4 Historic Hotels Across America

Want to spend the night in a former jail? What about a luxuriously renovated apartment complex once home to a Titanic survivor? Book a room in one of these notable hotels, and soak up a bit of history on your next vacation.

Photo By: The Liberty Hotel

Photo By: The Liberty Hotel

Photo By: The Liberty Hotel

Photo By: The Liberty Hotel

Photo By: The Liberty Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Oxford Hotel

Photo By: The Artmore Hotel

Photo By: The Artmore Hotel

Photo By: The Artmore Hotel

Photo By: Heidi Geldhauser

Photo By: The Artmore Hotel

Photo By: The Artmore Hotel

Photo By: The Artmore Hotel

Photo By: The Raphael Hotel

Photo By: The Raphael Hotel

Photo By: The Raphael Hotel

Photo By: The Raphael Hotel

Photo By: The Raphael Hotel

Photo By: The Raphael Hotel

Photo By: The Raphael Hotel

Photo By: The Raphael Hotel

Boston’s Liberty Hotel

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Liberty Hotel in Boston was built in 1851 and was originally the Charles Street Jail. Architects designed the structure after a consultation with Rev. Louis Dwight, a humanitarian who championed prison reform. Consequently, it was constructed in the form of a cross with an atrium, an octagonal rotunda and it was flooded with natural light. 

Boston’s Liberty Hotel: Exterior

It ceased to exist as a prison in 1990, and after extensive renovations it reopened in 2007 as the Liberty Hotel, a 300-room luxury hotel. It retains much of the historic structure including catwalks, the exterior façade and the breathtaking rotunda. As you dine at the hotel’s restaurant, Clink, or sip a tasty beverage amongst the fabulous at Alibi, rations of gruel and solitary confinement will probably be the last things on your mind. 

Boston’s Liberty Hotel: Restaurant Clink

One can't help but notice the bars on the restaurant windows.

Boston’s Liberty Hotel: Lobby

When the Liberty Hotel was Charles Street jail, many notorious "guests" checked in, including former Boston mayor and later governor James Michael Curley, Malcolm X, and Sacco and Vanzetti. 

Boston’s Liberty Hotel: Atrium

Rumor has it the jail-turned-hotel is haunted; one thing we can assure is that the thread count has increased.

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel

Built in 1891, the Oxford Hotel in downtown Denver has seen the best of times and the worst of times. It was erected as a luxury hotel to accommodate the wealthy that had not only benefitted from the California Gold Rush but were also reaping rewards from the Silver Rush taking place in Telluride, Leadville, Aspen and Caribou. 

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel: Entrance

In the 1970s, the hotel’s luster began to fade. In the '80s, however, a multi-million dollar renovation went underway, and then a room-by-room restoration. Some of the original building materials were found in the basement, and carpet weavers were hired to replicate the hotel’s original carpets. The crowning jewel was the reproduction of the Oxford’s original and unmistakable iron signage.

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel: Original Lobby

The hotel was once "a city unto itself." Miners seeking fortunes often checked in for long-term stays, thereby creating more of a boarding house atmosphere. During WWII it was home to many troops due to the proximity of the train station, Union Station. 

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel: Current Lobby

After a seven-year renovation, the lobby was restored to its former historic glory and boasts an incredible collection of art. Many artists who came out west traded works for longterm lodging and bar tabs, such as John Fery, whose Panoramic Landscape hangs in the Oxford Lobby. Even legendary performer Tom Waits sang for his supper in the early 1970s.

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel: Fireplace

Located in the completely renovated and restored lobby, the fireplace is a great spot to enjoy a martini from the adjacent Cruise Room or curl up with a good book from the hotel's lobby.

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel: Art Deco Days

During the 1930s, Denver architect Charles Jaka remodeled the Oxford and transformed it to an art deco masterpiece. The original facade was restored in the seven-year renovation.

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel: Cruise Room, 1930s

This room was transformed in the 1930s into an art deco masterpiece and was the first Denver bar to reopen following the repeal of the 18th Amendment. According to the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author J.R. Moehringer (The Tender Bar, Open), the Cruise Room serves the best martini within a 1,000 mile radius.

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel: Spa Lobby

Guests of the Oxford may enjoy the facilities at the Oxford Club Spa, a full service salon that (according to legend) once fulfilled other "services" as well and was once a brothel.

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel: Bathroom

The hotel went through a $12 million renovation that lasted seven years. We love the attention that was paid to historic details, especially the romantic claw foot tubs.

Denver's Historic Oxford Hotel: Double Sinks

The $12 million renovation was completed in 1983 and no historic detail was overlooked. The Oxford has played host to President Bill Clinton and his wife, the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Robert Redford and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Atlanta's Artmore Hotel

Located in the heart of Midtown Atlanta is a building that looks decidedly out of place, and that’s why we love it. Built in 1924, the Spanish Colonial structure was originally an apartment building called the Granada and was the brainchild of Atlanta architects Havis & Constantine. It was in the '20s that this area of Atlanta experienced a construction boom, especially in the adjacent neighborhood known as Ansley Park. 

Atlanta's Artmore Hotel: Signage

Sadly, most of the historic homes in Midtown were mowed down in the name of progress, making the Artmore a stucco and red roofed oasis sitting in the shadows of skyscrapers and high-rise condominiums. We can only imagine the cast of characters who called the Granada home in those glory days.

Atlanta's Artmore Hotel: Courtyard at Sunset

The Artmore Hotel still has stucco exterior walls and a red tile roof true to the vision of architects Barney Havis and Augustus Constantine.

Atlanta's Artmore Hotel: Courtyard Fountain

What was a gathering place for neighbors in the 1920s is now a watering hole for Atlanta's Midtown residents as well as visitors from all over the world.

Atlanta's Artmore Hotel: Lounge

The hotel's lounge doesn't reflect the original design concept, and some former residents may have something to say about that. One of the early tenants of the Granada Apartments was Atlanta native May Peel Futrelle, one of the 700 passengers who survived the sinking of the Titanic. Her husband Jacques, a former reporter at the Atlanta Journal, did not survive.

Atlanta's Artmore Hotel: Cocktail Garden

Instead of ripping out walls or tearing down anything, a simple weatherproof party tent was placed outside the right front of the hotel to accommodate large parties or locals with pets.

Atlanta's Artmore Hotel: King Bedroom

Built in 1924, this room might've been home to one of Margaret Mitchell's colleagues or a contemporary to legendary Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. It is rumored that the Artmore is haunted, perhaps by one of the former residents.

Kansas City's Raphael Hotel

Located in Kansas City is the historic Raphael Hotel, which also used to be an apartment building. It stands just feet from Country Club Plaza, the country’s first shopping mall designed for car traffic, in an area that was once farm land and dairies as far as the eye could see. 

Kansas City's Raphael Hotel: Circa 1940

In 1927, the Brothers McCanles of the McCanles Building Company purchased three large plots of land and engaged architect Alonzo Gentry to design a luxurious apartment building that would complement the Spanish and Mediterranean style of Country Club Plaza. The result was christened Villa Serena, a stunning Italian Renaissance Revival-style structure with at least one notable oddity: There was an 8' concrete wall constructed to divide the hotel's two wings as well as two separate entrances. Why? According to Midwestern lore, the McCanles brothers were so distrustful of one another that they wanted to make it easy to literally split the building in half should push come to shove.

Kansas City's Raphael Hotel: Renovated Lobby

In 1928, the Villa Serena Apartment opened, and for $70 a month, maid and laundry service were included in the rent. In the '60s and '70s the Villa saw hard times and fell into disrepair. In 1974 it was purchased and saved from destruction, completely renovated and turned into a smaller hotel. In 2005 it changed hands again and saw even more preservation. The Raphael was then named to the National Register of Historic Places.

Kansas City's Raphael Hotel: Chaz on the Plaza

Located in the basement of the building, Chaz on the Plaza, the hotel's restaurant and lounge, was a beauty salon from 1935 to 1974 when the building was the Villa Serena Apartments. Legend has it that a young girl once had her hair styled there for her prom and then returned to the restaurant years later where she had her first date with the man who became her husband.

Kansas City's Raphael Hotel: Art Deco Detail

We love all the detail and attention that went into the hotel's renovation, like the art deco-inspired flourishes painted outside one of the suite's front doors.

Kansas City's Raphael Hotel: Presidential Bedroom

Before this room played host to the likes of Carol Burnett, Kanye West, Bill Cosby, Caroline Kennedy, Bernadette Peters, Rachel Ray, Giada DiLaurentis or Frank Zappa, someone called it home sweet home.

Kansas City's Raphael Hotel: Queen Suite

The original construction cost of Villa Serena was $600,000, approximately $8 million today.

Kansas City's Raphael Hotel: King Suite

What was once a Kansas City apartment building is now one of the most celebrated boutique hotels in the Midwest. This is one of the king bedroom suites.