Five American Hotels With Remarkable Histories

Book a room where literary giants, Hollywood starlets or U.S. presidents once stayed.

May 15, 2018 5:00 am
A view of the pool at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona, November 1960. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)
A view of the pool at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona, November 1960. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

There are plenty of luxury Airbnbs out there, but if you’re looking for more cultural cachet with your stay, these hotels have incredible histories to offer alongside superior amenities. Among them, these properties have been the host to literary geniuses, Hollywood affairs and presidency-topping scandals. Take a look.

Hotel Monteleone

Hotel Monteleone from below (Raymond M/Flickr)
Raymond Moore

It’s impossible to decide which component of the Monteleone’s past is most interesting. Situated in New Orleans’ French Quarter—and still family owned—the hotel is steeped in elite literary history, as it has been frequented by the likes of Tennessee Williams, Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner.

For one of America’s most famous scribes, the Monteleone meant a great deal to him personally. Whilst perched inside at The Carousel Bar, or when talking to the press, Truman Capote often would boast that he was born in the hotel, although the Monteleone insists that isn’t true (Capote’s mother did live there while pregnant with him, but the staff helped get her to the hospital to deliver). Guests today can actually stay in the suite that bears Capote’s name, complete with furniture and an arrangement to complement his personality.

The Hotel Hershey

The Hotel Hershey gardens (Mr. TinDC/Flickr)

The Hotel Hershey opened its doors on May 26, 1933, in the midst of the Great Depression. Rather than merely give people in the town welfare, Milton S. Hershey decided to build the 23,500 square-foot hotel to give the residents of Hershey, Pennsylvania actual jobs.

The four-star hotel is now a historical landmark and is the perfect place to stay for any sweet tooth eager to explore Hershey Park or the gardens nearby.

The Arizona Biltmore

A view of the pool at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, Phoenix, Arizona, November 1960. (Photo by Archive Photos/Getty Images)

This exquisite hotel—now part of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel family—was one of Phoenix’s first resorts, and opened its doors in 1929. Designed by the iconic architect Frank Lloyd Wright and later owned by the Wrigley family, every president from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush has vacationed at this spot. Ronald and Nancy Reagan even spent their honeymoon at the Biltmore following their 1952 wedding.

The pet-friendly hotel offers guest rooms, suites, villas and the Ocatilla suite, marketed to redefine the luxury hotel experience. Take a look inside here.

 The Watergate Hotel

Lifeguard Linda Fox sits poolside at the Watergate complex, Washington DC, 1969. In the center rear is the Watergate East co-op apartment building. (Photo by Michael Rougier/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Michael Rougier

As we’ve covered before at RealClearLife, the Watergate Hotel was the pinnacle of luxury living for the Washington D.C.’s elite before it was toppled by its namesake scandal. Located just a few blocks from the White House, the infamous hotel has undergone significant reconstruction and reopened to the public in 2016. Rooms start in the low hundreds, but to truly experience the property’s incredible history, we recommend staying for at least one night in the Scandal Suite, which formerly housed the DNC headquarters that were the break-in target of Nixon’s infamous “plumbers.”

The Beverly Hills Hotel

The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, California. (Christopher Rose/Flickr)

This historic spot is the beacon of glamour and has been the site of dozens of infamous moments since it opened its doors to Sunset Boulevard in 1912. Howard Hughes called the hotel home on and off for more than thirty years; John F. Kennedy kept a bungalow there to entertain young starlets while campaigning. Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand had affairs in Bungalows 20 and 21, according to Vanity Fair, and her favorite—Bungalow 7—is named Norma Jean. 

The list goes on and on, and the five-star hotel still offers a variety of incredible suites that range from the junior to the presidential. Prices begin in the mid-hundreds.

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