Like so many of Adelaide’s heritage hotels, the Exeter has seen a number of makeovers since it opened on this site in 1851. The hotel we see today was rebuilt here in 1888- rumour had it due to competition from the nearby Tavistock Hotel.
The Tavistock was built in 1885, only seven doors down from the Exeter Hotel. It would have been a strong competitor for Rundle Street patrons. It was demolished in the 1960s to make way for the construction of Frome Street.
The Exeter Hotel’s design is in keeping with many of the commercial buildings that appeared at this time in Adelaide. Features including a chamfered, or right-angled edge corner, verandah and balcony can also be seen on other prominent hotels of the period, including the Botanic Hotel.
The hotel is built of coursed squared bush-hammered sandstone. The original openings are still visible on the ground floor. In 1929 it was refurbished and the distinctive green glass tiles were added to the exterior.