While we’re not exactly able to hop on a plane and jet off to a luxurious resort abroad, there are plenty of ways to emulate that premium vacation experience domestically. In fact, a summertime road trip is almost a right of passage—the slow form of travel allows you to really take in your surroundings and appreciate the simpler things in life… but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on luxury. Here's a round-up of some of the most storied luxury hotels across North America—from spending the night in a former prison cell in Boston to rubbing shoulders with celebrities in Beverly Hills, these historic five star accommodations are well worth planning a road trip around.
The Peabody Memphis
The Peabody Memphis is a luxury hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, best known for its “Peabody Ducks” that live on the property’s roof and make a daily trek through the lobby everyday. That said, don’t let its quirky residents fool you: this luxe hotel calls on Italian Renaissance themes that live and breathe luxury; from the grand lobby and multiple ballrooms all the way down to the standard “Romeo and Juliet Suites.”
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac
If you’ve found yourself north of the border, do yourself a solid and consider checking into the oldest luxury hotel in North America. Tucked into the very center of Quebec City, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac dates all the way back to December of 1893, when it was constructed to serve as a retreat for commuters crossing Canada on the Canadian Pacific Railway company. Today, the storied building serves as a luxurious escape in the middle of Quebec’s capital city complete with premium bars, restaurants, and lounges, including a weekly afternoon tea service. The Châteauesque-styled building continues to be the most photographed hotel in the world due to its striking resemblance to the medieval chateaus found throughout France's Loire Valley.
The Liberty Hotel Boston
Tucked into the charming Beacon Hill neighborhood, Boston’s historic The Liberty is a former 1800’s jail-turned-luxury-hotel that may not be for the weak of heart. While the luxury hotel oozes everything you’d expect from a five star property, the hotel’s renovations were done explicitly as an ode to the storied prison—including barred windows, skeleton key motifs, and even alleged reports of hauntings.
The Beverly Hills Hotel
Located on Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills, this premium luxury escape has been a favorite for many prominent California luminaries since its inception over a hundred years ago—from high ranking officials to reality television maven—and for good reason. The colorful property boasts 210 guest rooms (including 23 bungalow suites) that are reminisce of old Hollywood without sacrificing modern luxuries. The property is also home to a variety of infamous restaurants and bars, including the iconic Polo Lounge and Bar Nineteen12.
The Ritz-Carlton New York
The first Ritz-Carlton in North America (with the Ritz-Carlton Montreal a close second), should need no real introduction. Considered the pinnacle of luxury, this recently reimagined property focuses on contemporary, townhouse-inspired luxury. The property is conveniently set alongside Central Park, allowing for every room and suite either a glimmering city view or a peek at the park below.
Fairmont Le Château Laurier
Fairmont Le Château Laurier in Ottawa, Canada has played home to countless influential public figures since its inception over a hundred years ago. Mere steps from Canada’s parliament building, the Châteauesque property is located directly above the Rideau Canal locks overlooking the Ottawa River, Major's Hill Park, and the quaint downtown core below. Known as Ottawa's Castle, this charming property boasts 429 guestrooms, an Empire-style ballroom, and three fine dining restaurants.
Omni Homestead Resort
Carefully tucked in the middle of the Allegheny Mountains, this luxury resort in Hot Springs, Virginia has come to be known for its exquisite on-site spa and championship golf courses, making it the perfect staycation for anyone looking for a little rest and relaxation. The Omni Homestead Resort is a member of Historic Hotels of America and has an impressive history that spans over two and a half centuries.
InterContinental the Willard Washington D.C.
One of the oldest hotels located in Washington D.C., the Willard InterContinental was originally founded in 1847 by Henry Willard and has served as a retreat for prominent guests like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama, Abraham Lincoln, and more. Unfortunately, the hotel has a bit of an unlucky past, having been through a major fire in 1922 and a forced closure from 1968 to 1986. That said, the property today holds its AAA four diamond rating thanks to its distinguished guest services, including a decadent spa and salon and elegant French dining options.
Arguably the most architecturally stunning hotels in Delaware, Hotel duPont features a historic elegance that just can’t be replicated in modern and contemporary buildings. Originally built as a high rise to house the offices of DuPont, the storied property added an opera house before converting part of the property into the Hotel duPont in 1908. The massive property is tucked into the well-loved Brandywine Valley which offers a picturesque, small town vibe without sacrificing the conveniences of a city staycation.
The Bellevue Hotel
Planning for a road trip through Pennsylvania? Be sure to give yourself time to detour to the historic The Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. Currently managed by Hyatt, this 1902-era institution is best known for its collection of luxury shops, salon and spa, and tastefully executed themes—including costume design sketches from the archives of the opera and other distinctly Philadelphia artifacts.