The pavilion was constructed of wood and iron and was 200 feet (60 metres) long by 40 feet (12 metres) wide, with a height of 30 feet (9 metres) elevation and was supplied with a refreshment room at the entrance for the convenience of visitors.
Steamers ran regularly to Clifton Gardens from Circular Quay, and Thompson’s new business venture was an immediate success, with the Marine Hotel and pleasure grounds quickly becoming one of Sydney’s most popular and respectable resorts.
The Marine Hotel fast became a favoured destination for honeymooners, family gatherings and visitors from all corners of Australia. Captain Thompson, as he was widely known, remained licensee of the Marine Hotel until 1896 when, at the age of 61, he transferred the license to his 22-year-old son, Alexander.
The old skipper died at the hotel he built overlooking Sydney Harbour on July 25, 1900, at the age of 65, leaving his wife Mary, and four adult children.