At certain hotels, like Dublin's The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection, checking in means stepping back in time (Photo: Marriott International)

At certain hotels, checking in means stepping back in time – perhaps you'll be staying in a heritage building that once hosted royalty, or you'll dine in a restaurant that has served generations of Hollywood stars. From riverside palaces to ancient monasteries, landmark addresses to imposing rural castles, these twelve hotels offer truly historic stays.

Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens


Guests at Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens can enjoy front-row views of one of the world's most iconic works of architecture (Photo: Marriott International)

With views of the Acropolis from your dinner table and a former guestlist that runs from royalty to rock stars, Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Athens has been among the most prestigious places to stay in the Greek capital since 1874. With this year marking the hotel’s 150th anniversary, stay in style by booking one of the opulent suites, which come with butler service. For dinner, indulge yourself at GB Roof Garden Restaurant, which serves elevated Greek and international dishes such as Latin American-style ceviche of lobster, Greek burrata bufala from Kerkini or lamb carré with local tsalafouti cheese – with the Acropolis as a backdrop for the ages.

Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino


The art of flawless service has been perfected at Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino (Photo: Marriott International)

Housed in a 19th-century palace, Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino has been offering visitors to Cairo the royal treatment for decades. The most elegant rooms here come with generous balconies overlooking the Nile, while the Saray Spa offers treatments from Moroccan and Turkish hammam to Swedish and Ayervedic massages. Of the 14 dining options, several are set amidst the hotel’s lush gardens, while Egyptian Nights serves authentic Egyptian cuisine al fresco, accompanied by live music.

Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague


Prague's Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel beckons guests into the unique ambience of an ancient monastery (Photo: Marriott International)

The captivating Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Prague forms part of the Augustinian Monastery of St Thomas, founded by King Wenceslas II in the 13th century. Guests can also enjoy tours of the wider monastery and its library, while the central location offers effortless visits to Prague Castle and Charles Bridge. The bedrooms are individually furnished, with six signature suites featuring one-off touches such as frescoes and original doors with ornamental iron works, while The Refectory Bar serves freshly mixed cocktails beneath a Baroque ceiling fresco.

The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection, Dublin


Dublin would not be quite the same city without The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection (Photo: Marriott International)

Nowhere else in Dublin has the cachet of The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection, which celebrates its 200th birthday this year. Overlooking St Stephen’s Green in the heart of the Irish capital, this iconic address has hosted everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Elizabeth Taylor, as well as the drafting of the Irish Constitution – and countless society soirées. The Heritage Suites echo the hotel’s prestigious history with their fireplaces and antique furniture, while afternoon tea is served daily beneath glittering chandeliers in the Lord Mayor’s Lounge.

AnaYela, Marrakesh, a Member of Design Hotels


Tucked away in the heart of the Moroccan city, AnaYela, Marrakesh, a Member of Design Hotels is among the loveliest riads in the country (Photo: Marriott International)

The spectacular AnaYela, Marrakesh, a Member of Design Hotels riad is tucked away in the heart of Marrakesh, its five rooms secreted around a 300-year-old palace. The central courtyard is the focus, with guests spending their days lounging by the al fresco pool and their evenings dining beside the water feature, while the rooftop terrace is a peaceful spot for reclining with views out across the ancient Medina.

The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice


The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel is a sympathetic 21st-century update of a 16th-century nobleman's residence (Photo: Marriott International)

Formerly the residence of the 16th-century Venetian doge Andrea Gritti, The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel retains the intimate feel of a private residence, while providing peerless service in the heart of Venice. Set on the Grand Canal, the hotel dates to 1475 and features incredible suites furnished with antiques and original artworks – not to mention panoramic canal views. Just above the water level is the open-air Gritti Terrace, serving Italian cuisine as gondolas glide past, while indoors is the opulent Club del Doge, with its gilded decor and gourmet menu.

Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Warsaw


The Art Nouveau architecture of Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel is a cherished part of Warsaw's urban landscape (Photo: Marriott International)

Since 1901 the Art Nouveau façade of Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel has served as a Warsaw city landmark. Standing next to the Presidential Palace and a short stroll from the Old Town, the location is enviable, and the Art Deco interior design lends a cool, classic feel that transports guests to the early 20th century. Stay in for dinner at Marconi Restaurant, serving seasonal dishes such as Polish beef tartare and charcoal grilled seafood, and don’t miss the exquisite patisserie at Café Bristol, the secrets of which have been passed from one generation of pastry chefs to the next for over a century.

Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection, Barcelona


Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection whisks guests back to a beautiful vision of 19th-century Barcelona (Photo: Marriott International)

Formerly the headquarters of the Cotton Textile Foundation, Cotton House Hotel, Autograph Collection, evokes the ambience of 19th-century Barcelona. Originally built as a private palace, the elegant building retains a warm, inviting feel, beckoning guests in to its delightful interior patio garden and range of bright and spacious bedrooms, decked out in brilliant whites and offering views over the surrounding Eixample district. There’s also a serene outdoor pool on the sixth floor and a sophisticated tapas restaurant and cocktail bar, Batuar. Be sure to linger on the marble staircase and in the library, originally a conference room – both are remarkable architectural survivals complemented by modern design touches.

Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Oman


The exquisite Arabic architecture of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel calms the soul and delights the eyes (Photo: Marriott International)

With Arabic architecture inspired by Oman’s rich history and a palatial ambience that makes guests feel like royalty, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a landmark address between the Sea of Oman and the Al Hajar mountains. The mind-calming treatments offered by the three-storey beachfront spa are not to be missed, while the six outdoor swimming pools invite relaxation and the private beach offers a line-up of watersports. Dinner at the Al Khiran Kitchen showcases Omani cuisine and The Atrium Lobby Lounge offers the chance to sample a traditional afternoon tea.

The Dixon, Tower Bridge, Autograph Collection, London


Formerly a magistrates court and police station, The Dixon, Tower Bridge, Autograph Collection is a hotel with remarkable presence (Photo: Marriott International)

Standing just back from Tower Bridge in central London and occupying an imposing Edwardian building that was once a magistrates court and police station, The Dixon, Tower Bridge, Autograph Collection is a hotel with real stature. The building dates to 1905 and you’ll find some remarkable original features, including a sweeping central staircase, wood-panelled walls and tiled floors featuring police insignia in the lobby. Rooms have more modern decor, with king-sized beds and pops of bright colour in the soft furnishings, while the Courtroom Bar (formerly Tower Bridge Magistrates’ Courtroom) is a memorable spot for cocktails – their Espresso Martinis are made with the hotel's very own Shakedown Coffee, which is brewed just metres from the original jail cells.

Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Paris


Art Deco icon The Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel has played host to some of the 20th-century's most famous faces (Photo: Marriott International)

Prince de Galles, a Luxury Collection Hotel is one of the chicest hotels in Paris, an Art Deco landmark that has hosted everyone from Winston Churchill to Marlene Dietrich. The hotel opened its doors in 1929 and retains a 1920s style throughout, in the black marble floors and glossy ebony furniture, the glittering chandeliers and geometric mirrors. Some rooms have spacious balconies with Parisian views, while the flamboyant Restaurant and Bar 19.20 serves seasonal French cuisine and Akira Back dishes up incredible Japanese dishes.

Schloss Lieser, Autograph Collection, Germany


There are few settings as atmospheric as that offered its guests by Germany's Schloss Lieser, Autograph Collection (Photo: Marriott International)

Standing on the banks of the Moselle river, Schloss Lieser, Autograph Collection is one of the most striking hotels in Germany. Housed in a 19th-century castle, this is a grand place to stay, its 49 unique rooms and suites featuring ornate wooden carved beds, brocade drapes and original windows looking out across the river and surrounding vineyards. Make time for a trip to the spa, with its saunas, steam bath and indoor swimming pool, and linger over dinner on the riverview terrace of Puricelli Restaurant, which serves local dishes and an extensive list of wines from the surrounding Moselle valley.

Published: June 17, 2024

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