7 Hotels That Are Home to Crazy-Cool Artifacts You Thought You Could Only See in Museums

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If you want to see a rare artifact, you typically have to head to a museum or know someone with a stellar private collection. But how cool would it be if seeing a piece of history was one of the amenities that came with your hotel stay? Well, that's exactly what some properties are doing; we found seven hotels showcasing rare collections of history, from repurposed beds used by nuns in Guatemalan convents to the remains of a French cruise liner-converted WWII ship.

1. Costa Rica Marriott Hotel: Nun Beds from a Guatemalan Convent

Located on a 30-acre coffee plantation, Costa Rica Marriott Hotel doesn’t just have your average decor in the lobby. Instead of simple, mass-produced tables, the space repurposes beds that were once used by nuns in Guatemalan convents in their stead. If
that’s not enough, the hacienda’s front courtyard features stones that
originally covered the streets of Cartago in 1910. Talk about taking a stroll
through history!

2. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel: Sunburst from an Italian Palace

While you might not think
Michigan and Italy have a lot of things in common, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in
Grand Rapids has figured out a way to harmoniously combine the two seemingly opposite
worlds. Though the property is celebrating its 100th birthday this
year, the property is home to something even older: a wooden, gilded
“sunburst.” Before this artifact found its address in Michigan, it hung for more than 150
years in the ballroom of the Palazzo Morosini, the 17th-century palace of a wealthy merchant
in Venice.

3. Glengarry Castle Hotel: Invergarry Castle Ruins

A private driveway weaves through lush, wooded grounds to arrive at the imposing — and rather dour — 19th-century building that houses the Glengarry Castle Hotel. While those expecting a castle with battlements and soaring turrets might be disappointed, the site is also the historical home of the Invergarry Castle ruin, which was once a genuine ancient fortress. Stepping inside the hotel, guests the vibe is very much in the traditional country house vein, with plenty of wood paneling, carved wooden furnishings, and gilt-framed painting depicting local landscapes. Wall-mounted stag heads and splashes of tartan add to the Highland ambience, while patterned carpets and floral drapery inject a slightly dowdy feel that is more like to appeal to the older guest (though there are no ground-floor bedrooms or elevator).

4. Hilton Chicago: Remains of a French Cruise Liner-Converted WWII Ship

It seems nearly
implausible that anything from the Normandie —  a ship used by the U.S. Army during World War II — would still be in existence
after it caught fire in the New York harbor in 1945. Luckily, some parts were
salvaged and sold to the Hilton Chicago at an auction. Now, the hotel’s aptly-named Normandie
Lounge features chandeliers, custom mahogany panels, and built-in bars and seating
from the famous ship. 

5. The Waldorf Astoria: John F. Kennedy's Rocking Chair

Photo: Courtesy of The Waldorf Astoria

Photo: Courtesy of The Waldorf Astoria

Forget visiting the
White House to see Presidential pieces of history. The Waldorf Astoria is home to several precious items. The Presidential Suite, host to every US
president since Herbert Hoover, features 
of President John F. Kennedy’s rocking chairs and the personal desk of General
Douglas MacArthur. There’s also a gold oval mirror and
eagle-base table from President Reagan, and an eagle desk set from President
Carter. One night’s stay in the elegant accommodations and you’ll get a true
taste of what it’s like to be the top gun. 

6. Baglioni Hotel Luna: 17th-Century Frescoes

Within Baglioni Hotel Luna in Venice is the Marco Polo Ballroom, a prestigious
and historical salon in the heart of the city, where guests are in
the presence of true Venetian art history. The entire ballroom is adorned
with original frescos painted by the pupils of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), one of the
most prolific Italian artists of the Rococo movement. Tiepolo was once called “the greatest
decorative painter of the eighteenth-century,” and his pupils’
delicate work within the Marco Polo Ballroom is done in his most classic and
well-known style, illustrating his clear influence in the evolution of Italian
art from Baroque to the Rococo style. 

7. Montage Palmetto Bluff: Turn-of-the-Century Mansion Columns

hard to narrow down just one incredible artifact housed at
Montage Palmetto Bluff. One of the property’s centerpieces is the remains of
the 1902 columns from Richard T. Wilson, Jr.’s mansion back. In 1926, the property caught fire and he was too
devastated to face rebuilding the land, so the next owners decided to preserve
the piece of history by showcasing the ruins on the main lawn. But, that’s not
all the historic items on the property. There’s a mini-museum called The
History Center that displays relics from previous occupants of the area, with
some dating back 12,000 years. 

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