When the first stages of Lennon’s newest hotel were being planned, there were virtually no houses within at least a mile of the site in Broadbeach. The area which eventually became the site of the Oasis Shopping Centre and Grand Mercure, was surrounded by stretches of sand dunes and unsealed roads. The hotel was built in an area that had been previously mined for mineral sands and when finally complete and landscaped, was frequently referred to as an oasis in a desert.
The earlier stages of the building, including a bar and beer garden, were opened by the Premier of Queensland, Vince Gair in 1955. Construction of the hotel block was completed on 6 December 1956 and its official opening also by the Premier, the following day. Designed by architect Karl Langer, the five storey hotel was the tallest building on the Gold Coast until the construction of the ten storey Kinkabool in Surfers Paradise during 1959 – 1960.
Lennon’s Broadbeach Hotel was built with luxury in mind with two public bars, one private bar, Queensland’s largest private swimming pool, tennis court, landscaped gardens and 100 accommodation units. To emphasise the prestige and formality of the venue, a concierge in full formal morning coat attire complete with handlebar moustache would greet guests. Despite its prominence in the landscape, proximity to the beach and role as a venue for international conventions, the hotel was not a financial success and changed hands a number of times in its early years.
The first licensee of Lennon’s Hotel was Edward Bewkey and, in 1961, the hotel was taken over by the Federal Group who brightened the facade with coloured masonite panels and changed their approach to appeal to younger holiday makers looking for more budget priced getaways. The formal clothes previously worn by hotel staff were replaced with informal tropically themed outfits.
The more casual approach did not yield the desired results either and Queensland Breweries purchased the hotel in 1965 after it had been passed in at a public auction in 1963. Chevron Queensland leased the hotel from Queensland Breweries and changed the name to the Broadbeach International Hotel. The hotel management turned their focus to live stage shows, which included ice skating performances and Las Vegas style showgirls.
The hotel was demolished in 1987 to make way for a 31-storey international hotel tower block, a mall, tavern, and shopping complex that was linked to Jupiter’s Casino by a monorail.
Sources of information and further reading
- “Hotel built on solid reputation.” Gold Coast Bulletin, 4 Dec 1980, p. 29.
- McRobbie, Alexander. The Fabulous Gold Coast. Surfers Paradise: Pan News, 1984.
- McRobbie, Alexander. 20th Century Gold Coast people. Surfers Paradise: Arts Centre Press, 2000.
- “Massive hotel project given go-ahead.” Gold Coast Bulletin, 16 Aug 1986, p. 7.
- Fuller, Sue. “Tempers flare as hotel tumbles.” Gold Coast Bulletin, 14 Jul 1987, p. 5.
- Wiseman, Neil. “Oasis springs from the desert.” Courier Mail, 6 Apr 2008, p. 51.
- http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/32439615 Langer, Karl (1947). Papers, [ca.1947]-[ca.1968].
- “Lennons £3000 tender accepted.” The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 – 1954) 28 Dec 1954: 3. Web. 6 Jan 2016. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50615390
- “Lennnons Ltd. To Build Coast Hotel.” The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954) 28 Dec 1954: 8. Web. 6 Jan 2016. http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18442822