Accommodations often take a backseat during the planning stages of a vacation. However, sometimes the places you stay can end up being the best part of your getaway. In Europe, travelers can reserve rooms in centuries-old hotels that have survived civil and world wars or were retreats for legendary fashion icons, authors and even the Queen of England. If you have marked Europe on your map for your next trip, these hotels will add even more intrigue to your vacation.
Grosvenor House, London | Built in the Roaring Twenties, this iconic England hotel was named after one of the original landowners dating back to the late 1600s. In time, it went from being London's first hotel with private bathrooms and running water to one of the most well-known landmarks in the city. Its location on Mayfair's Park Lane overlooking Hyde Park is a testament to its prestige. Before a 92-room add-on in the 1950s, the Grosvenor House served as the largest mess hall in England for U.S. officers during WWII. Travelers today can enjoy the results of the most recent restorations to the exterior and interior of the Grand Dame of Park Lane.
Hôtel Ritz, Paris | One of the most luxurious establishments in France, Hôtel Ritz is a destination in itself. The hotel was established by César Ritz of the prominent Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., at the turn of the 20th Century. Like the Grosvenor House, this Parisian inn was a pioneer in modern conveniences, offering its guests electricity, telephones and separate bathrooms. Coco Chanel, Ernest Hemingway and other greats have spent time at the Hôtel Ritz and earned suites named after them. You may be hard-pressed to find the means to stay in the Imperial Suite, however - listed as a French national monument of its own.
*The hotel is currently undergoing a massive renovation that has temporarily closed the doors to guests, meaning you might have to shelve your plans to stay here until its slated reopening in 2014.
Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin | Nearly devastated by a fire that started during the final days of WWII, Hotel Adlon would not be the historic landmark it has become today without its colorful past. The hotel can be found on one of the main roadways in Berlin, Unter den Linden. At the time it opened in 1907, Hotel Adlon offered the most contemporary amenities available in Germany, like hot and cold running water and on-site laundry services. Its neoclassical and Baroque Revival architecture made the German hotel an elegant meeting place for social events attended by celebrities and public figures throughout the eras, such as Thomas Edison, Franklin Roosevelt and Albert Einstein. Today, it has remained a five-star escape for weary travelers.