The heritage-listed Hides Hotel Cairns was built in 1885 by George Hides and Duncan McColl (on an isolated patch of land on Lake Street reputedly swapped for a horse and gambled on the development of the town). Their instincts proved correct and a thriving commercial precinct evolved around Hides Hotel.

In 1895, George Hides widow Elizabeth took over the lease and the hotel became a social hub for travellers and local elites, complete with pukkah fans, billiard tables and garden parties. 

After a night of recreation, guests would awake to freshly shined shoes and crisp tropical wines, cleaned at Japanese run laundries. In 1928 the three story building you see today was erected over the garden. Right through to the 1950’s Hides’ clientele included locals from the Tablelands visiting Cairns for shopping, business or socialising. The roads were so terrible and the trains so slow that overnight accommodation was essential.

General MacArthur used to stay on the top corner suite, during his visits from his War Office in Brisbane in the 1940’s, which today is called "The MacArthur Suite".