The Cavalier Hotel Named National Historic Landmark,History Penned in Grandeur,$58 Million Restoration of an Iconic Hotel

Some argue that The Cavalier Hotel may be what put Virginia Beach on the map. Regardless, no one can dispute the rich history found in the halls of this historic landmark.

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  • Construction of the luxurious hotel began in 1926 and continued for 13 months.
  • At times, there were as many as 225 men on the construction site who laid half-million bricks, the largest amount of bricks used on a single building in the entire state of Virginia.
  • With its own private depot, The Cavalier was added as a nonstop train destination from Chicago that hosted mid-westerners from the Norfolk & Western Pullman Coach.
  • With the motto “The Cavalier to the Cavalier,” the Virginia Beach grand hotel became a luxurious East Coast destination and kept a supply of limousines to usher guests from steamer ships and other rail stations.
  • It was named The Cavalier as a result of a local newspaper contest that narrowed the final choices to the Alonquin, The Linkhorn, The Crystal, The Sea Pine, and The Cavalier.
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The End of an Era

  • All of the opulence came to a screeching halt when the hotel was surrendered to Uncle Sam during World War II.
  • In October of 1929, the United States Navy became a permanent resident and turned the hotel into a site for radar training.
  • It is said that the hotel grounds were so cramped that some of the sailors used the stables as their living quarters.
  • In 1973, the sister hotel to the historic Cavalier opened on the oceanfront and the original “Cavalier on the Hill” was closed.
  • The Cavalier Oceanfront was constructed to be 11 stories overlooking the Atlantic Ocean but was not a replacement for the original Cavalier, which reopened in 1976.

The Cavalier’s Future

  • The Cavalier Experience was born to honor the past and create a vibrant future with a plan that includes the ageless beauty of a historic gem, the opportunity to call those hallowed grounds home and an oceanfront Virginia Beach family vacation resort.
  • The first part of the vision is to restore the Cavalier Hotel, marrying historic grandeur with modern amenities.
  • The second part is to develop a surrounding residential neighborhood with a collection of new homes that reflect the charm of the original Cavalier, yet exhibit their own personality.
  • The third part of the vision is to develop an entirely new resort in place of the Cavalier Oceanfront that allows both business and leisure travelers to experience a beach resort like no other.
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The Famous Beach Club

  • The Cavalier Beach Club was added on Memorial Day in 1929 and became a sought after amenity that went unrivaled for over three decades.
  • With the help of The Beach Club, the Cavalier became a beacon for big band entertainment and hired every major big band leader of the era including Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Glen Miller and Lawrence Welk.
  • As result, there were a larger number of employees than hotel guests, even when operating at full occupancy.

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  • Originally, The Cavalier Hotel included 195 guest rooms on 350 acres of land, including a golf course stretching across 290 of those acres.
  • The construction of the 6,060 yard golf course was just as grand as the hotel with some holes modeled after the famous Scottish golf holes of North Berwick, St. Andrews and the Fox Chapel Golf Club in Chicago.
  • A sunken garden graced the south side of the hotel that provided a naturally stunning backdrop for hotel events and groves of flowers that were used to adorn guest rooms, the dining rooms and lobby.

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  • Guest rooms included bathtubs with an extra handle to a draw a seawater bath, an extravagant practice at the time, as guests were fond of how the seawater made their skin feel as an all-natural exfoliator.
  • Each guest bathroom sink has an ice water spigot that originated from a large wooden ice-filled tub on the hotel roof, providing ice cold water to guests at any time.
  • Guests could also enjoy a luxurious indoor pool with diving board that was continuously filled with filtered Atlantic Ocean water until the mid-1970s.

6-Original-Lobby

  • The lower lobby of the hotel included boutiques for shopping, an ice cream parlor, a hair salon, gift shops and clothing retailers.
  • The hotel also had offices for an in-house doctor, photographer and stockbroker with a live ticker tape from the New York Stock Exchange.
  • The hotel also included a broadcast center for radio station WSEA, the third station to broadcast coast to coast and was the station from which the Norfolk mayor offered the first American congratulatory statement to Charles Lindberg during his legendary flight from New York to Paris.