The Queens Hotel, positioned at the top of the Promenade, was built in 1838 on the site of Imperial Spa at a cost of £47,000. Despite its grandiose architecture and opulent accommodation the 70 bedroom hotel was not an immediate success and it was sold in 1852 for a fifth of its original value. In 1858 a pair of Russian canons, captured at the siege of Sabastopol, were presented to the town by Lord Panmure, the minister of war. The owner of the Queens Hotel, William Smart Davis donated money to display the canons outside the hotel on cast iron plinths.
The Queens Hotel had an annual rateable value of £680.0s.Od. in 1891 and 1903. The Queens still enjoys a very high reputation. It was a Trust House Forte hotel for many years, then Heritage Hotels and Macdonald Hotels. In April 2007 the flagship hotel was bought by Accor Hotels. It now forms part of Accor’s upmarket Mercure chain and has been renamed as the Mercure Queens Hotel.
The Queens Hotel has the distinction of having the highest rateable value of any licensed premises in Gloucestershire, and indeed all those inns and taverns further south in Bristol which are also included in the 1891 and 1903 licensing records. £680 seems a considerable amount even today, but nearly 130 years ago that amount of rateable value must have seemed astronomical. Given such a prestigious status it is no surprise that the Queens Hotel was a fully licensed ale house. In those late Victorian and early Edwardian times the owners were the Queens Hotel Company Limited. The annual rateable of £680.0s.0d. remained constant throughout that time span.
The Citizen: 12th August 1983 – Grouse on the Queens Menu: No effort was being spared to ensure that the first grouse of the season were on today’s lunch menu at the Queens Hotel, Cheltenham. The grouse were shot at first light today, the Glorious 12th, flown by helicopter to Glasgow, then on a shuttle flight to Heathrow and by fast sports car to the Queens.
Proprietors at the Queens Hotel include:
1859,1878 William Smart Davis
1883 Mrs Lowe
1891,1903 John Belton
1906 Dennis Arnold Lockwood
1919 S.G.R. Holman (manager)
1927 Lady Honywood
1999 Tony Aspden (General manager)
2000 Stephanie Hocking (General manager)
2005 Fiona King (General manager)