Discover the past lives of these historic hotels

Want to spend the night in a former jail or a Gilded Age mansion? Guests can take a trip into the past at these historic properties.

  1. For nearly 150 years, the tall granite building at 215 Charles Street was known as the Charles Street Jail and housed some of Boston's most heinous criminals. In 2007, after a painstaking restoration that preserved elements of the prison design, it reopened as the Liberty Hotel. The result is stunning, with 298 rooms, a 90-foot-tall atrium, winding catwalks, and high, circular windows that flood the lobby with light.

  2. This former private mansion, constructed in 1882, was converted into a hotel in 1980. Lavishly decorated with gold flourishes, marble, and chandeliers, the Palace is a gem. Huge rooms (renovated in 2008), a luxe spa, and a fantastic gym make the Palace a great value among luxury hotels.

  3. There are seven Kimpton-brand hotels in the District, but the Monaco is the only one in a National Historic Landmark building. The Greek Revival General Post Office, designed by Washington Monument architect Robert Mills and finished in 1839, was reborn as this 183-room hotel in 2002. The four-floor lodging takes up an entire city block on the eastern edge of the Penn Quarter neighborhood.

  4. San Francisco's Hotel Whitcomb has always been example of early 19th century Edwardian architecture. But from 1910-1916, as the city was still re-emerging from the earthquake of 1906, the hotel served as San Francisco's City Hall. Until the mid 1990s, you could still see the words "City Hall" faintly etched above the hotel's main entrance.

  5. Before Boston's Back Bay was the thriving center for the city's hotels, shopping, and dining, it was exactly what the name suggests -- a bay. In fact, Boston Park Plaza & Towers, which is located in the center of Back Bay, was originally a beachfront property where British troops landed before fighting the Battle of Lexington during The Revolutionary War.

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