With exhibits including Ming dynasty porcelain, 5th-century Roman mosaics and Mark Twain’s beer mug, these hotels with their own museums are ideal for culture vultures in search of a lazy weekend.
Hotel Tugu Malang in Malang, Indonesia
Hotel Tugu Malang in Malang
It might be tempting to raise an eyebrow at claims that the Hotel Tugu Malang is the most impressive hotel in Malang, however, once you know a little about the hotel’s history, it’s easy to see where this reputation for excellence came from.
Built to house owner Anhar Setjadibrata’s art and antiques collection, the Hotel Tugu has Indonesia’s largest, most detailed selection of Asian craftwork. Exhibits include 10th-century ceramics, Ming pottery, Qing wood carvings, 13th-century jade work and, in a feat of ambitious curatorship that you can’t help but applaud, the intact façade of a Chinese temple.
The Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, USA
The Palmer House Hilton in Chicago
As the oldest continually-open hotel in the USA, The Palmer House in Chicago is a piece of history in its own right. Opened in 1871, only to become engulfed by the Great Chicago Fire, the Palmer House relaunched in 1873 and went on to host some of the Windy City’s best-known visitors, including Oscar Wilde, Frank Sinatra, and famous Chicago resident, Barack Obama.
But the hotel also recently opened its own museum, documenting its history and relationship to Chicago. Exhibits include the porcelain Ulysses Grant ate off and a silver beer mug that touched the lips of seminal North American author Mark Twain.
The Silo Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa
The Silo Hotel in Cape Town
The Silo Hotel opened in September 2017 and it quickly began drawing in history and art buffs. Part of this is thanks to the hotel’s illustrious neighbour – The Silo Hotel is part of a giant concrete grain silo that also houses the Zeitz Museum Of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) – but the hotel’s collection draws plenty of visitors on its own merit.
Designed to showcase the best of contemporary African art, the hotel’s exhibition space (known as The Vault) will retain a piece of work from every exhibit. In this way, the hotel owners plan to document the evolution of African art, via a historical exhibit which will grow in size and significance year-on-year. And the view from the top deck of the hotel is also pretty good.
Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur, India
Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur
The aquamarine-tinted city of Jodhpur is a short drive from the Thar Desert but guests staying at the Umaid Bhawan Palace will find that the mesmerising scenery may need to take a backseat in favour of exploring the hotel itself.
Fittingly, for a hotel with such a glamourous name, the Umaid Bhawan Palace doesn’t just have its own museum, it has a Champagne Museum Walk. Glass of champagne in hand, guests can explore the intricately-tiled corridors and extensive palace gardens, followed by a tour through the hotel’s collection of Victorian and Edwardian antiques.
Eresin Crown Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey
Eresin Crown Hotel in Istanbul
Sultanahmet – Istanbul’s old town – is home to many of the Turkish city’s best-known historic monuments, including the Blue Mosque and the pastel-hued Topkapi Palace. And the district’s hotels are just as seeped in the past as the surrounding streets. Checking into the Eresin Crown Hotel will bring guests face-to-face with some of the city’s ancient history before you’ve even collected your room key.
Positioned within Istanbul’s Roman Walls, the Eresin Crown lobby contains Roman mosaics dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries. Rather than have them removed to a separate museum, local historians have collaborated with the hotel to leave these fascinating slivers of Roman life under glass and available for visitors to peruse.