Whenever a new hotel opens, guests are quick to flock there, clamoring for its shiny new rooms and state-of-the-art features. But there's something to be said for staying at a venerable older property, like these top-rated hotels that are each celebrating their centennial this year.
Some of them have survived issues like war, recession, fire and lackluster management over the past 100 years, but each has persevered and truly stands the test of time. So next time you're visiting these eight cities, consider checking in at these legendary lodgings.
GROVE PARK INN, Asheville, N.C.
Opening date: July 12, 1913
Easily distinguishable by its granite exterior and red clay-tile roof, the Grove Park Inn has long been a favorite mountain retreat, hallowed for its sweeping views, Southern hospitality and rustic yet refined Arts and Crafts design. A recent $25 million renovation, timed by current owner KSL Resorts to coincide with its anniversary celebrations, ensures this grande dame is back to form; even the giant fireplace in the lobby is working again.
Famous guests: Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Henry Ford
Historical fact: In 1930, William Howard Taft resigned from the Supreme Court in the hotel's Great Hall.
HÔTEL PLAZA ATHÉNÉE, Paris, France
Opening date: April 20, 1913
Almost immediately after it opened, this testament to French culture and style became the place to see and be seen in Paris, and it remains so to this day. Now part of the Dorchester Collection, the hotel features 191 elegantly appointed rooms and suites pairing 18th-century-style touches with modern conveniences like remote-controlled air-conditioning. And you'll not just sleep well here, but eat well, too, given that all four of its restaurants fall under the supervision of famed French-born chef Alain Ducasse.
Famous guests: Marlene Dietrich, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy
Historical fact: Legendary designer Christian Dior loved the hotel so much he opened his House of Dior on the same street, and avenue Montaigne soon became the capital of high fashion.
HOTEL DU PONT, Wilmington, Del.
Opening date: Jan. 15, 1913
With its elaborate woodwork, polished terrazzo floors and plush Queen Anne furnishings, the Hotel du Pont is a perfect example of the extravagance of America's Gilded Age. Additions over the years include elegant ballrooms, dozens more guestrooms, a theater substantial enough to house a Broadway show and a collection of notable artworks by the likes of N.C. and Andrew Wyeth.
Famous guests: King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt
Historical fact: The hotel was conceived by a pair of DuPont executives as a place for people to stay while visiting their Brandywine Valley headquarters, yet no expense was spared in its creation and the final bill totaled an estimated $1 million, a hefty sum at that time.
FORT GARRY HOTEL, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Opening date: Dec. 10, 1913
The Fort Garry is one of a group of grand hotels built by the Canadian National Railway in the early 20th century to increase travel along its transcontinental routes. These château-inspired accommodations quickly grew in popularity, and while some have fallen by the wayside, the Fort Garry maintains its glitz and glamour, a fact that recently heralded it a spot on a list of the 10 most romantic spots in Canada.
Famous guests: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack Dempsey, Liberace
Historical fact: The hotel once had its own bakery, butcher shop, heating plant, artesian well and printing press. The latter remains but is only accessible through a doorway on the roof.
BENSON HOTEL, Portland, Ore.
Opening date: March 4, 1913
The success of the Benson Hotel can be attributed to Simon Benson, an emigrant from Norway who moved to Portland and made a fortune in the lumber business. Ever the pioneer, he took a hotel that bled cash for the first 16 months of its life (it was originally called the New Oregon Hotel) and transformed it into a world-class property that now sits on the National Register of Historic Places. Managed today by Coast Hotels, it still oozes Benson's influences, from the Austrian crystal chandeliers to the Circassian walnut columns.