There’s some uncertainty about when the Victoria Hotel was actually built, but there’s no doubt that it’s Pretoria’s oldest hotel – as the blue plaque on the corner of the street attests to. Originally called the Station Hotel, because of it’s proximity to the Sir Herbert Baker-designed Pretoria Railway Station, in 1884 its name was changed to the Hollandia Hotel, after the Dutch workers who built the railway line that connected the Transvaal with the sea. It received its current name in 1901 during the British occupation of Pretoria during the Anglo-Boer War.
It’s a quirky hotel that’s retained much of its old-world charm, despite several make-overs down the decades. The most recent of these was in 1988, when Rohan Vos, owner and proprietor of Rovos Rail, spent £96,000 on restoring it to its former glory before moving his company’s headquarters there. At this time it also served as the departure lounge for passengers taking one of Rovos’ luxury journeys.
The hotel’s history is evident wherever you look, from the Victorian claw-foot baths and brass beds to the grand staircase lined with old photographs, and the former stables out back, which are now used for parking. There’s a real feeling of stepping back in time – especially at night apparently, when you could have a close encounter with one of three ghosts who are reputed to haunt the place!
Location: Just across from Pretoria Railway Station and the bus terminus.