Luxury Hotels That Have a Whole Lotta History

Luxury Hotels That Have a Whole Lotta History

While we can’t predict the future, we can always count on the past to provide us with plenty of stories throughout the years. Here are some historical travel tales involving everything from pirates to Grace Kelly...

Fregate Island Private — Pirates

The Seychelles were discovered 300 years ago, and there is plenty of history surrounding the 115 paradise islands. In the 17th century, pirates were among the first inhabitants, using islands like Fregate as a base for attacks against the British East India Company.

The Seychelles have seen a host of settlers, and in the 18th century, it became a French colony. The Seychelles changed hands several times between the French and British before gaining independence in 1976. Throughout its history, the Seychelles has become home to people from all continents and is today famous for their blend of cultural backgrounds and for the warm welcome extended to guests from around the world.

Fregate Island Private is a unique destination where one can experience the best the Seychelles has to offer. The name recalls legends of long-lost treasure chests buried on the island, but today Fregate Island Private a conservation hideaway that is unique in its own right.

Nelson Mandela Suite

Saxon — Nelson Mandela Connection

For travelers with a passion for history, the Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa is the place to explore. Located in Johannesburg, the Saxon has played a part in the rich and transformational history of South Africa, as the property was home to Nelson Mandela for six months while he edited his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom. The significant suite occupied by the beloved elder statesman was later named the Nelson Mandela Platinum Suite in his honor. Mandela’s presence and legacy are not only celebrated at the Saxon hotel, but also all throughout Johannesburg with namesake museums, statues, landmarks and infrastructures.

bushman experience botswana

Natural Selection — Makgadikgadi, Botswana: Birth of Mankind

In 2019, scientists published a study pinpointing the birth of mankind to the Makgadikgadi-Okavango wetland in Botswana when it was once an ancient super lake that covered up most of the country 200,00 years ago. Today this region is now known as the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, a haunting and intriguing place where the shimmering, salt-baked landscape is an iconic and otherworldly destination. Safari and ecotourism company, Natural Selection, is the only safari offering accommodations to explore this mysterious area of the world. Within the Makgadikgadi, Natural Selection’s properties include Camp Kalahari, San Camp, and Jack’s Camp. At these camps guests can enjoy a number of activities including walks with the Bushmen, game drives to see special desert-adapted species, quad bike expeditions to remote archeological sites, horseback riding excursions on the pans, habituated meerkat interactions, and more.

Crillon le Brave

Crillon Le Brave, Provence, France — Historic Architecture

With fields of lavender, hillside olive groves, bright passageways between historic stone corridors, Provence, France seems like a place that that can only be found in a storybook or textbook. Provence is a charming and quaint region full of history as evidenced by remains of Roman, Byzantine, Medieval and Renaissance structures, which are all incorporated into the modern construction of its upscale and lovely towns. Hotel Crillon Le Brave, a Maisons Pariente property, is the ultimate hideaway for travelers looking to immerse themselves in exquisite, authentic and historical settings. Against a backdrop of hypnotically beautiful landscapes sits a wonderful labyrinth of 17th and 18th century buildings, where Crillon Le Brave literally merges with the landscape. The hotel consists of around ten ancient Génoise-tiled houses, and in the middle stands an age-old olive tree that proudly stands guard of the property. The hotel also includes a dramatic spa set in a former 18th century vaulted stone sable. Crillon Le Brave’s friendly concierge can also assist in arranging experiences to explore the dramatic region and help guests learn about the history and culture of Provence.

Carlton Hotel St. Moritz

Carlton Hotel St. Moritz — Tsar Connection

Situated in St. Moritz, one of the most well-known ski resorts in the world, the Carlton Hotel St. Moritz is a classic example of the destination’s renowned elegance and exclusivity. Having opened in 1913, the property is one of the Big Five hotels in St. Moritz, considerably contributing to the area's reputation of being a glamorous holiday resort. Not only did the Carlton help establish the Alpine winter tourism industry, but it is also rumored to have been the summer home of a Russian Tsar. The 107-year-old property suggests truth to the rumors as a collection of traditional Russian fabrics were found in the attic during the hotel’s 2007 refurbishment and served as the inspiration behind each individual suite, making no two suites the same.

Grace yacht

Quasar Expeditions — M/Y Grace & Grace Kelly

A leader in experiential travel around South America, Quasar Expeditions offers cruises around the Galapagos islands on their two yachts, one of which, the M/Y Grace, has a rich history. After years of being a privately-owned vessel in the 1920s and 1930s, the M/Y Grace was used by the British Royal Navy as a hospital during World War II. The yacht was returned to its owner following the war and, in the 1950s, was purchased by Aristotle Onnasis and gifted to Prince Rainier and Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco for their honeymoon. The boat went on to host the couple and their many illustrious guests over the years, including Winston Churchill. The yacht was sold again in the late 1950s and changed hands three more times before being bought by Quasar in 2007 to operate in the Galapagos Islands. After 10 years of Galapagos cruising, the M/Y Grace was refurbished with a special Grace Kelly Suite for guests to enjoy sailing like royalty.

Majestic Malacca

Majestic Malacca — Trade Hub

A restored 1920s Straits Settlement mansion complete with its original porcelain tile flooring and teak fittings, the Majestic Malacca provides a glimpse into the splendid saga of an extraordinary empire. Located on the banks of the small fishing village of Malacca, the Majestic is an integral part of the area's colorful history of being a commercial hub for the trade of Eastern treasures, including silk and porcelain from China, textiles from India, spices from the Moluccas, and more. Today, the property has been carefully extended to house guest rooms and suites as well as an award-winning spa that is a reflection of that era, melding luxury, modernity and tradition.