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Cavalier Hotel

The Cavalier Hotel, a symbol of opulence on the Virginia Beach oceanfront since its inception in 1927, has emerged anew from a transformative $48 million restoration. Once the East Coast's premier resort, hosting luminaries of the Big Band Era alongside celebrities and U.S. Presidents, its innovative Y-shaped design and neo-classical aesthetics have been meticulously preserved, heralding its resurgence as a historical icon. 

Revitalized through a meticulous preservation effort, the Cavalier Hotel reemerges as a Virginia Beach icon, weaving historical elegance with modern luxury to offer guests an experience that is uniquely “Cavalier”.

The restoration, a four-year endeavor of extraordinary care and craftsmanship, addressed both the building's structural challenges and its aesthetic decay. Artisans painstakingly revitalized its original ornamental plasterwork, wood moldings, and terrazzo flooring, while introducing modern amenities such as a craft bourbon distillery, a luxury spa, and a fitness center. The intent was to imbue the Cavalier with a contemporary spirit that remains deeply rooted in its historic and architectural legacy, offering a guest experience that is distinctly "Cavalier."

The indoor saltwater pool, a two-story volume capped by a skylight resting on steel trusses, has been returned to its 1927 grandeur, guided by historic photographs to restore the original ceiling plane, exposed trusses and the skylight,
The once-secluded lower level lobby, historically a bustling retail hub, has reopened to the public. It now features a fitness center, spa, hotel offices, a craft distillery, and the restored Hunt Room, with its fireplace—a defining character of the space—meticulously dismantled and reassembled to address foundational issues.
  • Gold Award for Architecture Design, Restoration & Renovation, MUSE Hotel Awards, 2023
  • Award of Merit for Excellence in Historic Preservation, AIA Virginia, 2019
  • Merit Award for Architecture, AIA Hampton Roads, 2019
  • Honor Award, Renovation Category, Virginia Beach Planning Commission Design Awards, 2019
  • Best Renovated or Historic Rehabilitation Project, Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate, 2018
  • Regional Best Projects, Renovation/Restoration category, Engineering News-Record, 2018
  • Honor Award of Excellence in Historic Restoration, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Virginia, 2018
  • Allegiance Award, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Virginia (2018)
  • Overall Excellence in Construction, Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. Virginia, 2018
  • Award of Merit, Renovation/Restoration, Engineering News Record MidAtlantic, 2018

The exterior rehabilitation focused on the brick masonry and cast stone ornamentation, safeguarding the building's structural integrity. The iconic Y-shaped guest tower, originally comprising 195 rooms, has been reconfigured to house 85 rooms, including 26 luxury suites, while preserving the historic circulation paths, stairs, and building core.

Project Team
Greg Rutledge
Historic Preservation
Richard J. Rusinak
Project Manager
Cherwa-Ewing Engineering, PC
MEP Engineering
Civil Engineering/Parking Consultant
Stroud Pence & Associates, Ltd.
Structural Engineering
GeoEnvironmental Resources
Environmental Consultant
Commonwealth Preservation Group
Historic Preservation Consultant
Tipton Associates
Food Service Consultant
Landscape Architect
Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Exterior Envelope Testing