New Hotels Inside Historic Buildings

By Condé Nast Traveler - 2013-05-07T15:50:42Z

Photograph via Conde Nast Traveler

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Cafe Royal

London

Founded in 1865, the Café Royal—where Oscar Wilde imbibed absinthe and was so transported he mistook its chairs for tulips—is now the centerpiece of a handsome hotel, many of its features conservation protected. Ground-floor drinking and dining establishments, open to the public, include the handsome green bar (its antique fountains no longer dispense absinthe), a café, and an Art Deco restaurant with cold lighting but warm service. The ornate-ceilinged upstairs dining room is reserved for club members and hotel guests. Bibulous excesses can be worked off in the 59-foot pool or steamed and pummeled away in the spa.

The look: Lavishly gilded rococo theatrics in the historic rooms, modern minimalism in others. Architects have brought the Georgian exterior inside by facing the guest room walls with large rectangles of pale Portland stone, perfectly showcased by state-of-the-art lighting. Read more.

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