All the way back in 1627, English settlers stumbled across a largely uninhabited paradise, and they set about establishing a colony that would remain a part of the British empire until 1966. From the vibrant coral reefs of the west coast, to a coastline of gorgeously pink sands along to the Platinum West Coast, Barbados is somewhere people dream of discovering for themselves 334 years later.

And here’s the beautiful thing about this Caribbean island- the nation hasn’t let its popularity go to its head. It remains loyal to its rich history, especially through some of the Island’s most luxurious hotels. The Colony Club Barbados is a hotel set amidst acres of stunning tropical gardens, with four huge lagoon-style pools, bars and a salon to enjoy, and has everything you could ask for. But there is even more than it seems- the hotel used to be a colonial club, so dates back hundreds of years, and much of the building’s original architecture, décor and landscape, has been preserved since then, with the natural beauty surrounding the hotel probably much the same as when the area was first discovered.

Perhaps the most extreme restoration of a historical building into a magnificent hotel is found in Boston, USA. The Liberty Hotel was built in 1851, but definitely not as a hotel. Until 1973 the building was Charles Street prison; that’s right, the only guests back then were some of Boston’s most dangerous criminals. While the prisons’ granite exterior, wrought-iron work on the windows and even some jail cells (preserved in the restaurant) remain, the 90ft central atrium of the jail is now the core of the hotel, which opened in 2007 and has become the most talked-about hotel in downtown Boston. Meanwhile, in Singapore, the five-star Fullerton Hotel used to be a post office, but remarkably, was also a hospital during the last days before Britain’s surrender to Japan in World War Two, where injured British soldiers were treated.

While the Fullerton hotel is far from reminiscent of a hospital, with extravagant facilities within the hotel such as a high-end boutique and luxury spa, there are hotels located within original historical sites- for example, in Spain, hotels are found in Fortresses, Convents, Monasteries and even Palaces, from the North-West of Spain right down to the Canary Islands.

So next time you’re on holiday, you might want to consider that any hotel could have a secret past. And with more and more hotels popping up in weird places, maybe you’ll find yourself booking a stay in a lighthouse, an ice museum or an underground cave sometime soon?

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