August 9, 2022

Unique Fam Trips

Travel and Hotels

New Life for Forgotten Hotel Spaces

6 min read

Touring unlocks new areas of ourselves. In the Shondaland collection Traveling Properly, we’re inspiring new journeys and revealing how to make the most out of your up coming vacation. Our selection of journey tales and inspirational guides will sweep you away and inspire you to find new options around the entire world.


With need for will have to-remain encounters skyrocketing in the vacation marketplace, lodge qualities big and smaller are rethinking how to realize most opportunity of their square footage. Generating spaces with star electrical power has absent further than merely supplying the foyer a confront-lift or the rooms a refresh. Reconceptualizing a hotel’s architectural purpose necessitates recognizing the outside the house-the-box likely in nooks and crannies not ordinarily viewed as precious resort genuine estate.

“As hoteliers, we have to be innovators, and to innovate indicates hunting at what you have and building it appropriate,” says Fairmont Miramar Resort & Bungalows basic manager Sam Jagger. A calendar year back, the key operate of a storeroom off the Santa Monica, California, property’s foyer was to maintain tequila. Right now, it’s been rechristened as the eight-seat sushi bar Soko. Scoring a place in the intimate, glass-fronted cafe supplies a front-row seat for the culinary artistry of chef Masa Shimakawa.

soko sushi bar
The room sushi bar Soko now occupies was previously a tequila storeroom.

Courtesy Fairmont Miramar Resort & Bungalows

Look intently. It’s a craze taking place at lodges close to the world. A two-story rice barn at the Na Nirand resort in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was transformed into an event area and pool bar. At Palihouse Santa Barbara, the common manager’s itty-bitty place of work was turned into a swanky, guests-only honor bar. The dazzling and inviting pool lounge at The Isla in Batemans Bay, Australia, used to be a garage. A bellman’s closet at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, now serves as French vintner Jean-Charles Boisset’s JCB Tasting Lounge. When it arrives to hotel redesigns, there are no additional boundaries.

“We style to each individual place that inspires us,” says Boisset, “and in our very little jewel box at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco, we even now established opulence and more intimacy as a result of the richness of the velvet and the textures of the fabrics.”

Hotels rethinking how to greatest make the most of their flooring designs is a development that proceeds to evolve. With article-pandemic vacation on the increase and the house-rental market continuing to just take a chunk out of lodge stays, opposition is intense for vacationers (and their constructive social media impact). Though website visitors may possibly be completely articles to check into a pool-see space on the 3rd ground, they’re totally elated when handed keys to a little something like Dolly Parton’s retired tour bus.

atmosphere from dolly parton tour bus
Dolly Suite 1986 is outfitted with Dolly Parton’s retired wigs and robes.

Courtesy Dollywood

A 45-foot-prolonged Prevost mentor that Parton traveled 360,000 miles in from 2008 to 2022 is now permanently parked guiding the DreamMore Resort and Spa at the Dollywood concept park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Now, visitors can invest the night time in the bedazzled suite stocked with the new music legend’s retired robes, shoes, and wigs.

“We required to continue to keep it as authentic as possible,” states Dollywood Parks & Resorts hospitality marketing and advertising director Brian Angello of building the distinctive Dolly Suite 1986 working experience. “The idea is to visualize that she walked off the bus just right before you acquired on.” In usual Dolly fashion, a part of the proceeds produced from stays is donated to her nonprofit organization, the Dollywood Foundation.

In quite a few cases, hotels are now fully embracing their architectural quirks as facilities that are hopefully worthy of five-star assessments. The technique is also sustainable because reusing making supplies aids lower down on environmental affect. For case in point, in what was as soon as the Helsinki county jail, most of the rooms at Resort Katajanokka are the blend of two or three cells. A previous isolation mobile was still left as is and hosts romantic dinners.

Cliveden Property, found west of London, has hosted each individual British monarch because George I. (It’s also in which Meghan Markle invested the night time prior to her wedding ceremony to Prince Harry.) When the choice was made to convert the Duke of Westminster’s former horse stables into the Astor Grill cafe, quite a few of the primary equine attributes had been preserved in the style and design.

“The booth seating is in fact fitted into the individual horse stables, the flooring tiles and wall tiles are also initial, and the feeding troughs for the horses are boxed into show shelving behind each dining booth,” explains basic manager Francisco Macedo.

A equivalent homage to a building’s former lifetime is lavishly on display at Teller’s restaurant within Oklahoma City’s The Countrywide lodge, situated inside the former Very first National Bank. The brasserie-model eatery’s booths are set among the the original teller windows. The host stand is a previous test-signing desk. And a speakeasy-design and style bar is situated in — where else? — a vault in the building’s basement.

the national hotel
Previous bank teller home windows now provide as partitions at The Countrywide.

Courtesy The Countrywide

At first constructed as a financial institution in 1924, The O’Neil resort in Kinston, North Carolina, also will make imaginative use of its former vaults: A 16-ton stronghold off the foyer is now stocked with complimentary refreshments for friends, though a scaled-down second vault serves as a relatives-welcoming visitor place with a set of bunk beds.

Enter the vault in Berlin’s Lodge de Rome, previously the Dresdner Lender headquarters, and you can have a spa treatment or take a dip in the pool. “The interaction of coloration with the golden Bisazza mosaic presents site visitors the perception they are almost swimming in gold,” says Rocco Forte Motels deputy chairman and director of layout Olga Polizzi.

A single just lately opened house in Oceanside, California, reimagined (and relocated) an overall making. Don’t forget the dreamy bungalow from the first Leading Gun that Kelly McGillis’ character Charlie identified as property and Tom Cruise’s Maverick cruised above to for a evening meal date? Immediately after currently being moved just one block and going through 3 decades of restoration, the 19th-century Queen Anne cottage now resides in the courtyard of the Mission Pacific hotel with a replica of Maverick’s Kawasaki Ninja ZX900 bike parked out front.

top gun house
Superior Pie serves hand pastries in the courtyard of the Mission Pacific lodge.

Courtesy Significant Pie

Inside of the home, sweet shop Higher Pie presents a menu of fruit-crammed hand pastries served alongside a plethora of Top rated Gun memorabilia including motion picture posters and at the rear of-the-scenes images snapped in 1985 through the blockbuster’s filming. It is a nostalgic stroll down memory lane fueled by a sugar rush you can not discover any place else.

“When I was at first approached with this insane possibility to produce a culinary encounter at the Prime Gun home, the initially point that came to intellect was pie,” states chef and restaurateur Tara Lazar. “There’s nothing much more American than pie — and now you can take in it at the Top Gun house.”


Dana Rebmann is a Northern California-based mostly vacation and food items writer who has contributed to Hemispheres, The Telegraph, and AARP. Comply with her on Twitter @drebmann.

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