11 of the Best Historic Hotels in America

From the world's longest porch to a former jailhouse courtyard.

Sure, there are plenty of unique hotels to call home when you travel—from French escapes with hanging rooms to global getaways with life-rebooting excursions—but if an experience steeped in history is more your speed, you're going to want to check out these hotels.

The Collector Luxury Inn and Gardens

Kenneth Worcester Dow first purchased the 1790 Prince Murat House in St. Augustine, Florida, and by the early 1950s owned nine homes on the property, which was later known as the "Dow Museum of Historic Houses." The nine historical buildings have been transformed into The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens, an essential site of St. Augustine's history, spanning a city block. The site once served as a hospital, cemetery, an 18th-century Spanish defense line and the setting for the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.

Omni Parker House

Founded in 1855 by Harvey D. Parker in downtown Boston, the Omni Parker House is the longest operating hotel in the United States. Not only did writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow meet here for conversations in the Saturday Club, so did baseball legends Babe Ruth and Ted Williams, plus local and national politicians, including John F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant.

The American Club

Born as a residence for single immigrants from Austria, Holland, Germany, Russia and other areas, The American Club opened its doors in 1918 and offered lessons in the English language and American citizenship. Walter J. Kohler, son of John Michael Kohler, who created the Kohler Co., initiated the project, which also included a pub, bowling alley and barbershop. After outliving its purpose, The American Club was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and in 1981, it was reborn as a world-class destination.


Omni La Costa Resort and Spa

If you've ever wanted to relax in style like Jackie Kennedy, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, or Bob Hope, then head to the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. The resort was originally built in 1965 as a playground for celebrities and athletes with Dr. R. Phillip Smith, a professor of medicine, heading up the spa. It became the first spa in America to be endorsed by the American Medical Association. In 1965, it was selected to host the CNS Golf Classic; today, guests can stay in one of the hotel's luxurious rooms, lounge at the spa, play tennis or a round of golf on one of two award-winning, 18-hole golf courses.

Grand Hotel

Not only does the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Michigan have the world's longest porch, which can be seen from the Straits of Mackinac, the hotel's Grand Hotel Casino is where author Mark Twain lectured for $1 per ticket.

The hotel opened in 1887 as a summer retreat at just $3 to $5 per night. This year, in honor of its 130th birthday, the porch will be reconstructed, including removal of the current flooring and replacement of the deck and top coat, according to MLive.


Billionaire Philip Anschutz, owner of Broadmoor, possesses what some would call the world's largest Western art collection. More than 175 sculptures and paintings are housed at Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, as well as nearby sister properties, Cloud Camp and the Ranch at Emerald Valley.

The hotel first opened in 1918 with a private ceremony that included 400 guests and one celebrity guest, John D. Rockefeller, who left the party early due to the smell of paint fumes.

Palmer House Hilton Hotel

Typical wedding gifts include kitchen appliances, home decor or something along the lines of a bottle of wine or champagne, but Potter Palmer went above and beyond and gifted his new wife Bertha Hilton Honore with The Palmer House hotel in Chicago, Illinois. In 1871, however, 13 days after its grand opening, the Palmer House was ravished in the Great Chicago Fire. Potter rebuilt and reopened the hotel two-years later. The hotel rose to fame and hosted celebrities including Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Louis Armstrong, and Liberace.


The Oxford Hotel

The Oxford Hotel is the oldest hotel in Denver, Colorado, and has remained in business since 1891. The hotel was designed by architect Frank E. Edbrooke and once had its own power plant that provided steam heating, electricity and gas lighting. It was in the Art Deco Cruise room where Denver residents celebrated the repeal of the Prohibition Amendment, which can now be celebrated with a special Oxford 1891 Bourbon, a complimentary drink for guests at the Oxford Hotel Bourbon bar.

La Posada

Also known as "The Resting Place," La Posada was created by Fred Harvey and Mara Elizabeth Jane Colter in 1930 in northern Arizona. The hotel was only open to the public for 27 years, but during the 1930s celebrities would jet set here. Guests included Senator John Kerry, Howard Hughes, Gene Autry, John Wayne, and even Shirley Temple. The hotel closed to the public in the 1960s and served as the Santa Fe Railway headquarters and was nearly demolished over a 40-year period. The hotel has been restored to its beauty, features a museum, exhibit and garden and is still accessible by train.

Mayflower Park Hotel

The Mayflower Park Hotel was formerly known as "The Bergonian," and is Seattle’s longest operating hotel. Not only can guests visit a historic hotel gallery, they can also go on a treasure hunt around three historic spots within the hotel. Guests 21 and over can head to Oliver's Lounge, located near the hotel lobby, which holds the title for Seattle's "Best Classic" martini.

Liberty Hotel

Architect Gridley James Fox Bryant and Rev. Louis Dwight, a penologist who studied at Yale and expressed an interest in prison reform, built the Charles Street Jail in 1851, which was widely considered an architectural gem in Boston, Massachusetts and housed inmates for 120 years, according to the Liberty Hotel. The former jail's exercise yard has been transformed into a landscaped courtyard where guests can enjoy the "hidden gardens."


This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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