Blog 8: Repurposed Hotels
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
All hotels have a story to tell to the ones that are willing to listen...and we are here to help hotels tell that story! It's not always about towns and countries, some buildings also withstand generations and are made to adapt accordingly and lineages are created along the way.
Unconventionally restored and beautifully renovated, the list of hotels below have not only preserved the building's history but also moved forward with the times. Bringing to you some ancient buildings that have been repurposed into hotels.
1- A storage house for spices, used by the British colonial rule and strategically located on the banks of the Singapore River, became a hub for unlawful activity after the British left India. It housed brothels, illicit distilleries, criminal organisations and opium dens. Then the place became an underground whisky distillery for a number of years before it returned to legitimate warehousing up until the 1980s. In 1986, the building was turned into a disco and then in January 2017, re-designed by the Asylum agency, the building was converted into The Warehouse Hotel. The hotel has an industrial feel and showcases original exposed brick walls, soaring ceilings and a signature triple-pitched roof. New features include custom lights in the lobby inspired by the pulleys used in old warehouses and a retro-style elevator clad with metal grilles.
The lobby at The Warehouse Hotel
2- A once major Post Office in Ghent with the last service running till 2001 had it's top two floors re-opened as the 1898, The Post- Zannier Hotels with 38 rooms. The bottom two floors still house a shopping centre and eatery. Harking back to the building’s history, the standard room categories have been aptly named The Stamp, The Postcard, The Envelope and The Letter, reflecting their varying sizes. The rooms have retained the sloping ceiling, some 20th century furniture and original letters and postcards. Perched in the top southeast octagonal tower and spread across two floors connected by an old winding staircase is The Tower Room – the highest point of the building offering 360-degree views over the rooftops of this historic city.
1898, The Post
3- After a two-year long renovation of the 20th century industrial crane on the Nordhavn harbour, now stands a single-room hotel aptly called The Krane. The original crane was used to transport heavy coals from ships to the dock and is more than 15 meters tall. In 2009, the City of Copenhagen decommissioned the crane and built sustainable villages in the harbour. The Krane Hotel opened in 2017, with a black interior design concept referencing its coal history and aiming to instil calm. The experience is designed to be remote with minimalist luxury. Once the crane’s engine room, the Kraneroom has been transformed into a sleek suite with a lounge and balcony and 360-degree views over the water.
From the crane to The Krane
4- The former Midland Bank in London has been freshly transformed into a hotel: The Ned. The multi-year restoration has retained much of the original architecture like vaulted ceilings, walnut-panelled counters and 92 green African verdite columns. There are many Instagram-able features in the hotel like the spiral staircase, large cupboards and a private elevator. But the true showstopper is the former bank vault-turned-lounge, which you access through the original 25-ton, floor-to-ceiling vault door. If it looks familiar, that’s because it inspired the vault in the 1964 James Bond movie, Goldfinger.
The entry to the vault-lounge at The Ned
5- Can you imagine a bullfighting ring being turned into a hotel? Well, Hotel Quinta Real Zacatecas is only such hotel to be built around a 19th century bullfighting ring that closed down in 1975. The hotel opened in 1989 and the building looks very much like it's past with brick-lined corridors and a bullpen converted bar located within arched tunnels and illuminated by candlelight. There is an ancient aqueduct close by too.
The former bull ring, now hotel
6- The ironically named The Liberty Hotel is the repurposed version of the Charles Street Jail in Boston. Opened in 1851, the prison now enjoys its best life as a four-star hotel though signs of its past are on full display as soon as you enter, like the preserved 90-foot central atrium and catwalk railings encircling it. In the on-sight Clink restaurant, one can dine in former jail cells that are far cosier now, or visit Alibi bar (a former drunk tank, of course), to imbibe prison-themed cocktails and snap selfies in the original holding cells. But do you really think you'll get a feel of the jail life at this boutique hotel now?!
Experience the ultra-lux jail life at The Liberty Hotel
7- With quite a few palace hotels in India and probably the oldest palace-fortress to be converted into a hotel is the Alila Fort Bishangarh in Jaipur. After a decade long overhaul of the ruined fort as a heritage conservation project, the hotel maintains the former glory of the fort. The Jaipur Gharana architecture has been recreated and the walls have been re-plastered using the ancient techniques. The main restaurant, Amarsar, is located in the former royal quarters, while the former dungeon now delivers spa treatments instead of torture. Oooh! How I wish I was a princess living in this palace!
The fortress atop a hill
8- The L'Iglesia, located in a UNESCO classified site- El Jadida in Northern Africa, is the repurpose of the city's old American consular headquarters and an ancient Spanish church. The 14 room hotel has been carefully restored and decorated with antiques and trinkets sourced all the way from Morocco. The hotel's central meeting area, Salon, is the church's nave and eight of the suites are inside the convent, as an annexe to the church.
The Salon at the hotel
Like it's said, walls have ears, and I'm sure these buildings have heard a lot over the years and will be more than willing to share the gossip with you when you visit. Time to repurpose your next vacation planning- why don't you choose your next vacation based on a hotel you'd really like to visit and then find things to do around it as opposed to conventionally finding a place and then the hotel in that locality.
I'll be right back with another daunting blog.
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