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This is the most unique hotel in every state



Slide 1 of 51: With around five million guestrooms in more than 54,000 hotels, you can't complain about a lack of places to stay in the US and some of them are truly unbelievable. From former prisons and banks to hotels in museums, all of these places to stay have a story to tell so join us as we take a look at the most unique hotel in every state. As ever, make sure to check state-specific travel advice before planning your trip.
Slide 2 of 51: Alabama's first boutique hotel, the GunRunner is located in the heart of Florence and is one of the best small town boutique hotels in the South. With a unique concept of luxurious anonymity, there's no check-in desk, no interruptions by housekeeping and rooms can only be booked online. Named after the pawn shop that occupied the building years ago, the hotel has 10 distinct suites that are all individually appointed and named after a person or a place significant to the area. 
Slide 3 of 51: Hidden far away in Alaska's Denali National Park, this luxurious mountain chalet is just 10 miles (16km) from the summit of Denali. Located 6,000 feet (1,828m) above sea level, the chalet is truly a once-in-a-lifetime-experience that's totally unique. A minimum stay of three nights is required and it includes a helicopter ride to the chalet as well as food, drink and activities. You'll have to email the Sheldon Family, who run the chalet, directly to enquire about a stay here.
Slide 4 of 51: As the name suggests, this place is all about the view. The first-ever hotel to be built on Navajo Tribal Park land, it’s owned by Navajo people and was designed to blend in with its sacred setting. There’ll be no squabbling over rooms at The View: every bedroom has a private balcony with jaw-dropping views of Monument Valley’s vivid colored sandstone rock formations known as the Mittens. The hotel is temporarily closed and is expected to reopen on 5 March 2021. These are America's most stunning natural wonders

Slide 5 of 51: With a few properties scattered across the country, this unique part-museum-part-hotel in Bentonville is unlike any other hotel you'll have stayed at before. With artwork displayed throughout, the hotel has a modern yet cozy feel of an intimate art gallery and the on-site restaurant The Hive offers modern takes on beloved classics, like deviled eggs.
Slide 6 of 51: Forget tranquil, subtle, peaceful vacations: for a full-on, over-the-top escape, head to California’s Madonna Inn, which is almost entirely Barbie-pink. With several differently themed rooms (including Madonna Suite, Love Nest and Everything Nice among others), pink tennis courts, a colorful gift shop and plenty of picture-perfect food on offer, this is a place to escape mundane everyday life. Face coverings are required in all common areas. Take a look at 50 amazing Californian attractions not to miss
Slide 7 of 51: The most sought-after hotel in all of Colorado, The Little Nell has a steamy rooftop surprise up its sleeve as well. With panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and a bubbling hot tub, it truly is the perfect way to rest your aching ski legs. Currently, the hotel is also running several tempting offers, including special rates for Colorado residents.
Slide 8 of 51: Comprised of the original farmhouse from 1775, a 19th-century addition and another 21st-century extension, the Winvian Farm is a luxury retreat set within 113 acres of farmland and forests. With individually designed cottages, an excellent farm-to-table restaurant and a spa set in the fragrant gardens, a stay here is truly relaxing. Just two hours away from New York or Boston, the unique retreat promises lots of restorative nature walks and cozy evenings snuggled up by the fireplace.
Slide 9 of 51: Stay in a slice of American history at The Brick Hotel in Georgetown. Known as the Union Hotel during the Civil War era, this was once a popular hangout for soldiers and is now one of the state's only remaining buildings from around that time. Lovingly restored with plenty of original features, including the 19th-century staircase, staying at the charming guesthouse is like stepping back in time.

Slide 10 of 51: A stroll through the opulent Faena Hotel Miami Beach is like a walk through a top art gallery. The lobby, nicknamed The Cathedral, has palatial gold and velvet furniture, impressive murals and gold-leaf-covered columns. Art aficionados should head straight for the hotel's pool and beach area where Damien Hirst’s striking sculpture Gone But Not Forgotten – a 3,000-year-old gilded woolly mammoth skeleton – casually overlooks the vacationers. The hotel was set to reopen on 29 October 2020.
Slide 11 of 51: Sitting on a five-mile-long (8km) island off the coast of Georgia, this stunning hotel is where Southern hospitality and Mediterranean-style design meet. Guests can enjoy a fine-dining experience in the Georgian Room restaurant, feasting on delicacies such as grilled octopus and truffle soup, before relaxing in the Georgian Room lounge in front of a roaring fire with a glass of vintage port in hand – the hotel has an extensive list to choose from. The hotel is currently asking guests to wear face coverings in most common areas.
Slide 12 of 51: Many who travel to Hawaii come to see the otherworldly Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and nowhere is closer to the action than Volcano House almost right on the rim of Kīlauea. Although the hotel is temporarily closed, we simply couldn't leave it off the list due to its truly unique location. Typically, guests can enjoy stunning views of the caldera, amazing Hawaiian food and exhilarating hikes through a rainforest to the volcano. 
Slide 13 of 51: You can't miss Dog Bark Park Inn – just look for the enormous beagle. Inside this 12 foot-tall (3.6m) canine you'll find a (no surprises here) dog-themed room. As you might have guessed the inn's owners are huge dog fans and also run an artists' studio where you can buy cute canine carvings crafted by chainsaw. This hotel certainly brings a whole new meaning to being in the doghouse...
Slide 14 of 51: This opulent Chicago landmark was built as a gift from business magnate Potter Palmer to his bride Bertha Honoré to mark their wedding in 1871. The original building burned down 13 days later during the Great Chicago Fire, but Palmer rebuilt it and reopened the hotel in 1873. Today, it's Chicago's most charming spot and it's worth stopping by the elegant lobby adorned by ceiling frescoes and gold Tiffany chandeliers even if you're not staying the night. 

Slide 15 of 51: For a chain hotel, this Crowne Plaza in Indianapolis is surprisingly unique. Located within Indianapolis' old train station, it has rooms in old train carriages still positioned on the tracks while the station's Grand Hall has been converted into a stunning venue space normally used for weddings and events. Built in 1888, the 100-year-old building has gone through two renovations that have preserved as much of the original features as possible. Discover America's most underrated state capitals
Slide 16 of 51: The incredible history of Hotel Julien Dubuque can be traced as far back as 1839, when the first lodging house opened on this site. The current hotel building was completed in 1915 and allegedly served as a hiding place for notorious mobster Al Capone when things got complicated in Chicago. The hotel has retained its historic charm which it has combined with modern and luxurious amenities. 
Slide 17 of 51: There really isn't much the Midland Railroad Hotel hasn't seen in its time. Opened in 1899, it was a popular stop along the Union Pacific Railroad between Kansas City and Denver; during the Great Depression the hotel's third floor was turned into a chicken coop in order to serve dinner guests; and although it continued operating over the next decades, it closed in 1978. The historic building fell into disrepair until it was bought by the Wilson Foundation in 1997 who restored it to its former 1920s glory.
Slide 18 of 51: Located in the aptly named Versailles, The Kentucky Castle features 10 luxury rooms and suites where guests can really live like royalty. The on-site farm-to-table restaurant features lots of elevated Kentucky cuisine staples while the spa offers romantic honeymoon or anniversary packages. If you're happy to properly splurge, the Presidential Suite is located in a spacious corner turret with an additional sitting room and a private terrace. The hotel has rigorous COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place. 
Slide 19 of 51: Narrowing down the most unique hotel in Louisiana, especially in New Orleans, is no mean feat but it's the French Quarter's iconic Hotel Monteleone that's been among the best places to have a drink in the Bourbon Street area for a very long time. Opened by Sicilian immigrant Antonio Monteleone in 1886, the hotel is still owned by the family today. Writers like Capote and Hemingway used to hide out here while writing and taking an occasional break (or two) at the legendary Carousel Bar which is, as the name implies, a carousel – unfortunately, it has temporarily closed.
Slide 20 of 51: The Westin Portland Harborview was the largest hotel in New England when it opened in 1927 as the 369-room Eastland Park Hotel. It has gone down in history as the place that didn't let Eleanor Roosevelt stay there with her dog and later became famous for Ozzy Osbourne tossing pool furniture off the rooftop. The hotel fell into disrepair until 2011 when it underwent a $50 million renovation project. There are enhanced cleaning protocols in place and face coverings are required in all indoor public areas.
Slide 21 of 51: On a cobbled street corner in Fell's Point, once a major shipbuilding area and Baltimore's oldest waterfront community, the Admiral Fell Inn is made up of seven adjoining buildings. One of these buildings used to be a boarding house for sailors before it expanded into a Seaman’s YMCA in the late 1920s before eventually closing in the 1970s. The hotel began to resemble its current shape in 1985, when the building was opened once more, and a 38-room inn was created. Finally, in 1996, upgrades transformed the space into a beautiful boutique hotel. 
Slide 22 of 51: It’s a lavish hotel today, but in its former incarnation The Liberty was known as The Charles Street Jail and was home to some of Boston’s most notorious criminals. Previous inmates include James Michael Curley, Boston’s ex-mayor who was imprisoned in 1904 for fraud, and even activist Malcolm X. Today, you’re more likely to spot showbiz stars in the corridors – Meg Ryan and Eva Mendes are both said to have stayed at The Liberty. The building has been carefully restored, allowing the historical detail to take center stage.
Slide 23 of 51: Second tallest hotel in the USA, the Detroit Marriott is 727 feet (221m) tall, with more than 1,300 rooms across 73 floors featuring fabulous views of the city or of the Detroit River. When you’re not admiring the view from your room, head to the patio for a cocktail or, if you’re keen to explore the city from closer up, the hotel’s downtown location makes it explore the city's top sights on foot. Face coverings must be worn in all indoor common areas.
Slide 24 of 51: Hewing Hotel, named after the cutting wood found in Minnesota's forests, is all about style – think recycled wooden floors, custom-made furniture and trendy accessories. Located in Minneapolis' hip North Loop with its boutique stores, cocktail bars, independent restaurants and craft breweries, the hotel has a unique feature in the form of giant raindrops hanging in the central atrium. Although most are silver, you'll be able to spot a few purple ones in tribute to Prince, who was born in Minneapolis.
Slide 25 of 51: Not a nod to the presidential home but to its founder's name, White House Hotel was established by Cora White, the wife of Gulf Coast lawyer and later judge Walter White, as she started accepting boarders in their home in Biloxi in the 1890s. Business was good so the Whites bought the house next door and joined the two together to create a lobby, a dining room and a ballroom in 1910. Recently restored thanks to the two White sons, the hotel has regained its former glory and a stay here does feel a bit presidential.
Slide 26 of 51: The dramatic proportions of the lobby at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel will certainly leave you in awe. With gold leaf detailing, sweeping archways and impossibly high ceilings, the lobby comes to life each night, when it hosts a 3D light show. There's an exciting show nightly, where flying birds, an aquarium scene and other animations are projected across the historic lobby, as well as photos of the former station and its passengers.
Slide 27 of 51: Known as a wilderness sanctuary, The Resort at Paws Up is set on the grounds of an active 37,000-acre cattle ranch. Guests can pick between two accommodation options – a luxe tent complete with an en-suite bathroom and wooden floors or one of the comfortable private homes. You can explore the rolling hills of Blackfoot Valley with more than 100 miles (161km) of trails either on foot or on horseback. And as the resort itself says, social distancing here is measured in acres, not feet…
Slide 28 of 51: It may be part of a small chain but Magnolia Hotel in Omaha is still a seriously classy joint with plenty of character. Built in 1923, the hotel is modeled on the Bargello Palace in Florence, Italy, and has a stunning interior courtyard which earned the building a slot on the National Register of Historic Places. If you can manage to drag yourself away from its charms, you’ll find plenty to do in the historic Old Market neighborhood just steps from the hotel.
Slide 29 of 51: We couldn't have a list of unusual hotels without an outlandish place to stay in Sin City. As well as circus performances, the aptly named Circus Circus has an indoor theme park called the Adventuredome. Here you'll find the Canyon Blaster, the only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster in the world. Check out the incredible story of Las Vegas
Slide 30 of 51: Adventure Suites in North Conway is home to 18 fabulously kitsch-themed suites including a haunted castle and a mansion from ancient Rome. The Love Shack is a 1970s-style suite complete with a two-person hot tub and a disco ball while film buffs can book themselves into a suite that's a private movie theater.
Slide 31 of 51: A sleek and modern hotel, EnVue's best feature that sets it apart from all the other New Jersey hotels is definitely its location. Book one of the riverside rooms and you'll be treated to a panorama of midtown Manhattan unfolding in front of you as you enjoy your chic quarters. The whole hotel keeps to a monochrome color palette and the minimalist decor with a few accent pieces makes it feel ultra-luxe. Guests are required to wear face coverings in all indoor common areas.
Slide 32 of 51: Recognized as one of the best hotels in the world, The Five Graces is situated right in the heart of Santa Fe's historic district. The traditional adobe-style hotel is furnished with an eclectic mix of East Indian and Tibetan furnishings, providing guests with opulent surroundings. All rooms and suites have traditional kiva fireplaces with some featuring private balconies or secluded patios while the ultra-luxe private two-bedroom Luminaria Villa is a chance to live like royalty.
Slide 33 of 51: Like something out of a fairy tale, the Mohonk Mountain House sits on the shore of the picturesque Lake Mohonk in upstate New York. Surrounded by expansive woodlands, the Victorian castle-like hotel offers guided hikes as well as a changing roster of activities that include tours of the greenhouse and the gardens, meditation and yoga sessions and rock climbing. Although most of Mohonk's recreational venues are open, there are extra health and safety procedures in place.
Slide 34 of 51: When George Vanderbilt designed his stunning Asheville estate in 1889, he wanted to open an inn that would overlook the splendor of the grounds. It never happened in his lifetime and it wasn't until 2001 when The Inn On Biltmore Estate was opened, alongside the moderately priced Village Hotel and the Cottage – the only lodging here that dates back to Vanderbilt's time. Enhanced health and safety policies are in place.
Slide 35 of 51: Throughout its history, Hotel Donaldson has been a beacon of change in the city. After a fire ravaged most of Fargo, the hotel was one of the first buildings to reopen in 1893. Then, after decades of disrepair, the restoration of it revitalized the then-neglected Downtown. The opening of the hotel sparked the area's revival and now the 17-room boutique hotel, with each room designed by a local artist, is a destination in itself.
Slide 36 of 51: The oldest continuously-run business in the state of Ohio, the Golden Lamb is a presidential favorite, having housed 12 of the former US presidents. It began as a simple tavern in 1803, providing a resting spot for travelers on their way from Cincinnati to the old National Road (now US-40). It offered simple rooms and stiff drinks, a tradition that hasn't changed much since it first opened. Face coverings are required in all public areas.
Slide 37 of 51: Not many hotels have been blamed for losing a basketball game, but the Skirvin's claim to fame seems to be the ability to affect the outcome of the games. Both New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls have famously blamed the hotel for their loses, citing the hauntings as the reason. Other guests have corroborated the story, reporting objects randomly moving, doors slamming shut and hearing strange sounds outside their rooms and in the entryways. Currently, there are enhanced health and safety policies in place.
Slide 38 of 51: If the exterior of Timberline Lodge seems familiar, it's probably because Stanley Kubrick used it as a stand-in for exterior shots of the notorious Overlook Hotel in his film The Shining. Built on Mount Hood's highest driveable location from 1936 to 1938, the Timberline Lodge is a popular spot with skiers and snowboarders. The hotel has comfy rooms and a spa that have reopened with special guidelines in place.
Slide 39 of 51: Housed in the former Girard Bank, the dramatic architecture of The Ritz-Carlton is definitely the most unique setting for a night's sleep in Pennsylvania. The marble walls and columns are complemented by a neutral color scheme that matches the natural swirls of the stone. All the materials used inside ooze old-world glam – think bronze elevators, gilt chandeliers and wrought-iron railings. There are specific COVID-19 guidelines in place.
Slide 40 of 51: The charming New England town of Watch Hill served as the Hamptons of its day, and this Grand Victorian house hotel was brought thoroughly up-to-date in 2014 following a change of ownership, while retaining original features such as the stone fireplace and reception desk. With a sprawling lawn, expansive sea views and a vintage feel, Ocean House offers a proper escape from the day-to-day life. 
Slide 41 of 51: It's no surprise the elegant French Quarter Inn was named the best hotel in the US in 2019. Tucked away in a quieter and calmer area of Charleston's City Market, the hotel's guests have specifically praised the Deluxe Corner Terrace King room that boasts views of the St Philip's Church steeple. There are extra health and safety protocols in place at the hotel. Take a look at America's most charming historic downtowns
Slide 42 of 51: Deadwood was an infamous vice and gambling town after the 1870s Gold Rush, when the likes of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane roamed the streets. The Martin Mason Hotel, with its antique furnishings and lavish 1898 ballroom, recreates the atmosphere of the town in its 19th-century heyday. Get into the spirit with a flutter in the Wooden Nickel Casino on the ground floor of the hotel. Discover the most adorable small town in every US state
Slide 43 of 51: A true Southern classic, The Peabody first opened in 1869 but was moved to a newer building at its present location in 1925. Although the hotel itself is incredibly luxurious and stunning, it's a unique tradition started in the 1930s that draws in visitors. The hotel is home to a small team of ducks that arrive at the hotel's lobby fountain via a red carpet for a splash around twice a day. The Duck March, as it's known, is currently only open to hotel guests on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Slide 44 of 51: While Texas likes everything bigger and better, Kimber Hotel is a total opposite. The contemporary hotel looks more like a private home from the outside while on the inside it's all clean lines, modern furnishings, neutral colors and chic accessories. Built under a canopy of oak trees, it feels like a true escape within the busy city and offers its guest a calming, no-frills environment. The seven guest rooms are all beautifully decorated with floor-to-ceiling windows letting in plenty of natural light. 
Slide 45 of 51: Surrounded by the Mars-like environment of Utah, the Amangiri resort offers extreme luxury in a spectacular and secluded setting. Thousands of square miles of untouched scenery stretch around the resort while inside you can expect seriously high-spec suites, a spa with desert views and an aquamarine pool that curves around a towering rock escarpment. 
Slide 46 of 51: Once home to the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Sinclair Lewis, Twin Farms today is an all-inclusive countryside retreat tucked away in the trees on 300 forested acres. City dwellers can recharge their batteries at one of the 10 cottages at this 5-star Relais & Châteaux property, enjoy the daily changing tasting menu in the 18th-century farmhouse that has been transformed into a candle-lit restaurant or make the most of the surrounding wilderness and enjoy a personalized Champagne picnic experience in the meadows.
Slide 47 of 51: This 12,000-acre escape in southern Virginia is where to go to disappear from the world. Immerse yourself in nature by staying at one of the adults-only treehouses built high in the oak trees or pick a two-story cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows. During the day there's a part of the Old Appalachian Trail to hike or a golf course to enjoy, and once the sun sets, head to the on-site observatory dome for stargazing. Day visits without a lodging reservation are currently suspended. Discover more of America's best spots for stargazing here
Slide 48 of 51: Although the Salish Lodge & Spa is only a 30-minute drive from Seattle, it feels like a world away. The resort benefits from a totally unique location at the top of the breathtaking Snoqualmie Falls and is surrounded by beautiful evergreen forests and many hiking trails. The resort offers 86 guest rooms that all feature fireplaces and oversized spa tubs for a relaxing break. Face coverings are required in all common areas.
Slide 49 of 51: Often called the America's resort, The Greenbrier has been welcoming guests since 1778. A popular destination for luxury travelers looking to take to the natural hot springs, the historic hotel hasn't lost its appeal at all. Located in a scenic mountain setting in southern West Virginia, the accommodation ranges from guest room to signature suites and state homes for private events. You won't want to miss the afternoon tea here – complimentary tea, sweet treats and cookies are served at 4:15pm precisely as it has been for more than 200 years. 
Slide 50 of 51: A much-loved Milwaukee legend, walking into Hotel Metro is like stepping into a time machine. The Art Moderne-inspired hotel imitates the 1930s style so impeccably, you won't believe it was opened in 1998 (even though the building itself was built and designed at the start of the 20th century). All 63 suites feature luxurious amenities like deep soaking or whirlpool tubs and plush beds. The hotel is also notable for its Travel Green Wisconsin certificate thanks to its ongoing eco-friendly initiatives.
Slide 51 of 51: Get a taste of the old Wild West at the iconic Irma Hotel in Cody. This place was built by none other than Buffalo Bill in 1902 who named it after his daughter. You can stay in his personal suite, but the highlight of the hotel is the gorgeous cherrywood bar, which was a gift from Queen Victoria. Today, it's famous for its prime rib buffet. The hotel and restaurant have just reopened. Now discover the most historic hotel in every state

One of a kind

Alabama: GunRunner Boutique Hotel, Florence

Alabama’s first boutique hotel, the GunRunner is located in the heart of Florence and is one of the best small town boutique hotels in the South. With a unique concept of luxurious anonymity, there’s no check-in desk, no interruptions by housekeeping and rooms can only be booked online. Named after the pawn shop that occupied the building years ago, the hotel has 10 distinct suites that are all individually appointed and named after a person or a place significant to the area. 

Alaska: Sheldon Chalet, Denali National Park

Hidden far away in Alaska’s Denali National Park, this luxurious mountain chalet is just 10 miles (16km) from the summit of Denali. Located 6,000 feet (1,828m) above sea level, the chalet is truly a once-in-a-lifetime-experience that’s totally unique. A minimum stay of three nights is required and it includes a helicopter ride to the chalet as well as food, drink and activities. You’ll have to email the Sheldon Family, who run the chalet, directly to enquire about a stay here.

Arizona: The View Hotel, Monument Valley

As the name suggests, this place is all about the view. The first-ever hotel to be built on Navajo Tribal Park land, it’s owned by Navajo people and was designed to blend in with its sacred setting. There’ll be no squabbling over rooms at The View: every bedroom has a private balcony with jaw-dropping views of Monument Valley’s vivid colored sandstone rock formations known as the Mittens. The hotel is temporarily closed and is expected to reopen on 5 March 2021.

These are America’s most stunning natural wonders

Arkansas: 21c Museum Hotel, Bentonville

With a few properties scattered across the country, this unique part-museum-part-hotel in Bentonville is unlike any other hotel you’ll have stayed at before. With artwork displayed throughout, the hotel has a modern yet cozy feel of an intimate art gallery and the on-site restaurant The Hive offers modern takes on beloved classics, like deviled eggs.

California: Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo

Forget tranquil, subtle, peaceful vacations: for a full-on, over-the-top escape, head to California’s Madonna Inn, which is almost entirely Barbie-pink. With several differently themed rooms (including Madonna Suite, Love Nest and Everything Nice among others), pink tennis courts, a colorful gift shop and plenty of picture-perfect food on offer, this is a place to escape mundane everyday life. Face coverings are required in all common areas.

Take a look at 50 amazing Californian attractions not to miss

Colorado: The Little Nell, Aspen

The most sought-after hotel in all of Colorado, The Little Nell has a steamy rooftop surprise up its sleeve as well. With panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains and a bubbling hot tub, it truly is the perfect way to rest your aching ski legs. Currently, the hotel is also running several tempting offers, including special rates for Colorado residents.

Connecticut: Winvian Farm, Morris

Comprised of the original farmhouse from 1775, a 19th-century addition and another 21st-century extension, the Winvian Farm is a luxury retreat set within 113 acres of farmland and forests. With individually designed cottages, an excellent farm-to-table restaurant and a spa set in the fragrant gardens, a stay here is truly relaxing. Just two hours away from New York or Boston, the unique retreat promises lots of restorative nature walks and cozy evenings snuggled up by the fireplace.

Delaware: The Brick Hotel on the Circle, Georgetown

Stay in a slice of American history at The Brick Hotel in Georgetown. Known as the Union Hotel during the Civil War era, this was once a popular hangout for soldiers and is now one of the state’s only remaining buildings from around that time. Lovingly restored with plenty of original features, including the 19th-century staircase, staying at the charming guesthouse is like stepping back in time.

Florida: Faena Hotel Miami Beach, Miami Beach

A stroll through the opulent Faena Hotel Miami Beach is like a walk through a top art gallery. The lobby, nicknamed The Cathedral, has palatial gold and velvet furniture, impressive murals and gold-leaf-covered columns. Art aficionados should head straight for the hotel’s pool and beach area where Damien Hirst’s striking sculpture Gone But Not Forgotten – a 3,000-year-old gilded woolly mammoth skeleton – casually overlooks the vacationers. The hotel was set to reopen on 29 October 2020.

Georgia: The Cloister at Sea Island, Sea Island

Sitting on a five-mile-long (8km) island off the coast of Georgia, this stunning hotel is where Southern hospitality and Mediterranean-style design meet. Guests can enjoy a fine-dining experience in the Georgian Room restaurant, feasting on delicacies such as grilled octopus and truffle soup, before relaxing in the Georgian Room lounge in front of a roaring fire with a glass of vintage port in hand – the hotel has an extensive list to choose from. The hotel is currently asking guests to wear face coverings in most common areas.

Hawaii: Volcano House, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Many who travel to Hawaii come to see the otherworldly Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and nowhere is closer to the action than Volcano House almost right on the rim of Kīlauea. Although the hotel is temporarily closed, we simply couldn’t leave it off the list due to its truly unique location. Typically, guests can enjoy stunning views of the caldera, amazing Hawaiian food and exhilarating hikes through a rainforest to the volcano. 

Idaho: Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood

You can’t miss Dog Bark Park Inn – just look for the enormous beagle. Inside this 12 foot-tall (3.6m) canine you’ll find a (no surprises here) dog-themed room. As you might have guessed the inn’s owners are huge dog fans and also run an artists’ studio where you can buy cute canine carvings crafted by chainsaw. This hotel certainly brings a whole new meaning to being in the doghouse…

Illinois: Palmer House Hilton, Chicago

This opulent Chicago landmark was built as a gift from business magnate Potter Palmer to his bride Bertha Honoré to mark their wedding in 1871. The original building burned down 13 days later during the Great Chicago Fire, but Palmer rebuilt it and reopened the hotel in 1873. Today, it’s Chicago’s most charming spot and it’s worth stopping by the elegant lobby adorned by ceiling frescoes and gold Tiffany chandeliers even if you’re not staying the night. 

Indiana: Crowne Plaza Indianapolis, Indianapolis

For a chain hotel, this Crowne Plaza in Indianapolis is surprisingly unique. Located within Indianapolis’ old train station, it has rooms in old train carriages still positioned on the tracks while the station’s Grand Hall has been converted into a stunning venue space normally used for weddings and events. Built in 1888, the 100-year-old building has gone through two renovations that have preserved as much of the original features as possible.

Discover America’s most underrated state capitals

Iowa: Hotel Julien Dubuque, Dubuque

The incredible history of Hotel Julien Dubuque can be traced as far back as 1839, when the first lodging house opened on this site. The current hotel building was completed in 1915 and allegedly served as a hiding place for notorious mobster Al Capone when things got complicated in Chicago. The hotel has retained its historic charm which it has combined with modern and luxurious amenities. 

Kansas: Midland Railroad Hotel & Restaurant, Wilson

There really isn’t much the Midland Railroad Hotel hasn’t seen in its time. Opened in 1899, it was a popular stop along the Union Pacific Railroad between Kansas City and Denver; during the Great Depression the hotel’s third floor was turned into a chicken coop in order to serve dinner guests; and although it continued operating over the next decades, it closed in 1978. The historic building fell into disrepair until it was bought by the Wilson Foundation in 1997 who restored it to its former 1920s glory.

Kentucky: The Kentucky Castle, Versailles

Located in the aptly named Versailles, The Kentucky Castle features 10 luxury rooms and suites where guests can really live like royalty. The on-site farm-to-table restaurant features lots of elevated Kentucky cuisine staples while the spa offers romantic honeymoon or anniversary packages. If you’re happy to properly splurge, the Presidential Suite is located in a spacious corner turret with an additional sitting room and a private terrace. The hotel has rigorous COVID-19 health and safety protocols in place. 

Louisiana: Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans

Narrowing down the most unique hotel in Louisiana, especially in New Orleans, is no mean feat but it’s the French Quarter’s iconic Hotel Monteleone that’s been among the best places to have a drink in the Bourbon Street area for a very long time. Opened by Sicilian immigrant Antonio Monteleone in 1886, the hotel is still owned by the family today. Writers like Capote and Hemingway used to hide out here while writing and taking an occasional break (or two) at the legendary Carousel Bar which is, as the name implies, a carousel – unfortunately, it has temporarily closed.

Maine: The Westin Portland Harborview, Portland

The Westin Portland Harborview was the largest hotel in New England when it opened in 1927 as the 369-room Eastland Park Hotel. It has gone down in history as the place that didn’t let Eleanor Roosevelt stay there with her dog and later became famous for Ozzy Osbourne tossing pool furniture off the rooftop. The hotel fell into disrepair until 2011 when it underwent a $50 million renovation project. There are enhanced cleaning protocols in place and face coverings are required in all indoor public areas.

Maryland: Admiral Fell Inn, Baltimore

On a cobbled street corner in Fell’s Point, once a major shipbuilding area and Baltimore’s oldest waterfront community, the Admiral Fell Inn is made up of seven adjoining buildings. One of these buildings used to be a boarding house for sailors before it expanded into a Seaman’s YMCA in the late 1920s before eventually closing in the 1970s. The hotel began to resemble its current shape in 1985, when the building was opened once more, and a 38-room inn was created. Finally, in 1996, upgrades transformed the space into a beautiful boutique hotel. 

Massachusetts: The Liberty Hotel, Boston

It’s a lavish hotel today, but in its former incarnation The Liberty was known as The Charles Street Jail and was home to some of Boston’s most notorious criminals. Previous inmates include James Michael Curley, Boston’s ex-mayor who was imprisoned in 1904 for fraud, and even activist Malcolm X. Today, you’re more likely to spot showbiz stars in the corridors – Meg Ryan and Eva Mendes are both said to have stayed at The Liberty. The building has been carefully restored, allowing the historical detail to take center stage.

Michigan: Detroit Marriott, Detroit

Second tallest hotel in the USA, the Detroit Marriott is 727 feet (221m) tall, with more than 1,300 rooms across 73 floors featuring fabulous views of the city or of the Detroit River. When you’re not admiring the view from your room, head to the patio for a cocktail or, if you’re keen to explore the city from closer up, the hotel’s downtown location makes it explore the city’s top sights on foot. Face coverings must be worn in all indoor common areas.

Minnesota: Hewing Hotel, Minneapolis

Hewing Hotel, named after the cutting wood found in Minnesota’s forests, is all about style – think recycled wooden floors, custom-made furniture and trendy accessories. Located in Minneapolis’ hip North Loop with its boutique stores, cocktail bars, independent restaurants and craft breweries, the hotel has a unique feature in the form of giant raindrops hanging in the central atrium. Although most are silver, you’ll be able to spot a few purple ones in tribute to Prince, who was born in Minneapolis.

Mississippi: White House Hotel, Biloxi

Not a nod to the presidential home but to its founder’s name, White House Hotel was established by Cora White, the wife of Gulf Coast lawyer and later judge Walter White, as she started accepting boarders in their home in Biloxi in the 1890s. Business was good so the Whites bought the house next door and joined the two together to create a lobby, a dining room and a ballroom in 1910. Recently restored thanks to the two White sons, the hotel has regained its former glory and a stay here does feel a bit presidential.

Missouri: St Louis Union Station Hotel

The dramatic proportions of the lobby at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel will certainly leave you in awe. With gold leaf detailing, sweeping archways and impossibly high ceilings, the lobby comes to life each night, when it hosts a 3D light show. There’s an exciting show nightly, where flying birds, an aquarium scene and other animations are projected across the historic lobby, as well as photos of the former station and its passengers.

Montana: The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough

Known as a wilderness sanctuary, The Resort at Paws Up is set on the grounds of an active 37,000-acre cattle ranch. Guests can pick between two accommodation options – a luxe tent complete with an en-suite bathroom and wooden floors or one of the comfortable private homes. You can explore the rolling hills of Blackfoot Valley with more than 100 miles (161km) of trails either on foot or on horseback. And as the resort itself says, social distancing here is measured in acres, not feet…

Nebraska: Magnolia Hotel, Omaha

It may be part of a small chain but Magnolia Hotel in Omaha is still a seriously classy joint with plenty of character. Built in 1923, the hotel is modeled on the Bargello Palace in Florence, Italy, and has a stunning interior courtyard which earned the building a slot on the National Register of Historic Places. If you can manage to drag yourself away from its charms, you’ll find plenty to do in the historic Old Market neighborhood just steps from the hotel.

Nevada: Circus Circus, Las Vegas

We couldn’t have a list of unusual hotels without an outlandish place to stay in Sin City. As well as circus performances, the aptly named Circus Circus has an indoor theme park called the Adventuredome. Here you’ll find the Canyon Blaster, the only indoor double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster in the world.

Check out the incredible story of Las Vegas

New Hampshire: Adventure Suites, North Conway

Adventure Suites in North Conway is home to 18 fabulously kitsch-themed suites including a haunted castle and a mansion from ancient Rome. The Love Shack is a 1970s-style suite complete with a two-person hot tub and a disco ball while film buffs can book themselves into a suite that’s a private movie theater.

New Jersey: EnVue, Weehawken

A sleek and modern hotel, EnVue’s best feature that sets it apart from all the other New Jersey hotels is definitely its location. Book one of the riverside rooms and you’ll be treated to a panorama of midtown Manhattan unfolding in front of you as you enjoy your chic quarters. The whole hotel keeps to a monochrome color palette and the minimalist decor with a few accent pieces makes it feel ultra-luxe. Guests are required to wear face coverings in all indoor common areas.

New Mexico: The Inn of Five Graces, Santa Fe

Recognized as one of the best hotels in the world, The Five Graces is situated right in the heart of Santa Fe’s historic district. The traditional adobe-style hotel is furnished with an eclectic mix of East Indian and Tibetan furnishings, providing guests with opulent surroundings. All rooms and suites have traditional kiva fireplaces with some featuring private balconies or secluded patios while the ultra-luxe private two-bedroom Luminaria Villa is a chance to live like royalty.

New York: Mohonk Mountain House, New Paltz

Like something out of a fairy tale, the Mohonk Mountain House sits on the shore of the picturesque Lake Mohonk in upstate New York. Surrounded by expansive woodlands, the Victorian castle-like hotel offers guided hikes as well as a changing roster of activities that include tours of the greenhouse and the gardens, meditation and yoga sessions and rock climbing. Although most of Mohonk’s recreational venues are open, there are extra health and safety procedures in place.

North Carolina: The Inn On Biltmore Estate, Asheville

When George Vanderbilt designed his stunning Asheville estate in 1889, he wanted to open an inn that would overlook the splendor of the grounds. It never happened in his lifetime and it wasn’t until 2001 when The Inn On Biltmore Estate was opened, alongside the moderately priced Village Hotel and the Cottage – the only lodging here that dates back to Vanderbilt’s time. Enhanced health and safety policies are in place.

North Dakota: Hotel Donaldson, Fargo

Throughout its history, Hotel Donaldson has been a beacon of change in the city. After a fire ravaged most of Fargo, the hotel was one of the first buildings to reopen in 1893. Then, after decades of disrepair, the restoration of it revitalized the then-neglected Downtown. The opening of the hotel sparked the area’s revival and now the 17-room boutique hotel, with each room designed by a local artist, is a destination in itself.

Ohio: Golden Lamb, Lebanon

The oldest continuously-run business in the state of Ohio, the Golden Lamb is a presidential favorite, having housed 12 of the former US presidents. It began as a simple tavern in 1803, providing a resting spot for travelers on their way from Cincinnati to the old National Road (now US-40). It offered simple rooms and stiff drinks, a tradition that hasn’t changed much since it first opened. Face coverings are required in all public areas.

Oklahoma: Skirvin Hilton Hotel, Oklahoma City

Not many hotels have been blamed for losing a basketball game, but the Skirvin’s claim to fame seems to be the ability to affect the outcome of the games. Both New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls have famously blamed the hotel for their loses, citing the hauntings as the reason. Other guests have corroborated the story, reporting objects randomly moving, doors slamming shut and hearing strange sounds outside their rooms and in the entryways. Currently, there are enhanced health and safety policies in place.

Oregon: Timberline Lodge, Government Camp

If the exterior of Timberline Lodge seems familiar, it’s probably because Stanley Kubrick used it as a stand-in for exterior shots of the notorious Overlook Hotel in his film The Shining. Built on Mount Hood’s highest driveable location from 1936 to 1938, the Timberline Lodge is a popular spot with skiers and snowboarders. The hotel has comfy rooms and a spa that have reopened with special guidelines in place.

Pennsylvania: The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia

Housed in the former Girard Bank, the dramatic architecture of The Ritz-Carlton is definitely the most unique setting for a night’s sleep in Pennsylvania. The marble walls and columns are complemented by a neutral color scheme that matches the natural swirls of the stone. All the materials used inside ooze old-world glam – think bronze elevators, gilt chandeliers and wrought-iron railings. There are specific COVID-19 guidelines in place.

Rhode Island: Ocean House, Westerly

The charming New England town of Watch Hill served as the Hamptons of its day, and this Grand Victorian house hotel was brought thoroughly up-to-date in 2014 following a change of ownership, while retaining original features such as the stone fireplace and reception desk. With a sprawling lawn, expansive sea views and a vintage feel, Ocean House offers a proper escape from the day-to-day life. 

South Carolina: French Quarter Inn, Charleston

It’s no surprise the elegant French Quarter Inn was named the best hotel in the US in 2019. Tucked away in a quieter and calmer area of Charleston’s City Market, the hotel’s guests have specifically praised the Deluxe Corner Terrace King room that boasts views of the St Philip’s Church steeple. There are extra health and safety protocols in place at the hotel.

Take a look at America’s most charming historic downtowns

South Dakota: Martin Mason Hotel, Deadwood

Deadwood was an infamous vice and gambling town after the 1870s Gold Rush, when the likes of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane roamed the streets. The Martin Mason Hotel, with its antique furnishings and lavish 1898 ballroom, recreates the atmosphere of the town in its 19th-century heyday. Get into the spirit with a flutter in the Wooden Nickel Casino on the ground floor of the hotel.

Discover the most adorable small town in every US state

Tennessee: The Peabody, Memphis

A true Southern classic, The Peabody first opened in 1869 but was moved to a newer building at its present location in 1925. Although the hotel itself is incredibly luxurious and stunning, it’s a unique tradition started in the 1930s that draws in visitors. The hotel is home to a small team of ducks that arrive at the hotel’s lobby fountain via a red carpet for a splash around twice a day. The Duck March, as it’s known, is currently only open to hotel guests on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Texas: Kimber Modern Boutique Hotel, Austin

While Texas likes everything bigger and better, Kimber Hotel is a total opposite. The contemporary hotel looks more like a private home from the outside while on the inside it’s all clean lines, modern furnishings, neutral colors and chic accessories. Built under a canopy of oak trees, it feels like a true escape within the busy city and offers its guest a calming, no-frills environment. The seven guest rooms are all beautifully decorated with floor-to-ceiling windows letting in plenty of natural light. 

Utah: Amangiri, Canyon Point

Surrounded by the Mars-like environment of Utah, the Amangiri resort offers extreme luxury in a spectacular and secluded setting. Thousands of square miles of untouched scenery stretch around the resort while inside you can expect seriously high-spec suites, a spa with desert views and an aquamarine pool that curves around a towering rock escarpment. 

Vermont: Twin Farms, Barnard

Once home to the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Sinclair Lewis, Twin Farms today is an all-inclusive countryside retreat tucked away in the trees on 300 forested acres. City dwellers can recharge their batteries at one of the 10 cottages at this 5-star Relais & Châteaux property, enjoy the daily changing tasting menu in the 18th-century farmhouse that has been transformed into a candle-lit restaurant or make the most of the surrounding wilderness and enjoy a personalized Champagne picnic experience in the meadows.

Virginia: The Lodge at Primland, Meadows of Dan

This 12,000-acre escape in southern Virginia is where to go to disappear from the world. Immerse yourself in nature by staying at one of the adults-only treehouses built high in the oak trees or pick a two-story cabin with floor-to-ceiling windows. During the day there’s a part of the Old Appalachian Trail to hike or a golf course to enjoy, and once the sun sets, head to the on-site observatory dome for stargazing. Day visits without a lodging reservation are currently suspended.

Discover more of America’s best spots for stargazing here

Washington: Salish Lodge & Spa, Snoqualmie

Although the Salish Lodge & Spa is only a 30-minute drive from Seattle, it feels like a world away. The resort benefits from a totally unique location at the top of the breathtaking Snoqualmie Falls and is surrounded by beautiful evergreen forests and many hiking trails. The resort offers 86 guest rooms that all feature fireplaces and oversized spa tubs for a relaxing break. Face coverings are required in all common areas.

West Virginia: The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs

Often called the America’s resort, The Greenbrier has been welcoming guests since 1778. A popular destination for luxury travelers looking to take to the natural hot springs, the historic hotel hasn’t lost its appeal at all. Located in a scenic mountain setting in southern West Virginia, the accommodation ranges from guest room to signature suites and state homes for private events. You won’t want to miss the afternoon tea here – complimentary tea, sweet treats and cookies are served at 4:15pm precisely as it has been for more than 200 years. 

Wisconsin: Hotel Metro, Milwaukee

A much-loved Milwaukee legend, walking into Hotel Metro is like stepping into a time machine. The Art Moderne-inspired hotel imitates the 1930s style so impeccably, you won’t believe it was opened in 1998 (even though the building itself was built and designed at the start of the 20th century). All 63 suites feature luxurious amenities like deep soaking or whirlpool tubs and plush beds. The hotel is also notable for its Travel Green Wisconsin certificate thanks to its ongoing eco-friendly initiatives.

Wyoming: Irma Hotel, Cody

Get a taste of the old Wild West at the iconic Irma Hotel in Cody. This place was built by none other than Buffalo Bill in 1902 who named it after his daughter. You can stay in his personal suite, but the highlight of the hotel is the gorgeous cherrywood bar, which was a gift from Queen Victoria. Today, it’s famous for its prime rib buffet. The hotel and restaurant have just reopened.

Now discover the most historic hotel in every state

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International Air Travel Is Closer to Restarting, Thanks to This App



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This is what travel looked like after the last pandemic



Slide 1 of 35: There's no doubt that coronavirus has changed the world. But this isn't the first time the planet has faced a global pandemic. In 1918, Spanish Flu spread across the globe, claiming millions of lives and altering the daily routines – and travel patterns – of people from all corners of the planet. Here we take a look at the pandemic that rocked the world in the early 20th century and what it meant for travel.
Slide 2 of 35: Considered the deadliest pandemic in human history, Spanish Flu infected about a third of the world's population, and is thought to have cost the lives of some 50 million people (although medical record keeping at the time means exact figures remain unknown). This previously unknown strain of deadly influenza swept across the world from 1918 and into the summer of 1919.
Slide 3 of 35: Because of its name, many assume this 20th-century pandemic began in Spain. However, although there are several theories pointing to various other parts of Europe, China or the US, its starting point remains unconfirmed. The name Spanish Flu came from the fact that Spanish press reported on the virus in a timely and thorough fashion, while there were still media blackouts in other European countries due to the First World War. One of the earliest reported cases was at a military camp in Fort Riley, Kansas in March 1918. A hospital ward at Camp Funston is pictured here during the outbreak.
Slide 4 of 35: Travel was a different beast in the 1910s. Aviation was in its infancy and leisure travel was far less engrained in people's lives than it is today. The absence of jumbo jets whisking passengers to all corners of the globe meant that the disease spread slower than it would have today, not reaching countries including Canada until September 1918. People still took precautions when traveling locally – this 1918 photo shows a man cleaning a London bus during the pandemic.

Slide 5 of 35: Travel still had an impact on the way the pandemic spread. According to a 2020 report, Spanish Flu can be "described as the first 'modern' pandemic characterized by rapid movement via a global transport system". But rather than by jumbo jets, the disease was carried across the world via ships and railways. Pictured here is a notice from the Anti-Tuberculosis League advising train passengers on ways to deal with the influenza outbreak.
Slide 6 of 35: There wasn't a cohesive global response to the pandemic and, even within nations, different cities took vastly different approaches to controlling the disease. But when the outbreak hit its peak, the general consensus was that the public should avoid crowds, limit contact with other people and, by extension, avoid non-essential travel. In New York, for example, business hours were altered in order to reduce congestion on public transport. Here a passenger without a face mask is refused entry to a Seattle street car.
Slide 7 of 35: Places that might usually attract tourists – including restaurants, theaters, cinemas and saloons – were closed in many places, including, eventually, in Philadelphia, where a large public parade had previously led to a shocking death toll. This 1919 poster in Chicago, Illinois reminds those with symptoms to stay at home.
Slide 8 of 35: Some places closed their borders altogether, restricting access in and out of their community, and also shutting schools and places of worship. These included the city of Egegik (pictured here in 1917, before the outbreak) on Alaska's Bristol Bay, an area devastated by the pandemic. Australia also required those people traveling into the country to quarantine for a period during the outbreak.
Slide 9 of 35: The Spanish Flu pandemic and, of course, the First World War led to a period of financial hardship for many. Post-war recessions caused high unemployment in the United States and, after a brief economic boom in 1919 to 1920, Britain had a similar fate. For many families, a vacation was the furthest thing from their mind. But with large crowds no longer an issue, some sun-seekers still found their way to local beaches. Here women and girls wade into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Massachusetts circa 1919. 

Slide 10 of 35: Despite the economic circumstances of many in the UK and US, there was a shift in attitudes towards travel after the pandemic and the First World War. This tumultuous period, according to Leonard J Lickorish in British Tourism, "took millions of people from their normal home environments, tossed them into a feverish activity and change, and moved them frequently in the UK and abroad.” He continues, "Traditional perceptions of home, village and town boundaries were broken," laying the foundations for a new age of travel and tourism. This 1920s shot shows Blackpool Pleasure Beach, UK.
Slide 11 of 35: Despite the (perhaps surprising) appetite for post-war and post-pandemic travel, it remained the domain of the most privileged in society – and even they tended to stay close to home shores. Here three well-heeled, well-dressed women enjoy the sunshine on a beach in Massachusetts in the 1920s.
Slide 12 of 35: After the Spanish Flu and the First World War had run their destructive courses, there were leaps and bounds made in aviation technology. According to Smithsonian, during this period, "aircraft evolved from First World War-style biplanes into sleek, high-performance modern airliners" that somewhat resemble the planes we're used to traveling in today. This shot shows passengers waiting to board a Handley Page W.9 aircraft at UK's Croydon Airport in 1926.
Slide 13 of 35: In the early days of the US air transport network, these new-fangled aircraft generally carried mail rather than passengers. This photo shows a woman handing her mail to aircraft crew employed by Western Air Express (later known as Western Airlines).
Slide 14 of 35: It wasn't until the late 1920s, and through the 1930s, that commercial aviation began to flourish and regular passenger services were established. Early US services included Transcontinental Air Transport's route between New York and Los Angeles, which launched in 1929. British airlines such as Imperial Airways also operated during this time, serving destinations including Northern Europe and South Africa. Passengers are pictured here in the 1920s boarding an Imperial Airways service from London to Paris.

Slide 15 of 35: Flying in the years after the Spanish Flu pandemic was costly and, as such, it was an activity reserved for the most privileged in society. However, plane rides during this time were long, uncomfortable (due to noise and turbulence) and ultimately dangerous – accidents involving commercial aircraft were not uncommon in the interwar years. Here a bunch of wealthy passengers brave a plane ride in 1931 and enjoy some in-flight entertainment.
Slide 16 of 35: Having said this, airlines went the extra mile to ensure their affluent passengers were comfortable, with top service, plush cabin lounges and fine food served seat-side. You were even allowed to smoke. Here a couple relaxes with a cocktail or two on the Imperial Airways Empire flying boat passenger plane in the 1930s. Now check out how air travel has changed since 1920.
Slide 17 of 35: While a small handful of people were able to fly, sea travel was a more popular way of covering those long distances (although cruising still came with a fairly hefty price tag). The Spanish Flu had mainly found its way between countries via ships, but there's little indication that this put travelers off from taking to the ocean in the interwar years. Here a jubilant crowd waves off the RMS Queen Mary as she leaves a Southampton dock on her maiden voyage in 1936.
Slide 18 of 35: Cruise liners competed to win the Blue Riband title for the shortest Atlantic crossing time through the 1930s, and the RMS Queen Mary forged her way from Southampton to New York in just five days. Here a star-studded group, including performer Gertrude Lawrence, dine on the ship in early 1939.
Slide 19 of 35: Like flying, cruising was, for the most part, a lavish affair that only the wealthiest in society could afford. For many families living through the wake of a world war and a global pandemic, this kind of travel simply wasn't an option. Those who did have the means to escape on luxury ships would find plush lounges such as this one on Canadian Pacific liner the Duchess of Bedford – it's captured here in 1931.
Slide 20 of 35: Beyond their decks and lavish lounges, cruises gave wealthy passengers the opportunity to explore far-flung destinations on organized excursions. Here American tourists from the Cunard liner Scythia are pictured wandering the ancient Giza pyramid complex, near Cairo, Egypt in 1923. Take a look at more vintage photos of the world's most famous landmarks.
Slide 21 of 35: During the Spanish Flu pandemic, trains were seen as a vessel for transmitting the disease and some members of the public were wary of using them. Longstanding trade publication Railway Age said in a 1918 editorial that "crowding in passenger trains should be avoided as much as possible" and railways should take "every possible measure" to ensure the safety of trains. But by the 1920s, passengers once again felt safe to travel on the railways for leisure. Here vacationers leave London Paddington on a "land cruise" to the West Country.
Slide 22 of 35: The pandemic saw some rail routes altered or halted altogether. But during the interwar years, train travel boomed, as shown by this crowd pictured at Waterloo Station in 1922. In fact, in the book British Tourism, these are described as the “glory years of steam trains”, with vacationers enjoying “relatively fast and efficient services". Take a look at these stunning photos of the world's most beautiful train stations.
Slide 23 of 35: The ease and efficiency of a journey on the British railway meant that more families (especially those who couldn't afford a motor car) were able to enjoy short breaks and leisure excursions around the country. Here a group of delighted young vacationers enjoy a ride on a luggage cart at Euston station.
Slide 24 of 35: There was a similar post-pandemic trend in the USA. According to Railway Age, “In 1920, the US system would see its highest total, 47.3 billion passenger-miles – this just four years after the entire network reached its peak mileage of 254,000 route-miles.” Here a young woman alights a train in California, ready for her vacation, in 1927.
Slide 25 of 35: As train services poured passengers into Britain's seaside towns, the post-war and post-pandemic years saw major investments along the UK's coast. Previously neglected spots such as Eastbourne and Blackpool were transformed into glittering seaside resorts with hotels and amusement-packed beaches. Vacationers are seen here in the 1920s, wandering Eastbourne's ocean promenade, its pier rising in the background.
Slide 26 of 35: Some of Britain's seaside towns – including Blackpool in Lancashire and Margate in Kent (pictured) – also had fun, family-friendly amusement parks that drew yet more people through the interwar years. In fact, British Tourism estimates that by the late 1930s, having mostly recovered from the devastation of war and the Spanish Flu, "one third of the population, or 15 million people, took one annual vacation staying away from home within the country".
Slide 27 of 35: The post-pandemic vacation looked similar in America too, with many families staying close to home during their leisure time, either by choice or due to financial constraints. This trio of beach-goers build a sandcastle on New Jersey shores in 1934. Take a look at more vintage snaps of family vacations throughout the decades.
Slide 28 of 35: While most British vacationers stuck to home shores, the number traveling abroad by the end of the 1930s, more than a decade after the pandemic ended, was not insignificant. By this time, it's estimated that the number of travelers setting their sights abroad, usually to Europe, had reached one million, according to British Tourism. This vintage snap shows a busy beach in Valencia, Spain.
Slide 29 of 35: Post-war and post-pandemic, the motor car industry boomed in both the UK and the States. Although they remained the preserve of the wealthy upper and middle classes, vehicles opened up the USA and countries across Europe, providing easy access to previously hard-to-reach destinations. Now take a look at what the future of travel could look like after COVID-19.
Slide 30 of 35: The war- and disease-ravaged years previous had taken away freedoms for many people so, in the decades that followed, the open road beckoned. The idea of the road trip soon became a romantic notion, particularly in the USA, where the motor industry played a major part in rebuilding the country's suffering economy. Here road-trippers enjoy a country road in Yellowstone National Park in the 1920s. Take a look at nostalgic pictures of America's most historic attractions here.
Slide 31 of 35: Road conditions improved dramatically in the United States through the 1920s and 1930s, and motorways were built across the country, as well as in European destinations such as Germany. The UK also invested heavily in dual-carriageway roads. Here, a young group of road-trippers in the US state of Georgia consult a map at the side of the highway in the 1930s.
Slide 32 of 35: Of course, car ownership wasn't a possibility for everyone and long-distance coach services helped those who couldn't afford their own vehicle get on the road. Many surplus military vehicles were turned into road-worthy buses and coaches during this time, and social enterprises also sought to provide vacations for those who were hit hard by the previous decade. Here a group head out from London's Hoxton in a Baker's Motor Service coach, on a trip to Brighton organized by Hoxton Market Mission.
Slide 33 of 35: Motor-pulled caravans, which have pre-war roots, found their footing once the pandemic had ended too. In the 1930s, the gold standard of caravans was born with Bertram Hutchings' Winchester model (pictured), which was soon seen on roads and campsites across Britain. Unsurprisingly, caravan parks began to spring up along Britain's coastal areas too.
Slide 34 of 35: There was a similar pattern in the States too. The Tin Can Tourists Club – a trailer and motor coach club – formed in the wake of the pandemic, in 1919, and light trailers and caravans continued to grow in popularity. A Tin Can Tourist camp in Gainesville, Florida, is pictured here in the 1920s. Now look at retro photos of America's oldest attractions in their heyday.
Slide 35 of 35: Innovation in recreational vehicles would continue right up until the late 1930s, when the Second World War would take hold. And as more and more Americans began owning motor vehicles and trailers during this decade, caravan sites continued to spring up. This one is located in Dade City, in Florida's Tampa Bay area, and is captured in 1939. Discover classic Hollywood stars' most charming vacation snaps here.

How Spanish Flu changed travel

There’s no doubt that coronavirus has changed the world. But this isn’t the first time the planet has faced a global pandemic. In 1918, Spanish Flu spread across the globe, claiming millions of lives and altering the daily routines – and travel patterns – of people from all corners of the planet. Here we take a look at the pandemic that rocked the world in the early 20th century and what it meant for travel.

A global pandemic

What’s in a name?

Because of its name, many assume this 20th-century pandemic began in Spain. However, although there are several theories pointing to various other parts of Europe, China or the US, its starting point remains unconfirmed. The name Spanish Flu came from the fact that Spanish press reported on the virus in a timely and thorough fashion, while there were still media blackouts in other European countries due to the First World War. One of the earliest reported cases was at a military camp in Fort Riley, Kansas in March 1918. A hospital ward at Camp Funston is pictured here during the outbreak.

Travel, then and now

Travel was a different beast in the 1910s. Aviation was in its infancy and leisure travel was far less engrained in people’s lives than it is today. The absence of jumbo jets whisking passengers to all corners of the globe meant that the disease spread slower than it would have today, not reaching countries including Canada until September 1918. People still took precautions when traveling locally – this 1918 photo shows a man cleaning a London bus during the pandemic.

The journey of a disease

Travel still had an impact on the way the pandemic spread. According to a 2020 report, Spanish Flu can be “described as the first ‘modern’ pandemic characterized by rapid movement via a global transport system”. But rather than by jumbo jets, the disease was carried across the world via ships and railways. Pictured here is a notice from the Anti-Tuberculosis League advising train passengers on ways to deal with the influenza outbreak.

Travel with caution

There wasn’t a cohesive global response to the pandemic and, even within nations, different cities took vastly different approaches to controlling the disease. But when the outbreak hit its peak, the general consensus was that the public should avoid crowds, limit contact with other people and, by extension, avoid non-essential travel. In New York, for example, business hours were altered in order to reduce congestion on public transport. Here a passenger without a face mask is refused entry to a Seattle street car.

Cities in lockdown

Places that might usually attract tourists – including restaurants, theaters, cinemas and saloons – were closed in many places, including, eventually, in Philadelphia, where a large public parade had previously led to a shocking death toll. This 1919 poster in Chicago, Illinois reminds those with symptoms to stay at home.

Closing borders

Some places closed their borders altogether, restricting access in and out of their community, and also shutting schools and places of worship. These included the city of Egegik (pictured here in 1917, before the outbreak) on Alaska’s Bristol Bay, an area devastated by the pandemic. Australia also required those people traveling into the country to quarantine for a period during the outbreak.

The aftermath

The Spanish Flu pandemic and, of course, the First World War led to a period of financial hardship for many. Post-war recessions caused high unemployment in the United States and, after a brief economic boom in 1919 to 1920, Britain had a similar fate. For many families, a vacation was the furthest thing from their mind. But with large crowds no longer an issue, some sun-seekers still found their way to local beaches. Here women and girls wade into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Massachusetts circa 1919. 

A new attitude to travel

Despite the economic circumstances of many in the UK and US, there was a shift in attitudes towards travel after the pandemic and the First World War. This tumultuous period, according to Leonard J Lickorish in British Tourism, “took millions of people from their normal home environments, tossed them into a feverish activity and change, and moved them frequently in the UK and abroad.” He continues, “Traditional perceptions of home, village and town boundaries were broken,” laying the foundations for a new age of travel and tourism. This 1920s shot shows Blackpool Pleasure Beach, UK.

The true cost

Jetting off

After the Spanish Flu and the First World War had run their destructive courses, there were leaps and bounds made in aviation technology. According to Smithsonian, during this period, “aircraft evolved from First World War-style biplanes into sleek, high-performance modern airliners” that somewhat resemble the planes we’re used to traveling in today. This shot shows passengers waiting to board a Handley Page W.9 aircraft at UK’s Croydon Airport in 1926.

You’ve got mail

Taking flight

It wasn’t until the late 1920s, and through the 1930s, that commercial aviation began to flourish and regular passenger services were established. Early US services included Transcontinental Air Transport’s route between New York and Los Angeles, which launched in 1929. British airlines such as Imperial Airways also operated during this time, serving destinations including Northern Europe and South Africa. Passengers are pictured here in the 1920s boarding an Imperial Airways service from London to Paris.

A bumpy ride

Flying in the years after the Spanish Flu pandemic was costly and, as such, it was an activity reserved for the most privileged in society. However, plane rides during this time were long, uncomfortable (due to noise and turbulence) and ultimately dangerous – accidents involving commercial aircraft were not uncommon in the interwar years. Here a bunch of wealthy passengers brave a plane ride in 1931 and enjoy some in-flight entertainment.

Little luxuries

Having said this, airlines went the extra mile to ensure their affluent passengers were comfortable, with top service, plush cabin lounges and fine food served seat-side. You were even allowed to smoke. Here a couple relaxes with a cocktail or two on the Imperial Airways Empire flying boat passenger plane in the 1930s. Now check out how air travel has changed since 1920.

Out to sea

All aboard

A splash of luxury

A true escape

Beyond their decks and lavish lounges, cruises gave wealthy passengers the opportunity to explore far-flung destinations on organized excursions. Here American tourists from the Cunard liner Scythia are pictured wandering the ancient Giza pyramid complex, near Cairo, Egypt in 1923. Take a look at more vintage photos of the world’s most famous landmarks.

On the right track

During the Spanish Flu pandemic, trains were seen as a vessel for transmitting the disease and some members of the public were wary of using them. Longstanding trade publication Railway Age said in a 1918 editorial that “crowding in passenger trains should be avoided as much as possible” and railways should take “every possible measure” to ensure the safety of trains. But by the 1920s, passengers once again felt safe to travel on the railways for leisure. Here vacationers leave London Paddington on a “land cruise” to the West Country.

Full steam ahead

The pandemic saw some rail routes altered or halted altogether. But during the interwar years, train travel boomed, as shown by this crowd pictured at Waterloo Station in 1922. In fact, in the book British Tourism, these are described as the “glory years of steam trains”, with vacationers enjoying “relatively fast and efficient services”. Take a look at these stunning photos of the world’s most beautiful train stations.

An easy ride

The American railroad

There was a similar post-pandemic trend in the USA. According to Railway Age, “In 1920, the US system would see its highest total, 47.3 billion passenger-miles – this just four years after the entire network reached its peak mileage of 254,000 route-miles.” Here a young woman alights a train in California, ready for her vacation, in 1927.

A spotlight on the seaside

Coastal amusements

Some of Britain’s seaside towns – including Blackpool in Lancashire and Margate in Kent (pictured) – also had fun, family-friendly amusement parks that drew yet more people through the interwar years. In fact, British Tourism estimates that by the late 1930s, having mostly recovered from the devastation of war and the Spanish Flu, “one third of the population, or 15 million people, took one annual vacation staying away from home within the country”.

Close to home

The post-pandemic vacation looked similar in America too, with many families staying close to home during their leisure time, either by choice or due to financial constraints. This trio of beach-goers build a sandcastle on New Jersey shores in 1934. Take a look at more vintage snaps of family vacations throughout the decades.

Brits abroad

While most British vacationers stuck to home shores, the number traveling abroad by the end of the 1930s, more than a decade after the pandemic ended, was not insignificant. By this time, it’s estimated that the number of travelers setting their sights abroad, usually to Europe, had reached one million, according to British Tourism. This vintage snap shows a busy beach in Valencia, Spain.

On the road

Post-war and post-pandemic, the motor car industry boomed in both the UK and the States. Although they remained the preserve of the wealthy upper and middle classes, vehicles opened up the USA and countries across Europe, providing easy access to previously hard-to-reach destinations. Now take a look at what the future of travel could look like after COVID-19.

The joy of the open road

The war- and disease-ravaged years previous had taken away freedoms for many people so, in the decades that followed, the open road beckoned. The idea of the road trip soon became a romantic notion, particularly in the USA, where the motor industry played a major part in rebuilding the country’s suffering economy. Here road-trippers enjoy a country road in Yellowstone National Park in the 1920s. Take a look at nostalgic pictures of America’s most historic attractions here.

The road to somewhere

Coach trip

Britain’s caravan boom

Tin can tourism

There was a similar pattern in the States too. The Tin Can Tourists Club – a trailer and motor coach club – formed in the wake of the pandemic, in 1919, and light trailers and caravans continued to grow in popularity. A Tin Can Tourist camp in Gainesville, Florida, is pictured here in the 1920s. Now look at retro photos of America’s oldest attractions in their heyday.

A site for sore eyes

Innovation in recreational vehicles would continue right up until the late 1930s, when the Second World War would take hold. And as more and more Americans began owning motor vehicles and trailers during this decade, caravan sites continued to spring up. This one is located in Dade City, in Florida’s Tampa Bay area, and is captured in 1939. Discover classic Hollywood stars’ most charming vacation snaps here.

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