The Continental Hotel is regionally significant for its symbolic, historical, architectural and landmark qualities.
It has rarity significance as possibly the only four storey limestone building in Australia dating from the nineteenth century. It is a relatively intact example of the type of hotel development popular at that time and is distinguished from other Peninsula buildings in scale and the unusual tower feature, which is comparable to that of the Sorrento Hotel on the neighbouring cliff crest.
The Continental Hotel is symbolically significant in its ability to demonstrate the popularity of Sorrento as a beach resort destination for wealthy city tourists at the turn of the century. It is historically important for its associations with the first owner, George Coppin, whose endeavours were a major contribution to the formation of Sorrento as a resort town which it remains to this day.
The Continental Hotel was built in 1875 by the entrepreneur George Coppin who was responsible for a large proportion of the tourist development on the Peninsula in the last decades of the nineteenth century.
The Continental Hotel is a striking landmark building. Situated on the cliff-top at the end of Ocean Beach Road, it rises in four storeys of limestone above street level. The original Victorian design now has alterations to the facade which involve a renovated ground floor with the second storey enclosed and rendered in an Art Deco manner and surmounted by a roof-top balcony. Set back from the street are two more storeys with the original balcony returning at the corner. At the southern side of the hotel, a four storey wing without verandah, projects towards the street and is attached to a single storey section which was originally a separate general store. At the Constitution Hill Road end, there is a square tower capped by a high mansard roof with iron cresting and further limestone two storey extensions.