The Marlborough Hotel first opened in November, 1914. Back then, it was called The Olympia, and described as “The Miniature Hotel Deluxe of Canada”, to this day it still stands at the same location 331 Smith Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The original architect and designers took inspiration from the Gothic school of Medieval England, with enough Renaissance influence to provide elegance common to the luxury hotels of that time. The hotel is one of Winnipeg’s most important heritage buildings. Together with it’s elaborate Late Gothic Revival-style exterior facade in terra cotta and brick, a polished granite base also features a massive ornate cast iron marquee sheltering the street level Main Entrance.
The restaurant and bar features some of the most beautiful Gothic and Renaissance-influenced interiors in Canada. With vast 24′ ceilings, imported stained glass from England, wrought iron light fixtures by Tiffany of New York, ornate plaster friezes, carved heavy oaken beams and walnut wainscoting created delightful settings. Originally constructed of concrete and steel, The Olympia was considered Canada’s first ‘fireproof’ hotel, and was amongst the first buildings in the nation with a fire sprinkler system.
In 1923, a $400,000 five-story addition was constructed. Historic Marlborough Hall, the stately ballroom with a dramatic 8th floor perspective on Winnipeg’s famous Portage & Main intersection, sits atop this addition.
In 1924 the nine-storey structure was bought by a group of Winnipeg businessmen, and was re-christened The Marlborough, after England’s great 18th century military leader, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.