Llandudno's first luxury seafront hotel
The St George’s Hotel was opened in the spring of 1854. It was built by Isaiah Davies, who was just 24 years old. He was born in a farm on the Great Orme and inherited a pub called the King’s Head (which is still in operation at the foot of the Great Orme near the tram station) when he married the owner’s daughter, Anne Owen, when he was only 19 years old. Isaiah acquired the plot in a rather unusual way, by exchanging the drinking debts at the King’s Head, which were owned by John Williams, who was agent for Lord Mostyn’s family, who owned all the lands at Llandudno Promenade.
The St George’s has been extended several times over the years. The Water Tower was added to accommodate the first lift to be installed in Llandudno. The Lloyd Wing was erected in 1878 on the site of the hotel stables, from where the town’s first bus service began in 1856 to Conwy Railway Station. The hotel provided its own bus to take its guess to and from the station.
The foyer still holds the original brass bell-knobs labelled ‘Boots’, ‘Ostler’ and ‘Chambermaid’. These knobs were used by some very famous and distinguished people like Napoleon III and his wife Princess Eugenie, Bismarck, Disraeli, Gladstone, Churchill, Lloyd George and John Bright. Queen Elizabeth of Romania stayed at the hotel for five weeks in 1890, and was delighted with her visit, describing Wales as ‘a haven of peace’
In 1862 Dean Liddell, his family and their maids (a party of twelve) stayed at the St George’s for the summer. His daughter Alice aged 8, was later immortalised in the Alice in Wonderland story by Lewis Carroll.
Seven British Prime Ministers have stayed at the hotel including Gladstone, Disraeli, Lloyd George, Thatcher and in recent years during day conferences in the town, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have used the St George as their base for offices, meetings and breaks. When Churchill arrived at the hotel late at night, he asked for a candle, which caused a bit of a problem for the staff since no candles were available and all the local shops closed. However, staff managed to find a candle for him, and later discovered that he always lit his famous cigar with a candle!!