When exactly the hotel opened is a bit of a mystery, as even the original plans for the hotel and boarding house have no date on them. As far as we can tell, the building of the boarding house and hotel was completed in 1905 and the hotel must have been opened shortly afterwards.
In 1907, the first written dated reference to the hotel was made when the Premier Mine Co-operative Society was formed. At this time, a Mr Heymaan was running the hotel and shops, but it’s highly unlikely that he owned the hotel as the Co-operative Society continued to run the hotel until it closed in 1988.
The only other break in running the hotel as a pure business was when the establishment was taken over by the army during the war years. Highly-ranked officials were the only ones allowed to stay in the hotel, until the mine (after much correspondence) got permission for the hotel to open for all ranks in 1941.
Before the war, the hotel (and especially its bar) were enjoyed by the local miners. In the evenings, the hotel bar seemed to be overflowing with mine workers, sometimes joined (to their utter delight) by Sir Thomas Cullinan for sundowners. During that time, the beer was delivered in barrels and rolled down the ramp into the cellar. The cellar and ramp still exist, and on request, you can enjoy a romantic dinner or function in this cellar.
The hotel was Cullinan’s destination of choice for meetings with mine officials and whenever he was in town, he’d spend the night.
One of these general officials was Sir William McHardy, a Scotsman. On the 25th of January 1905, a traditional Scottish “Burns Supper” was held in the hotel. This was also the day that a 3106-carat diamond of the finest quality had been found – now famously known as the Cullinan Diamond. The diamond was taken to the party and everyone at the party got a chance to hold the massive gem. Eventually, the diamond was presented to the British Royal Family and the two largest diamonds cut from the stone are now in the British Crown Jewels. Today, the crown jewels are on display at the Tower of London.
After the hotel was closed in 1988, it started gathering the characteristics of an abandoned building. The current owner, Maudie Smit has a great love for the town of Cullinan, its people and its tourism. She saw the dilapidated hotel and after extensive refurbishing and renovations, she reopened this historical landmark in 2014 and has enjoyed almost every minute since “I love meeting new people, entertaining them and of course, I love the people who make it happen – my staff. Empowering my local community is very important to me.”
If you want to experience a slice of history, stay in one of our luxurious suites, two of which are named after historical figures – the Sir Thomas Cullinan Suite and the Sir William McHardy suite.