In many cities, there is an interesting old hotel, something to remind you of the days when travel meant long journeys by rail or sea, a place where the rich and the famous of its day would stay. Nearly all of these were built before the Second World War, and many date back to Queen Victoria's reign.
Staying in such places is usually not cheap, though it may be cheaper than a more modern high-end hotel. Nor are they necessarily the most luxurious option; the modern high-end places may be even better. However, the grand old hotels are usually very central and they do have an appeal all their own; the old fashioned fittings, the lack of the latest amenities and a certain graceful agedness are often part of their character.
Of course, you need not stay in such hotels to enjoy some of their services. For example, a visitor to Singapore might just go to Raffles for a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar where Rudyard Kipling and Noel Coward once drank, and check out the Billiard Room where Singapore's last tiger was shot.
The grand old hotels in Canada have a unique place in Canadian history. Most of them were built during first quarter of the 20th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway or Grand Trunk Railway in order to provide elegant accommodation while viewing the natural beauty along the rail line. Later, the railway sold them to international chains, mainly Fairmont.
These hotels are popular with tourists and locals alike and though overnight stays are expensive, they represent a fine piece of Canadiana worth visiting even if you only have time for a walk through the lobby. Two - Banff and Lake Louise - are major tourist resorts in their own right, located amid stunning Rocky Mountain scenery.
San José, Costa Rica The Hotel Grano de Oro , Grand old hotel of Victorian design. Also listed as a small, distinctive hotel. In the heart of San Jose by Sabana park and walking distance to the art museum.
Havana, Cuba Hotel Nacional La Habana , a grand old lady filled with memories of times past
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