Esplanade Hotel (The Espy)
11 Esplanade, St. Kilda 3182.
- Constructed in 1878.
- Designed by Smith & Johnston .
- Continues to operate as a highly popular hotel.
The Esplanade Hotel is recognised, perhaps, more for its cultural merit rather than its architectural significance. Locally known as "The Espy", the venue is renowned for its live music culture and its contribution to the Australian alternative music scene.
The building is constructed in a predominately Italianate style. The front façade features bracketed eaves and two dominant faceted bays. Typical of the Italianate style, the windows on the top floor are clustered in pairs. The front of the building was modified in the early 1920's, leading to the creation of the current portico.
Until recently, the Esplanade Hotel was in need of restoration. Multiple modifications to the façade as well as the general shabbiness of its appearance detracted from the appearance of this building. There was much controversy spanning several years about the future of this venue, with many plans for development of the site having being rejected, and an active lobby group working to save the building from possible demolition.
Eventually the building was saved and renovation and restorative works took place. A large block of flats was constructed beside and behind the building to provide the current backdrop.