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10 Top Historic Hotels Across the U.S.

Holly Johnson

Discover vintage properties across the country.

When it comes to planning an aspirational trip, many people dream of far-flung, international hot spots, rather than the history-filled enclaves found in America's backyard. But the truth is, while places across the U.S. might be young compared to storied destinations overseas, America features its fair share of historic cities and hotels filled with old-world grandeur and timeless charm. So, if you want to get away for a quick weekend and get transported to another time, head to one of the country's top historic hotels. Here are 10 U.S. haunts that are steeped in history and nestled in some of the nation's most influential neighborhoods.

The Jefferson, Washington, DC

Washington, District of Columbia

Just blocks from the White House and a slew of historic landmarks, The Jefferson leaves an impression on its guests. This 95-room property, built in 1923, was converted into a hotel in 1955. History lovers will appreciate the property's historical artifacts, including art, paintings and documents signed by Thomas Jefferson and other significant national figures. And though the hotel retains its opulence, thanks to renovations in 2009, which included upgrades to guest rooms, meeting spaces and restaurants as well as the addition of two specialty suites, the property doesn't compromise on contemporary comforts. Rooms start at around $400 per night, and special packages are available.

Hawthorne Hotel

Salem, Massachusetts

It's impossible to think of Salem without remembering the Salem witch trials. Yet, the Hawthorne Hotel has a history of its own, not only as the site of epic Halloween parties and the backdrop for a memorable episode of the hit television series "Bewitched," but also as a member of the Historic Hotels of America. Since opening its doors in 1925, the Hawthorne Hotel has become renowned as a destination for grand ballroom dances, weddings and a famed Halloween party. Guests at the Hawthorne Hotel do much more than stay at the hotel for the night; they bring a piece of Salem and its history home with them. Rooms start at $129 per night, but book early to secure your reservation.

The Inn at Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach, California

History lovers who crave a beach vibe should head straight to the historic Inn at Laguna Beach. Originally built as an artist colony, the inn holds much of its original charm despite having gone through massive renovations to become the luxury property it is today. Guests can enjoy the best location in Laguna Beach, next to a public beach and just steps from art galleries, shopping and some of the area's finest restaurants. Sit out on the rooftop terrace at night for complimentary wine and cookies, then sit back and enjoy one of the world's most beautiful views. Rooms start at just $279 per night.

The Peabody Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee

With an original building dating back to 1869, The Peabody reflects the opulence and glamour of a bygone era. A newer and grander property was erected at its present Memphis location on Union Avenue, but the hotel never lost its grasp on its historic roots. The Peabody also boasts time-honored traditions, such as its Peabody Duck March, a spectacle that continues to delight visitors today. If you want a slice of history in Memphis, rooms at The Peabody start at just $165 per night.

Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel

Chicago, Illinois

Located in Chicago's Loop district, the Palmer House offers both historic charm and modern conveniences. Built by wealthy business magnates and socialites, the property first opened its doors in 1873. The hotel's former owner, Bertha Palmer, even befriended Claude Monet while in France, which helped influence the property's artistic flair. Today, you'll find garnet-filled chandeliers and a ceiling fresco created by the French painter Louis Pierre Rigal. What's more, as a Chicago landmark, the hotel has hosted many prominent figures, from U.S. presidents to world-renowned entertainers, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. Rooms start at $169 per night, and special offers are available for couples and groups.

The King's Daughters Inn

Durham, North Carolina

Across the street from the prestigious Duke University, the King's Daughters Inn packs plenty of culture into its historic property. Formerly serving as retirement housing for elderly women in 1903, the property evolved into a two-story Colonial Revival style brick building and hotel. The home served 34 women and housed nine full-time staff members at its peak, yet it waned in popularity and ultimately closed in 2006. However, by 2009, the building was purchased and artfully restored to its former grandeur, showcasing elegant rooms and suites. Rooms start at $200 per night.

The Wigwam

Litchfield Park, Arizona

After first opening its doors on Thanksgiving Day in 1929, Litchfield Park's Wigwam began its rein as one of Arizona's most famous and unique hotels. Set on 500 gorgeous acres, The Wigwam wows guests with amenities, such as a world-class Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, several top-notch restaurants and bars and championship golf courses. Despite its large size, The Wigwam remains quaint and inviting, with only 331 guest rooms available on the property. Plus, a renovation in 2010 helped revitalize The Wigwam and improve its functionality. Rooms start at around $130 per night.

The Southernmost House

Key West, Florida

Sightseers who want to experience the history of Duvall Street in Key West should consider a stay at the Southernmost House. This elegant beach hotel originally opened its doors in 1896, and has served as both a night club and a private residence over the years. As you step inside, you can grace the same spots as some of the property's famous guests, including Louis Armstrong, Ernest Hemingway, Truman Capote and even John F. Kennedy. Set on the quieter end of Key West's most famous street, the Southernmost House offers an unmatched beachfront vacation, plus the modern amenities you would expect at a top-tier property. Rooms start at around $370 per night.

French Lick Springs Hotel

French Lick, Indiana

If you want to experience some history while you travel, the French Lick Springs Hotel will help you step back in time. After originally opening its doors in 1845 and hosting thousands of guests for more than a hundred years, the property has been renovated inside and out, beckoning to history-seeking guests. With an on-site casino, a 27,000-square-foot spa, a championship golf course and an array of high-class eateries, French Lick Springs Hotel guests have plenty to keep them busy. Rooms start at around $160 per night.

The Colony Hotel

Kennebunkport, Maine

Built in 1914, the Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport sits on a prime spot near the Atlantic Ocean. As Maine's first "environmentally responsible hotel," the Colony Hotel offers a bit of luxury, but with a nature-oriented approach. As part of its dedication to the environment, the Colony Hotel takes special care to recycle worn bedspreads and linens into usable items for both staff and the hotel gift shop. Guests can enjoy ocean views, access to a heated saltwater swimming pool, organic gardens and blooming flowers in every direction come spring. Rooms start at $169 per night.

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