Travel Like a World Leader: 4 Classic Hotels Where Past Presidents Have Slept

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, presidential hotels
We like to think the best way to honor our distinguished past presidents is to travel as they did and to go where they went. At these four exclusive hotels, you can literally travel “like a boss” (or a world leader) this President’s Day.

The Kahala Hotel & Resort (Oahu, Hawaii)

Private Beach at The Kahala Hotel on Oahu, Hawaii

Even amid the upscale lodging found throughout Waikiki Beach, The Kahala Hotel & Resort stands out. The classic hotel has hosted numerous presidents (almost every one since Lyndon B. Johnson), celebrities (it’s nicknamed “Ka-hollywood”), and foreign dignitaries since opening its doors in 1964. While Oahu is overrun with tourists any time of year, the hotel’s secluded location on a private beach in one of the island’s poshest residential neighborhoods feels like a true luxury getaway. The vibe is sophisticated but understated with a long list of five-star amenities, including in-room spa treatments, beachside food & beverage service, and a private bottlenose dolphin lagoon.

The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The sophistication and timeless luxury found in every square inch of the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel is befitting of a president. This year, the iconic Puerto Rican property will celebrate President’s Day with a nod to FDR — the man who deserves a standing ovation for repealing Prohibition. Two bespoke cocktails will be crafted in his honor — the Roosevelt Rum Swizzle and the FDRM (Franklin Delano Roosevelt Manhattan) to be served by the pool and in the hotel’s cocktail lounges respectively.

Hotel Alex Johnson (Rapid City, South Dakota)

Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, South Dakota

As home to Mount Rushmore, few destinations better represent the legacy and history of the U.S. Presidency than The Black Hills of South Dakota. Twenty miles from the monument lies downtown Rapid City — the self-proclaimed “City of Presidents” — where visitors will find more than forty full-size bronze sculptures of nearly every past American President. Since the 1920s, the historic Hotel Alex Johnson has hosted half-a-dozen presidents. Today, they’re honored courtesy of a luxurious, 1,800-square-foot Presidential Suite which offers a kitchen, multiple bedrooms, and sweeping downtown views.

The Cloister at Sea Island (Golden Isles, Georgia)

Entrance to The Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia

The Cloister at Sea Island is the sort of place where one might imagine big world decisions have been made. The elaborate, oversized Spanish Mission-style architecture and no-expense-spared decor creates a look and feel that’s fit for a world leader. Indeed, the property has hosted Presidents Carter, Ford, Eisenhower, Coolidge, and the entire Bush family — most of whom vacation in the 1,700-square-foot Sea Island Suite which features multiple balconies with river and marsh views, a private reading library, and a beautiful Spanish Mediterranean design.


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