USA Today names top 10 historic hotels in the U.S.

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

From haunted hotels to beachfront properties and spas, this list has it all.

Ready for a classic American road trip? Staying at one of America’s historic hotels can compliment the experience by providing a unique stay at a property that doesn’t fit the standard hotel chain box, all while providing first-class amenities and charm.

USA Today readers chose these top hotels during an online poll. Some have appeared on the list in previous years though rankings have shuffled. The youngest hotel on this list is 91 years old. The oldest celebrates its 173-year anniversary this year.

Scroll down to see the winners.

No. 10 – The Langham, Huntington – Pasadena, California (1907)

The Langham, Huntington

Photo courtesy of The Langham, Huntington

The Langham, Huntington dates back to the Gilded Age, but its has generations of unique history, including a rough start – the original hotel property closed after just one season of service. Still, it lives on today, much refreshed and revived. The hotel sits in the Los Angeles metro but offered a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the crowd. Historical Property tours are offered daily at 2:00 p.m.

No. 9 – Congress Hall – Cape May, New Jersey (1879)

Congress Hall

Photo courtesy of Congress Hall

Named as America’s First Seaside Resort”, Congress Hall traces its roots back to the early 19th Century with the property starting as a boarding house in 1816. A fire destroyed that property, but the owners rebuilt. The new lodgings became a frequent destination for U.S. presidents including Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan. It was President Benjamin Harrison that made Congress Hall his “summer White House” and conducted the affairs of state from the hotel.

No. 8 – The Hermitage Hotel – Nashville, Tennessee (1910)

The Hermitage Hotel

Photo courtesy of The Hermitage Hotel

The Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville sits at the intersection of old meets new in the booming Southern town. The 122-room luxury hotel has played host to a long list of famous Americans including Babe Ruth, President John F. Kennedy, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash. The pet-friendly establishment has its huge painted glass lobby skylight as just one of its standout architectural features.

No. 7 – Grand Hotel – Mackinac Island, Michigan (1887)

Grand Hotel

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

Located on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, the elegant Grand Hotel is steeped in history and tradition. It’s home to the world’s longest porch, which comes fully stocked with rocking chairs, that allows for views of the Straits of Mackinac. No cars are allowed on the small island so you’ll take a ferry from the mainland then travel via horse-drawn carriage, bicycle, or on foot to the hotel.

No. 6 – Deer Path Inn – Lake Forest, Illinois (1929)

Deer Path Inn

Photo courtesy of Deer Path Inn

Halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago, on the Illinois side of the border, sits the Deer Path Inn, not too far from Lake Michigan. The design of the newly restored hotel is reminiscent of a 15th century Tudor mansion, complete with roaring fireplaces and English gardens. Guests can book afternoon tea or grab something stronger in the on-site pub.

No. 5 – The Francis House – Calistoga, California (1886)

The Francis House

Photo courtesy of The Francis House

The Francis House is unique, not just for Napa Valley, but also for a hotel. It boasts just five guest rooms and is the only stone building with authentic French Second Empire architecture in Napa County. It was shut in 1965 and remained vacant for 52 years until it was given a new life in 2018. The hotel is located near a number of tasting rooms.

No. 4 – Mission Inn Hotel & Spa – Riverside, California (1876)

Mission Inn Hotel & Spa​

Photo courtesy of Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, California is easy to overlook with all the hustle and bustle of the Los Angeles metro area. However, it stands worthy of consideration with spaces filled with fine art (it houses the oldest bell in Christendom, dating back to 1247), its link to Hollywood movie history (it’s been featured in numerous films), and ties to U.S. Presidents (Presidents Roosevelt, Taft, Hoover, Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush have all stayed there). The hotel also has an award-winning spa and breathtaking architecture, which help it stand out from the crowd.

No. 3 – Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa – Point Clear, Alabama (1847)

Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in Point Clear is part of the Autograph Collection of hotels. It sits just south of Mobile on Mobile Bay, right on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. The resort features two golf courses, a 20,000-square-foot spa, tennis courts, and white sand beaches.

No. 2 – Historic Hotel Bethlehem – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1922)

Historic Hotel Bethlehem

Photo courtesy of Historic Hotel Bethlehem

The Historic Hotel Bethlehem has only been around since 1922 but the tradition of hospitality began at the site of the current hotel in 1741. The historic accommodations recently added a 5,000-square-foot convention center. Each year, the town goes all-out during the Christmas season, but year-round, you’ll find that the Historic Hotel Bethlehem is celebrating its ghosts.

No. 1 – The Peabody Memphis – Memphis, Tennessee (1869)

The Peabody Memphis

Photo courtesy of The Peabody

The Peabody is also known as the “South’s Grand Hotel” and is known the world over for its elegance and five resident ducks, who march through the lobby daily at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., something that has been happening since 1940. The hotel is located in downtown Memphis, just steps from the Mississippi River.

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