Historic Buildings That Have Been Transformed Into Beautiful Hotels

by Lauren Dana

Historic Buildings That Have Been Transformed Into Beautiful Hotels

by Lauren Dana

The trend of building new hotels in historic buildings has brought many disused structures back to life. This form of historic preservation continues to grow increasingly popular among hotel companies, from big-brand names to small boutique properties. From a former courthouse turned luxury hotel in Tampa, to a restored congressional church turned boutique hotel in Cape Town, here are some of our favorites.

The trend of building new hotels in historic buildings has brought many disused structures back to life. This form of historic preservation continues to grow increasingly popular among hotel companies, from big-brand names to small boutique properties. From a former courthouse turned luxury hotel in Tampa, to a restored congressional church turned boutique hotel in Cape Town, here are some of our favorites.

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Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg / Courtesy of the property
Theater at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
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Ace Hotel, Los Angeles

Ace Hotel Los Angeles opened in 2014 and is housed in the former United Artists Building, which served as the flagship office for the famed movie studio.  The studio also hosted many film screenings in its elaborate theater, which has since been restored.

Ace Hotel Los Angeles opened in 2014 and is housed in the former United Artists Building, which served as the flagship office for the famed movie studio. The studio also hosted many film screenings in its elaborate theater, which has since been restored.

The Liberty, Boston
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The Liberty, Boston

The swanky property occupies a former prison that dates back to 1851. In 1973, the jail shut down and the space was sold to Massachusetts General Hospital. The building reopened as The Liberty in 2007. 

The swanky property occupies a former prison that dates back to 1851. In 1973, the jail shut down and the space was sold to Massachusetts General Hospital. The building reopened as The Liberty in 2007. 

Lotte New York Palace
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Lotte Palace, New York City

The building that now houses the iconic Lotte Palace actually dates back to the 1800s. Formerly known as the Villard Houses, the sprawling estate was commissioned by a wealthy financier and was comprised of six townhouses and a courtyard.  

The building that now houses the iconic Lotte Palace actually dates back to the 1800s. Formerly known as the Villard Houses, the sprawling estate was commissioned by a wealthy financier and was comprised of six townhouses and a courtyard.  

Ashford Castle, Ireland
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Ashford Castle, Ireland

Ashford Castle dates back to 1228. In the 1800s, it was home to the Guinness family (yes, that Guinness family). Today, the property has been restored to feature fairytale-worthy touches like crystal chandeliers and manicured gardens.

Ashford Castle dates back to 1228. In the 1800s, it was home to the Guinness family (yes, that Guinness family). Today, the property has been restored to feature fairytale-worthy touches like crystal chandeliers and manicured gardens.

The Publishing House Bed and Breakfast, Chicago
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The Publishing House, Chicago

This sleek bed and breakfast is located in the former Free Methodist Publishing House, which dates back to 1909. The space was also home to the Museum of Holography (the study of holograms), which has since closed. 

This sleek bed and breakfast is located in the former Free Methodist Publishing House, which dates back to 1909. The space was also home to the Museum of Holography (the study of holograms), which has since closed. 

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam
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Hotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam

This iconic Amsterdam hotel — which was founded by Peter Pulitzer, grandson of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer — consists of 25 17th- and 18th-century canal houses. 

This iconic Amsterdam hotel — which was founded by Peter Pulitzer, grandson of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer — consists of 25 17th- and 18th-century canal houses. 

The Efendi Hotel, Israel
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Efendi Hotel, Israel

The two structures that make up the Efendi Hotel were once dazzling palaces occupied by wealthy Ottomans in the 1800s. Today, the property has been restored to its former glory, and it’s nothing short of spectacular. 

The two structures that make up the Efendi Hotel were once dazzling palaces occupied by wealthy Ottomans in the 1800s. Today, the property has been restored to its former glory, and it’s nothing short of spectacular. 

Brewhouse Inn and Suites, Milwaukee
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Brewhouse Inn and Suites, Milwaukee

This one-of-a-kind property occupies the former Pabst brewhouse. The hotel pays homage to its past with restored copper brewing kettles, stained glass, and other industrial touches. 

This one-of-a-kind property occupies the former Pabst brewhouse. The hotel pays homage to its past with restored copper brewing kettles, stained glass, and other industrial touches. 

Shinola Hotel, Detroit
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Shinola Hotel, Detroit

Detroit’s Shinola Hotel spans five buildings, including the former Singer Building (which was home to the Singer Sewing Machine Company), as well as the T.B. Rayl Co. store, which was built in 1915. 

Detroit’s Shinola Hotel spans five buildings, including the former Singer Building (which was home to the Singer Sewing Machine Company), as well as the T.B. Rayl Co. store, which was built in 1915. 

Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
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Chicago Athletic Association, Chicago

Originally a men’s athletic club, The Chicago Athletic Association occupies a 1893 Victorian Gothic building. Today, many of the structure's original features remain (like stained glass windows and intricate woodwork), and athletic-inspired touches can be found throughout the property. Read our review of the hotel here.

Originally a men’s athletic club, The Chicago Athletic Association occupies a 1893 Victorian Gothic building. Today, many of the structure's original features remain (like stained glass windows and intricate woodwork), and athletic-inspired touches can be found throughout the property. Read our review of the hotel here.

Inkaterra La Casona, Peru
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Inkaterra La Casona, Peru

Before the manor house was built in the 16th century, the original structure served as a training ground for Inca warriors. Famous former residents include historical figures Simon Bolivar and Diego de Almagro.

Before the manor house was built in the 16th century, the original structure served as a training ground for Inca warriors. Famous former residents include historical figures Simon Bolivar and Diego de Almagro.

St. Jane, Chicago
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St. Jane, Chicago

Located in the iconic 1929-era Carbide & Carbon Building (aptly nicknamed the “Champagne Bottle Building”) Chicago’s St. Jane Hotel is nothing short of glamorous. The Art Deco skyscraper was constructed by the Burham Brothers, the sons of famed Chicago architect, Daniel Burnham. Read our review of the property here.

Located in the iconic 1929-era Carbide & Carbon Building (aptly nicknamed the “Champagne Bottle Building”) Chicago’s St. Jane Hotel is nothing short of glamorous. The Art Deco skyscraper was constructed by the Burham Brothers, the sons of famed Chicago architect, Daniel Burnham. Read our review of the property here.

No Man's Fort, England
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No Man's Fort, England

This 19th-century fort was originally built to ward off French invaders; it has since been relaunched as a luxury hotel. Located 1.5 miles off the Isle of Wight, the property is perfect for those craving solitude and seclusion. 

This 19th-century fort was originally built to ward off French invaders; it has since been relaunched as a luxury hotel. Located 1.5 miles off the Isle of Wight, the property is perfect for those craving solitude and seclusion. 

Belmond Villa San Michele, Italy
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Belmond Villa San Michele, Italy

Overlooking the city of Florence, this breathtakingly beautiful hotel is housed in a 15th-century monastery. Even cooler? Its facade is attributed to Michelangelo. 

Overlooking the city of Florence, this breathtakingly beautiful hotel is housed in a 15th-century monastery. Even cooler? Its facade is attributed to Michelangelo. 

Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, North Carolina
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Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, North Carolina

The 21-story RJ Reynolds Building was constructed back in 1929 in Winston-Salem and served as Winston’s first city hall. The building is said to be the design inspiration for the Empire State Building. Every year, it's believed that the Empire State Building staff send a Father's Day card to the Reynolds Building to pay homage to its history. Today, the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel occupies the first six floors of the skyscraper.

The 21-story RJ Reynolds Building was constructed back in 1929 in Winston-Salem and served as Winston’s first city hall. The building is said to be the design inspiration for the Empire State Building. Every year, it's believed that the Empire State Building staff send a Father's Day card to the Reynolds Building to pay homage to its history. Today, the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel occupies the first six floors of the skyscraper.

Le Méridien Tampa
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Le Méridien, Tampa

Located in downtown Tampa, this 107-year-old federal courthouse is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Today, it’s home to the Le Méridien. The property has incorporated many of the building’s original features like high ceilings, marble accents, granite walls, ornate fixtures. 

Located in downtown Tampa, this 107-year-old federal courthouse is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Today, it’s home to the Le Méridien. The property has incorporated many of the building’s original features like high ceilings, marble accents, granite walls, ornate fixtures. 

High Line Hotel, New York City
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High Line Hotel, New York City

The 19th-century brick building that houses the High Line Hotel was originally built as a dormitory for the General Theological Seminary. Before that, an apple orchard could be found on the site, which is now in a busy Manhattan neighborhood. It’s also believed that the “The Night Before Christmas” was written here.

The 19th-century brick building that houses the High Line Hotel was originally built as a dormitory for the General Theological Seminary. Before that, an apple orchard could be found on the site, which is now in a busy Manhattan neighborhood. It’s also believed that the “The Night Before Christmas” was written here.

The Vanderbilt, Auberge Resorts Collection
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The Vanderbilt, Rhode Island

This sprawling Newport, Rhode Island mansion has been restored to its former glory. Built by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt in 1909, the gilded property was formerly known as Vanderbilt Hall. Today, the luxury hotel is owned by Auberge Resorts Collection. 

This sprawling Newport, Rhode Island mansion has been restored to its former glory. Built by Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt in 1909, the gilded property was formerly known as Vanderbilt Hall. Today, the luxury hotel is owned by Auberge Resorts Collection. 

Blue Mansion, Malaysia
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The Blue Mansion, Malaysia

The iconic Blue Mansion was originally built for Cheong Fatt Tze, a prominent businessman and politician. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site where guests can learn more about the mansion’s history by taking a guided tour (offered daily). 

The iconic Blue Mansion was originally built for Cheong Fatt Tze, a prominent businessman and politician. Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site where guests can learn more about the mansion’s history by taking a guided tour (offered daily). 

COMO The Treasury, Australia
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Como the Treasury, Australia

Located in the heart of Perth, this 48-room property occupies the 140-year-old State Buildings, which once served as government office buildings. After an eight-year, multimillion-dollar renovation, the hotel opened in 2015. 

Located in the heart of Perth, this 48-room property occupies the 140-year-old State Buildings, which once served as government office buildings. After an eight-year, multimillion-dollar renovation, the hotel opened in 2015. 

Aman Venice
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Aman Venice, Italy

This luxury property occupies a dazzling 16th-century palace complete with sparkling chandeliers, mirrors, and lofty ceilings. Other highlights include a spectacular library along with two lush gardens that overlook the canal. 

This luxury property occupies a dazzling 16th-century palace complete with sparkling chandeliers, mirrors, and lofty ceilings. Other highlights include a spectacular library along with two lush gardens that overlook the canal. 

Four Seasons Lion Palace
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Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace, Russia

Just steps from Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace occupies a real-life palace. Previously known as the Lobanov-Rostovsky Palace, the structure dates back to the early 19th century and was once the home of a Russian prince. 

Just steps from Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace occupies a real-life palace. Previously known as the Lobanov-Rostovsky Palace, the structure dates back to the early 19th century and was once the home of a Russian prince. 

Rendering of The Central Station Memphis
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The Central Station, Memphis

Located within Memphis Central Station (which was constructed in 1914), this new, 123-room property transports guests back in time. Pay close attention to the carpets and walls, which are meant to emulate the train station’s original fabrics and patterns. 

Located within Memphis Central Station (which was constructed in 1914), this new, 123-room property transports guests back in time. Pay close attention to the carpets and walls, which are meant to emulate the train station’s original fabrics and patterns. 

21c Museum Hotel - Louisville
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21c Museum Hotel, Kentucky

The Louisville, Kentucky buildings that now house this art gallery and hotel all-in-one were once tobacco and bourbon warehouses in the 19th century. 

The Louisville, Kentucky buildings that now house this art gallery and hotel all-in-one were once tobacco and bourbon warehouses in the 19th century. 

Labotessa Hotel, South Africa
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Labotessa, South Africa

Located in Cape Town, this boutique property has just seven rooms. It’s housed in a restored church that was constructed in the early 1700s — believed to be one of the oldest buildings in the country. 

Located in Cape Town, this boutique property has just seven rooms. It’s housed in a restored church that was constructed in the early 1700s — believed to be one of the oldest buildings in the country. 

Downtown LA Proper Hotel
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Downtown LA Proper Hotel, Los Angeles

The building that will house this trendy LA property (set to open in December) has an interesting history. In the 1920s, it was men’s club (with two floors reserved for women), and, in 1947, it became the Case Hotel. From 1965 to 2012, it housed the YWCA Job Training Corps. Since then, the building has remained vacant — until now. 

The building that will house this trendy LA property (set to open in December) has an interesting history. In the 1920s, it was men’s club (with two floors reserved for women), and, in 1947, it became the Case Hotel. From 1965 to 2012, it housed the YWCA Job Training Corps. Since then, the building has remained vacant — until now. 

Watermark Baton Rouge
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The Watermark, Baton Rouge

The Watermark Baton Rouge occupies a building that once served as the Louisiana Trust and Savings Bank headquarters. The hotel’s interiors (grand staircases, ornate hand-painted ceilings, and carved marble walls) pay tribute to the structure’s previous life.

The Watermark Baton Rouge occupies a building that once served as the Louisiana Trust and Savings Bank headquarters. The hotel’s interiors (grand staircases, ornate hand-painted ceilings, and carved marble walls) pay tribute to the structure’s previous life.

Royal Sonesta New Orleans
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The Royal Sonesta, New Orleans

This original site of the 483-room hotel dates back to 1721, when the city of New Orleans was first laid out. In 1890, American Brewing Company purchased the site and expanded it to encompass the entire block of Bourbon Street; in 1969, the property opened its doors. Highlights include a traditional courtyard, an elegant ballroom, a retro-inspired jazz club, Art Deco interiors, and 7,000 pieces of artwork from Warhol, Lichtenstein, and other artists. 

This original site of the 483-room hotel dates back to 1721, when the city of New Orleans was first laid out. In 1890, American Brewing Company purchased the site and expanded it to encompass the entire block of Bourbon Street; in 1969, the property opened its doors. Highlights include a traditional courtyard, an elegant ballroom, a retro-inspired jazz club, Art Deco interiors, and 7,000 pieces of artwork from Warhol, Lichtenstein, and other artists. 

 JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District, Georgia - rendering
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JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside District, Georgia

This 419-room riverfront property (opening in 2020) spans three buildings and will occupy a former power plant. It’s also built on what used to be Savannah’s port (250-year-old refuse from the port was discovered during construction). Guests can expect industrial-inspired touches like preserved brickwork, original steel beams, and real smoke stacks. 

This 419-room riverfront property (opening in 2020) spans three buildings and will occupy a former power plant. It’s also built on what used to be Savannah’s port (250-year-old refuse from the port was discovered during construction). Guests can expect industrial-inspired touches like preserved brickwork, original steel beams, and real smoke stacks. 

The Red Fox Inn & Tavern
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Red Fox Inn & Tavern, Virginia

Located in Middleburg, Virginia, this historic inn dates back to 1728. During the Civil War, the inn served as a hospital for Confederate soldiers. Famous guests include Elizabeth Taylor, John and Jackie Kennedy, Paul Newman, and Tom Cruise. 

Located in Middleburg, Virginia, this historic inn dates back to 1728. During the Civil War, the inn served as a hospital for Confederate soldiers. Famous guests include Elizabeth Taylor, John and Jackie Kennedy, Paul Newman, and Tom Cruise. 

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