Travelling has been around since the very first humans existed, and so has been their need to lodge themselves. The earliest hospitality establishment dates back to 69 BCE in Pompeii. The hotels started sprouting all the way back to ever recorded history, but there are only few that have lasted till date. The good news is that few of them are quite many for us to visit in a life time. These hotels aren’t only great place to visit, but also hold a historic importance. Imagine a staying in a hotel that has been running for last 1000 years, and you might be sharing the beds or rooms once used by knights, kings, samurais. We know that nothing piques travellers more than history, so here we are with a list of some of oldest running hotels where you can check in.
NishiyamaOnsenKeiunkan (Est. 705) (Yamanashi, Japan) – It was built in the Keiun era and it where it gets its name from. It also recognized by Guinness World Records for being the oldest hotel. It is still run by the 52nd generation of Mahito family. It is popular for its on-site traditional hot springs. It was frequently visited by the Samurais and Shoguns back then.
Hoshi ryokan (Est. 718) (Komatsu, Japan) – As per Guinness World Records it is World’s second oldest hotel. Its origin started with dream message to Buddhist monk by mountain deity. Hot springs around it are blessed to cure injuries and diseases. Hoshi family has been running it since then.
ZumRotenBaeren (Est. 1120) (Freiburg, Germany) – It claims to be the oldest hotel in Germany. The foundations of this hotel dates back to 12th century when it was used as an inn. It has records from 14th century of housekeeper named Johann Bienger. History cites that even Marie Antoinette had stayed in this hotel while on her way to Versailles.
The Old Bell (Est. 1135) (Hurley, UK) – This hotel too claims to be the oldest in Britain. The oldest vsection of hotel was once guest place for town’s Benedictine Priory. This hotel has served many notable guests in its lifetime like Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and Cary Grant.
Hotel Interlaken (Est. 1323) (Interlaken, Switzerland) – It is one of the oldest hotels in Switzerland, and was built as a cloister guest house. For long it also has served as administrative centre of BernerOberland, with court house in one of the rooms. In 15th century it received its own coat of arms.
Pilgrim Haus (Est. 1304) (Soest, Germany) – It was founded by the Council of the city of Soest for the followers of Saint James on their way to Santiago de Compostella. On July 25th it hosts a special feast in honor of Saint James. Currently it is run by the Beck family after taking over in 2008.
OrsoGrigio (Est. 1300) (San Candido, Italy) – It was built when King Albrecht granted locals to build a market and thus inns were opened for merchants. The history of its ownership has records only after 15th century with first being Conrad Maus. Currently it is run by continuous ninth generation of the Ladinser family.
Angel and Royal Hotel (Est. 1203) (Grantham, UK) – This hotel too claims to be oldest one in Britain. It was founded by the knights, and was earlier known as Angel Inn. It was run by Knights till the Sheriff of Lincolnshire took over. Royal got added to its name back in 19tyh century after a visit from Prince of Wales.
Maids Head Hotel (Est. 1090) (Norwich, UK) – It claims to be the oldest hotel in Britain. It sits on the site of original palace of first Norman Bishop of Norwich. It has a popular wood panelled oak room dating back from 15th century, and a bar dating back to 16th century.
Sanct Peter (Est. 1246) (Cologne, Germany) – The building dates back to 600 but it didn’t became an inn until 13th century when it became part of cathedral court. It is located in close proximity to vineyards of the Ahr red wine area. Travellers to the cathedral often stayed here.
Al Cappello Rosso (Est. 1375) (Bologna, Italy) – It was built to protect Jews from persecution just outside the city’s walls. Travelling Jews were required by law to stay here that too only up to 3 days. Currently the hotel boasts of having an ultra-modern infrastructure and themes rooms like that of American Icon Suite and Typewriter room.
Gastagwirt (Est. 1380) (Eugendorf, Austria) – It was built with noble intentions to provide travellers with a place they can rest. It is located on an important trade route. When built it was larger, but the owner lost half of property playing cards. The rooms are simpler, food good, and hospitality warm.
Hotel Roter Hahn (Est. 1380) (Rothenburg, Germany) – It was formerly used as a cosy prison for knights, and noblemen with debt to clear. Gustav Adolph, the King of Sweden has stayed here twice, along with many other noblemen and merchants. The legends say that owner of this hotel saved the city from Thirty Years War, by drinking a gallon of wine in an hour.
Goldener Adler (Est. 1390) (Innsbruck, Austria) – It has been choice of stay for legendary musicians over the period of time with likes of Von Trapps, Mozart and Goethe. Almost every nobleman and kings of Austria had a stay registered in this hotel. History of this hotel reflects through thick walls, timber ceilings, and stained glass.
Hotel Stein (Est. 1399) (Salzburg, Austria) – It is popular for its huge castle like size, but had humble beginnings as a tavern and inn. In 16th century it also started brewing beer and became popular place to hangout. Post World War 2 it was occupied by American troops shortly. Currently it is revamped into quite a luxurious hotel.
With age, comes wisdom. With travel, comes understanding!