Oldest Luxury Hotel In The World – The world’s oldest luxury hotels still in operation, not only provide plenty of luxury to guests, but also leave residents in awe of their rich history and architecture. Over the centuries, these hotels have managed to perfectly balance old-world charm with modernity. So while the structure and many elements will take you back in time, you will also be able to enjoy the comforts of this time. Many of these hotels have the advantage of being located in city centers that are easily accessible to visitors.
Here’s a look at some of the world’s oldest luxury hotels and what they have to offer.
Oldest Luxury Hotel In The World
Founded in 705 by Fujiwara Mahito, the Japanese resort is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest continuously operating hotel. Keiunkan is located near Mount Fuji in the Kai region of Yamanashi Prefecture. The property has been in the same family since its inception and is currently in the hands of the 52nd generation.
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Keiunkan is a ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn with shared bathroom facilities. It was a favorite of many samurai, shoguns and other high officials throughout the ages. One of the most famous patrons was Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate.
The hotel today is a mix of modern and old. The main attraction, the bath house known as Mochitani no Yu, is still fed by water flowing directly from the nearby hot springs, which you can drink directly from. The hotel has 37 rooms – all designed in traditional Japanese style. Being in a mountainous area, you can see the valleys from every room. Packages start at about $470 per night.
This suite in the hotel is named after Queen Catherine of Aragon, who stayed here in 1520. (Image: Maids Head Hotel)
The Maids Head Hotel’s documented history dates back to 1287 when it was first mentioned in the town’s court records. But there is some evidence that the establishment is older, with the Maids Head claiming to have been established sometime in the 1090s. The oldest parts of what stands on the site today date back to the 15th century, including the winepress restaurant and exceptional timber-framed oak room. The bar in the hotel was added in the 16th century.
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The hotel counts as guests historical figures such as Edward the Black Prince, the eldest son of King Edward III who visited in 1359, and Queen Catherine of Aragon, who stayed here in 1520. When Queen Elizabeth I visited Norwich in 1578, the hotel named a bedroom in her honour, although she never stayed there.
There are 84 en suite bedrooms, including luxury suites. The largest suites include the Queen Elizabeth Suite, whose backdrop is based on the Queen’s love of chess, and the Catherine of Aragon Suite, whose furniture is richly colored and the bedroom has beautiful hand-drawn linens. Smaller suites include the Surlingham Junior Suite and the Erpingham Gate Junior Suite. The design and style of the former is inspired by Thetford Forest, while the latter is named after the beautiful gate entrance of Erpingham Cathedral. All rooms are equipped with modern luxury facilities.
Zum Roten Bären, located between the Schwabentor (Swabian Gate) and the cathedral, is the oldest hotel in Germany. The name of the hotel translates to “red bear” and it was founded in 1120 in the city of Freiburg.
Although it has undergone a number of renovations, its floor plan has remained virtually unchanged since its inception. There is also a deep cellar in the building, the architecture of which follows the styles of the early Middle Ages. The hotel has changed hands more than 50 times over the centuries and has survived the onslaught of climatic events in European and world history, such as the Black Death, invasions and two world wars.
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There are 25 rooms to choose from, including three suites. Each suite costs $190 per night. They are located on the second floor of the palace and overlook Oberlinden Square. The bathroom is made of granite and the suites have wardrobes.
The hotel bell rang whenever an important guest left for the nearby property. (Images: The Old Clock)
The hotel started as a boarding house and coaching inn in 1135 in Malmesbury. At that time it served as a resting place for pilgrims from faraway places on their way to the nearby Abbey of Saint Benedict. But not only ordinary people, but also relatives ruled here, and their departure on business was announced by the ringing of the bell that can still be seen in the hotel.
In modern times, The Old Bell witnessed meetings between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US Army General Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War II. Take a look at the tunnel that runs from the hotel to the grounds – a plot was hatched here in the 17th century to overthrow James II.
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The renovated hotel has 34 beautifully appointed rooms, including two master suites. One of the suites is named after Abbot Loring, the founder of the Benedictine abbey. The other is named after King Athelstan, the first king of the English who reigned from 927 to 939. The building, whose architecture is mainly Edwardian, is Grade II listed, meaning it is a building of paramount importance in England.
The hotel has a system to classify its rooms according to “bears”, an equivalent of stars. (Image: Orso Grigio)
Italy’s oldest hotel is located in the center of one of the most picturesque municipalities in Europe – Innichen (or San Candido), which is known for the Dolomites and as a ski resort.
The hotel takes its name from a Bavarian legend that the bishop of Freising, St. Corbinianus, tamed the bear that attacked him on his way to Rome. Founded in 1303, it has survived many political and humanitarian disasters over the centuries. During the First World War, the hotel was converted into a military hospital for the armed forces of the Astro-Hungarian Empire, which is why the then owner, Hedwig Hellenstainer, received the Silver Medal of Merit from the Emperor of Austria.
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Ownership continued to change until 1745, when the ancestors of the current owner purchased the property. Today it is run by Franz Ladinser and his daughter Verena, the 9th and 10th generations of the family.
The boutique and gastronomic hotel has 28 elegant rooms. Baranci Range and Mount Elmo can be seen from all rooms. The hotel has a system to classify its rooms according to “bears”, an equivalent of stars. The rooms with four bears symbolize the highest possible comfort that the hotel has to offer. This category offers three different types of rooms – antique, classic and modern, with furniture that reflects the same styles.
One of the best facilities of the hotel is the rooftop wellness center. You can relax in the Finnish sauna or the Turkish steam bath while enjoying the beautiful panorama around you, including Mount San Candido. And while you’re at it, you’ll also be served high-quality teas and fruit juices to make your experience even healthier. Orso Grigio is also known for its wines; there are about 300 labels in the cellar or the red, white and sparkling varieties. The owner Franz Ladinser himself organizes a weekly wine tasting in the cellar.
It was opened for pilgrims on their way to the Shrine of St. James the Great in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. (Image: Pilgrim’s House)
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Construction of the Pilgrim Haus began in 1294 and it opened as an inn in 1304. Located in Soest, it was built as a resting place for pilgrims en route to the Shrine of St. James the Great at Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The hotel has been renovated over the centuries and is now an attraction in its own right in the state of Rhine-Westphalia. The exterior is like that perfect house from German fairy tales, and the interior is decorated with historical objects collected by generations of owners. The walls of the building are one meter thick and made of stone.
The hotel has one, two, three and four bedroom rooms, the latter of which costs $221 per night. Pets are not allowed and all rooms are non-smoking. While each room is luxurious, you can sleep even more comfortably by requesting hypoallergenic bedding. The hotel also has an annex and apartments next to the main building. The apartments are located in a 200-year-old building, the oldest fully restored farmhouse in Soest and listed as a monument. The luxurious rooms include an oak frame that emphasizes the heritage of the building.
The first documented mention of the hotel dates back to 1323, when it was a monastery guest house for travelers to Interlaken. The guests were looked after by monks and nuns and at that time there was no other hotel in the city. The hotel’s conference rooms, located on the first floor, once served as a courtroom where offenders were sentenced. It is like that because