PHOTO: The new Sagamore Pendry Baltimore has opened on the site of Baltimore's Recreation Pier. (Photo via Flickr/MarylandGovPics)
We’re not sure if the old saying “what’s old is new again” still holds true, but we can’t help but notice a great number of hotels are springing up in historic locations. And we’re fascinated by these locales.
We love the developers who choose to pay homage to a city’s history and we love the idea of sleeping with the ghosts of locations that were never intended to be accommodations.
A few new hotels in historic buildings have recently opened their doors and all of them have us updating our travel to do list. Among them:
Life Hotel, New York City
As fans of the written word, we can’t help our fascination with walking in the footsteps of one of America’s most iconic publications, Life magazine. The building that housed the iconic magazine, located in New York City’s Nomad neighborhood, is now the home of Life Hotel.
Especially enticing is the fact that many of the magazine’s writers and artists, including Norman Rockwell, lived upstairs from the magazine, so an overnight there should provide plenty of literary and artistic inspiration. Or for a more practical experience, head to the bar, which was once a speakeasy where Life staffers used to imbibe.
READ MORE: Whisk Away to Weekend Getaways at Historic Hotels
The 98-room property retains much of the spirit of the original building, built in 1893, including wrought iron bed frames, brass fixtures, and Carrera marble countertop bathroom vanities, while also incorporating such modern touches as rain showerheads and other contemporary furnishings.
Sagamore Pendry Baltimore
Built on top of the 1914 building that is Baltimore’s historic Recreation Pier, Sagamore Pendry Baltimore pays homage to a time when the harbor was one of America’s busiest points of entry. The nautical theme is carried through the property, including the guest rooms, which were designed to evoke the feeling of being in a captain’s berth and are outfitted with rich mahogany cabinetry and nautical brass details.
Don’t miss the on-site whiskey bar, The Cannon Room. The room displays an actual cannon, which was unearthed during the pier’s reconstruction. Another nod to history is a hotel wall that contains the lyrics of the Star Spangled Banner, which was written nearby. Also on site are large murals depicting the war of 1812 and the British bombardment of Fort McHenry which inspired the National Anthem.
READ MORE: 4 Ways to Experience Edgar Allen Poe in Baltimore
This is the second property for the ultra-luxurious Pendry Hotels, a new brand by Montage International. The property opened March 25 in the Fell’s Point neighborhood, which has been recognized as one of the best-preserved historic areas in the country.
The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens, St. Augustine
There’s plenty of history to be found in America’s oldest city, St. Augustine, and much of it is chronicled at the new Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens. The site was once the Dow Museum of Historic Houses and each of the nine houses on the site represent a different story, which to quote the property owners, cast “a magical spell on historians, storytellers and modern-day explorers.”
The site’s original owner, Kenneth Worcester Dow purchased the first home, the oldest on that block, in the 1930s. By the 1950s, he had accumulated all nine houses on the block. Dow was an avid collector—inspiring the inn’s name—and in 1989, he donated his massive collection to the Museum of Arts and Sciences. After an 11-year restoration, the facility opened as the Dow Museum of Historic Houses in 2000.
The site’s Star Building, built in 1899, once served as a general store, a residence, a kindergarten, a toy story and a millinery. Today, it is the inn’s entrance lobby. For history lovers, the Murat House is one of the oldest surviving Colonial buildings in St. Augustine and is named after its most famous occupant, Prince Achille Murat, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte.
For literary fans, don’t miss Howells House, which dates back to 1909 and was named after American author and editor, William Dean Howells, who entertained such illustrious guests as Mark Twain and Sinclair Lewis there.