the shelbourne hotel london

In Dublin, sleep where royalty have stayed. (Photo: Marriott International)

Culture + Style

Past Meets Present at These 6 Hotels with Extraordinary Histories

Whether it’s the former site of Incan ruins, or a space that once housed royalty and shaped the world’s geo-political landscape, you don’t have to be a history buff to be fascinated with a hotel’s past. Enter, these six properties with incredible backstories, sure to wow every type of traveler.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection

The Shelbourne, Autograph Collection
Tip back pints in the historic Horseshoe Bar. (Photo: Marriott International)

The distinctive redbrick Shelbourne has stood proudly in central Dublin for almost 200 years. In good times, it’s hosted royalty, including Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco, and in trying times, the British army requisitioned it.

But it’s best known for creativity and new beginnings: Ireland’s leaders drafted the nation’s constitution here, and writers, poets and musicians still flock to the property. Tip back pints alongside them at the historic Horseshoe Bar.

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

sheraton maui cliff diver
Watch a traditional cliff-diving ceremony at the Sheraton Maui. (Photo: Marriott International)

Nestled between a pristine beach and an outcropping of volcanic rock cliffs extending over and into the ocean, this resort sits on the native Hawaiian sacred site, “Pu’u Keka’a.” Here, an 18th-century king of Maui and Oahu popularized cliff diving to build warriors’ courage before battle.

Today, in the hotel’s daily sunset ritual, a diver bounds barefoot over the rocks — lighting torches as he ascends — offers prayers to his ancestors, then gracefully plunges into the ocean, continuing the ancient tradition.

JW Marriott El Convento Cusco

JW Cusco
The JW Marriott Cusco brings Peruvian history to life. (Photo: Marriott International)

The layers of history preserved in this hotel inform its design and reverent spirit. Originally the site of an ancient Incan structure, it became a convent during the 16th century, then eventually housed a chocolate factory.

Restored and updated, stone walls from the convent’s cloister are visible throughout the property and two exhibition halls display Incan artifacts uncovered during onsite excavations.

W Los Angeles –West Beverly Hills

w los angeles pool
Make a splash at the W Los Angeles. (Photo: Marriott International)

For travelers intent on celebrity spotting in Beverly Hills, there’s one location where screen-idol sightings are nearly always assured: W Los Angeles, which itself is a star of film and television.

Lounge by the shell-shaped pool on the WET Deck and recreate scenes from “Pretty Woman” and “Entourage,which shot key scenes throughout the property, along with other favorites like “90210” and “New Girl.”

The Old Clare Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels™

The Old Clare Hotel, a Member of Design Hotels™
Feel the Victorian-era vibes at The Old Clare. (Photo: Marriott International)

What happens when you combine a former pub and Victorian-era brewery in the heart of Sydney with a corner Art Deco hotel?

The industrial-chic Old Clare is the result, with hip, loft-like rooms whose exposed brick, wooden beams and timber paneling from the original Carlton and United Brewery surround oversized windows.

During renovation, architects covered the alley that once separated the brewery from the hotel and transformed it into the hotel’s lobby.

Marriott Mena House, Cairo

mena house cairo views of pyramids
You’ll be all but a stone’s throw from Cairo’s pyramids. (Photo: Marriott International)

With views of the Giza pyramids, this property sits at history’s crossroads. Originally a hunting lodge, by 1890 the building transformed into a luxury hotel featuring Egypt’s first swimming pool (a major perk in desert heat).

During World Wars I and II, Australian troops billeted onsite, and in 1977 world leaders met here to hammer out the Camp David Accords. Your stay places you in good company: notable past guests included Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie.