Top 5 Worlds Oldest Hotels | Prostitution might be the oldest profession in the world, but somebody had to rent out the beds. Most of the world’s longest-running hotels are located in Japan, where hotels did welcome pleasure seeking Samurai fighters in the 7th century AD. But there are also some equally historic hotels outside the land of the rising sun. What is our definition of ‘Worlds oldest hotel’? To make it into our Top 5 List, the property should have never been just a pub, a post office or a private residence. It never moved and never shuttered. It never burned down.
#5: Angel and Royal (UK)
Opened in 1203 the Angel Inn was a popular stopover on the route from London to Edinburgh. Located in Grantham (Lincolnshire), the hotel was built for the Brotherhood of the Knights Templar. Having hosted kings like John, Richard III, Edward III, Charles I, and George IV, the addition of the word “Royal” to the name seems well deserved. This renaming happened in 1866 when Edward the Prince of Wales (and heir to the throne) stayed over. Today Angel and Royal is managed by the Best Western Hotel Group.
#4: The Old Bell (UK)
‘The Old Bell’ in Hurley (UK) opened its doors in 1135 as a guest and carriage house for those making the pilgrimage to St. Benedict, a nearby priory. In its heyday, the hotel housed as many kings as commoners. It also served as meeting place for Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower during World War 2. A secret tunnel that leads from ‘The Old Bell’ to the priory was the place to fabricate the overthrowing of King James II. in the 17th century.
#3: Zum Roten Bären (Germany)
Almost 900 years of age, the oldest hotel in Europe is older than the town it’s located in. The hotel ‘Zum Roten Bären’ has been built before Freiburg was founded at the same location. The hotel lived through the Black Plague, revolutions, the Thirty Years’ War, two World Wars and the reunification of Germany. It once briefly belonged to France. 51 owners and dozens of renovations later, the hotel still carries the same name that first appeared in documents in 1387, and the basement still features original artwork and architecture from 1120.
#2: Hōshi Ryokan (Japan)
Founded in 718, it was once thought to be the oldest operating hotel in the world until the realization that another hotel is even older. The Hoshi Ryokan has been operated by the same family for forty-six generations. Legend has it that a deity instructed a Buddhist priest to build this hotel on yet-to-be-discovered hot spring. Apparently too busy for an unenlightened pursuit like the hospitality biz, he had his disciple, Garyo Houshi, build it. Houshi did, and his family has been running it ever since. Also, for whatever reason, each of the last 46 proprietors have reportedly taken the name Zengoro Houshi, which no doubt helped simplify the paperwork.
#1: Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan (Japan)
The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Yamanashi, Japan, is the World’s Oldest Hotel. It opened in 705. Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is not just the oldest hotel in the world. According to the Guinness Book of World Records it is also the world’s oldest continuously-operating business. This traditional Japanese inn has been owned by 52 generations of the same family. In addition to Samurais taking soaks in the hot spring baths of this Japanese Alps hotel, the ‘famous guests list’ includes Tokugawa Leyasu, Japan’s first shogun, and Kouken, Japan’s 46th emperor.
Top 5 worlds oldest hotels. By Chili and Churp | © International Destinations | more Travel Top Lists