103-115 Spring Street, Melbourne 3000.
- Constructed in stages between 1887-1923.
- Designed by Charles Web.
- Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register (no. 602355)
The Windsor Hotel is unquestionably Melbourne's grandest hotel. The Windsor was known previously as the Grand Coffee Palace and originally as the Grand Hotel.
The hotel was built for the shipping magnate George Nipper (his company was called 'Nipper & See') who in the late 1880's sold it to the Hon. James Munro, a leading light of the popular Temperance Party. Munro was best remembered for his flamboyant gesture of setting alight the hotel's liquor license, thus changing the name of The Grand Hotel to The Grand Coffee Place. At first containing 200 rooms, the building was later extended to 360 rooms to accommodate visitors to the Centenary Exhibition of 1888. It was not until the 1920's that the hotel was granted another liquor license and changed its name to the Windsor Hotel.
Over the past 130 years, the Windsor has hosted royalty, celebrities, politicians and foreign dignitaries. For generations, Melburnians have enjoyed scrumptious afternoon teas at the Windsor, in the firm knowledge that no better can be experienced anywhere else. The Windsor has also been a traditional first choice for many newly-weds.
Where Melbourne once had two other ‘grand’ 19th-century hotels, the Windsor is the only one remaining after the Menzies Hotel and the Federal Coffee Palace were demolished several decades ago. Therefore, the building is of significant heritage and cultural value, especially since so much of the building is intact including the dining room at ground level and central light court above.
In 2009, a scandalous plan to demolish a substantial part of the rear of the building and add a 25-storey glass tower above was granted planning approval. Delays in obtaining heritage approval for some of the modifications are all that have prevented the commencement of works.