Room boasts some of the Hotel’s finest molding and detailing; it is truly a grand space. Elegant trim and gilded mirrors lines the walls and reflect some classic San Francisco views from the tall windows overlooking the Bay. The chandeliers add emphasis to the high ceilings without obscuring site line for presentations.
Fairmont San Francisco room information brochures

McAlpin Hotel, New York, USA

McAlpin Hotel
New York City
On back:
The McAlpin Hotel, just finished, is the lagest otel in the world, occupying an entired block on Broadway between 33rd and 34th Streets. It is 25 stories high with 3 sub-basements, contains 1620 rooms, all outside. 1100 baths and 1800 telephones. Total cost $13,500.000
Publisher: Manhattan Post Card Co., New York

The Hotel McAlpin was constructed in 1912 by General Edwin A. McAlpin, son of David Hunter McAlpin. When opened it was the largest hotel in the world. The hotel was designed by the noted architect Frank Mills Andrews (1867–1948). Andrews also was president of the Greeley Square Hotel Company which first operated the hotel. Construction of the Hotel McAlpin neared completion by the end of 1912 so that the hotel had an open house on December 29. The largest hotel in the world at the time, The New York Times commented that it was so tall at 25 stories that it “seems isolated from other buildings”.

Among Andrew’s innovations for the McAlpin Hotel was fully-equipped miniature hospital “where cases, no matter how serious can be treated with exactly the same care as in the best up-to-date private sanatorium,” according to the Journal of the South Carolina Medical Association in January 1911. Situated on the 23rd floor so that the patients could enjoy quiet, it was outfitted with “every modern appliance known to surgery.” The surgeons and doctors who would staff the hospital were interviewed personally by Andrews.

A Turkish bath and swimming “plunge” were built on the 24th floor unusual in that most such baths were located in basements with no circulation of fresh air. One floor was reserved for single women and children traveling alone. To prevent their being harassed, there was a separate check-in desk on that floor, staffed by women, so the female traveler could circumvent the main lobby. All employees working on that floor were female. That floor had an outdoor playground and a library, in addition to a hair dressing salon.

The New York Times reported that “Perhaps the last word in specialization is the sixteenth floor, known already as the ‘Sleepy Sixteenth.'” Reserved for guests who had night jobs or for some other reason slept during the day, “the silence of night will be preserved… It is far above the noise and swirl of one of the busiest crossways in the world.”
The Most Famous Hotels in the World

Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt

These three postcards are photographs taken of existing photographs and then printed as postcards. They have no publisher details. Given the bare surroundings, I assume the original photos were taken when Heliopolis was being developed (1910s).

Heliopolis was a suburb outside Cairo, Egypt, which has since merged with Cairo as a district of the city and is one of the more affluent areas of Cairo. It was established in 1905 by the Heliopolis Oasis Company headed by the Belgian industrialist Édouard Empain and by Boghos Nubar, son of the Egyptian Prime Minister Nubar Pasha.
. . .
In 1905, Empain established the Cairo Electric Railways and Heliopolis Oases Company, which bought a large stretch of desert some distance to the northeast of Cairo at a low price from the British occupation government. His efforts culminated in 1907 with the building of the new town of Heliopolis, in the Sahara desert ten kilometers from the center of Cairo. The new city represented the first large-scale attempt to promote its own architecture, known now as the Heliopolis style. It was designed as a “city of luxury and leisure”, with broad avenues and equipped with all conveniences and infrastructure: water, drains, electricity, hotel facilities, such as the Heliopolis Palace Hotel and Heliopolis House, and recreational amenities including a golf course, racetrack and park. In addition, there was housing for rent, offered in a range of innovative designs targeting specific social classes with detached and terraced villas, apartment buildings, tenement blocks with balcony access and workers’ bungalows.


Sultana Melek Palace

Google Maps.

Belgian engineer Baron Empain built the palace as a gift to Sultan Hussein Kamel. Following Kamel’s death, the palace’s ownership transferred to the Heliopolis Company for Housing & Development which leased it to Hussein’s second wife Sultana Melek Tourhan. The palace then became a school during the 1960s, and was later recorded on the list of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities in 2000.
Egypt Independent: Egypt begins restoring Sultana Melek Palace in Heliopolis

Sultan Hussein Kamel’s palace in Heliopolis dates back to the year 1908. Sultan Hussein Kamel took power in a dangerous period in the history of Egypt between 1914 and 1917, when Britain had imposed martial law on Egypt during the First World War. The palace, located opposite to Baron Empain’s palace, was built before Hussein Kamel assumed power. It was then gifted to Sultana Malak, his second wife of Circassian origin, whom he married in 1886.

The palace of Sultan Hussein Kamel is among the first buildings of Heliopolis. It was designed by French architect Alexander Marcel in 1908 and was implemented with clear Moroccan influences to revive Islamic architecture.
Egypt Today


Lady of Heliopolis Co-Cathedral

Google Street View.

Our Lady of Heliopolis Co-Cathedral, also known as the Latin Cathedral of Our Lady of Heliopolis, or the Basilica of the Holy Virgin, is a Roman Catholic church building, located on Al-Ahram Square in the Heliopolis neighbourhood of Cairo, Egypt. Alexandre Marcel designed the cathedral in a Byzantine Revival style, based on the Hagia Sophia. It was completed in 1913. A crypt within the cathedral houses the remains of its financer, Édouard Empain, and his family.


Heliopolis Palace Hotel

Google Maps.

The Heliopolis Palace Hotel was built in the open desert from 1908–1910, while development of the new suburb began around it, by the Heliopolis Oases Company. It was opened as Africa’s most luxurious hotel on December 1, 1910. The landmark hotel was designed by Belgian architect Ernest Jaspar. He introduced the local Heliopolis style of architecture, a synthesis of Persian, Moorish Revival, Islamic, and European Neoclassical architecture. It was built by the contracting firms Leon Rolin & Co. and Padova, Dentamaro & Ferro, the two largest civil contractors in Egypt then. Siemens & Schuepert of Berlin fitted the hotel’s web of electric cables and installations. The utilities were to the most modern standards of their day. The hotel operations were under French administered management. The Heliopolis architectural style, responsible for many wonderful original buildings in Heliopolis, was exceptionally expressed in the Heliopolis Palace Hotel’s exterior and interior design. The hotel had 400 rooms, including 55 private apartments. Beyond the Moorish Revival reception hall two public rooms were lavishly decorated in the Louis XIV and the Louis XV styles. Beyond those was the Central Hall, the primary public dining space with a classic symmetrical and elegant beauty.
. . .
In 1958, the hotel was purchased by the government and closed to guests.[3] It was then used to house the offices of government departments. In January 1972, the building became the headquarters of the Federation of Arab Republics, the short-lived political union between Egypt, Libya and Syria, which gave it the current Arabic name of قصر الاتحادية Kasr Al Ittihadia (“Federation Palace”). In the 1980s, after extensive renovation and restoration efforts, the building became an Egyptian presidential palace and the headquarters of the administration of the new president, Hosni Mubarak.

The First Australian General Hospital was to be placed in the Heliopolis Palace Hotel at Heliopolis. . . . Some description is required, however, of the Heliopolis Palace Hotel. This, as the photograph shows, is a huge hotel de luxe, consisting of a basement and four stories. It was arranged that the kitchens, stores, and accommodation for rank and file should be placed in the basement. The first floor was allotted to offices and officers’ quarters; a wing of the third floor provided accommodation for nurses, and the only portions of the building used at first for patients were the large restaurant and dining-room, and the billiard recesses, i.e. the Rotundas and Great Hall.
The Australian Army Medical Corps in Egypt, 1918 (Project Gutenberg) (includes floor plan)

Monkey, Hôtel Ruisseau Des Singes, Chiffa, Algeria

GORGES DE LA CHIFFA. – Chalet-Hotel du Ruisseau des Singes  – Amusement des Visiteurs
(Hotel of the River of Moneys – Entertainment for visitors)
Publisher: Photo Albert

Google Maps (location)

The charming mountain village of Chréa was the first ski resort created by the French in Algeria. It quickly became a famous resort. Its small wooden chalets almost reminded us of the Vosges or the Jura. The snow cover was capricious and the gradient was slight, but you could still enjoy skiing in winter. Nowadays, nobody skis on the spot during the winter season but the snowy landscapes remain grandiose. In summer, it is pleasant to go there to find some coolness and avoid the torrid heat of the Mitidja. At the site called “le Ruisseau des Singes” (because of the many monkeys that frequent the area and that you will see from the road), you will find a very pleasant hotel complex with cafeteria and restaurant.
Petit Futé Travel Guide: Chrea National Park

Continental Hotel, Cairo

Cairo – Continental Hotel
Publisher: Ernst Landrock

Google Street View.

It isn’t clear if the current hotel building opened in the 1860s or 1880s. We know that in the 1860s there was a grand hotel at this location that competed with the famous and now gone Shepheard’s Hotel on the same street. The hotel housed some of Khedive Ismail’s guests during their visit to Cairo for the festivities surrounding the opening of the Suez Canal. The hotel underwent multiple renovations in the 1880s, 1890s and 1900s. Some older pictures show the hotel having a more elaborate facade with columns carrying an over-sized pediment. The owners of Grand Continental built another hotel on Soliman Pasha Square (today Talaat Harb) which was the Savoy and together the two hotels were known as the Continental-Savoy Hotels. During WWI the British military overtook the Savoy Hotel as their headquarters and it never re-opened. The property was purchased by Behlar who destroyed the building and replaced it with the current structure overlooking Talaat Harb Square today known as the Behlar Building (with the Parisian roof). The current Grand Continental building has a simple, if modern, facade of four very tall levels. The front of the building is now covered with a row of shops selling men’s suits and tailoring fabrics. Behind those shops the original building is an H-shaped structure with a central court. It appears that the structure is combination masonry with timber floors and ceilings.
Cairo Observer

“Continental Savoy. The lounge”, G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection, 1930s, from Wikimedia Commons

Through the first half of the 20th century the Continental-Savoy (known as the Grand Continental before 1924) on Opera Square was the great rival to Shepheard’s, just up the street. Like Shepheard’s it had a busy street-front terrace, hosted fabulous balls and dances, and attracted its fair show of famous guests. TE Lawrence lodged here when he first arrived in Cairo in December 1914, Lord Carnarvon succumbed to the malady brought on by an insect bite in Luxor in one of the Continental-Savoy’s suites in 1923, while in 1941 Major Orde Wingate attempted suicide in his bedroom by stabbing himself in the neck, twice, but survived. While Shepheard’s was burned down in the rioting of January 1952, the Continental-Savoy survived unscathed. Instead, it suffered a slow, painful decline into decrepitude eventually becoming so rundown that it had to stop accepting guests altogether by the early 1980s. Since then this massive, four-storey, 300-plus room hotel has stood largely empty.
Egypt in the Golden Age of Travel

While the Egyptian government has been keen to stress its alleged efforts to restore Downtown Cairo’s old splendor by renovating (the facades of) decaying buildings, the preservation of some of the city’s richest architectural gems nonetheless seems to be of low priority. This became apparent a year after authorities announced plans to demolish one of the most historic hotels in Egypt when workers on Tuesday January 28 began tearing it down. Overlooking Downtown Cairo’s Opera Square and the Azbakiya Gardens, the Grand Continental Hotel (also known as the Continental-Savoy) was built in the 1860s (some claim the 1880s) as part of the country’s modernization projects that included the building of the Suez Canal. The demolition plans were first announced in August 2016 by the Egyptian General Company for Tourism and Hotels (EGOTH), the hotel owners. Mamduh Rutab, the company’s deputy chairman, told Gulf News at the time that it is a “threatening humanitarian disaster until we demolish it”.
“The Grand Continental: Egypt’s Historic Hotel Turns into Dust”

Manila Hotel, Manila, Philippines

Manila Hotel, Manila, P. I. (cut off top)

Google Street View.

The Manila Hotel is a 550-room, historic five-star hotel located along Manila Bay in Manila, Philippines. The hotel is the oldest premiere hotel in the Philippines built in 1909 to rival Malacañang Palace, the official residence of the President of the Philippines and was opened on the commemoration of American Independence on July 4, 1912. . . When the United States took over the Philippine Islands from the Spanish in 1898 after the Spanish–American War, President William McKinley began Americanizing the former Spanish colony. In 1900 he appointed William Howard Taft to head the Philippine Commission to evaluate the needs of the new territory. Taft, who later became the Philippines’ first civilian Governor-General, decided that Manila, the capital, should be a planned town.

He hired Architect Daniel Hudson Burnham who drafted a wide and long tree-lined boulevard that would begin at the park where the end of the bay would be dominated by a magnificent hotel. To execute Burnham’s plans, Taft hired William E. Parsons, a New York city architect, who envisioned an impressive, comfortable hotel which he patterned along the lines of Californian mission style architecture. . . . On July 4, 1912, The Manila Hotel first opened its doors to the public, as announced on the front page of what was then known as Manila Daily Bulletin. A sprawling property located in the heart of Manila, the country’s first ever five-star hotel became the address of prominence visited by the most illustrious of guests.
Manila Hotel

There were large tobacco factories right in the city of Manila, but I found so much else of interest and delight in the Philippines that I quite forgot that such things as cigar factories existed! I received my first introduction to Manila hats, however, on the first day of my stay, for at a delightful stall in the Manila Hotel there were two or three samples of ‘target hats’ on view, and after seeing them, all of our party were seized with the same burning desire to purchase a Manila hat. This, we found, was quite an easy business, for at 10 o’clock each morning two Filippino hat-sellers invariably took up their position on the steps of the hotel and exhibited a big array of hats to tempt the purses and hearts of the tourists.
The Northern Herald, 22 August 1918

During World War II, the hotel was occupied by Japanese troops, and the Japanese flag was flown above the walls for the entirety of the war. During the Battle for the Liberation of Manila, the hotel was set on fire by the Japanese. The shell of the building survived the blaze and the structure was later reconstructed.

Hotel Lamartine, Amiens, France


No caption or other information. Probably a photo turned into a postcard.

Google Street View.

Over the door it says “G. Edwards/Late Australian Forces”.

A correspondent wrote to The Register from Amiens, in France, on April 12:— “In the thousands of homes in Australia represented by gallant sons the name of the city of Amiens is a household and historic memory, as well as the famous and noble cathedral which adorns it. The sons of Australia in the main were responsible for preventing the city from failing into the hands of the Germans, and thus they conserved for France and the Somme area a treasure of art and sentiment dear to the French nation. Following upon the Australians’ attack of August 8–just a week later–a memorable thanksgiving service was held in the holy edifice. This service was conducted from an improvised altar, which was draped with the Australian flag, at a later date dedicated and hung in the chancel.

This morning one of the most historic ceremonies ever performed in the cathedral took place, when Madamoselle Ernestine Sueur, of the Hotel Lamartine, Amiens, was united in the holy bonds of matrimony to Dvr. George Edwards, A.I.F., son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Edwards, Stanley Hotel. Clare, South Australia. By order of the holy dignataries of the cathedral the flag of Australia was temporarily removed from the chancel to the altar, at which the ceremony was performed, as a tribute to the Australian soldier, and the memory of Australia’s many gallant deeds. There were a large number of guests present, and the crowds of visitors thronged the cathedral to witness the memorable event, for Dvr. Edwards was the first British soldier to be married within the confines of the aged, sacred, and stately Gothic pile. Among the guests present were Mr. Russell Rayson, of Melbourne, and Capt. G. Bassett, base cashier for the British armies in France. Capt. Bassett, speaking at the sumptuous wedding breakfast, declared that it was the proudest moment of his life to be present at a digger’s wedding
The Register (Adelaide), 20 May 1920

Read more

Nagoya Hotel, Nagoya, Japan

The Nagoya Hotel, Nagoya, Japan

Old Tokyo: Nagoya Hotel, Nagoya, c. 1900.

When we arrived at Nagoya we were met and escorted to the Nagoya Hotel by a number of mounted police. This hotel is one of the worst I have ever seen. No attention was paid to us, the place was inconceivably dirty, and the meals were almost impossible. . . . There is only the one hotel in Nagoya, and although I have given a bad report of it, any one going there will have to stop there. I presume that is why the proprietor is so independent.
“A Woman’s World Tour in a Motor”, Harriet White Fisher, 1911, p.268-9

Nagoya Hotel (名古屋ホテル) in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The hotel, for many years the only accommodation for foreign visitors in the city, was opened in 1895 (Meiji 28) and located at 80 Katamitsukura-machi (竪三蔵町80). In 1907 (Meiji 40) it ceased business operations, but in 1919 (Taisho 8) it was bought by the Osaka Hotel. The hotel was burned down during WWII.