From using organic cotton sheets to serving up fresh, local fare, many hotels have adopted green initiatives. Still, others use a different sustainable strategy: re-purposing old buildings and turning them into hotels. On top of the environmental benefits of recycling a building that might otherwise get torn down, there’s something charmingly chic about staying in a former train station, a church, or even a jail.
We’ve uncovered eight re-purposed hotels from around the world.
1. The Liberty Hotel in Boston, MA (pictured above)
Formerly a jail that housed criminals like Sacco and Vanzetti, the Liberty Hotel now attracts celebs and Bostonians in the know. Its beautifully updated atrium incorporates the jail’s original catwalk and metalwork. Aptly named bars, CLINK and Alibi, play off the hotel’s theme.
2. Town Hall Hotel in London, England
This luxury hotel opened earlier this month in a former town hall in East London, featuring polished marble, wood panels, and artwork by young local artists. Many of the original architectural elements, like spiral staircases and Art Deco details remain intact.
3. Hotel St. Nicholas in Cripple Creek, CO
Once the site of a gold rush in the 1890’s, Cripple Creek, CO includes a former hospital turned into a 15-room hotel. The hospital was originally built by the Catholic Sisters of Mercy to care for sick and injured miners. Rumor has it that the (friendly) ghost of a miner still roams the building.
4. Four Seasons Budapest in Budapest, Hungary
Budapest’s Gresham Palace has gone through several iterations. Built in 1906 to house offices and rich aristocrats, it housed Soviet soldiers during World War II and became an apartment building during the communist reign of Hungary. Now its sweeping staircases, ironwork, and Art Noveau mosaics have been restored, and the building serves as a hotel.
5. Union Station Hotel in Nashville, TN
Originally opened as a train station in 1900, Union Station now serves as a 125-room boutique hotel with plasma TVs and wireless internet. It underwent an $11 million renovation in 2006 and 2007. Silver mirrors, limestone fireplaces, and 128 original stained glass panels evoke the grandeur of the Victorian era.
6. Malmaison Hotel in Glasgow, Scotland
With a temple faÃ§ade, vaulted ceilings, and neo-classical details, Glasgow’s Malmaison Hotel embraces its history as a former Episcopal Church. A stylish bar and brasserie inhabits the space that was once the crypt.
7. The Whitney in New Orleans, LA
Located in New Orleans’ business district near the French Quarter, The Whitney was once a bank which featured an enormous vault that was converted into a private events and dining room called the Bank vault. Guest rooms feature high-speed internet, WebTV, and elegant furnishings.
8. Hotel Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy
The building that houses Hotel Trevi Fountain dates back to the XIII century, when it served as a convent. Though it was converted into a hotel during the late eighteenth century, it retains much of the original opulence and architectural splendor.