From the day it opened in 1927 until World War II, the Cavalier Hotel was one of the premier resort locations on the East Coast, hosting all the great names of the Big Band Era as well as dozens of celebrities and U.S. Presidents. Its unusual Y-shaped plan, which was intended to maximize views of the ocean, was considered innovative for its time and the neo-classical design drew heavily on Virginia history and Jeffersonian influences.
Following the war, this icon of Virginia Beach went into a decades-long decline. After 85 years, the Cavalier Hotel had become old, tired, and neglected. A family feud between the owners led to a court-ordered sale in 2012. It seemed as if demolition was inevitable.
Fortunately, the successful bidder was committed to restoring the property and was able to leverage historic preservation tax credits to support the extensive rehabilitation. The ensuing four-year project tackled the underlying structural system, corroded by the salt-air environment, as well as preserved the character-defining features of this grand hotel using great care and craftsmanship.
It would be hard to picture the Virginia Beach oceanfront without the Cavalier Hotel. This extensive restoration by the Norfolk office of the architecture firm Hanbury assures this architectural icon will be around for generations, and its legacy as one of the grand hotels of the 1920s will continue.
- Project Name: The Cavalier Hotel Rehabilitation (Virginia Beach, Va.)
- Owner: Gold Key / PHR
- Firm Name: Hanbury
- Contractor: W. M. Jordan Co.
- Photographer: Robert Benson Photography