There are many hotels in the world that are valuable not only for their location and convenience, but also for the historical events that took place in them. Together with Forbes Life, we have selected six hotels that have hosted important political and cultural events.
King David Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel
End of British rule in Palestine
In its history, King George V, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, as well as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Gere have stayed at the luxurious five-star King David Hotel, opened in 1931. , Madonna – the list goes on. However, he is famous not only for great and celebrity guests.
The hotel played an important role in the formation of the State of Israel. When the Arab Revolt broke out in 1936, the British Army rented the entire top floor at King David as an emergency headquarters. A British telephone exchange was placed in the basement, and the military police and the Palestinian Criminal Investigation Office were located in the annexes.
On July 22, 1946, members of the Jewish underground organization Irgun planted a bomb in the hotel’s basement. The explosion collapsed the southwest corner of the building’s southern wing, killing 91 people and injuring 46. However, the hotel remained in British administration until May 4, 1948. When the British left the hotel, the Israelis used it as an administrative building. Soon after the end of the Six Day War, King David finally reopened its doors to guests and lodgers.
A rich history is not the only merit of “King David”. For guests there are luxurious rooms, two swimming pools, a spacious garden overlooking the Old City and as many as 4 restaurants, one of which – La Regence – is considered one of the best in Jerusalem.
Price for 1 night: from 35 850 ₽
Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba
A collection of mafiosi and rich Cuban history
The National Hotel opened in Havana on December 30, 1930 and for more than 80 years of history has become a kind of symbol of Cuba. The hotel registration book can be read as a directory of famous and influential figures of the 20th century: Winston Churchill, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Marlon Brando, Alexander Fleming, Yuri Gagarin have noted here. And Frank Sinatra more than once rented number 225 for the actress Ava Gardner.
It was at the National in December 1946 that the meeting of the leaders of the American underworld took place, which is reflected in the film The Godfather II. The talks between the iconic figures of the American mafia – Lucky Luciano and Meer Lansky – took place in a suite on the second floor. They say that it was here that the “mafia accountant” Lansky condemned the famous gangster Bugsy Siegel to death.
The walls of the hotel bear traces of tumultuous Cuban history, with bullet holes fired in 1933, when Carlos Manuel de Cespedes became president of the country as a result of an armed uprising. During the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 60s, anti-aircraft guns were installed near the hotel to repel attacks by American aircraft. And in 1997, opponents of Fidel Castro organized a terrorist attack in the hotel building – several people were injured as a result of the explosion.
For a long time there was no tourism in Cuba, and mainly diplomats and representatives of foreign states stayed at the hotel. In 1990, the hotel was completely renovated, and two years later, it finally began to receive tourists again. Anyone can stay at the hotel today.
Price for 1 night: from 10 100 ₽
The confrontation between the Bolsheviks and the White Guards
The Moscow Metropol, a luxurious five-star hotel, was at the heart of the events of the 1917 October Revolution. In the truest sense of the word: from November 7 to 15 (old style), the hotel was occupied by cadets of military schools, who fiercely fought with the Bolsheviks. “Metropol” turned into a besieged fortress, the battles for which were fought for six days and ended only after artillery was used against the cadets, and then they took the hotel by storm, led by MV Frunze. The Metropol was then seriously damaged by shelling.
After the move of the Soviet government to Moscow in 1918, the Metropol became one of the main residences of the new government. It was even called the “Second House of Soviets” (the first was the National Hotel). Until 1919, meetings of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee were held in the Metropol, at which Lenin and Trotsky spoke, and on the second floor there was Sverdlov’s reception. Prominent Bolsheviks lived in the rooms – Georgy Chicherin, Nikolai Bukharin, Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko.
The Metropol regained its status as a world-class hotel only in the early 1930s. Bernard Shaw, Mao Zedong, Marlene Dietrich, John Steinbeck, Jean Mare, Paul Mauriat, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Montserrat Caballe, Luc Besson, Catherine Deneuve, Sharon Stone stayed at the hotel at different times. And Sergei Prokofiev and Alexander Kuprin lived in a hotel for some time.
Today, anyone can rent a room in the Metropole. The rooms are large and luxurious, and the view of the city center is amazing. You can have breakfast in the European restaurant, and in the evening – drink wine in the stylish Shalyapin bar. There is also a sauna, massage room and beauty salon for guests.
Price for 1 night: from 9700 ₽
Ye Olde Bell, Berkshire, England
Plans to overthrow Monarch Jacob II
This small village inn, founded in 1135, has seen a lot over the years. It was originally a small guest house at a nearby Benedictine monastery. Later, wanderers often stopped here on their way from London to York. But the main historical event took place here in the 17th century.
In Ye Olde Bell, or rather, in the secret tunnel that connected the hotel with the monastery, conspirators met who planned to overthrow King James II of England and Scotland. Perhaps thanks to Baron John Lovelace and other conspirators, it was possible to organize the “Glorious Revolution” – a coup in 1688, as a result of which the king was overthrown and his nephew William of Orange ascended the throne, during whose reign England began to turn into a mighty power.
And in the hotel itself, in memory of those events, a fireplace and a door to a secret tunnel were preserved next to it. The tunnel itself is no longer there, but a picture of him from those times hangs above the fireplace. The door, by the way, is quite small by our standards: people at that time were shorter.
The historical mission of Ye Olde Bell in the 17th century did not end: the hotel continued to receive great guests. For example, during the Second World War, Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower negotiated here. Also staying at this hotel are movie stars Greta Garbo, Mae West, Cary Grant, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, as Ye Olde Bell is located close to Pinewood Studios.
Today it is a lovely historic hotel with 49 individually decorated rooms. Guests are provided with antique furniture and modern amenities – shower, Wi-Fi, TV. 1650 Restaurant serves national cuisine, while the bar offers Yorkshire ale on tap.
Price for 1 night: from 7400 ₽
The Mayflower, Washington, USA
Franklin Roosevelt wrote his inaugural speech
The Mayflower 4-star hotel is listed in America’s Historic Hotels. It is located just 800 meters from the White House, which is probably why Franklin Roosevelt stayed there in 1933.
Then the future US President lived in room 776 for several days before the inauguration. It is said that it was here that he wrote his speech, in which he included the famous phrase “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” (The only thing we have to fear is fear itself).
The hotel is also associated with the name of Eliot Spitzer, former Governor of New York State known as “Client 9”. At the Mayflower, he made appointments with women of easy virtue, on which he spent about 80 thousand dollars, partly taken from the budget.
The Mayflower today is one of the Autograph Collection hotels. It has over 500 comfortable rooms decorated in a modern style, restaurants, bars and a 24-hour fitness center.
Price for 1 night: from 18 459 ₽
The Fairmont San Francisco 5 *
The meeting at which the decision was made to establish the UN
A list of hotels that have experienced historic events would be incomplete without the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Since its opening in 1907, most of the important events for the city and the whole country have taken place here. And one of the most important happened in 1945.
It was in this year that a meeting of delegates from 50 countries took place in Fairmont, at which a decision was made to establish the United Nations (UN). In the Garden Room of the hotel, a draft version of the UN Charter was written, of which a memorial plaque has survived.
All American presidents, starting with Truman, have also stayed at Fairmont in San Francisco. In addition, the hotel’s guests included Rudolph Valentino, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Marlene Dietrich.
Today it is a luxurious modern five-star hotel. It has three restaurants and an excellent spa center, as well as a fitness club, and guests do not need to bring sports clothes and sneakers on the trip – the hotel provides everything you need. The hotel also houses the Tonga Room & Hurricane bar-restaurant, famous for its performances and the unusual atmosphere of the Amazonian jungle in the heart of the city.
Price of 1 night: from 24 366 ₽