We’d all love to live in a historic mansion, but that’s probably not a reality for most. You can pretend for a weekend, though, with a stay in one of these incredible mansion hotels.
The Chanler: Newport, Rhode Island
The Chanler emerged in 1865 as a $30,000 summer “cottage” for New York Congressman John Winthrop Chanler and his wife. It was the first mansion built on Newport’s famous Cliff Walk, and was used as a school, Naval housing, and a museum before being turned into a hotel. In 2000, The Chanler underwent a three-year renovation and refurbishment that turned it into the 20-room luxury hotel that you can stay in today.
Wentworth Mansion: Charleston, South Carolina
Successful cotton merchant Francis Silas Rodgers built his mansion in 1886 in the Second Empire style, with hand-carved marble fireplaces, custom-made crystal chandeliers, and opulent stained glass windows. In 1998, the Wentworth underwent an 18-month restoration that modernized the building (and thankfully added central air conditioning) but still preserved most of the original features of the mansion hotel. Each of the Wentworth’s 21 guest rooms feature historic touches like antique furnishings or an original fireplace, so guests can truly get a sense of the past while staying here.
The Ivy Hotel: Baltimore, Maryland
Commissioned in 1889 by banker and industrialist John Gilman, the Ivy was designed to be both a stately and impressive mansion, but also a cozy home with fireplaces and inviting rooms. The Ivy passed through a handful of owners before being gifted to the Baltimore Parks and Recreations Department, and eventually became one of Baltimore’s most famous mansion hotels. After undergoing luxurious updates in 2016, it became the first Relais & Châteaux property in Maryland. Today, you can book one of 18 uniquely designed guest rooms and suites—all of which include breakfast, unlimited access to the Mansion Bar, afternoon tea service, and car service anywhere within the city limits.
Castle Hill Resort and Spa: Proctersville, Vermont
While it’s not a castle, Castle Hill Resort and Spa will still remind you of old-world Europe, as it was built in 1905 by European craftsmen. Allen Miller Fletcher, the Governor of Vermont from 1912-1915, had this summer home built out of hand-carved California redwood and locally sourced gneiss stone. Fletcher spared no expense, and even hired Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. to design the property’s landscaping. Today, the mansion has been preserved and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America.
Grace Vanderbilt: Newport, Rhode Island
The Vanderbilt name is a synonym for wealth, so it’s no surprise that the family had mansions in Newport. Built for Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt in 1909, this vintage mansion has been recommissioned as a 33-room hotel in the heart of Newport. Today, guests at the Grace Vanderbilt can customize their entire stay—choosing everything from their room fragrance to the toiletries they’d like to have stocked.
Glenmere Mansion: Hudson Valley, New York
Once a private Gilded Age country mansion in the Hudson Valley, the Glenmere has since been revamped into a luxury boutique hotel. The mansion hotel features 18 guest accommodations, two restaurants, and a full-service spa with a hammam-style bath house—all less than 50 miles away from New York City.
Melrose Mansion: New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a prime spot for checking out historic mansions, but there are only a few that you can actually overnight in (unless you have some very wealthy friends). Melrose Mansion is a gorgeous property that’s been turned into a small luxury hotel—yet still maintains its sense of history, and certainly has a good story to tell. Built as a single-family home for a wealthy merchant in 1885 and sold in 1900s, it’s rumored that the mansion served as a secret bordello from around 1917-1960s. Melrose Mansion was then bought by a burlesque performer and her husband and turned into apartments for dancers. In 2011, the house was eventually purchased and renovated into the luxury hotel that it is today.
The Hayes Mansion: San Jose, California
After this family-owned original Queen Anne-style home burned down in 1899, they built the 41,000 square-foot Mediterranean Villa Hayes Mansion as a replacement. The estate was completely self-sustaining at the time, with its own power plant, post office, railroad station, and chapel. The property was sold in the 1950s, and in 1994 it was refurbished into an environmentally friendly luxury hotel.
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Caroline Morse Teel wants to stay in all of these mansion hotels. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for photos from around the world.