Hotels play a significant role as accommodations for travelers. Historically, the search for the oldest and most historic hotels takes us back to ancient times and various cultures. The oldest hotels in the world pique everyone’s curiosity, and in addition, these ancient hotels have hosted some of the world’s most well-known figures, including dignitaries, artists, and film stars, which is why they are highly regarded among travelers and tourists. In this article from Eligasht, we intend to introduce you to the oldest and most historic hotels in the world, so you can become more familiar with their history and amenities.
Lygon Arms Hotel, England
The Cotswolds region in England is one of the most interesting areas in Britain, filled with historical structures that add to its charm. Lygon Arms Hotel is an old inn dating back to the 14th century. Although it was a simple inn at that time, it underwent significant development over the following centuries. As a result, Lygon Arms became one of the most important former inns in this region, hosting members of the royal family, American celebrities, and English Civil War heroes.
Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Italy
The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is located on the eastern shores of Lake Como, surrounded by the Grigne mountains. This hotel was built and designed for the European elite and has been in operation since 1910. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo provides a perfect retreat for guests with its three swimming pools, private lake access, and private park. The hotel features a European-inspired architecture known as “Belle Époque,” which was one of the most economically and artistically significant architectural styles from 1870 until the outbreak of World War I, representing Europe’s golden age.
The Blackstone, Autograph Collection, USA
Another one of the oldest hotels in the world is The Blackstone, located in Chicago, USA, which began as a private residence. The building was constructed in the late 19th century by Timothy Blackstone, the president of the Chicago and Alton Railroad. However, shortly after the completion of the mansion, he passed away, and his wife sold the family estate to a well-known hotelier named Drake, who demolished the house and built a new hotel inspired by the sights of Paris in 1910. This hotel has been one of the city’s most famous hotels for years, hosting legendary guests such as Charles Luciano, who hosted the first crime convention in the Crystal Ballroom, Eisenhower, presidents, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Consequently, it is recognized as one of the famous oldest hotels in the world.
Palazzo Gritti, Italy
Palazzo Gritti, located on the banks of the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, opened as a hotel in 1895. This hotel features luxurious interiors and Murano glassware, Terra-Cotta architecture, and unique interior spaces. Some of the notable areas of the Gritti Palace Hotel include the dining room, precious library, and exquisite suites, which are the most fascinating rooms in the hotel, boasting beautiful views of Venice. The interior design and architectural masterpieces of Palazzo Gritti have made it renowned for its distinctive style.
Hotel Maria Cristina, Spain
Hotel Maria Cristina opened in 1912 on the coast of the Basque region in Spain. Designed by architect Charles Mewès, the hotel was named after Queen Maria Cristina, who was the first person to cross its threshold. Since then, it has been a host to VIP guests. The hotel underwent renovations for its centenary and now blends classic style with modern amenities, catering to guests who appreciate the classic ambiance.
Hotel Interlaken, Switzerland
The history of Hotel Interlaken in Switzerland dates back to 1323 when it initially served as a monastery guesthouse. It is one of the oldest hotels in Switzerland. The building was used as an administrative office in Berner Oberland and one of the first-floor rooms served as a courtroom. However, in 1491, Louis Rass renovated the hotel, and it became one of the earliest hotels in Switzerland to attract the attention of prominent figures such as renowned musicians like Felix Mendelssohn, who stayed at Hotel Interlaken. The hotel boasts luxurious rooms, elegant decor, and panoramic views of Lake Lucerne and the Swiss Alps. Guests can indulge in gourmet dining, unwind in the spa, or explore the cultural treasures of Lucerne.
The Old Bell Hotel, England
The Old Bell Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in England and is considered by some as the oldest existing hotel in the country. It was established as an inn in 1220 by Abbot Loring to accommodate distinguished individuals in the town of Malmesbury. The Old Bell Hotel has been in operation since then, and although it has undergone renovations, parts of it date back to 1220, preserving its classic style. With its thatched roofs, exposed beams, and cozy fireplaces, it offers a warm and inviting atmosphere. Guests can enjoy traditional English pub fare, explore the nearby countryside, or simply relax in the tranquil surroundings.
The Angel and Royal Hotel, England
The Angel and Royal Hotel is another one of the oldest hotels in the world. It was founded in 1203 by the Knights Templar and initially named The Angel Inn. The Knights Templar managed the inn for years until it was seized by the Lincolnshire Constabulary under the order of Edward II. The hotel has been a residence for famous and notable individuals, including seven English kings. It continues to thrive and welcome guests, offering tours of its historical sections for visitors to enjoy.
Zum Roten Bären Hotel, Germany
Zum Roten Bären is the oldest hotel in Germany, built in the early 12th century in the city of Freiburg. In the past, it was used as an inn. According to written records, the owner of this hotel at the time was a man named Johann Binger, and famous individuals, including Marie Antoinette, stayed at this hotel. Throughout its eventful history, Zum Roten Bären has undergone changes, but it has still maintained its lively and vibrant atmosphere, attracting many travelers. This historic hotel is a testament to the enduring charm of European architecture. The half-timbered facade, ornate balconies, and cozy interiors transport guests back in time. The hotel also boasts a renowned restaurant that serves traditional German cuisine, allowing visitors to savor the flavors of the region.
Hoshi Ryokan Hotel, Japan
Hoshi Ryokan Hotel was once considered the oldest hotel in the world until a few years ago when it was downgraded to the second oldest hotel in the Guinness World Records. Nevertheless, this hotel has been in existence for 1,300 years and was established in 718. Around Hoshi Ryokan, hot springs have been created, which are beneficial for soothing and treating human injuries and illnesses. Initially, Gario Hoshi, a disciple of Taicho Daishi, opened an inn as instructed by his master, and the Hoshi family has been managing Hoshi Ryokan ever since. This traditional Japanese inn showcases the exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail that is characteristic of Japanese architecture. The interior features minimalist decor, tatami mats, and shoji screens. Guests can enjoy the serene ambiance, indulge in kaiseki cuisine, and experience the art of Japanese tea ceremonies.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel, Japan
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel, which started its operations in 705, is considered the oldest hotel in the world. It was officially recognized as the oldest hotel in the world by the Guinness World Records in 2011. The hotel was founded as an inn by Fujiwara Mahito during the Keiun era, hence its name, Keiunkan. One of the important features of Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is the presence of traditional hot springs, which attracted many famous samurais and shoguns, including Tokugawa Ieyasu and Takada Shingen. Currently, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is managed by the 52nd generation of the Mahito family and is very popular among tourists due to its hot springs and unique architecture. Guests can experience the unique Japanese hospitality, immerse themselves in the tranquil atmosphere, and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs that have attracted visitors for centuries.
the oldest and most historical hotels in the world bear witness to the passage of time and changes in the tourism industry. These hotels, as representatives of art, architecture, history, and culture of the past, transport travelers to bygone eras and cultures. Each of them, with its own story from the past to the present, presents symbols of endurance and connection to the past. The oldest hotels in the world are unique tourist attractions that provide guests with an experience of cultural and historical richness, alongside a special and enjoyable stay, allowing them to witness the beauty and grandeur of the past.
1- What is the oldest hotel in the world?
The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Yamanashi, Japan, holds the title of the oldest hotel in the world. It has been operating continuously since it was founded in 705 AD, during the reign of Emperor Monmu.
2- What makes a hotel qualify as one of the oldest in the world?
To be considered one of the oldest hotels, a property must have a documented history of continuous operation as a hotel or inn. It should have retained its original purpose throughout the years, even if it has undergone renovations or expansions.
3- Are these oldest hotels still in operation?
Yes, many of the oldest hotels in the world are still welcoming guests today. Some have been in operation for centuries, offering a unique blend of historical charm and modern amenities to visitors.
4- What can visitors expect when staying at one of these historic hotels?
Staying at one of these historic hotels is a fascinating experience. Guests can immerse themselves in the rich history and unique ambiance of these establishments. They often feature architectural splendor, antique furnishings, and a sense of timelessness that transports visitors to a bygone era.
5- Are these oldest hotels expensive to stay at?
The cost of staying at one of the oldest hotels in the world can vary depending on factors such as location, amenities, and demand. While some of these hotels may have higher price points due to their historical significance and unique offerings, others may be more affordable. It’s advisable to check the rates and offerings of each hotel individually.