The Bellevue Hotel was situated with Parliament House on one side and the Queensland Club on the other and commanded magnificent views of the Botanic Gardens. The Bellevue Hotel took its name from a small private school owned by a Miss Lester, called Belle Vue (beautiful view), which occupied the site from 1859 for a few years.
When the school closed, Charles Hanson constructed a private hotel on the site. Hanson's Bellevue Hotel, a short distance from the Assembly Hall of Parliament House, was convenient accommodation for country parliamentarians and it prospered from their patronage.Mr.S. M. Collins took over the ownership of the building and was licenced by Mr John Zahel. He realized the hotel's influential and wealthy clientele required a better class of accommodation.
A new building was erected by Mr. John A. Zahel for Mr. S. M. Collins. Mr. J. J. Cohen, M.A., was the architect, and Mr. Cornelius Ryan was the contractor.The building was of three storey construction featuring cast iron balustrading on the wrap around verandahs, with posts supporting a curved corrugated iron roof.
A steep pitched roof shows two mansard roofs with cast iron cresting and chimneys. Additional amenities were incorporated for the graziers, their wives and families when they visited Brisbane. A newspaper report of the day described the interior as such:
fitted with a ladies' drawing room, private suites for informal dining, baths with hot and cold water, smoking, writing and reading rooms; a barber attends every morning for the convenience of guests and a waiter meets each steamer on its arrival.
It was little known that the 'suites for private dining' were fitted with beds, which catered to some patrons in entertaining lady friends.
Zahel ran into financial difficulties due to the following financial crisis at the time and the Bellevue Hotel subsequently changed hands. Amongst fig trees and flowering jacarandas its delicate iron-lace balustrades and spacious verandas defined the character of the building. The Bellevue retained its unique position in the heart of the city for well over 80 years and was regarded as the prestige hotel of Brisbane.
John Lennon's Hotel on George Street opened in 1884 with 62 bedrooms and attracted distinguished visitors. While pleasant enough it did not compare to the style of the Bellevue but, however became the place to stay.
After 80 years the Bellevue was not maintained and fell into disrepair. The Queensland Government declared the balconies of the Bellevue dangerous to the public and ordered them to be removed, including the iron lace balustrades which accounted for the visual appeal of the building. Some insisted that the Bellevue was a heritage building and had to be saved, but others felt that it was beyond restoration. It was demolished in 1979.