Our History

Standing proudly on the cliff top overlooking the sparkling waters of Port Phillip Bay, Hotel Sorrento is the oldest commercial building in Sorrento. The gracious and elegant Hotel building complete with tower is a community icon, flaunting magnificent original locally cut limestone. Built by John Farnsworth in 1872 for P. J. Martin, the owner of the Australian Brewery, it was intended to be a Hotel and for over 150 years has been run as one.

Hotel Sorrento’s earliest guests were attracted to the tranquil and gracious bayside hotel as an escape from the bustling streets of Melbourne. Ferried then, by Weerona and Hygeia paddle steamers Hotel Sorrento was the first port of call.

In 1981, Margaret and Ian Pitt bought the hotel. The Pitt family were graziers and acquired the hotel with the view to their second son, Rob managing the business.The hotel has been Rob’s passion since day one. Rob later married Anne Olle and together they began transforming the hotel as a team with enthusiasm and dedication.

In the late 1980’s, Anne’s father Alan Olle (‘Big Al’) joined the team. Offering guidance and experience from his years as a Melbourne publican. He lived in the hotel with his wife Patsy for many years and were much loved mentors to all. Hotel Sorrento is proudly a family business at its essence and every single member of our team feel part of this family. Anne and Rob bought the hotel in the mid 1990’s. Their children: Bridget, Myles, Marcus and many cousins have also become team players and so the family legacy lives on.

Anne and Rob each and every year have spent time restoring the hotel back to its former grandeur, as well as a total refurbishment of accommodation, bars and kitchen. The original building’s solid structure has made it a brilliant canvas to work with. It has evolved and transformed many times and they fully intend for this to continue.

Hotel Sorrento ‘live it, love it, it’s what we do…’ is the philosophy adopted by the Hotel Sorrento team.