At the end of the 19th century a new residential neighbourhood grew up around the Sonsbeekpark. Affluent families built magnificent mansions and villas in the area, surrounded by the elegant city parks of Arnhem. One such house built at that time was the Art Nouveau city villa that is now Hotel Molendal.
From 1904 it first served as a residence for Mr G. André de la Porte, director of the Arnhem Brandwaarborg Maatschappij (a mutual insurance company), and his family. Much of the authentic Art Nouveau architecture still remains. This gives the hotel its own unique character.
Molendal was the first house in the Transvaalbuurt, a neighbourhood with street names linked to the Boer War. The Transvaalbuurt is situated to the south of the Sonsbeekpark and was the first neighbourhood of the 20th century to be developed to the north of the railway embankment. Entirely in keeping with the status of the city at the time, Transvaalbuurt was intended to be a neighbourhood that would attract the 'bourgeois'. The neighbourhood became well known across the country for the style and form of its residential buildings, designed by the architect Willem Diehl (1876 - 1959) from Den Haag/Arnhem.