History of The Esplanade Hotel
The story of The Esplanade Hotel begins in 1900 when a local company, Northern Property Limited purchased the old Flagstaff Hotel, situated on the current Esplanade Hotel site. The Flagstaff was removed and plans drawn up for a grand hotel to be built, called The Esplanade Hotel.
The plans were modelled on the resort hotels of the English seaside towns of Brighton and Blackpool, The Esplanade Hotel being named after the best-known resort hotel in Brighton, England.
Construction of the Â£7000 hotel started in 1901/02 by leading builder of the time, Archibald Grandison, and construction was completed in February 1903. The Esplanade Hotel quickly became established as a well run popular seaside resort hotel.
“The magnificent prospect of the harbour from every balcony, the salubrity of the air, and the convenience to the ferry, make the Esplanade an ideal destination – it combines the advantage of the city life and life at the seaside. Though only ten minutes from Queen Street it is absolutely removed from all the unpleasant concomitants of a crowded population.”
– The New Zealand Sporting and Dramatic Review, 1904.
An amusing incident occurred in 1919 when members of the Ponsonby Cruising Club posed outside the hotel for a photograph. The photo was sent to Sir Thomas Lipton, along with a request to donate a trophy to the club. Sir Thomas, impressed by the “Clubhouse”, sent out a solid silver cup then valued at Â£1800 for the competition, stating that he would like to visit the clubhouse if he came to New Zealand. The Ponsonby Cruising Club, which did not even have a clubhouse, were relieved when hearing of Sir Thomas’ s death as he never managed to visit New Zealand.
The Esplanade Hotel has continued to be an Auckland landmark, and has had several owners, all adding their own touch to create The Esplanade Hotel history. The hotel underwent a major refurbishment in 2002.
In 2014, The Esplanade Hotel was purchased by new owners who have continued with renovations. The most significant refresh was to the downstairs bar area which has been completely redesigned into a friendly area including a High Tea room and ‘Club room’. It has grown to become ‘the bar’ and a very popular eaterie for locals and visitors to Devonport.