Top Ten Historic Hotels

Travel to Europe for cathedrals or Egypt for pyramids, but in the United States (and Canada), stay in an historic hotel—they are one of our special contributions to Western Civilization and reflect our willingness to live within nature, rather than dominate it, and our egalitarian sense of inclusiveness.
Lobby of the Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Lobby of the Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (Xanterra Parks & Resorts)

Staying in these historically significant buildings is as close to time travel as most of us will ever get: your own Night at the Museum—a guarantee of an adventure where you're a participant, not just an observer. Walk in the footsteps of U.S. presidents, and sit in lobbies where the powerful and famous have circulated for the last century. Picking a historic hotel is a first-rate way to immerse you and your family in our country's rich, diverse history—and have a grand time doing it. The options are endless, from chandeliered big-city lobbies, rich with marble and old-world ambience to rustically elegant wood-hewn lodges in national parks. You can even stay at Frank Lloyd Wright's Pennsylvania home, Fallingwater. Not only do these Grande Dames provide a living education in architecture, history, and culture, they have unbeatable ambience.

And don't worry about the price. While there are some very expensive historic hotels, many sites are surprisingly affordable, with rooms starting below $100 a night. Check with hotel websites for seasonal specials that can add an extra night or drop regular rates by a significant percent. Many are members of the Historic Hotels of America or the National Trust for Historic Preservation, good starting points for planning your visits.

10. The Sagamore, Lake George, New York
9. Old Faithful Inn, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
8. Waldorf Astoria, New York City, New York
7. Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, Oregon
6. The Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada
5. Gettysburg Hotel, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
4. The Mission Inn, Riverside, California
3. El Tovar, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
2. The Brown Palace, Denver, Colorado
1. The Biltmore, Coral Gables, Florida

Published: 8 Apr 2010 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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