“Historic hotels seek to offer travelers a deeper and more historical connection to their destinations, adding another layer of nostalgia in the tapestry of experiential travel. The days when travelers selected hotels based solely upon breakfast buffets and WiFi connectivity have long passed; the modern traveler is ready to swap consistency for authenticity. In fact, according to a recent survey commissioned by American Express, more than 72 percent of travelers prefer to spend money on experiences rather than things. Modern travelers seek inspiration and immersive experiences, but they are also hoping to be inspired and entrenched in their destination during all aspects of their vacations.” writes Alpert in August’s Global Traveler Magazine.
Many of our INTO member organisations are involved in owning, running and/or saving hotels and our Secretary-General, Catherine Leonard, is quoted in the article: “Historic hotels offer a spirit of place that is often missing in modern, purpose-built hotels with their endless corridors and identikit box-shaped rooms. Just because the hotel has a past doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a future. In the face of a relentless tide of development and globalization, heritage can help us understand where we came from and what the future holds. With the growth of technology and platforms like Airbnb, the demand for quirky, non-corporate, story-rich hotel rooms will only grow.”
The National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland runs three Historic House Hotels – and leases out several others like Cliveden, a glittering hub of society before being infamously associated with the Profumo Affair, and Ickworth, which many of you will have visited during ICNT Cambridge.
The US National Trust for Historic Preservation has a Historic Hotels Programme. “Historic hotels tell a story of a building’s bygone era through the architecture, artifacts and photos throughout the building, and the way they incorporate certain elements of history throughout cuisine, cocktails and beyond,” explains Heather Taylor, manager of marketing communications, Historic Hotels of America.
The National Trust of Zimbabwe’s flagship property, La Rochelle, is run as a hotel. The Canadian National Trust saved the Yukon Hotel in Dawson City in the 1970s – now successfully run as a small luxury hotel. The Bermuda National Trust has a historic hotel now used as a museum (Globe Hotel) as does the Australia National Trust and the Italian National Trust (FAI) has this amazing, dilapidated art deco hotel building which it opens to the public – wouldn’t it be great if they could run it as a hotel again??? Many also have holiday cottages to rent (like National Trust for Scotland or Jersey).
In answer to Kristy’s question, if you had the choice to stay in a new hotel or a hotel in an historic building, which would you choose personally and why, Catherine answered “I would chose an historic building of course! Well, I do work for INTO but that aside, here are the reasons: I like to stay somewhere distinctive when I am away from home. I like to revel in the history of a place, which of course includes the hotel room (and the food heritage!) I like the way walls tell stories. Stories of the people who lived or worked there in times gone by. I like to feel inspired by the old. Historic hotels are also – like all older buildings – much greener than new hotels. And they have windows that you can open too!”
Don’t forget that INTO also offers working holiday opportunities, which you can find out more about here.