Traveling has been an important part of human culture for thousands of years. While it may have started as a migration of evolutionary advantage, the aspect remains hugely important. Of course, the abundance of traveling means that people wanted to sleep with a roof over their heads, so inns and later hotels and motels came into being. Some started doing business as early as 1300 years ago! Many ancient hotels still remain established and running even today. Not only do they provide great services, but some hotels have become birthplaces of history and culture. Read on for 10 of the oldest hotels in the world that you can still stay at!
10 Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan (Japan)
Located at the foot of the South Japanese Alps, this hotel has been open since 705. Impressively, it has also managed to stay in the same family for all 1300 years, with 52 generations passing the management on to their kids. The Keiunkan is mainly known for its natural hot springs that have provided relaxation to countless samurai and continues to serve customers even today. The hotel retains the harmonious, peaceful Japanese traditions from a thousand years ago, and much of the furniture styling remains exactly the same. Furthermore, luxurious spring water has been known to treat muscle pain, constipation, and gastrointestinal disorders!
9 Zum Roten Baeren (Germany)
As the oldest hotel in Germany and all of Europe, Zum Roten Baeren was actually built before the town it’s in. This colorful building existed during the era of witch hunts, the plague, the 30 Years War, and both World Wars. Although renovations have been made to the exterior, much of the basement still retains the original styling and artwork.
Today, the hotel is modest in comparison to more luxurious varieties but provides guests with unrivaled history and tradition. Furthermore, its proximity to the famous Freiburg Concert Hall and the exciting cathedral market makes it a great place to stay in Germany.
8 Olde Bell Hotel (England)
Not to be confused with the other Old Bell Hotel in England, this one is located in Hurley and was built in 1135 as a carriage house. Throughout the years, the hotel was a sanctuary to both commoners and royalty. Sir Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Elliott Roosevelt have all been known to meet at this medieval hotel.
Furthermore, there’s a secret underground passageway used to plot the overthrow of James II that’s still open to visitors today! Asides from all the history, this medieval-style inn features a lively atmosphere, award-winning locally sourced food, and a charming English garden.
7 Hoshi Ryokan (Japan)
Similar to Keiunkan, the Hoshi Ryokan is an extremely old Japanese hotel that dates all the way back to 718 AD. Also, like the Keiunkan, the Ryokan offers a plethora of natural hot springs for weary travelers. Additionally, they have open-air baths that have remained extremely popular over the centuries.
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The setup and style of the hotel are very traditional, and there’s a vast array of extremely old recipes used to prepare the hotel’s delicious dishes. Visitors will surely enjoy the peace and harmony of this sanctuary!
6 Sanct Peter (Germany)
Although the building itself dates back to the year 600, Sanct Peter technically wasn’t established as a hotel until 1246. Guests love the location for several reasons, relating to both the hotel’s service and their spectacular location. Sanct Peter is a place dripping with German culture and tradition but also has a quaint, cozy feel that is absent from most large German establishments.
Furthermore, guests love the hotel’s proximity to vineyards within Germany’s infamous Ahr red wine section. At Sanct Peter, you can relax and learn all about German customs and history while sipping a glass of red for a reasonable price of about $180 for two.
5 Orso Grigio (Italy)
Technically, when Orso Grigio was established in 1300, it belonged to Austria. However, after the annexation of the province, the hotel now belongs in San Candido, Italy. It features a delicate mix of the two cultures as well as beautiful scenery from its windows. Visitors can see a stunning mountain range and a cultural melting pot of activities going on in the city right from their hotel room!
This 14th-century inn has stunned visitors for centuries and continues to do so every day in conjunction with the market community of San Candido, which is just as old. Today, guests find unrivaled hospitality and service and delectable dining in Orso Grigio.
4 Hotel Interlaken (Switzerland)
Opened in 1323, Hotel Interlaken has also had a history of being a hospital, a cloister, and a tavern before it settled on its true purpose. At first, monks and nuns took care of visitors as a guesthouse, but the hotel eventually transferred hands into a lengthy list of family owners. During its renovation in 1491, it received its very own coat of arms!
Today, some original walls and decor can still be seen in the lobby, the restaurants, and the bar. Guests flock to Hotel Interlaken not only for its amazing hospitality but also for its proximity to a beautiful Japanese garden right next door. In fact, you can make a special request to have a view of the entire garden from your room!
3 Al Cappello Rosso (Italy)
Originally created in 1375 to protect Jews from persecution, Al Cappello Rosso has changed its style significantly over the years. Although you’d think that all old hotels will be filled with tradition and history, Al Cappello Rosso is oddly modern, featuring suites of all colors, sizes, and decorations.
Not only is it close to the center of the city, but guests also love the quiet atmosphere and unique room styles. Some of the most interesting rooms include the Typewriter Suite and the American Icon suite.
2 Gastagwirt (Austria)
Unlike some of the more luxurious hotels on this list, Gastagwirt is full of life’s simple pleasures. Built in 1380, the hotel’s original intention was to give exhausted travelers and wanderers a homey place to rest. Almost 700 years later, it’s still doing a wonderful job. Although its rooms are known for being quite simple and sparse, visitors still enjoy the hotel for its quiet atmosphere, warm hospitality, and great food. Popular traditional dishes include the schnitzel wiener and orientalische schnitzel. Furthermore, visitors love the proximity to a nearby working farm equipped with a mini-zoo, playground, and nice running path.
1 Pilgrim Haus (Germany)
As the name suggests, Pilgrim Haus is an inn utilized primarily by pilgrims and was built in 1304. Nowadays, it serves as both a monument and a traditional hotel for the city of Rhine-Westphalia. From the outside, renovations, as well as flowery decorations, render the ancient building a look of modernization and is quite beautiful. For a reasonable price of about $110 for two, you can get access to a fully equipped fitness room, clean and comfortable conditions, warm hospitality, and a great traditional breakfast. Due to its wonderful location within the city and its relatively quiet atmosphere, Pilgrim Haus is very popular amongst couples nowadays.