We take a look at some of the oldest hotels from around the globe, from the newly renovated, through to those that are perfectly persevered in their original state. From old shepherd’s shelters, to the luxurious dwellings of the rich and famous, if these walls could talk, they’d certainly tell a tale or two.
Located in Yamanashi, Japan, lies officially the World’s oldest hotel. Guinness World Records confirmed the title, with the establishment dating back to 705 AD. It is the oldest hotel and oldest company still in operation after 1,300 years, having had 52 generations of the same family operating it since the beginning. Tourists flock here for a number of reasons, primarily its age and the hot springs that the hotel houses.
Beverly Hills Hotel is located in its namesake in California, and like the rest of Hollywood, has a history that is rich in glamour, style and romance. Built in 1912, the hotel is renowned for attracting the social elite – a mix of celebrities and the wealthy have all spent nights here over the years. Sitting on land once owned by the Mexican Government, the hotel was built after a developer by the name of Burton Green bought the land and named the hotel after Beverly Farms, his home in Massachusetts. The hotel’s history runs a little steeper, with the town of Beverly Hills actually earning its name from the same developer, who decided to call the land ‘Beverly Hills’.
Northeast of Rome lies one of Italy’s most unique hotels – Sextantio Albergo Diffuso. Named after one of the regions first settlers, this Italian inn dates back to the middle ages, featuring renovated rooms that have been repurposed from various shepherds’ shelters such as stables and cottages – even a brothel. Nestled in one of the most striking hilltop towns, the village was built between the 11th and 15th century and houses the hotel with the dwellings preserved in their original form. Stay at this hotel if you’re after an experience rather than just a bed to sleep in. You can herd sheep, take cooking classes, hunt truffles and most of all, switch off and step into the medieval ages.
Located in Singapore, this 5-star luxury resort was originally known as the Fullerton Building, once used as government headquarters, the General Post Office and a hospital during World War II. Erected in 1928, the Fullerton Building was then the largest structure ever built in Singapore. Steeped in history and deemed a historical landmark, renovations began in 1997 which saw the official opening of The Fullerton Hotel in 2001.
Located in the 1st arrondissement of Paris, Le Meurice was founded in 1771 and has been ranked as one of the most elegant hotels in the World. At the time of building, founder Charles Augustin Meurice stated that only word of French that Englishmen needed to learn was the word ‘Meurice’, the hotel would take care of everything else. In 1935, the poet Léon-Paul famously categorised residents of the city’s hotels to “poor, good and of the Meurice”.
Built in 1835, Rambagh Palace Jaipur in India is the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur, the Queens favourite handmaiden. Later it was used as a royal guesthouse and hunting lodge before turning into an esteemed hotel. History seeps from every wall and crevice of this hotel, sitting in the picturesque ‘pink city’ of Jaipur.
Sitting all the way ‘down under’ in Australia, lies the countries oldest hotel, the Bush Inn. Built in 1825 by business woman Anne Bridger, the hotel in New Norfolk, Tasmania, boasts being Australia’s oldest continually licensed hotel. Today it acts primarily as an Aussie Pub with rooms to lease, but back then it housed royal patrons and locals alike.
Located in Florence, this magnificent hotel was built at the dawn of the Renaissance and once owned by Pope Leo XI, the shortest serving pope in history (26 days). Converted to a Four Seasons Hotel in 2008, Hotel Firenze offers old world luxury with modern facilities, a preserved museum offering art, culture and history.
Waikiki’s oldest hotel in Honolulu, the Moana Surfrider Hotel, turned 115 years old last year. First welcoming guests in 1901, the Moana was built by wealthy landowner Walter Chamberlain in an effort to establish a luxury hotel in the deserted land of Waikiki. Today holiday makers flock to the beach front resort, which has a special historical exhibit on the second floor.
Built in the 1920s, The Grosvenor Hotel in London is the former residence of the Duke of Westminster. Steeped in history, this hotel in the Mayfair area of London managed to survive the effects of World War II when ten thousand sandbags and blackout material protected the building. The hotel has since undergone a 142 million pound renovation that spanned 4 years, reopening it in 2008 to the building we see today.