Many UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the world have been transformed into luxury hotels. And Spain is about to get it’s very own luxury hotel built on a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Limited Edition Hotels announced his company’s newest hotel Son Bunyola Hotel. The hotel, slated to open in 2023, sits within the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Serra de Tramuntana mountains and is part of the 810-acre Son Bunyola Estate.
Dating back to the 15th century, the hotel will sustain some of its original features along with new luxurious additions like lounges, dining areas and swimming pools. The hotel will have a total of 28 rooms in addition to three stand-alone villas—Sa Terra Rotja, Sa Punta de S’Aguilla and Son Balagueret, located on the estate.
While we cannot wait for this luxurious abode to open its gates, here are some of the most prestigious hotels around the world, also built within UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Airelles Château de Versailles is a beautifully restored boutique hotel and the first to be built on the grounds of France’s Palace of Versailles. Although the palace was originally built in the 1680s for the Duke de Beauvilliers, it stood as a hunting lodge built by Louis XIII during the early 1620s. Despite all the renovations over the years, the palace maintains its regal looks with period-appropriate decor and design. The 14-room palace hotel is laden with portraits, chandeliers, floral fabrics, gilded wall panels, parquet floors and marble fireplaces. An additional offering for guests includes private access to the palace even before and after visiting hours.
Another beautifully restored 18th-century property, Château d’Artigny was initially built as a fortress for safekeeping during the war. Disapproving of its original build, the new owner François Coty had it rebuilt in 1912 as a château to model the Château de Champlâtreux in the Val d’Oise. Going through many interested buyers, the château was eventually bought by René Traversac, founder of the Grandes Etapes Françaises. The château was redesigned as a luxury hotel, which opened its doors on March 27, 1961. The interiors were greatly inspired by the Palace of Versailles, with a glamorous 1930s vibe. Each of the 56 rooms are spaciously decorated with antique furniture, chandeliers, and fireplaces, wrapped in Toile de Jouy papered walls.
One of the grandest hotels in North America, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is one of Canada’s most celebrated historic landmarks. Built in the late 17th century, the chateau served as the seat of colonial French power during the Seven Years’ War. It was bought by the Canadian Pacific Railroad Company in 1893 which commissioned the construction of the hotel. The blueprint for the hotel was designed by American architect Bruce Price who drew inspiration from French castles. The hotel eventually opened in 1983 and became an instant attraction. Even today, the hotel is one of the most photographed hotels in the world.
One of the oldest properties on this list, Hotel Dukes’ Palace was the former residence of the Burgundian aristocracy. This magnificent castle-style hotel is among the largest 5-star hotels in Belgium, while also being the only 5-star hotel in Bruges. The hotel was originally built in 1429 for the Duke of Burgundy, Philip III. During its existence, the castle served as a private residence and later on as a convent before being transformed into a luxury hotel in the 1880s. Blending modern comforts with historic legacy, the hotel, although refurbished, maintains its original neo-gothic style with stained glass windows and stucco ceilings. Each of the 110 rooms are individually designed, with unique character, with antique furniture and decor, lavish silk fabrics and a grand fireplace.
La Sultana Marrakech has been standing since the 16th century when it was under the possession of the Saadian rulers. After them, it went to the Alaouite dynasty in the 18th century. Throughout its ownership, the building saw many renovations in the form of restorations and dismantling of the original structure such as the walled Saadian tombs built in the 1600s. These were a secret for hundreds of years and were discovered only in 1917. The tombs are visible today from the grand rooftop of La Sultana Marrakech. The La Sultana Marrakech building was handed down to Caïd Azzi Boujemaa, a former palace worker, whose son restored most of the original work. The palace eventually became a hotel in 2001, in partnership with the Historical Monuments Organisation.
A boutique hotel built on the Amalfi Coast, Monastero Santa Rosa was a 17th-century Dominican monastery. Part of the hotel’s name, Santa Rosa comes from a dessert baked by the sisters of the monastery. The shell-shaped, filled pastry called sfogliatelle was popular during the time of the convent and came to be known as Santa Rosa. The original building was reduced to ruins until it was recovered by Sister Rosa Pandolfi, of the noble family Pontone di Scala. The construction of the monastery was completed in 1681. It was transformed into a hotel much later in 1924 after being purchased by Roman hotelier Mr Marcucci. Well versed with the history of the property, Marcucci ensured that the hotel maintained its authentic simplicity with original architectural details, enhanced with modern comforts.
A historic luxury hotel in Budapest, The Matild Palace Hotel opened in July, last summer. The palace was originally built in the 19th century, an era known as the Belle Époque era which translates to “the beautiful age”. This was because the 19th century saw a renaissance in French architecture during that time. And so the Matlid Palaca was an attempt by Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to partake in the prominent renaissance of the Belle Époque era. She envisioned twin palaces near the Elisabeth Bridge which linked the Buda and Pest sides of the Danube River. The project was commissioned to two of the most prominent architects of that era, Korb and Giergl. The duo envisioned neo-baroque palaces that would serve as the gateway to the Elisabeth Bridge. The site is now one of the best luxury hotels of 2021, and the city’s first Luxury Collection Hotel owned by Marriott.