America has no shortage of charming hotels, but there’s something about staying in one that’s been in business for 100 years or more that makes the experience really special.
Staying in an old hotel doesn’t just connect you to the past in the way that the oldest restaurant in every state or the oldest bar in every state does; it immerses you in the kind of old-fashioned style that’s in short supply nowadays. The best old hotels are ones where time stands still, where you feel a tug to while away the afternoon with a good book on a porch and where an iPhone feels oddly anachronistic.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of old inns and hotels across the country where you can rest your head for a night, and most of the following are also recognized by Historic Hotels of America for “faithfully maintaining their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity,” and are significant in their city’s history. Staying in some of these historic hotels might be a splurge, but the experience is truly priceless.
The Kelley House Hotel, in what is today’s Edgartown, Massachusetts, opened more than 200 years ago in 1742. Originally named The Tavern, Kelley House served as a respite for sailors during the Revolutionary War era. Today’s guests can enjoy meals at a historic colonial pub and restaurant on the property or relax at the private guest sunshine pool. Booking can get a bit pricey — a one-bedroom suite can range from $400 to $600 a night — but if you’re looking to explore Edgartown’s history, this is the place to stay.
Historic Inns of Annapolis/YELP
The Historic Inns of Annapolis is made up of three historic buildings in Downtown Annapolis, Maryland, the oldest of which was built in 1727. These days, patrons can tour the historic grounds with more updated amenities, like a Starbucks, or have a meal at the Treaty of Paris Restaurant and Drummer’s Lot Pub. The hotel is also not too far from popular, historic attractions in Maryland like the National Maritime Museum and the Maryland State House. Pricing for a room begins around $130 a night.
The Beekman Arms has welcomed guests to Rhinebeck, New York, since 1766, and it remains a central gathering place in this charming upstate New York town. Close to Rhinebeck are other estates that belonged to the Roosevelts, Vanderbilts and more. Rooms are decorated to resemble olden times while still having modern charm, and in-room spa services are available to all guests. A stay at the Beekman Arms starts at $200 a night.
Sari Marissa G./YELP
Colonel Ebenezer Crafts opened what is now the Publick House Historic Inn in 1771 in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and its three buildings are still quaint and charming. Rumor has it that Crafts was able to acquire the land where the Publick House now sits after winning a card game. Nowadays, no visit is complete without dropping by the 18th-century bake shoppe. Nights at the Publick House Historic Inn start at $69 a night.
The Red Lion Inn opened its doors in 1773 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, as a tavern for travelers to visit on their journey from Albany to Boston. It was purchased by Charles H. Plumb and his wife, a collector of antique furniture and china, in 1873. The building burned down in 1896 but was rebuilt completely the next year, and Mrs. Plumb's antiques are still on display at the inn these days. Current guests can relax and sip a drink on the inn’s porch while soaking in what Stockbridge has to offer or take part in a handful of fitness activities. If you’re searching for a romantic stay with your partner, consider booking the Red Lion Inn’s Gilded Gardens Package. Available from May to September, this package gives two guests the opportunity to explore nearby luscious gardens. Rates start at $170 a night.
In 1793, the Woodstock Inn & Resort was opened as the first lodging in the new town of Woodstock, Vermont. It was completely rebuilt by Laurance Rockefeller, a third-generation member of the prominent Rockefeller family, in 1968. Guests today can enjoy meals made from farm-fresh ingredients or take part in recreational activities ranging from mountain biking to falconry. Each room features wood-burning fireplaces and handcrafted bed frames. For this luxurious stay, rooms start at $300 a night.
Gary C./ YELP
The Inn at Montchanin Village is located in the town of Montchanin, Delaware, and includes buildings dating back to 1799. The Inn only has 28 rooms and is designed with antique furniture placed with an eye towards transporting guests to the past. Krazy Kat’s Restaurant, once where the village blacksmith’s shop was located, offers award-winning cuisine in a space decorated with tiger-print chairs and photos of cats in military garb. A night at the inn starts at around $188.
Detroit Publishing Co./Library of Congress
The French Lick Springs Hotel was built in 1845, and the property has been a popular resort since, though the original building burned down in 1897. The hotel was originally only open during the summer months with William A. Bowles, a physician and the hotel’s owner, using nearby mineral springs to treat sick guests. Since its opening, notable figures such as Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan, Louis Armstrong and Howard Hughes have all stayed at the hotel. Nowadays, guests can test their inner athlete at one of the four golf courses or relax at one of the spas on the resort. A night at the French Lick is a little over $200 for those searching for an escape.
The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection/YELP
Since 1847, The Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa has hosted guests (including Dolly Parton and Barbara Bush) and served as a place of refuge throughout Point Clear, Alabama's history. During the Civil War, for example, it doubled as a hotel and a hospital for wounded soldiers. Today, the Grand Hotel has more than 400 rooms and offers fun classes like the Culinary & Beverage Academy for aspiring mixologists and The Fun Camp for children. A night at the Grand Hotel starts around $250 for the queen suite.
The Willard InterContinental's history dates back more than 200 years. Since opening in 1818, the Willard has hosted prominent guests like Abraham Lincoln, Calvin Coolidge, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Dalai Lama. Its interior is coated in gold, with the halls speckled in burgundy and paintings of historic moments. Inside the hotel is the Café du Parc, a Forbes Travel Guide-recommended restaurant with cuisine guaranteed to make guests feel like they’re in France. A standard room at the Willard starts around $250.
Brooklyn R. /YELP
The Stagecoach Inn — once called the "Shady Villa Hotel" by its first owner, W.B. Armstrong— was constructed in 1861 and is now believed to be the oldest standing building in Salado, Texas. Today, the hotel has 48 rooms and suites with modern wooden interiors that capture a “Wild West” feel. Here’s a bonus: For explorers looking for a new adventure, legend has it that Spanish gold is buried in the small cave under the hotel. A stay at the Stagecoach Inn starts at $140 a night.
Detroit Publishing Co./ Library of Congress
The Island House Hotel was initially built to serve as a beautiful waterfront beach house in 1852. But the Mackinac Island, Michigan, home was instead used as one of the first summer hotels on the island. Today, the Island House is the oldest hotel in Mackinac Island and offers a jaw-dropping view of the Great Lakes. Guests can enjoy nightly bonfires with the family or have dinner on the outdoor terrace while soaking in a breathtaking view of Michigan at its finest. A night at the Island House Hotel tends toward the pricier side — prices start around $400 — but breakfast, luggage transfer and baggage handling are included.
Omni Parker House/YELP
The Omni Park House in Boston is the city’s oldest inn and the "longest continuously operating hotel in the United States." Since its founding in 1855, the Omni Parker House has hosted famous writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and political giants like Franklin D. Roosevelt. With remnants of its history still lingering in the decor, the hotel lobby has old-fashioned seating and photos of the hotel during its initial opening. The views from suites in the hotel provide a glimpse of Boston’s beauty with twinkling city lights and vibrant shrubbery. The price for a standard room with one bed at this resort starts around $260.
The DeSoto House Hotel was constructed to reflect the expanding prosperity in Galena, Illinois, thanks to the forthcoming Illinois Central Railroad. Upon its opening on April 9, 1855, it was dubbed the "Largest Hotel in the West" and hosted more than 200 guests for mining and trade business. Today, rooms at the DeSoto House Hotel are decked out in Victorian style furniture and amenities, and each features a photo of a historical figure who visited Galena. A stay at the DeSoto Hotel starts around $200 a night.
Florida House Inn and Restaurant/YELP
The Florida House Inn was founded in 1857 in the historic district of Fernandina Beach, Florida. Originally a boarding house, it has housed visitors like the Carnegies. Though it has been established for 162 years, the Florida House Inn still holds its historic charm with wooden bed frames and old fashioned drapes and lamps. A night at this hotel starts around $140 a night.
Here's a fun fact: The Menger Hotel first found its roots as a brewery. After realizing patrons needed a place to sleep, William and Mary Menger, residents of San Antonio, Texas, transformed their brewery to a 50-room hotel in 1859. Rooms at the hotel, today, have views of the historic site of the Battle of the Alamo. The Colonial Room Restaurant and Menger Bar are in the oldest part of the building where a public room that once welcomed Oscar Wilde sat. You can relive history at the Menger Hotel for as low as $108 a night.
Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa/YELP
The Mountain View Grand Resort and Spa's story began with a simple act of kindness. William and Mary Jane Dodge, residents of Whitefield, New Hampshire, welcomed two weary travelers into their farmhouse after their stagecoach overturned in 1865. After viewing the mountains the next morning, the new guests decided to stay a week. In 1865, the farmhouse became an inn. The White Mountains can be viewed from the comfort of one’s room or while enjoying one of the resort’s many activities like ax throwing, or dog sledding in the winter. Rates start around $260 a night.
The Peabody Memphis/YELP
The Peabody Memphis came to fruition after a quick meeting on a train ride turned into a business deal between two strangers. The hotel, located in Memphis, Tennessee, opened in 1869 and moved to an even more opulent new building just a block away from the original in 1925. A stay at The Peabody Memphis nowadays wouldn’t be complete without a view of the duck march. Each day at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., ducks visit the lobby fountain. A traditional queen suite at the resort starts at $226 a night.
Best known for its Victorian castle design, the Mohonk Mountain House was founded in 1869 in New Paltz, New York, by Alfred H. Smiley. The 251-room hotel has maintained its original design and each room is fashioned to match the style of rooms at the beginning of the 20th century. If guests don’t feel like exploring the 85 miles of hiking trails or stopping by the award-winning spa, they can play a fun game indoors: 12 photos across the hotel can be scanned with cellphones to reveal the history behind the resort. A night at the resort is a massive splurge — rooms start around $700 a night — but the chance to explore America’s history in style can make the trip worth it.
Penn Wells Hotel/YELP
The Penn Wells Hotel was built in 1869 after its original building, the Wellsboro Tavern, was destroyed in a fire in 1866. During World War II, the hotel was often a place for community members to join in jovial events like concerts. Currently, a large wood-burning fireplace and mahogany pillars in its lobby distinguish this hotel from others. The Mary Wells Room, named after one of Wellsboro’s founders, provides fine dining and occasionally live music. Guests can stay at this historic location for as low as $108 a night.
Detroit Publishing Co./Library of Congress
The Capital Hotel is often called "the front porch of Little Rock" by guests and locals. When the hotel first opened in 1877, it was best known for having electricity and an elevator large enough for a horse. The Capital Hotel is still decorated to resemble its 19th-century origin, but the dining is 21st-century-level amazing. James Beard Award-winning Chef Joël Antunes can be found at the hotel’s restaurant, One Eleven, whipping up contemporary meals. A night at the Capital Hotel can be booked for under $200 a night.
The Cliff House at Pikes Peak was built in the winter of 1873, three years before Colorado became a state. Located in what today is Manitou Springs, Colorado, the Cliff House hosted guests hoping to find gold. President Theodore Roosevelt and inventor Thomas Edison both vacationed at the hotel frequently. The Cliff House at Pikes Peak today has 54 rooms for guests — one suite is designed to resemble an actual teepee— and a wine cellar with more than 800 selections. A room starts at $160 a night.
Palmer House a Hilton Hotel/YELP
After burning down just 13 days after its grand opening in Chicago, the Palmer House Hotel reopened in 1873. The hotel has since become a staple in Chicago’s history and is one of the most known stays for tourists and festival-goers. Walking into the Palmer House is almost like touring a museum with towering, golden ceilings and dangling chandeliers. A night at the hotel starts around $170.
Bridget J. /YELP
St. James Hotel in Red Wing, Minnesota, celebrates two events on Thanksgiving: the holiday and the anniversary of its opening in 1875. On opening night, guests were welcomed to a hotel with impressive accommodations like hot running water and gas throughout the building. Today’s guests have a few more luxuries. The hotel now has 67 Victorian-style rooms, each with its own flair. The Port, the hotel’s restaurant, has been touted as the “finest dining experience in Red Wing.” The bar at the restaurant is an antique piece once used in an 1860s speakeasy. A night at the St. James Hotel starts around $130.
Palace Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel, San Francisco/YELP
On October 2, 1875, the Palace Hotel became San Francisco’s first extravagant hotel. At the time of its construction, it was the largest and most expensive in the United States. The original building was destroyed by fire after the 1906 earthquake, but the hotel reopened in a current structure in 1909. Today, the indoor court at the Palace is a golden wonderland with a massive chandelier dangling above guests enjoying the signature City Brunch. A room at the Palace Hotel is priced around $450 a night.
Fans of Hollywood cinema may recognize the Mission Inn Hotel from the big screen. With roots dating back to 1876, films including 1938's "The Vampire" and 1998’s "Man in the Iron Mask" starring Leonardo DiCaprio were filmed at the hotel. The leading lady of "The Wizard of Oz," Judy Garland, even vacationed at the Riverside, California, resort. A room at the Mission Inn stats at $199 a night.
Eagle Mountain House & Golf Club/YELP
After the expansion of the rail service in the mid-1800s, Jacksonville, New Hampshire, quickly became a popular tourist destination in the White Mountains. The rush of new travelers encouraged the construction of cottages, hotels and lodging resources for guests needing a cooler place to stay during the summer. Eagle Mountain House was built in 1916, and today’s guests can take advantage of nature’s beauty with recreational activities like horseback riding, kayaking and zipline tours. Pricing for a room at the Eagle Mountain House starts at $109.
The Cincinnatian Hotel, an establishment formerly named The Palace, began welcoming guests in 1882. It was once the tallest hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio, boasting marble staircases, elevators and 300 guest rooms. Today, the Cincinnatian has been revamped to fit the 21st-century needs of its guests. A 24-hour market has current and retro snacks on its shelves, and the fitness center is available for anyone hoping to stay fit through vacation. Book a stay at one of Ohio’s finest hotels for as low as $135 a night.
General Morgan Inn/YELP
The building that houses the General Morgan Inn & Conference Center was founded in 1884 in Greenville, Tennessee, to host railroad travelers in the area. Today the hotel has 51 rooms with oversized windows and only one luxurious suite. A night at the General Morgan Inn starts at $121.
The Strater Hotel opened its doors in 1887 to guests and quickly became a popular spot for locals needing a warm place to stay during the winter months. Currently, the lobby in the hotel has been transformed into a “living history museum” with artifacts from the Old West adorning each corner. And each of the 93 rooms is uniquely decorated in honor of a figure who has contributed to the Strater Hotel’s development. Book a night at the Strater for as low as $176 a night.
The Grand Hotel, founded in 1887, hosted many moments now sealed in the rich history of the midwest, including a guest lecture from Mark Twain at which admission was $1. Currently it continues to host popular pastimes for guests like Afternoon Tea in the parlor and lawn games. Daily rates start around $450, but the cred you’ll get on Instagram for capturing a photo at one of the most beautiful places in America will be priceless.
On New Year's Day 1888, Franklin W. Smith, an architect, opened the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida. Today’s guests can sip Champagne at the pool or on the private beach, or take a gander at local artists’ work at the Grand Bohemian Art Gallery. If you’re hoping to escape from reality, you can stay at the Casa Monica Resort & Spa for less than $200 a night.
Before functioning as a hotel in Concord, Massachusetts, Concord's Colonial Inn served many purposes. Originally built in 1716, the structure was a storehouse for weapons during the Revolutionary War. In 1835, acclaimed writer Henry David Thoreau lived in the building. By the time the inn opened in 1889, years of history had passed through the halls of the building. According to today’s guests, the hotel has had so many terrifying occurrences that it’s believed to be haunted. If you’re searching for a thrilling adventure, you can book a stay at the inn for as low as $144 a night.
Historic American Buildings Survey/Library of Congress
Once referred to as the "Grand Hotel of the West," the Pfister Hotel has been serving guests hoping to explore America’s Dairyland since 1893. Every president for over 100 years, beginning with William McKinley and ending with George W. Bush, stayed at the Pfister. The grand staircase will make any guest feel presidential with winding marble steps and a golden banister. A night at the Pfister starts at $179 a night.
Located right on the rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the El Tovar story begins in January of 1905 — before the Grand Canyon was even a national park. Though the hotel comprises more than 70 rooms, no two are the same, and its infrastructure is built from limestone and Oregon pine. Guests including Oprah Winfrey and Sir Paul McCartney (who are both left-handed, by the way) have all experienced the El Tovar firsthand, and you can too for a little over $300 a night.
Detroit Publishing Co./Library of Congress
Otto and Louis Seelbach, Bavarian brothers, opened the Seelbach Hotel in 1903. The duo imported bronzes from France and rugs from Turkey to make the Louisville, Kentucky, resort feel like home. During Prohibition, notorious criminals including Al Capone stopped by the Seelbach to enjoy the lavish hotel. A fun fact for the literary buffs: It’s said that F. Scott Fitzgerald used his experiences at the Seelbach to help create the American classic "The Great Gatsby." No stay at the resort is complete without a stop at the resort’s famous restaurant, Gatsby’s on Fourth. Book a room at The Seelbach for under $200 a night.
The Otesaga Resort Hotel/YELP
After its founding in 1909, the Otesaga Resort Hotel became the place for the young and wealthy to visit in Cooperstown, New York. Spanning 700 feet on the shore of Lake Otsego with 400 windows, the hotel offered guests in the early years modern accommodations unheard of in other lodging establishments. A golf course was even built on the property to please wealthy patrons who enjoyed the sport. In addition to golf, today’s guests can go canoeing, play tennis or go for a lakeside bike ride. Nightly rates start a little over $200.
The Hotel Boulderado — a combination of Boulder and Colorado for guests wondering which city they’re in — was the first luxury hotel built in Boulder. The hotel opened in style on New Year's Eve in 1908 with a Gala Ball and still holds a bit of that celebratory charm with a New Year Eve’s Party thrown each year. A night at the Hotel Boulderado can start as low as $161 a night.
The Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea College was built in 1909 in Berea, Kentucky, and named after Daniel Boone, the American pioneer and explorer. Maya Angelou and Robert Frost are only two of many notable guests that have stayed at the hotel run almost entirely by students at Berea College. Rooms start at just over $100 a night and are decorated with rich wood furniture and mosaic-tiled mirrors. A stay at this hotel will take guests old and young to one of the many beautiful college campuses in America.
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