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Grand old hotels

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I stayed in a really old hotel last night. They sent me a wake-up letter.Steven Wright

In many cities, there is an interesting old hotel reminiscent of the days when travel meant long journeys by rail or sea. A place where the rich and the famous of the day would stay. Nearly all of these were built before the Second World War, and many date back to the reign of Queen Victoria.

Staying in such places is usually not cheap, though perhaps cheaper than a more modern high-end hotel. They are not necessarily the most luxurious option; modern high-end places may be even better. However, the grand old hotels are usually very centrally located and they have an appeal all their own. The old fashioned fittings, the lack of the latest amenities and a certain graceful agedness are often part of their character.

You need not stay in such hotels to enjoy some of their services. A visitor to Singapore, for example, might go to Raffles just for a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar where it was invented, and where Rudyard Kipling and Noel Coward once drank, and check out the Billiard Room where Singapore's last tiger was shot.

A traveller with piles of money might consider a round the world flight, broken up with stays in many of these hotels. Travelling around the world overland, on routes such as the one taken in "Around the World in Eighty Days", would give a more authentic experience of pre-flight travel.



Winter Palace, seen from the Nile




South Africa[edit]


East Asia[edit]

The Grand Hotel, Taipei

Middle East[edit]

South Asia[edit]



Sri Lanka[edit]

Southeast Asia[edit]

Raffles, Singapore

Many of Southeast Asia's grand old hotels can be credited to a single family, the remarkable Sarkies brothers from Armenia, who founded all of the following icons:

Of course, there are some other very classy options as well:


Northern Europe[edit]

Western Europe[edit]

Amstel Hotel, Amsterdam
Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh

Central Europe[edit]

During the century and a half of its existence, leaders have died and Czechoslovakia was "born" at Beau-Rivage in Geneva

Southern Europe[edit]

Hotel de Paris, Monaco

Eastern Europe[edit]

North America[edit]

United States[edit]

There is a program called Historic Hotels of America with 200-odd hotels involved.

The Cincinnatian Hotel.


Le Château Frontenac, Quebec City

The grand old hotels in Canada have a unique place in Canadian history: if a Canadian mentions a "railway hotel", he's talking about a grand old hotel of Canada. Most of them were built during first quarter of the 20th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway or Grand Trunk Railway in order to provide elegant accommodation while viewing the natural beauty along the rail line. Canadian Pacific, which purchased the former Grand Trunk (Canadian National) hotels in 1988, spun off all non-rail subsidiaries (including Fairmont, its hotel group) in 2001.

These hotels are popular with tourists and locals alike and though overnight stays are expensive; they represent a fine piece of Canadiana worth visiting even if you only have time for a walk through the lobby. Two - Banff and Lake Louise - are major tourist resorts in their own right, located amid stunning Rocky Mountain scenery.

Of course, there are some other very classy options as well


Costa Rica[edit]

The Gran Hotel Costa Rica


South America[edit]






New Zealand[edit]

See also[edit]

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