Hotel marks its 150th birthday with a celebration

IT HAS hosted The Beatles, Laurel and Hardy, David Bowie, and even the Queen, plus many more over its 150 years.

Monday, 22nd August 2016, 5:55 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:53 pm
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller and marketing manager Tony Wimbush at Southsea's Royal Beach Hotel

And on Saturday, this wealth of history was marked with a party.

The Royal Beach Hotel in Southsea hosted a celebratory tea dance and gala dinner to honour its 150th anniversary.

Diners were treated to traditional food based on a menu the hotel found from 1888, which included a gin cocktail called The Foghorn, plus a 28-day mature fillet steak and a warm chocolate and whiskey tart.

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Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller and marketing manager Tony Wimbush at Southsea's Royal Beach Hotel

There were musical acts, such as All About That Swing on all day, with plenty of dancing.

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller was taken for a spin on the dance floor by Brenda Seymour, 78, from Copnor. Brenda is a member of the tea dance group that meets at the hotel every Wednesday afternoon for most of the year.

She said: ‘It is a brilliant place and a lovely dance floor.’

Also at the event were friends Alexandra Williams, 63, Sandy Reeve, 72, Beth Hill, 79, Brenda Tomkinson, 84 and Valerie Saunders, 78, who all live in the nearby Mansion Court retirement housing, in Granada Road, Southsea.

From the left are friends Alexandra Williams, Sandy Reeve and Beth Hill

Alexandra said: ‘It has been great fun. There’s been good organisation and it is lovely to celebrate 150 years.’

The 130-bedroom hotel was originally built on fields in 1866, before the Parade Pier, which opened in 1879.

In 1911, a fire ripped through the hotel, leading it to be refurbished and during the wars, it was used as a makeshift hospital.

It is now owned by Zenda Ltd, which bought it in 2002 and it joined the Best Western group in 2005.

Celebratory cheers from the Royal Beach Hotel staff

Tony Wimbush, marketing manager, said: ‘One or two things have changed but there are still lots of parts of the hotel that are exactly the same, such as fireplaces in the bedrooms, and there is still architecture that is the same from the war years.

‘It’s been wonderful to celebrate. We have had so many people write to us and say they have had great memories of staying in the hotel.’

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller at the 150th anniversary of the Royal Beach Hotel in Southsea
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller and marketing manager Tony Wimbush at Southsea's Royal Beach Hotel
From the left are friends Alexandra Williams, Sandy Reeve and Beth Hill
Celebratory cheers from the Royal Beach Hotel staff
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller at the 150th anniversary of the Royal Beach Hotel in Southsea