Although the United States isn’t all that old – at least in comparison with some other countries across the globe, anyway – there is still plenty of history to be discovered here.
There are obviously plenty of locations, architecture, art, and artifacts still surviving from throughout the U.S.’s history. Since the country’s founding on July 4, 1776, many people have worked to preserve important things from our history thus far.
Previous to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, though, there were obviously already plenty of people here! After all, things didn’t just begin with that document. Before that, we were the United Colonies. And Indigenous peoples were already thriving for thousands of years before European explorers ever arrived.
If you really want to get out there and explore the history that the United States has to offer, what better way to experience it than from a truly historic hotel?
If you had to guess where the oldest hotel in the U.S. was located, you might pick somewhere like Delaware or Pennsylvania. However, you might be surprised by the location of the oldest existing hotel!
John Rutledge House Inn – 1763
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
This historic inn is named as such because it was once the home of John Rutledge, an American Founding Father who was appointed South Carolina’s first governor after the Declaration of Independence was signed.
The national historic landmark dates all the way back to 1763 and sits in the heart of Charleston. You’ll find elegant rooms and suites with unique architectural details, such as Italian marble fireplaces, high ceilings, and carved molding. In sticking with the time period of the home, both the main house and two carriage houses are decorated with period antiques and exquisite reproduction furniture.
The Kelley House – 1742
Location: Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
This historic New England hotel is located on Martha’s Vineyard in the town of Edgartown. Now a tourist destination, it was once a major whaling port. At the height of the whaling era, many sea captains built their grand homes here with the fortunes they had earned.
Although this historic landmark has changed names throughout the centuries, it has been welcoming guests since 1742. A Federal-style house, it still boasts plenty of the original historic charm from years past. Don’t think that means giving up modern-day amenities, though. You’ll still find things like wi-fi, TVs, bike rentals, and a pool.
Historic Inns of Annapolis – 1727
Location: Annapolis, Maryland
Okay, so this one is technically three different buildings together in one establishment: the Governor Calvert House, the Robert Johnson House, and the Maryland Inn. All three of these distinctive properties offer their own unique ambiance, but they are all packed full of historic charm. The Maryland Inn, built in the late 1700s, is the only eighteenth-century Annapolis inn still in operation. Annapolis,
Maryland served as one of the U.S.’s early capitals, and it was here that George Washington resigned as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and ratified the Treaty of Paris. As you can probably assume, many statesmen and dignitaries stayed at this Inn during the momentous events.
Concord’s Colonial Inn – 1716
Location: Concord, Massachusetts
In New England’s charming town of Concord, Massachusetts sits this landmark historic hotel that dates all the way back to 1716. The town of Concord is where militiamen and farmers met the advancing British troops in 1775, starting the Revolutionary War. It was then used to care for the wounded Minutemen! Dr. Timothy Minot Jr. who lived and worked in the building using one of the rooms as a hospital, and a bedroom as an operating room.
You can probably imagine that it is oozing with true colonial charm. Inside, you’ll find beautiful hardwood floors, exposed beams, wainscoting, and other period details that have stood the test of time. It’s all paired with plenty of modern conveniences and amenities. Although there are 54 unique guest rooms to stay in, history buffs should try to snag one of the 15 in the Main Inn, which dates back to 1716.
Hotel El Convento – 1651
Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
The Hotel El Convento is named for the building’s original use, as a Carmelite convent more than 350 years ago. Construction began in 1646 during the age of Conquistadors, through a petition by King Phillip IV of Spain. It sits across the street from San Juan Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere.
Hotel El Convento holds the distinction of being the oldest member of Historic Hotels of America. The Spanish Colonial architecture and design have been lovingly restored, and the hotel boasts 81 elegant rooms for guests. You’ll find wooden beams, antique furniture, and handcrafted tiles from Spain. In the center, the courtyard is home to a century-old fruit tree. But the hotel also provides plenty of luxury amenities you’d expect from other boutique hotels, such as a plunge pool and heated jacuzzi, access to the beach club, and a 24-hour fitness center.