10 Hotels With Crazy, Cool Stories

Cookie-cutter hotels are cool and all, but have you ever crashed in an old convent built by Catholic nuns?

Similarly, anyone can get hammered in an old hotel bar, but only Armory patrons can get slammed in a WWII speakeasy in the soundproof room where the Montana military band used to train.

From old prisons to banks, post offices and even hospitals for indigent women, the United States has no shortage of hotels worthy of History Channel reports.

Here are some properties where if the walls could talk, they would probably never be silent.

Armory Inn

Few hotels can boast of having a shooting range in their basement.

But the Kimpton Armory Hotel, Bozeman, Montana, can.

Rates at the Armory start at $279 per night.
The Kimpton Armory

In 1941 it housed the Montana National Guard and its arsenal, including tanks which required the building to have concrete walls and reinforced floors.

These days, however, Armory guests can drop down for a drink at Tune Up, a speakeasy named after the soundproof room where the military band tuned their instruments (while their colleagues practiced target practice). ). Today, it’s Bozeman’s fanciest hotel.

Destitute intruders

Exterior of HI NYC.
Rates at HI start at $30 per night.
International

Before becoming the largest hostel in the United States, the HI hostel in New York was central.

The imposing red brick building at 891 Amsterdam Ave., completed in 1883, was originally a charity hospital for the Association for the Relief of Respectable Aged Indigent Females.

Today, instead of little old ladies knocking on death’s door, you’re more likely to encounter Gen Zers vying for the bottom bunk.

Women’s room

Exterior of Hotel Figueroa.
Hotel Figueroa rates start at $209 per night.
Tanveer Badal Photography/Hotel Figueroa

Funded by women, founded by women and open only for their use, the former YWCA hotel in Los Angeles is now Hotel Figueroa.

Originally, this was the only option for women traveling alone in Los Angeles, as most hotels in the 1920s required a man to check in. Unsurprisingly, the property also had the nation’s first female hotel manager.

Rumor has it that the coffin-shaped pool symbolizes the death of the patriarchy.

Make it a habit

Interior of the Hotel Celeste St Paul.
Celeste St. Paul Hotel rates start at $110 per night.
Spacecraft Photography / Hotel Celeste St. Paul

Imagine nuns in robes and helmets, for before the Sisters of St. Joseph Carondelet of St. Paul, Minnesota could move into their convent – which would eventually become St. Agatha’s Conservatory of Music and Art before becoming a hotel – they had to build it.

At its peak, it was home to nearly 100 nuns and over 1,000 students. Today, the Beaux-Arts building is home to Celeste of St. Paul Hotel + Bar, with stained glass windows and a spacious chapel suite. Married couples only please.

Train tracking

Old impression of Grand Central Station exterior.
Fares at Grand Central Station start at $219 per night.
big central station

Before cars became the primary mode of transportation, Memphis’ bustling Grand Central Station hosted more than 50 daily passenger train departures and arrivals. In 2019, the century-old building hosted the 4-star Central Station Hotel with 123 well-appointed suites.

It is still a working station, served by Amtrak. However, you don’t need to be a ticket holder to enjoy a cocktail and one of the city’s finest vinyl record collections at its popular lounge bar.

ghost town

Exterior of the Crowne Plaza New Orleans.
Rates at the Crowne Plaza start at $151 per night.
IHG Hotels and Resorts

It’s hard to find a hotel that isn’t haunted in the cemetery metropolis of New Orleans, which has the highest number of ghosts per capita in the country.

With reports of guests being accosted by “ominous energies, mysterious orbs, and apparitions,” the French Quarter at Crowne Plaza New Orleans is no exception.

Built in 1852, it was a department store – including a Woolworth’s – until the 1990s.

Something to write about the house

Exterior of the Hotel Monaco.
Rooms at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco start at $318.
IHG Hotels and Resorts

“We doubt there is a more chaste and architecturally perfect building in the world than the General Post Office,” wrote Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in 1859. Here in the opulent Main Post Office in Washington, D.C., worried women await correspondence from their husbands. fighting in the civil war.

The building now houses the 4-star Kimpton Hotel Monaco and its elegant ballroom – formerly the postmaster’s personal library.

lock up

Interior of the Vault Hotel.
Rates at the Vault Hotel start at $250 per night.
The Hotel of the Vault

Today’s weary travelers can drop off at Vault Hotel in Houghton, Michigan – a former Wells Fargo that opened in 1887 as Houghton National Bank.

This is where Great Lakes shipping magnates and copper mining millionaires stored their fortunes in the late 1800s.

Today, it’s the only luxury hotel in the area, where guests check in at the painstakingly restored counters. Travelers can even stay in a suite containing the bank’s original safe. (Unfortunately, it is empty.)

The big house

Interior of the Liberty Hotel.
Rates at the Liberty Hotel start at $179 per night.
Liberty Hotel

A tour of the former Charles Street Jail (now the Liberty Hotel Candle) ends with a free shot of champions at this iconic building in the heart of Beantown.

From 1853 to 1990, it housed some of the city’s most infamous delinquents until they revolted and were transferred to a prison with better living conditions.

Today, patrons can admire the preserved cells and wrought-iron windows before enjoying a drink in the manicured courtyard (formerly the inmates’ exercise yard).

Washington School

Washington school exterior.
Rates at the Washington School House start at $750 per night.
Washington School

Classes may not be in session anymore, but in Park City, Utah, the stylish Washington School House is where the cool kids stay.

Built in 1889, it is one of the oldest surviving schools in the United States.

The property gets a B-minus for occupancy (there are only 12 rooms and suites). But amenities get an A-plus. Think heated floors, ski valet, fire pit – complete with a torch left over from the 2002 Olympics – heated pool, and even a private collection of antiques and art.

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