The seven-story Cavalier Hotel is Virginia Beach's most prominent landmark and an opulent reminder of luxury travel in the first half of the twentieth century. Constructed during the boom years of the 1920s with funds raised by public subscription, the hotel was evidently positioned to compete with other, more established resorts in the commonwealth and along the Atlantic Seaboard. What set the Cavalier Hotel apart from its competitors was the distinct beauty of its oceanfront setting, which at the time of its construction was sparsely developed. Even today the hotel maintains a commanding, isolated position on a large,
Until the end of World War II the Cavalier Hotel was Virginia Beach's premier hostelry, attracting such luminaries as Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, Mary Pickford, and Will Rogers. After the war, however, competition from motels that catered more effectively to middleclass families diminished the business of older hotels. In response, a modern hotel, the Cavalier Oceanfront (1974, Shriver and Holland and Associates), was constructed across Atlantic Avenue, next to the site of the hotel's beach club, and the old building was closed for several seasons. The historic structure has since reopened, and renovations are ongoing.