Top 5 Worlds Oldest Hotels | Prostitution might probably be the oldest ongoing profession in the world. Hence somebody had to rent out 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’? First of all, to make it into our Top List, the property should have never been just a pub or a post office or a private residence. It never moved and never shuttered. It never burned down. Here we go …
#5: Angel and Royal (UK)
Opened in 1203 the Angel Inn (Angel and Royal) was a popular stopover on the route from London to Edinburgh in the middle ages. Located in Grantham (Lincolnshire), this hotel was built for the Brotherhood of the Knights Templar. That rings the bell, right? Movie stuff! The Knights Templar were crusaders, an elite fighting force, highly trained, well-equipped and highly motivated. One of their principles was that they were forbidden from giving up in battle. The Angel Inn 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. The renaming happened in 1866 when Edward the Prince of Wales (and heir to the throne) stayed over. Today Best Western Hotel Group manages the Angel and Royal.
#4: The Olde Bell (UK)
‘The Olde 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 Olde 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’ was built before Freiburg was founded at that 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 46 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 has reportedly taken the name Zengoro Houshi, which no doubt helped simplify any paperwork.
Top 5 Worlds Oldest Hotels
#1: Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan (Japan)
The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Yamanashi, Japan, is the World’s Oldest Hotel. It opened in 705. Apparently Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is not just the oldest hotel. 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 the 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 Tshirp | Hugging Horizons since 2004 | more Travel Top Lists