Staying at a historic hotel is a great way to experience the culture and history of a destination. These hotels often have a rich history and have been witness to many important events. Furthermore, they were designed in a unique architectural style and possess a décor that will transport you back in time. As an added bonus, the staff at historic hotels are often knowledgeable about the local area and can give you recommendations for things to see and do. Not sure where to stay next time you go on vacation? Give these 10 historic hotels a try!
Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel
When you make your way to London’s posh Mayfair district, you’ll come across Brown’s Hotel. It opened in 1837 and has hosted royalty, politicians, and other luminaries. Rocco Forte Hotels acquired it in 2003, and a renovation followed. The hotel is now stylish and luxurious, with a nod to its rich history. It is known for its afternoon tea service, which is served in the elegant drawing room where Queen Victoria used to chug mass quantities of that stuff.
Great English Hotel
First opened in 1886 to great acclaim as one of the best hotels in Europe, the Gran Hotel Inglés is situated in the heart of Madrid’s literary quarter, Barrio de las Letras. This historic district is home to many of Madrid’s most famous writers and artists, and it is a great place to explore. The hotel is also just a short walk from the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofía Museum, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Thanks to a recent renovation by the Rockwell Group, it shines brighter than ever, with a sleek design that pays homage to its past and a vibrant lobby bar that serves excellent cocktails and tapas.
Hotel Adlon Kempinski
Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is a luxurious hotel located two minutes from the Brandenburg Gate on foot. It was founded in 1907 by Lorenz Adlon and inaugurated by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The hotel was destroyed during the final days of World War II, but it was rebuilt in 1997 with a design inspired by the original. The hotel has four restaurants and bars, including the two-Michelin-starred Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer. These days, it is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World.
The Gleneagles Hotel is a luxury golf resort located in the Scottish countryside. It opened in 1924 and these days style itself “a glorious playground” for its many sporting facilities and activities. The hotel’s opening gala featured a musical performance that was broadcast on BBC radio. During World War II, Gleneagles was converted into a military hospital, but it reopened in 1947 and has since undergone various renovations. In 2015, it was purchased and refurbished by Ennismore, which also owns the Hoxton Hotels chain. The hotel’s new sister property, Gleneagles Townhouse, opened in the capital, Edinburgh, in 2022.
If you are looking for a luxurious and historic hotel in Switzerland, Hotel Gstaad Palace is the perfect choice. It is a great place to stay if you are interested in history, and culture, or simply want to experience the best of Switzerland. Founded in 1913 by Emil Hotelier, a visionary teacher with a passion for hospitality, the hotel quickly became a popular destination for European royalty and celebrities. During World War II, the hotel served as a bunker that stored gold for the Union Bank of Switzerland. In 1938, the Scherz-Bezzola family purchased the hotel and has run it ever since. Today, Hotel Gstaad Palace is still a popular destination for guests from all over the world. Its nightclub, called GreenGo, opened in 1971 and frequently welcomes an A-list of internationally recognized DJs.
The Hotel d’Angleterre is a five-star hotel in the heart of Copenhagen. It got its start all the way back in 1755, when a French servant named Jean Marchal and Maria Coppy, the daughter of the royal chef, fell head over heels for each other, so naturally they opened a restaurant. These days, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant is named in their honor. Part of the Leading Hotels of the World, the property saw major renovations and reopened in 2013 with a classy design that pays tribute to its past while including all of the modern amenities that guests would expect. Bonus fun fact: Hans Christian Andersen wrote the story of The Little Mermaid while staying there.
San Domenico Palace, Taormina, a Four Seasons Hotel
San Domenico Palace is a luxurious hotel in Taormina, Sicily, that has a long and storied history. It was originally a convent in the 14th century, and it was converted into a hotel in 1896. The hotel quickly became a popular destination for the rich and famous, including Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, Audrey Hepburn, and Princess Margaret. In 2021, Four Seasons took over the hotel and gave it a top-to-bottom renovation. The hotel now has 111 luxurious rooms and suites, a cliff-top infinity pool, a spa, two restaurants, and a bar. It was also the setting for the second season of the HBO series The White Lotus.
The Beverly Hills Hotel
Weirdly enough, the legendary pink palace that houses the Beverly Hills Hotel actually predates the city of Beverly Hills itself. It was founded in 1912 by Margaret Anderson, who wanted to create a place where people could stay while looking for property in the area. Anderson was a woman ahead of her time, and she believed that guests deserved to sleep in luxury and opulence, no matter the price. The hotel is now part of the Dorchester Collection, which named Bungalow 5 after Elizabeth Taylor in honor of the movie star, who considered the hotel her home away from home.