Each year, new hotels spring up all around the world. While some are built new from the ground up, others renovate, revitalize, and repurpose existing structures with the result that the properties are more unique and more luxurious than those built new. Some of these structures are centuries old and have a storied past that you can feel a part of.
Here’s a look at ten luxury properties around the globe that offer guests more than just sleeping accommodations. They offer history, beauty, interest, and a great story to tell later.
Located in the famed Aravalli Mountain range and perched atop a granite hill, this remarkable 230-year-old fortress has recently been restored with 59 luxury suites. The restoration of the fortress took seven years, all while maintaining its original structure, complete with its iconic turrets and arched windows. The former dungeon of the fort has been modified to house the resort’s spa deep within the carved granite base.
Long Beach, California
The former British ocean liner once steamed back and forth across the North Atlantic Ocean from England to New York. Remaining in service from 1936 through 1967, The Queen Mary was utilized as a troop ship during World War II. This once majestic titan of the sea is now permanently moored in southern California where she serves as a tourist destination and unique hotel experience.
Previously serving as the Midland Bank Headquarters in London, this stunning example of fiscal architecture was perhaps the most elaborate bank in all of Europe (if not the world). Built between 1924 and 1939, the building remained occupied until approximately 2004. It wasn’t until 2012 that a plan emerged to turn the once grand bank building into a 250-room hotel with amenities like nine restaurants and fifteen bars over its eleven floors (eight above and three below ground). We recently paid the Ned a visit and it was everything we expected; check out our full review here.
San Antonio, Texas
Originally built as Pearl’s Brewhouse in 1894, the site of Hotel Emma was the only brewery in San Antonio to survive Prohibition and, by 1916, was the largest brewery in Texas. After surviving more than 100 years, the brewery closed its doors in 2001. The following year, the building and land were acquired and the result is a unique property that features a 146-room hotel with seven top-floor suites.
Located at the foot of Beacon Hill, this luxury hotel in Boston has one of the most checkered pasts in this list. Competed in 1851, the Charles Street Jail once housed some of the city’s most notorious criminals. When the jail closed and the last of the prisoners had been relocated, the property began its transformation. Designers worked to incorporate the buildings historic wrought-iron windows and catwalks, while the jail’s atrium remains the centerpiece of the hotel. Preserved jail cells are still visible within the hotel’s restaurant.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Located in the nation’s highest state capitol, the resort and spa was once the private home of a wealthy merchant, Abraham Staab and his wife Julia. Built in 1882, the brick mansion was the centerpiece of Santa Fe society in the late 19th century. It is said that Julia loved the house so much that she never quite left and remains as a friendly spirit at the property. During the 1930s, a series of Pueblo Revival style adobe casitas were built around the existing property followed by an extensive renovation in the late 1990s. The historic former home and luxury accommodations also serves as an art gallery as well as a stop on the Official Santa Fe Margarita Trail.
The Manor of Thornbury dates back to the 10th century and William the Conqueror. The current castle was built by Edward Stafford, Duke of Buckingham. Legend has it that Stafford betrayed Henry VIII, was executed for treason, and the king assumed ownership of the estate. Thornbury Castle remained royal property until the death of Mary I, when the property was returned to the Duke’s descendants. The castle remained unoccupied for two centuries before being turned into a family home in the 1850s. Today, guests enjoy Tudor style elegance including a dungeon dining room along with a great hall for larger parties.
Standing high above the town of Carmona, Spain, this ancient fortress was once a Moorish stronghold until being captured during the Reconquista. Over the centuries, the property has undergone expansions and extensive renovations, all while retaining the historic atmosphere. Today, the former citadel provides luxurious accommodations with stunning views of the surrounding arid landscape.
Originally built in the mid-12th century, the Baroque-Romanesque abbey style abbey that exists today was rebuilt in the mid-17th century after a fire and at the time consisted of a church, cloister, refectory, chapter house, and hostel. Completely renovated, the former abbey reopened as an elegant boutique hotel in 2012.
Though automated in the mid-1990’s, this fully functioning 19th-century lighthouse still guides ships approaching Loch Ryan. Individual rooms and suites of this boutique hotel now provide guests a romantic setting to explore this unique setting along the Scottish coast.
Looking for more interesting hotels? How about this Scottish castle in China?