Repurposed Hotels: Stay the Night in a Palace, a Bank, a Brewery, and More

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.

Fort Bishangarh

Jaipur, India

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.

Queen Mary

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.

The Ned

London, England

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.

Hotel Emma

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.

The Liberty Hotel

Boston, Massachusetts

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. 

La Posada de Santa Fe

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.

Thornbury Castle

Gloucestershire, England

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.

Parador de Carmona

Seville, Spain

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.

Abadia Retuerta LeDomaine

Valladolid, Spain

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. 

Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel

Kirkcolm, Scotland

unique repurposed hotels lighthouse hotel scotland 1
Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel / Facebook

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?

Fashion & Style

Upgrade Your Wrist For Winter: Introducing the Casio G-SHOCK G-STEEL Watch

Balancing weather-ready durability with the type of style that won’t look out of place this holiday season, the GSTB100XA-1A is the watch you need to get on your wish list.
Food & Drink

The History of Jazz Brunch and the U.S. Restaurants That Do It Right

The jazz brunch has an interesting backstory that started with one family in New Orleans. Now, the trend has spread to restaurants all over the country. Here's where to find the best ones.

An Introductory Guide to Train Travel in the United States

With a little bit of forethought and preparation, you can turn Amtrak into Glamtrak.

Could You Live in a 320-Square-Foot ADU? Plús Hús Thinks So

There’s no more room in the city of angels, but new regulations may mean people can get creative with backyard houses.

The Best Places to Travel in January 2019

Thinner crowds, cheap airfare, and beautiful weather make these destinations some of the best places to travel in January.

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet? So get inspired.

A Comprehensive Guide to Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Train Stops

By far the busiest — and the most profitable — of Amtrak’s national trains, the stations along Northeast Regional offer more than just a break from your commute.

7 Most Over-the-Top New Year’s Eve Experiences to Ring in 2019

Champagne? Check. Music? Check. Over-the-top festivities? Check.

10 Fiction Podcasts You Should Totally Get Sucked Into

Sit back, relax, and prepare for intrigue and adventure with the best serialized fiction podcasts.

Noken Delivers Custom, Hyper-Personalized Travel Guides Specific to You

Forget printed guidebooks and guided tours. Noken promises a whole new way to travel.

The 5 Most Scenic Amtrak Train Routes for Unparalleled Views of the United States

One of the great advantages of American rail travel — what makes the length and expense worth it — is the opportunity to see the breathtaking beauty of the land as you pass through it.
Fashion & Style

Travel Without the Tangle With These Tech Accessory Travel Organizers

With one of a travel organizer, you'll never have to unknot a bundle of charging cords again.

8 Cozy Cabin Rentals You Wish You Could Escape to This Winter

Snow outside, a roaring fire inside. These are our eight favorite cabins for a quiet winter weekend retreat.

Imagine Checking In and Boarding Your Next Flight With Zero Human Interaction

London’s Heathrow Airport is one step closer to realizing that utopian vision.