The World's Best Historic Hotels
Collected by Jennifer Flowers , AFAR Staff
We love these historic stays around the globe, from a former monastery in Cusco, Peru, to a South African hotel where Nelson Mandela penned his autobiography. For travelers looking to revisit former times in present travels, these landmark hotels are worth checking out—even if you're not checking in.
15 Phố Ngô Quyền, Tràng Tiền, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội 010000, Vietnam
A 1901 landmark in Hanoi’s French Quarter, the colonial-style Sofitel Legend Metropole has long been a celebrity magnet, welcoming presidents, ambassadors, and literary and cinematic royalty into its marble lobby. Somerset Maugham...
Plazoleta Nazarenas 337, Cusco 08000, Peru
A dedicated national monument dating back to 1592, this former monastery sits on Inca stone foundations, which were later topped by plenty of Spanish colonial flourishes. Evidence of the hotel’s history is everywhere you look, from the rich...
Strand, London WC2R 0EZ, UK
Having built the Savoy Theatre, English agent Richard D’Oyly Carte opened a nearby hotel in 1889 to accommodate the wealthy American patrons who came to see the celebrated Gilbert & Sullivan operas. In the years following, the hotel...
36 Saxon Road, Sandhurst, Sandhurst ,Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa
Welcome to the best layover of all time. The Saxon gently lulls guests into safari mode, enveloping them in its sophisticated African-chic decor and earthy tones. Name-droppers will love the Saxon: Nelson Mandela stayed here while writing his...
Av. Alvear 1891, C1129 CABA, Argentina
Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, 6, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Since its founding in 1893, the Hassler has been a pillar of luxury accommodation in Rome. This five-star hotel is perched theatrically atop Trinità dei Monti, the hill at the apex of the Spanish Steps, providing dazzling vistas over...
31 Avenue George V, 75008 Paris, France
With the smallest room a sprawling 400 square feet, and suites and public spaces filled with original 18th- and 19th-century art and antiques, the George V, flagship of the Four Seasons chain, lives up to its billing as a palace, an official...
1228 Rue Sherbrooke, Montréal, QC H3G 1H6, Canada
First opened for business in 1912, the iconic Ritz-Carlton Montreal—known as "the grande dame of Sherbrooke Street"—began a $200 million facelift in 2008, opening its doors again in 2012. Quebec’s most luxurious and historic...
22 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
330 E Main St, Aspen, CO 81611, USA
When it opened in 1889, the Jerome lured New York City socialites and European aristocrats with its mix of rough-and-tumble mountain swagger and “modern” amenities (plumbing and electricity). In December 2012, the 94-room property...
800 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20006, USA
Not everyone gets to live across the street from the White House. Before the current Italian-Renaissance hotel was constructed in 1927, the prime real estate was occupied by the homes of two little-known American icons: John Hay—personal...
2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Built in the Roaring Twenties, the Royal Hawaiian ushered in the glam age of Waikiki Beach. The so-called Pink Palace, a Spanish Moorish–style confection set on bright-green lawns was, at the time, the priciest hotel project in the Pacific...
116 Broad St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
John Rutledge was an active player in early American politics, signing the Constitution and serving as South Carolina’s first governor. But his townhouse on Broad Street, now the John Rutledge Inn, was built before he even attended his first...
801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7, Canada
Originally opened in 1927, Vancouver's Hotel Georgia was the celebrity haunt of everyone from Elvis and the Rat Pack to Errol Flynn and Katharine Hepburn. The hotel closed in 2006 for a multimillion-dollar restoration project, and reopened as the...
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