If there is one thing you should know about me, it’s this: I love to travel!
While white sand beaches, clear blue water, and mesmerizing landscapes are alluring, history is the true owner of my heart and is what drives me to keep exploring the world. So if you feel the traveling bug, then you may want to check in with a luxury travel advisor and speak to them about where you want to go for a memorable and fun trip.
Show me a destination rich in history, and my fingertips are itching to whip out the ye ‘olde credit card and book a trip there. I could spend hours wandering around the cobbled streets of Rome, the ruins of Machu Picchu, and the ancient temples scattered around Athens, Greece.
The only thing better than an itinerary full of historical gems? Staying in a hotel with an equally intriguing past.
Below, you’ll find some of the best hotels in the world to satiate your history wanderlust. From an 18th century palace in India to the local haunt of Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Oscar Wilde, these hotels will kick start your history tour the moment you check in.
Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
On an artificial island surrounded by Lake Pichola, you’ll find one of the four palaces of the Royal Dynasty of Mewar, the Taj Lake Palace.
Commissioned in 1743, Maharana Jagat Singhji II built a pleasure palace after his father stopped his midnight picnics with his Zenana (women of the household).
In 1971, the Taj took over the palace, transforming it into a romantic five-star hotel and giving you the chance to experience the elegance and opulence of royalty.
And the history doesn’t stop there.
James Bond fans will recognize the palace as the secluded lair of the Bond Girl from the Octopussy film.
Rendezvous Palm Springs, United States
Not a lot is known about Marilyn Monroe’s escapades in Palm Spring.
What we do know is she frequented the Mira Loma Hotel, known today as Palm Springs Rendezvous. When Marilyn was in town, she checked into the Pretty in Pink room and used the hotel as a getaway from her regular residence at The Racquet Club of Palm Springs.
Fast forward 60-years later, and you can stay in the Pretty in Pink room.
Decked out in shades of pink, Andy Warhol pop art of the bombshell and the original vanity from Marilyn’s days, it’s the perfect choice for history buffs or couples who want to retreat into her glamorous Old Hollywood life.
The Ritz, Paris, France
The Ritz in Paris is a hotel tied up in tragedy.
On the 31st of August 1997, Princess Diana and Dodi al-Fayed sat down at the hotel’s restaurant and had their final meal before the fatal car crash.
While the hotel does its best not to associate itself with the event, Diana fans still flock here.
Stop by the Hemingway Bar (named after Ernest Hemingway, a hotel patron) for a glass of Champagne or a cocktail. When you’re ready to leave, you can walk through the infamous revolving door the Princess of Wales and Dodi used as they left the hotel.
Besides Diana, the Ritz is closely linked to a few other iconic names in history. Coco Chanel (a French fashion designer), Marcel Proust (a prolific writer), as well as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Oscar Wilde, frequented the hotel and its bar.
The St. Anthony, San Antonio, Texas
If you’re an aviation geek, like me, bump up a stay at St. Anthony to the top of your bucket list.
In 1966, Herb Kelleher and Rollin King (a Texas entrepreneur and his attorney) met for drinks at the hotel’s bar. Back in the 60s, it was part of a private San Antonio members club and set the scene for air travel history.
According to lore, Rollin sketched his idea for a new Texas airline on the back of a cocktail napkin.
It didn’t end up in the trash, a discarded idea.
Instead, the napkin turned into the Texas Triangle. The three points (Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio) became Southwest Airlines and made aviation history.
The Balmoral, Edinburgh, Scotland
All aboard the Hogwarts Express!
Make your way to Platform 9 3/4 and check-in to the famous Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh.
Room 652 is where Harry Potter author JK Rowling put the finishing touches to her seventh and final book about the boy wizard.
On a marble bust, you can find a note from the author saying: “JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room on 11 Jan 2007.”
Today, the room is called the JK Rowling Suite.
For book nerds and Harry Potter stans, it’s the perfect way to complete a trip exploring all the book’s landmarks around Edinburgh.
Beau-Rivage Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland
The Beau-Rivage Palace is a hotel full to the brim with history.
Its guestbook holds the names of some of the most influential people in the 20th century, from big wigs in film to politics and sports.
What are Beau-Rivage’s most notable claims to fame?
- In 1912, the hotel witnessed the armistice signing that ended the war between Turkey and Italy.
- In 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne was signed here.
- In 2015, the negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal took place in the hotel.
Suppose that a heavy dose of history isn’t enough to get you to pack your bags. In that case, the Beau-Rivage Palace boasts a 2-star Michelin restaurant and a 75,000 bottle wine cellar with vintages from the UNESCO World Heritage Lavaux vineyard.
North Island, Seychelles
It doesn’t get more exclusive than a luxurious stay on North Island in Seychelles.
A private retreat with only 11 villas on the island offers the perfect escape for travelers who want to get away from the outside world.
So it’s not surprising it’s a hot spot for some of the biggest A-list celebrities.
After their wedding, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, and Kate Middleton, flew to the remote African island for their honeymoon.
The resort played host to George and Amal Clooney’s for the honeymoon in 2014, and Salma Hayek started the trend with her romantic rendezvous with husband Francois-Henri Pinault in 2009.
With prices starting at $7200, it’s the ultimate reprieve for luxury travelers who want bespoke and personalized experiences.
Spend your getaway scuba diving, snorkeling, relaxing at the spa, day trips to nearby islands, or catching some rays on the private beaches without another soul in sight.
Which of these luxurious hotels full of history are at the top of your must-visit list?