8 Historic Grand Hotels in the U.S. West

Not too long ago, the Western United States was a frontier, but it wasn’t long before westward expansion saw major cities sprout up with large populations moving into them. With the increased flow of people, the demand for hotels grew, too. From the late 1800s through the early 1900s, dozens of grand properties popped up across the West -- here are eight of our favorites. 

1. The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, Los Angeles

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This historic hotel in Pasadena originally opened as the Hotel Wenworth in 1907, but it was expanded and renamed the Huntington Hotel in 1914, after railroad tycoon Henry E. Huntington purchased the property. Today, the luxury hotel sits on 23 acres of landscaped gardens, and offers an Olympic-size pool, four restaurants, a bar, and a spa.

2. Hotel del Coronado, San Diego

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San Diego’s family-friendly Hotel Del Coronado is housed in a Victorian-style National Historic Landmark building that sits right on the beach. Opened in 1888, it was the largest resort in the world, and today it remains one of the largest in Southern California, with 679 rooms. With quite a few restaurant and bar options, two swimming pools, a spa, and yoga and surfing lessons, there’s plenty of on-site activities to entertain guests.

3. The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Yosemite National Park

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Formerly known as the Ahwahnee Hotel, The Majestic Yosemite is Yosemite’s premiere lodging. The National Historic Landmark building was completed in 1927 and is a prime example of National Park rustic architecture. Famous guests include Queen Elizabeth II, Barack Obama, Walt Disney, Leonard Nimoy, and many others.

4. The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs

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Sitting on 3,000 acres at the base of Cheyenne Mountain, The Broadmoor is one of the most historic hotels in Colorado Springs. The main building was constructed in 1918, with newer additions completed as recently as 2001. Accommodations include 779 rooms, 107 suites, two brownstone villas, and 10 rustic cabins. Aside from the restaurants, athletic grounds, spa, and 25 on-site shops and boutiques, the property offers numerous outdoor activities, like horseback riding, fly-fishing, and rock climbing.

5. The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park

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Famous for being Stephen King’s inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining,” The Stanley Hotel opened in 1909 and is located on Cheyenne Lake between downtown Estes Park and the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park (a 15-minute drive from the hotel). One of the draws to the hotel is its ghost tours, but guests can also enjoy a steakhouse, whiskey bar, and spa. 

6. The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, Autograph Collection, Denver

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The classiest hotel in Denver, The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa opened in 1892 as the city’s then-tallest building, and it supposedly has hosted every U.S. president since, not to mention the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown and The Beatles. Architect Frank Edbrooke designed the hotel’s iconic atrium -- the property was one of the first atrium-style hotels ever built. Both guests and the public can enjoy many of the hotel’s amenities, like the lavish spa, afternoon tea, and live music in the lobby.

7. The U.S. Grant a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Diego

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Ulysses S. Grant, Jr., the son of the president, built this Gaslamp Quarter hotel in 1910. During Prohibition, the Grant was home to the Plata Real Nightclub, a popular speakeasy. By the 1950s and ’60s, the hotel’s Grant Grill quickly became a power lunch haven for businessmen, thus women were banned from the restaurant until 3 p.m. each day. That all changed when a group of female attorneys staged a sit-in in 1969, an action that eventually opened the restaurant to women at all times of the day. The hotel has hosted over a dozen U.S. presidents and other luminaries like Albert Einstein and Charles Lindbergh.

8. The Westin St. Francis on Union Square, San Francisco

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When the trustees of the Charles Crocker estate (Crocker was a railroad magnate) sought to build a magnificent hotel in San Francisco, they turned to the grand dames of Europe for inspiration. Opened in 1904, the palatial hotel was the talk of the town, and plans were made to expand the building due to demand. But when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck, the hotel was gutted by fire. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1907, going on to become the 1,195-room behemoth it is today.

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