Europe is known for its rich history with cities and towns dating back as far as 6000 B.C. Throughout the ages, hostels, inns, and boarding houses of these eras have stood the test of time. Here is a glimpse at some which still accommodate travelers today.
Hostal dos Reis Catolicos – Santiago de Compostela a Coruna, Spain
Constructed by the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabel in 1486, this hotel is the oldest and longest running in the world. It began as a Royal Hospital and through the years became the “most beautiful hotel” in Europe. Today it is home to the finest restaurant in Spain, Dos Reis, which is located in a medieval chamber of the building and was once the hospitals’ morgue. This elaborate structure took ten years to complete and has a capacity for 262 guests in its luxurious period themed rooms.
Il Sogno Di Giulietta – Verona, Italy
At the heart of one of the most romantic city on earth you will find il Sogno di Giulietta in the courtyard of Juliet’s home. Shakespeare scripted the timeless classic, Romeo and Juliet, about Juliet’s balcony here which can be viewed from many of the hotel’s luxury rooms. The hotel occupies an authentic 14th century dwelling adjoining Casa De Giulietta. Each of the 16 individually styled rooms is appropriately named with a Shakespearian quote.
The Balmoral – Edinburgh, Scotland
Originally opened as The North British Station Hotel in 1902, the building was the only residential structure on the south side of Prince St. The iconic clock at the center of the hotel’s tower was set three minutes fast so that passengers would not miss their trains. Today the clock remains 3 minutes fast every day of the year with the exception of New Year’s Eve. Over the last century, this hotel has brewed and bottled its own whiskey, wine, and port and accommodated celebrity guests such as: Sophia Loren, Liz Taylor, and Paul McCartney. The building changed hands in 1983 then closed in 1988 to reopen in 1991 as The Balmoral.
Cour Du Corbeau – Strasbourg, France
Known as one of the oldest hotels in all of Europe, the Cour Du
Corbeau is easily recognized by its rare Renaissance architecture with exposed
oak beams throughout. In 1528 the hotel opened and remained the “Zum Rappen” for three centuries, housing
numerous dukes, emporers, generals, and marshalls. From 1852-1930 the buildings
were owned and operated by a glassmaker and a braid maker who used the rooms as
lodging for their employees. The buildings were deemed a historic monument in
1930 and 76 years later received a makeover to the authentic facade before
opening as the Cour Du Corbeau in 2009.
Pialtus-Kulm – St Moritz, Switzerland
The Pialtus-Kulm Hotel holds the titles of the first hotel in St. Moritz, the birthplace of modern winter sports, and the first room in Switzerland to be illuminated by electricity. The hotel’s legacy all began with the founder winning a bet. The founder was entertaining four travelers and boasted that St. Moritz was “paradise on earth” through the winter months. He offered for them to return in December to see for themselves and if they did not enjoy their stay he would pay their travel expenses. Legend has it, they returned in December and did not leave until spring. Word spread, winter tourism launched, creative guests invented various snow activities, Winter Olympic games opened here in 1928 and 1948, and the rest is history.