The Marmorosch Bucharest, Autograph Collection; Bucharest, Romania

Sip a cocktail in the The Marmorosch Bucharest, Autograph Collection’s speakeasy-style bar. (Photo: Marriott International)

Culture + Style

They’re So Money: How 5 Banks-Turned-Hotels Elevate Design

Around the globe, buildings that formerly served as banks are as rich in history as they are in design credentials. Mostly constructed around the late 19th and early 20th centuries, they tend to showcase art deco, art nouveau and neoclassical architecture melded with unique decor details, cementing them as one-of-a-kind hotels.

Plus, those vast vaults and opulent foyers can easily be reimagined as restaurants or event spaces. Here are five former banks enjoying new lives as extra-special places to stay.

The Marmorosch Bucharest, Autograph Collection; Bucharest, Romania

This 19th-century building in which The Marmorosch Bucharest, Autograph Collection now resides once housed Banca Marmorosch Blank, one of the most influential banks in Romania’s history. The carefully refurbished building, inspired by the belle epoque, contains original art nouveau and art deco design elements, such as sculpted columns and large arched windows, which are perfectly balanced by clean, contemporary interiors.

Grab a drink in the hotel’s speakeasy bar, which is situated in an old bank vault, or dine at the in-house restaurant, which focuses on traditional French-Romanian cuisine with a contemporary twist. You can even purchase your own personalized Marmorosch gold coin as a special souvenir.

Orientbank Hotel Istanbul, Autograph Collection; Istanbul, Turkey

Visit the Orientbank Hotel’s viewing terrace. (Photo: Marriott International)

Originally designed in 1912 as the Deutsche Orientbank, the striking building that today houses the Orientbank Hotel Istanbul, Autograph Collection is the creation of internationally renowned Prussian architect August Jasmund, who served the Ottoman court.

Its distinctive lead-gray roof makes for a standout landmark in central Istanbul, and the hotel features a viewing terrace where you can look out over the city’s famous skyline. The historic interiors, such as the curved staircases and geometric-patterned mirrors, have a distinct art deco feel to them, and this theme is continued with a fun 1920s-style in-house jazz bar.

Metropolitan at the 9, Autograph Collection; Cleveland, Ohio

Metropolitan at the 9
Sip a drink in a centuries-old bank vault which has been converted into an artisan cocktail bar. (Photo: Marriott International)

Housed in a towering, 1960s-era bank building, Metropolitan at the 9, Autograph Collection in downtown Cleveland features a wealth of luxurious on-site amenities, including a ballroom, theater, rooftop lounge and even an indoor dog park.

Centuries-old bank vaults have been converted into an artisan cocktail bar where visitors can step through the original circular metal doors that once kept the space sealed off before enjoying drinks and small plates. Or if you fancy some fresh air, visit the rooftop bar with views over Lake Erie.

Hotel ICON, Autograph Collection; Houston, Texas

hotel icon
View the the original bank vault in the hotel lobby. (Photo: Marriott International)

Nestled in downtown Houston, the grand, 12-story Hotel ICON, Autograph Collection was once the city’s Union National Bank and one of the U.S.’s first-ever skyscrapers. Over the years it’s served as the offices of law firms, architects and even Texas’ first investment banking firm.

In the hotel lobby, the original bank vault is on full display, and the theme of commerce has been thoughtfully woven through all of the venue’s modern touches, with gold accents and luxurious fabrics gracing many of the interiors. It also features Grecian-inspired neoclassical architecture throughout, with grand columns gracing both the interior and exterior.

Elyton Hotel, Autograph Collection; Birmingham, Alabama

Elyton Hotel
Stay in one of the South’s most recognizable landmarks. (Photo: Marriott International)

Situated in Birmingham’s financial district, close to galleries, restaurants and boutiques, Elyton Hotel, Autograph Collection was once known as the Empire Building, one of the South’s most recognizable landmarks.

The hotel takes its current name from one of the city’s first entrepreneurs, who named the city Elyton a half century before it became known as Birmingham. This nod to history is a theme that runs throughout the hotel, which was built in 1909 when the city was one of the country’s main industrial and manufacturing hubs.

Neoclassical-inspired details, such as intricately carved busts and floral patterns, can be spotted both outside and in, and Southern hospitality can be enjoyed at both The Yard restaurant and Moonshine rooftop bar.