A hotel isn’t just a place to sleep while you’re on vacation to see other things, it’s part of the destination. The excitement doesn’t have to end when you walk back into the lobby, and these theme hotels keep the party going long after the tourist attractions have closed down. Theme hotels range from the ordinary to the bizarre, including the future crowdfunded BrewDog Craft Beer Hotel which has a tap in every room, a spa that uses beer products, and a hot tub filled with IPA.
Together with HotelsCombined, we have rounded up four of our favorite, fantastic theme hotels from around the country.
Washington, D.C.: The George Hotel
Named after the father of our country George Washington, the George Hotel is one of the friendliest boutique hotels in the nation’s capital. It’s dog friendly, and you can see guests strolling down E Street with their pooches; and at 5:00 every day there’s a complimentary happy hour with wine in the lobby for guests. The happy hour is a wonderful innovation – not only do you get to enjoy a glass of wine on the house at the end of the day, it’s a very social event where all the guests interact, chat, and share stories of their adventures. Throughout the lobby and each room, you’ll be treated to wonderful portraits of the first president, the Declaration of Independence in huge script on the wall, and even throw pillows decorated to look like 18th century clothing.
Photo by Charoenkwan Blacharski
Dinner at the Bistro Bis just off the hotel lobby is also a great place to see Washington’s movers and shakers, and enjoy an exquisitely prepared confit de canard or a boeuf bourguignon with a glass of wine from their excellent cellar.
Las Vegas, Nevada: The Venetian
Nearly every hotel on the Las Vegas strip has a theme, and the Venetian is king. Built to mimic the beautiful city of Venice, they spared no expense in building in everything from a Grand Canal complete with gondoliers who will sing to you, to wandering opera singers and performers in Renaissance period costume.
Photo by Charoenkwan Blacharski
Here’s where you can live large. Even the basic room is a suite bigger than most New York apartments. Naturally, there is a casino with plenty of gaming, but the slots, poker and baccarat are just a small part of the experience, and you can spend hours strolling through the mall, which has been created with such attention to detail that you might just think you’re really in Venice.
Newport Beach, CA: The Resort at Pelican Hill
You might guess by now that we really like Venice, and if you want a Venetian theme without the glitz of Las Vegas, the Resort at Pelican Hill is the place to go. The Resort at Pelican Hill’s coastal elegance is inspired by the work of 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, known for grand homes throughout the Venetian countryside, and the attention to detail will certainly take you to that far-away destination, at least in your mind. The landscape throughout the grounds is also created to create a northern Italy look and feel, so be sure to take time to just stroll through the grounds and enjoy the natural environment that they have so painstakingly created.
Over a million hand-cut glass mosaic tiles lining the pool is just one of an endless array of details that are inspired by the Renaissance. And while the 16th century Venetian Doge probably didn’t play golf (or anything close to it), Pelican Hill does include an excellent golf course with some of the most spectacular views in California.
New York, NY: The Warwick
One of the most historic hotels in the country, the Warwick was built by William Randolph Hearst as a place for his movie star friends to stay. Just down the street from the MOMA, the Warwick is right in the heart of midtown and a short taxi ride away from the Broadway theaters. Although not strictly a “theme” hotel, we include it in this list due to its rich history. Hearst built the hotel in 1926 for his mistress, actress Marion Davies, who had her own floor.
Over the years the hotel has hosted a slew of movie stars, including Cary Grant, The Beatles, James Dean, and Elvis Presley. Visitors who are in the know will delight at Randolph’s Bar & Lounge, a comfortable little bar with a rosebud leitmotif (Heart’s nickname for his sweetheart). The bartender makes a fine martini, and sitting there will take you back in time.