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Historic Hotels

What are historic hotels?

Historic hotels are hotels dating at least 50 years back — usually featuring architectural styles from that particular period in history. These hotels are generally grand in their appearance and showcase well-preserved design features from their original eras. Historic hotels can also be significant landmarks turned into hotels, including palaces, forts, post offices, and so on. These accommodations are usually popular among esteemed guests, such as renowned celebrities or important politicians.

There are numerous well-known historic hotels around the world — providing a unique stay with well-maintained, age-old architecture and top-notch amenities. Each of these hotels features attributes unique to the history of the region and also provides an enriching experience. Some popular hotels include The Savoy in London, The Ritz Paris in Paris, and Gstaad Palace in Switzerland.

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What makes a hotel historic?

Year of construction or opening

A hotel is generally considered historic if it’s at least 50 years old. This means that a minimum of 50 years has to have passed since the construction or opening of the property. Historic hotels are also usually registered by the government under a list of places with historical significance.

Buildings of historical significance

Historic hotels are sometimes housed in buildings that are historically significant, such as original castles, palaces, or forts, or official buildings such as post offices, train stations, or even printing presses. You will find several well-preserved features in these historic hotels.

Hotels frequented by historical personalities

Hotels are considered historic if they’ve been frequented by historical figures, such as renowned celebrities, politicians, members of royal families, or artists. The famous French painter Claude Monet is said to have been a guest at The Savoy, while the fashion icon Coco Chanel was a long-term resident of The Ritz Paris.

Hotels where historical events took place

There are many hotels where significant historical events took place, turning them into popular historic hotels. The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, UK, is a historic property where celebrated author Agatha Christie reappeared after her mysterious disappearance in 1926. Meanwhile, at Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland, the famous peace Treaty of Lausanne was signed.

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Are historic hotels and heritage hotels the same?

The terms historic and heritage are often used interchangeably when referring to hotels. However, heritage hotels are usually converted palaces, forts, hunting lodges, or castles that offer a deeper insight into the area’s rich cultural heritage. These hotels often offer cultural experiences such as tours, performances by local artists, cooking classes teaching authentic meal preparations, and more. As the difference between heritage and historic hotels is quite subtle, the terms are generally used to mean the same thing.

What to expect at historic hotels

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Physical features

Historic hotels are often characterized by their particular architecture, design, and decor, among other things. Most of these hotels feature a grand facade reflecting the architectural style of the period that it was built during. Some of these styles include Gothic, Victorian, Art Deco, and Romanesque Revival. The hotels also feature design and decor unique to these styles. You may find grand chandeliers, towering archways, and more in these types of hotels.

Original features

Most historic hotels retain features from their past to help guests get a feel of the period the hotel was built. These well-preserved features include original pillars, exposed brick or stone walls from the original construction, period furniture, age-old staircases, wine cellars, and more. You will surely be transported back in time when you see these features.

Room size

Rooms in historic hotels are generally bigger than regular hotels, especially if the property used to be a castle or palace. However, some hotels that have originated from smaller historic buildings, such as a printing press, might have smaller rooms. Usually, these rooms showcase period furniture and other features unique to a particular era.


While preserving original features is a common thing among historic hotels, you should also expect some renovations. Most historic hotels are renovated to fit modern standards in terms of amenities, accessibility, practicality, and many more. These renovations are made to maximize comfort and convenience without undermining the historical value of the building.


Despite their age-old features and old-world charm, historic hotels are no less furnished or equipped than regular hotels. With new renovations and additions in place, you can expect modern amenities such as Wi-Fi, TV, air-conditioning, business centers, swimming pools, and more in historic hotels. On top of that, these hotels also sometimes offer unique amenities, such as on-site art galleries or century-old wine cellars.

Why should you stay at a historic hotel?

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Historic hotels lure history and culture enthusiasts with their storied pasts, period decor, and old-world charm. When you check into a historic hotel, it’s like walking into a different era and gaining insight into that era’s architectural style. You will feel like you’re a part of history as you explore the old corridors, see the paintings on the walls, or stand beneath elegant chandeliers. Moreover, some historic hotels have been witness to famous historical events, and it’s a great feeling to listen to these stories. Historic hotels are also generally found in a central location, allowing you to make the most of your trip to that particular city or town.


Top destinations with historic hotels in the Americas

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  • The US: The United States is home to several destinations with historic hotels. Visit Nashville in Tennessee to check out historic sites such as Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The Parthenon, dating back to 1931, is another must-visit destination here. As for accommodations, you can check into one of the best historic hotels in the city. The port city of Portland is also a great place for an enriching trip. Visit the early 20th-century Pittock Mansion to travel back in time, or spend an afternoon at the Portland Art Museum. At the end of the day, you can retreat to any of the top historic hotels in Portland. You will also find stunning historic hotels in the states of California, Wisconsin, Arizona, Ohio, and Mississippi, among others.
  • Canada: Canada is known for its natural beauty and cultural attractions. While here, stop by the Royal Ontario Museum to learn more about world culture and natural history. History buffs will also like a tour of Old Quebec, a vibrant neighborhood in Quebec City known for its colonial architecture and historic landmarks. To gain more insight into the country’s rich history, you can stay in one of the top historic hotels in Canada.

Top destinations with historic hotels in Europe

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  • The UK: The UK is an island nation home to breathtaking countryside and picturesque seaside cities and towns. It is also known for boasting a rich cultural heritage and many historical sites. While here, check out the Tower of London in the capital city, take pictures of the prehistoric Stonehenge in Salisbury, or visit the majestic Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. The best way to immerse yourself in the country’s rich heritage is by staying at a historic hotel. Choose from the top historic hotels in London or stay in one of the best historic hotels in Scotland. British cities, such as Birmingham, also feature several historic hotels worth staying in.
  • Portugal: This Southern European country is an ideal destination for beach aficionados and culture enthusiasts. Its rich heritage is reflected in its many historical attractions, including Belém Tower, which dates back to the 16th century, and Quinta da Regaleira, a castle dating back to the early 20th century. The country is also home to excellent historic hotels in Lisbon, its capital city, that offer a unique stay.
  • Italy: A destination on every traveler’s bucket list, Italy is a country boasting breathtaking attractions and a rich culture. Its most famous landmark is probably the Colosseum, an amphitheater that opened in 80 AD in its capital city, Rome. The 18th-century Trevi Fountain is another breathtaking historical landmark. The country is also home to the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World. For a memorable stay, you can choose from the top historic hotels in Rome or the best historic hotels in Florence.
  • Spain: A vibrant country on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain is a perfect summer destination featuring many beaches and stunning architecture. It is also known for being home to several world-famous football clubs and stadiums. While here, visit La Sagrada Familia to admire Gaudi’s impeccable work, or stop by the Royal Palace of Madrid to take in its gorgeous facade. You can also check out the Gothic architecture of Llotja de Palma. As for accommodations, check into any of the historic hotels in Palma or choose from the best historic hotels in Barcelona.
  • France: France is another top destination among culture enthusiasts, fashionistas, and romantics. Although it’s almost synonymous with the Eiffel Tower, there are many other places of historical significance in the country. In the capital city of Paris itself, you can find the 19th-century Arc de Triomphe and the grand Palais Garnier. The Gothic Sainte-Chapelle, dating back to the 13th century, also entices travelers. Complete your experience in France by booking one of the top historic hotels in Paris.
  • Switzerland: Switzerland is a picture-perfect country in Central Europe, famous for being one of the top honeymoon destinations in the world. Aside from its breathtaking landscapes and mesmerizing natural beauty, the country offers stunning historical sites. These include the Swiss National Museum, Chillon Castle, and Lion of Lucerne — all narrating stories of the country’s past. For accommodations, why not choose from the top historic hotels in Switzerland for a one-of-a-kind stay?
  • Germany: The Western European country of Germany offers a blend of history and modernity with old buildings showcasing stunning architecture as well as modern skyscrapers. Its capital, Berlin, is home to awe-inspiring historical attractions, such as the early 20th-century Pergamonmuseum and the mighty Brandenburg Gate, which dates back to the 1700s. You can also find palaces such as Nymphenburg Palace in Munich. Have an enriching experience by booking accommodation at any of these top historic hotels in Munich, Germany.

Top destinations with historic hotels in Asia

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  • Singapore: Singapore is a Southeast Asian country and city-state known for its urban attractions and cosmopolitan ambiance. However, it is also home to numerous historic attractions, including CHIJMES, the National Museum of Singapore, and the wonderful Sultan Mosque, all boasting marvelous architecture. Visit the country and stay in any of the top historic hotels for a unique experience.
  • Japan: The beautiful East Asian country of Japan boasts a rich culture and history. Its numerous Buddhist shrines and castles, such as Meiji Jingu and Osaka Castle, lure travelers from all over the world. The country also features the mighty Mt. Fuji and its breathtaking natural beauty. For a memorable stay in this wonderful country, book one of these best historic hotels.

Top destinations with historic hotels in Australia

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Australia is the smallest continent in the world and offers some of the best attractions for travelers. From the iconic Sydney Opera House to the famous Bondi Beach, the country has it all. You can also visit the 19th-century Melbourne Cricket Ground, one of the largest in the world, or the world heritage site, Fremantle Prison. The state of Victoria in Australia boasts some excellent historic hotels that you can stay in. If you’re visiting Melbourne particularly, you can also check in to one of the top historic hotels in Melbourne.

How to choose the right historic hotel

These types of hotels vary in terms of year of construction or opening, architectural style, and amenities. You can pick a historic hotel by determining which historical period you wish to revisit or which architectural style you prefer. You should also check the official website or other booking sites to find out about the specific amenities available and any recent renovations. Something else to consider is the property’s location - some historic hotels may be located in the city center, while others are more remote. It's worth doing a bit of research so you can find the property that suits you best!

Take a step back in time

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Living in one of these grand, well-maintained hotels - even for just a night or two - is definitely an experience worth having. When you’re planning your next vacation, don’t forget to look for a historic hotel in your destination and make your stay one for the books.

Historic hotels in the USA

Historic hotels in North America

Historic hotels in the UK

Historic hotels in other European countries

Historic hotels in Asia

Historic hotels in Oceania and the Middle East

FAQ's about Historic Hotels

  • What makes a hotel historic?
    A hotel is considered historic if it’s at least 50 years old and showcases period architecture and decor. Historic hotels may also be refurbished castles, palaces, or forts. Hotels where historic personalities have stayed or historic events have happened are considered historic, as well.
  • Do historic hotels have modern amenities?
    Historic hotels usually have all the modern amenities that regular hotels provide despite their old-world charm and antique decor. These hotels are generally renovated to feature everything a modern traveler may need.
  • Are historic hotels pet-friendly?
    Many historic hotels allow pets on the premises. However, it’s best to check with the hotel staff before booking your accommodation.
  • Do historic hotels provide linen and towels?
    Linen and towels are basic amenities that are usually included in historic hotels. You can still confirm with the hotel’s official website or the hotel staff for more information.
  • Are historic hotels expensive?
    Historic hotels are generally more expensive than regular hotels due to their historical value and grand architecture. These hotels need more funds to preserve their original features and accommodate luxury amenities. They are also frequented by some celebrities and important personalities.
  • What is the oldest hotel in the world?
    The oldest hotel in the world is Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Japan, which dates back to 705 AD.

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