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Talk:Grand old hotels

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Definition of grand old[edit]

Should we attempt to give a more concrete definition to "grand old"? I'd say 100 years old and still a five-star as rated by the government should be the minimum criteria. Jpatokal 07:48, 16 April 2006 (EDT)

Maybe. I think that would knock out the Queens in Kandy, which one site I saw rated 3-star. Pashley 08:50, 16 April 2006 (EDT)

Yeah, some of the grand ol' are great just cause of their slight shabbiness! I'd hate to exclude them... and the age limit would exclude some of the 75-100 year olders like the Waldorf Astoria. Or maybe that's intentional? Majnoona 09:17, 16 April 2006 (EDT)
That's why I'm trying to find the proper limit to sort out the wheat from the chaff here, we don't want the list to become too huge... how about over 75 years old and must have been a 5-star? 11:10, 16 April 2006 (EDT)
Have we decided to be on this list that the hotel has to have been five stars? The Cincinnatian Hotel is a grand hotel, however, I do not think it has ever been rated five stars. It's currently four stars. Sapphire 22:20, 18 April 2006 (EDT)
How about we drop the five star and just state "luxury hotel" instead. The hotel must be suitably grand to qualify... Jpatokal 04:01, 19 April 2006 (EDT)
I'd say it has to have once been the place to stay in the city, where "once" refers to some time before World War II and "the place" implies that there will usually be only one of these per city. Pashley 05:15, 3 May 2006 (EDT)
I actually like Pashley's definition the best so far, but I'd like to add an (arbitrary) time limit too. Must have been opened before World War II? Jpatokal 02:59, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
That would exclude the Grand Hotel in Taipei, which is currently on the list although its web site says it was opened in 1952. I'm not all sure it should be excluded, though. Anyone know it well enough to comment? Pashley 08:29, 21 February 2008 (EST)
I'd say keep the definition, but keep the Grand Hotel Taipei as a rare exception to the rule. It was built at the very start of the ROC's political life and most definitely serves the purpose of Taiwan's "grand old hotel." And I've been there, and can say the experience was marvelous. --Peter Talk 14:45, 21 February 2008 (EST)
IMHO, a hotel's age, size, star rating and cultural importance should be able to compensate for each other. That would allow Taipei on the list. /Blist 14:00, 5 September 2012 (EDT)

Do we need countries?[edit]

What is the best format for location names here?

I would not make the country a link because it seems irrelevant here, so for example I'd have:

Current format always makes the country a link.

Also, I'd include country only if it seems likely the reader won't know it, so I'd have:

because it seems silly to tell people Tokyo is in Japan, and unnecessarily controversial to say Taipei is in China. I want to keep the listings simple. Current format always has country.

What do others think? Pashley 22:17, 18 April 2006 (EDT)

I'd like to keep the countries for consistency. Not everybody knows where Taipei is ("it's the capital of Tailand, right?") Jpatokal 04:01, 19 April 2006 (EDT)

OK, I put some countries back in. But I still don't think they should be links. Anyone care to comment before I "fix" that? Pashley 05:18, 3 May 2006 (EDT) Jani and Andrew,

Chichen Hotel Request[edit]

New Note to Jani and Andrew,

Seems to me that “the Wikitravel vision is a project to create a complete, up-to-date, and reliable world-wide travel guide, with a destination guides and other articles written and edited by people from around the globe to share their ideas, values, and knowledge to enrich the context of the website.” Therefore, I see no reason why two persons feel the right to change or delete valuable contributions without justified criteria. Please re-read your own recently dated notes where you state the hotels included in the Grand Old Hotels must have been opened before WWII, not over 75 years old to qualify hereby re-copy.

I'd say it has to have once been the place to stay in the city, where "once" refers to some time before World War II and "the place" implies that there will usually be only one of these per city. Pashley 05:15, 3 May 2006 (EDT) I actually like Pashley's definition the best so far, but I'd like to add an (arbitrary) time limit too. Must have been opened before World War II? Jpatokal 02:59, 9 July 2006 (EDT)

Now, you both email me that the hotels feature in this article need to be famous and over 75 years old to qualify: The Hacienda Chichen meets this new standard of yours; however a new requirement and criteria you both choose tomorrow may be the reason you delete or block other peoples inputs.

Thus, I politely request you respect and allow people’s valuable contributions to enrich the text of Wikitravel information. Like you, we do have something of value to share that indeed qualifies the article’s intented information and data. Be advice that The Hacienda Chichen is a 16th Century Colonial Landmark, of great importance in Mexico and Yucatan’s Spanish Conquest History. Spaniards built this feudal state complex, known as an Hacienda, with original Maya carved stones taken from Chichen Itza, the most important and powerful Maya site, as a sign to the Maya people that the Spanish Kings now had the power over the Maya civilization, political affairs and religion. (First “unique” historic data). Then, in the late 19th Century, the Hacienda Chichen became “the place to stay” for explores when visiting the Maya Temples of Chichen Itza. A few years later, the Hacienda Chichen became the headquaters of the Carnigie Institute’s Maya Expedition, under the direction of archaeologist S. Morley. By then, the Hacienda Chichen had become the place to stay for scholars, visitors and diplomatic personalities interested in the study and reconstroction efforts of the Maya temples. The Hacienda Chichen was bought in the early 1930s by Mexico’s Pioneer of Tourism, Mr. Fernando Barbachano Peon to converted in a hotel open to the general public. Today, The Hacienda Chichen has a serene elegance and unique ambiance reflecting the Colonial simple decor of Yucatan. Many original Maya Temples and Old Chichen (under current recostruction by INAH) archaeological site are part of this protected private property. Please visit the hotel’s website to read about the Geo-Tourism program stablished in the property, along with a strong commitment to reforest and protect a private Maya Jungle Reserve that houses many endanger endemic animal species, flora and the natural habitat to protect our Bird Refuge. If this information does not meet your criteria, I am sure it will find many Wikitravel visitors' approval and recognition. So please let me know if you can kindly agree not to delete my contribution. After all Jani acknowledge that everybody is equal on Wikitravel and to keep the talk in this page.... (Herre)

> Greetings, > > Yes, I saw your message. Basically, my view is that the list should be > limited to famous hotels that have been operating for a long time -- the > issue is, has Hacienda Chichen been operating *as a hotel* for 100 or > even 75 years? But everybody is equal on Wikitravel, let's continue > this discussion on the Talk page... > > Cheers, > -jani

Kindly honor our request to return the text entered July 9th, 2006 for The Hacienda Chichen Resort, which according to your own expressed definition of grand old hotel criteria, the hotel is well qualified. Hacienda Chichen Resort is a 16th Century Colonial landmark, built during the Spanish Conquest of Mexico with ancient Maya temple stones from Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. The hotel is rated as a five star hotel by the government and many members of the Tourist Industry. You will find Hacienda Chichen Resort featured in many art books and magazines. Since travel websites can place incorrect star rating, do check and judge thoroughly our website and guests comments at

Hacienda Chichen is not just and "old building" as you stated in your reverting note. The hotel deserves inclusion in this article; so kindly reconsider your position and honor our request to return the text entered July 9th, 2006. [User:Herre]

I'm sure it's a fine hotel and that it's in an old building. However, I think that a grand old hotel must have been in operation for a long time (75+ years), and I don't think Hacienda Chichen qualifies for this. Other opinions welcome. Jpatokal 02:59, 9 July 2006 (EDT)
Agreed, unless the Hacienda Chichen (Sorry for calling it "Chicken") has been in operation longer than 75 years I don't think it counts. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 03:07, 9 July 2006 (EDT)

Herre, no one is trying to arbitrarily lock this hotel out of being featured here. The problem is that when this page was started, the people who created it had an intuitive understanding of the kind of hotels they were talking about, and assumed that other people would have the same understanding, so they didn't define it very carefully. What's happening now is that they're trying to explain the idea more clearly and precisely. Picking an age limit for it is just an attempt to help people understand what kind of place a "grand old hotel" would be. For one thing, being listed here as a "grand old hotel" isn't an honor or even an endorsement. Most of these places are (quite frankly) living on their past glory, priced higher than they deserve to be, and showing their age. What certain people find appealing about them is the nostalgia of what they (used to) represent: an era when the sun didn't set on the British Empire, the upper-class travelled the world on luxurious steamships, and there was really only one place in each major city of the world where a person of proper social standing (e.g. a Rockefeller, a Saxe-Coburg) would consider staying, where they could live in the manner to which they were accustomed back home, and they could count on someone at the bar knowing how to make a proper martini. Chichen Itza – in the jungle, far from any "important" trading port – is more the kind of place an explorer of that era – not an aristocrat or industrialist – would have visited. Your own description of the hotel's history backs that up: Andrew Carnegie didn't sleep here; his archaeologist did. (Note: This isn't an insult; the archaeologist is the kind of person I'd rather to meet at the hotel bar.) And it sounds like it'd be more appealing to people because it's a remote and exotic but classy tropical resort rather than being promoted as the Yucatan's version of an urban Victorian mansion like the Savoy. - Todd VerBeek 21:29, 10 July 2006 (EDT)

Hmm. Actually, after reading Herre's detailed history, I would now be OK with keeping the hotel here. True, it's not quite what we had in mind, but it certainly does seem to have a history and has been around for a while. Jpatokal 22:24, 10 July 2006 (EDT)
I actually started this page. The two hotels I was mainly thinking of were Raffles and the Winter Palace in Luxor, the latter mainly because of the archeologists who stayed there. The discovery of King Tut's tomb was first announced on the bulletin board in their lobby. As for Raffles, aristocrats and millionaires probably stayed there, but it is Kipling and Noel Coward that impress me. Pashley 22:24, 29 April 2007 (EDT)

Cosmopolitan in Cairo[edit]

Does the Cosmopolitan (ex-Metropolitan, opened in 1928) really qualify as a grand old hotel? It's in horrible shape now and never seemed to be quite on a par with the Al Gezira Palace (=Marriott) or Mena Oberoi to begin with. Jpatokal 06:09, 14 August 2006 (EDT)

Athens and Brussels[edit]

I believe there's also a hotel from this category which are on a central square in Athens and Brussels, but I can't remember their names now. --DenisYurkin 11:21, 16 February 2007 (EST)


I just deleted this entry:

It does not seem to me to belong here. Might be quite a nice hotel, maybe even grand, but not a grand old hotel. Pashley 22:17, 29 April 2007 (EDT)

The Westin Chosun, est. 1914, fits the bill better, methinks. Jpatokal 23:52, 24 July 2009 (EDT)

Re: Hotel Phonecia[edit]

Phonecia was glorious, but I've heard it's gone downhill a bit since Le Meridian sold it ... Can anyone say anything about this having experienced it both before and after? It would be sad to see it fall into ruin.


I believe there are two substantial omissions from your current list: The Imperial Hotel in Delhi and the Metropole in Hanoi. Both are glorious colonial era hotels with much character.

Well add them then!--Burmesedays 11:08, 29 March 2010 (EDT)