Posted October 8, 2020

You’ll Never Believe What These Historic Hotels Used to Be


Is there anything more interesting than a hotel with a past life? Who roamed the halls? Did something happen there that changed the course of history? In a world where so much emphasis is placed on what’s new, it’s comforting to know that there are still structures of yesteryear to not only view and explore, but also rest your head. Here are seven historic hotels with interesting pasts, located around the world.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC

monaco hotel dc image credit david phelps

Once our nation’s General Post Office, the facade of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC still impresses more than 150 years later. Image Credit: David Phelps.

Built in 1842 then expanded in 1866 to its current size, the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Washington DC began its life as the nation’s General Post Office, and was the first building in Washington DC to boast an all-marble exterior. Although expansion was suspended during the Civil War, Union troops used the basement as a munitions depot, and in 1863, the Postmaster General initiated home mail delivery distributed through a horse-and-carriage entrance on 8th street that still runs between the street and the restaurant courtyard. The architectural grandeur is the main draw for passerby’s, particularly the Colossal Corinthian columns, intricate cornice and cast iron windows, all lovingly maintained when the historic building became a Kimpton hotel in 2002.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore

foyer monaco baltimore

Dating back to 1906, the impeccably preserved grand foyer in the historic Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore brings America’s Gilded Age to life. Image Credit: David Phelps.

It only takes one step into the ornate entryway of the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Baltimore to know that this building has a past life as one of the most important historic structures in Baltimore. The stunning Beaux-Arts building was constructed in 1906 as the headquarters of the city’s most prominent business, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, becoming an instant landmark thanks to the marble staircases, grand chandeliers and Tiffany stained-glass windows. The exterior is as gorgeous as the interior, with complex carvings and a statuary over the main entrance of the Roman god Mercury and an allegorical character called the Progress of Industry cradling a locomotive.

Kimpton Ink48 Hotel – New York, NY

ink hotel nyc image credit chris sanders

Immerse yourself in history (and incredible views) at New York City’s Kimpton Ink48 Hotel. Image Credit: Chris Sanders.

The 17-story Kimpton Ink48 Hotel pays homage to its past life as a printing factory nearly everywhere you look if you’re paying attention (the name Ink helps, too). The 1930’s-built space features the oversized windows and soaring ceilings one might imagine in a historic, early-20th century New York City factory, while meeting rooms are named after the fonts Helvetica and Courier and the restaurant and bar are called PRINT and Press, respectively.

The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel – Winston Salem, NC

cardinal hotel image credit cris molina

Journey back to 1920s America in the magnificent Art Deco lobby of the historic Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston Salem, NC. Image Credit: Cris Molina.

Upon first glance, the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel in Winston Salem may look familiar. Built in 1929 as the R.J. Reynolds building, the historic Art Deco-designed structure was the architectural prototype for the Empire State Building in New York City, and rumor has it, the famed NYC landmark still sends a Father’s Day card every year to Reynolds building staff. A $60 million renovation restored the most historic and beautiful elements of the original glamorous interior, the crown jewel being the gleaming elevator banks with gold, silver and brass metalwork.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver

monaco hotel lobby denver image credit dallas and harris

Every Kimpton renovation incorporates modern touches that accentuate each building’s unique history—as seen in the elegant lobby of the historic Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver. Image Credit: Dallas & Harris.

The Kimpton Hotel Monaco Denver as well as Panzano restaurant are spread across two historic Denver buildings, the 1917 Railway Exchange Building and the 1928-built Art Moderne Title Building. The Art Moderne building was the first example of Art Deco architecture in Denver (a style more common along the east coast) and one of the few of this style in the city today. Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, and are downtown landmarks of early 20th-century Denver.

Kimpton De Witt Hotel – Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dewitt Hotel image credit whit preston

Beamed ceilings dating back to the 1600s make sleeping in the childhood home of playwright P.C. Hooft extra special. Image Credit: Whit Preston.

The Kimpton De Witt Hotel in Amsterdam is the perfect blend of modern and historic, with 274 guest rooms spread across three original, 17th century Dutch Golden Age-era buildings and newer buildings from the 20th century in the Palace Quarter neighborhood. The most impressive space is the three-story ‘Little House’ suite, which sits in the original childhood home of famous Dutch playwright P.C. Hooft and dates back to the 1600s and features beamed ceilings and two king-sized guest rooms. In the most historic part of the hotel (a former family home dating to 1645) is Super Lyan, an all-day neighborhood cocktail bar and garden.

Soon-to-Open Kimpton Paris

Set to open in 2020, Kimpton’s first boutique hotel in Paris is in the famed Opéra District in a heritage building with extraordinary Art Nouveau and Art Deco facades along the boulevard des Capucines. From 1917 to 1981, the historic property was the luxury department store, “Samaritaine de Luxe,” and will offer an elevator dating back to the early 20th century, a courtyard and a breathtaking rooftop with 360 degree views of Paris.

—Shayla Martin


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One Comment

  1. gary King says:

    I have stayed in the first 3 hotels, great hotels !