The Sorrento Hotel is of regional significance as a prominent hotel business in Sorrento which has a history of association with major Victorian Breweries. The original building is important for its evidence of the work of an important local builder, J. Farnsworth. There are details of design significance in the overall form of the building and particularly in the fine Art Deco interior plasterwork. The hotel has landmark and aesthetic significance due to its location.
The first section of the Hotel was built in 1872 for P. J. Martin, the owner of the Australian Brewery. John Farnsworth, stonemason, was brought from Adelaide for the construction contract and subsequently built many buildings in Sorrento and Portsea. The first licence was granted to the hotel in the Court of Petty sessions in Dromana in 1872. In the following year, The Argus was advertising for tenders for the construction of thirty additional rooms to the design of M. Hennessy, architect who also was responsible for St Mary’s Catholic Church Sorrento. There were further works over the next few years, with 32 more rooms added in 1875. The hotel was sold to Carlton Brewery in 1881. There were further extensions again in 1890 and 1928 to accommodate increases in demand.
The Sorrento Hotel is a large conglomerate of Victorian buildings constructed in limestone set on the cliff-top at one of the most prominent points on the coast. The main section of the building is two storey with symmetrical facade and two bay windows on both levels, facing the sea view with a central square tower. The verandah entrance is arched with detailed plaster friezework in the Art Deco arch and pillar motifs. The central staircase appears to be intact as is other internal woodwork in the hall.