Eight Top Colonial Hotels Around The World


There's nothing quite like the old-world romance of a colonial-style hotel.

Instead of the typical hotel minimalism, guests can expect an abundance of teak floors and lazy ceiling fans, not to mention the obligatory eccentric antiques and some mosquito netting.

With this kind of setting, you'll feel compelled to break out the linen suit and order a G&T. Here are some of our favorite colonial-style hotels.

The Imperial, New Delhi

Hands-down, the Imperial is the most elegant place to stay in Delhi and is seeped in history. The Imperial, a member of Preferred Hotels, is where Pandit Nehru, Mahatama Gandhi, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Lord Mountbatten would meet in the early 1930s to discuss the partition of India and creation of Pakistan.

Although it's located in the heart of the chaotic city, the hotel is tucked away in several acres of landscaped gardens and surrounded by lush palm trees. The ballroom still has its sprung floor (all the better for a cushioned dancing experience) and guest rooms have sleigh beds and original art work. Rates start at 20,000INR ($466).

The Imperial
New Delhi
Phone: +91 11 2334 1234 / 4150 1234
www.theimperialindia.com or www.preferredhotels.com

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, Penang, Malaysia

More commonly known as the Blue Mansion for its bright blue exterior, this building may look faded from the outside but the interiors are absolutely worth a look (and a stay if you manage to secure a reservation).

Originally built in the 19th century for merchant trader Cheong Fatt Tze, the building wraps around a courtyard and now has 38 refurbished rooms. The mansion is filled with artifacts and each room is individually decorated.

Don't come here expecting over-the-top luxury -- rather, a sense of history. The building's careful restoration has garnered a UNESCO Heritage award. Rates start at RM320 ($97).

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
14 Leith Street
0200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Phone: +604 262 006

Pan dei Palais, St Tropez

While you may not expect to find a colonial-style hotel in the South of France, that is exactly what you'll find at the Pan dei Palais. This 12-room townhouse was the former home of French General Allard and his Indian-princess wife, Pan Dei. Allard built the palace in 1835 for her in a British Indian colonial style.

Today, the hotel has carved, wooden four-poster beds, polished parquet floors and ceiling fans. Rates start at €195 ($299).

Pan dei Palais
52 rue Gambetta
St Tropez, France
Phone: + 33 4 94 17 71 71

Raffles Singapore

This legendary hotel may be famed as the home of the Singapore Sling, but beyond the cocktails, it's the design and history that are the standouts. Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling both stayed here, and the last tiger in Singapore was shot under its billiards table.

Originally opened in 1887, the hotel still retains its colonial look, with a wide teak verandah that wraps around the entire building, and is kept cool by a series of outdoor fans.

Although the guest rooms are thoroughly modern, the look is still colonial with touches like Oriental rugs, original sketches and potted palms. Rates start at 1050 SGD ($760).

Raffles Singapore
1 Beach Road
Phone: +65-6337-1886

Ottley's Plantation, St. Kitts

Some of the most elegant hotels in the Caribbean are housed in former plantation homes, and islands of St. Kitts and Nevis have more than their fare share of beautifully restored properties.

Ottley's, a converted 17th century sugar plantation, is one of the finest. The main house is a bright yellow, gingerbread style property with wide, wrap-around porches and is set in the middle of a sweeping lawn. The bedrooms are not overly luxurious, but have wicker furniture and a touch of chintz. A huge, spring-fed pool has been carved out of the former sugar mill, and there's an added bonus; the resort has its own on-site rainforest. Rates start at $208.

Ottley's Plantation
P.O. Box 345
St. Kitts
West Indies
Phone: (800) 772-3039 or (869) 465-7234

Sofitel Metropole Hanoi

Built in 1901, this French colonial-style building has been witness to plenty of history. Jane Fonda took cover in a bomb shelter here, and this is where Charlie Chaplin honeymooned.

Although the Opera Wing is brand new, those looking for more traditional rooms will find them in the Metropole wing. The original wing has all the trappings of colonial style, including cane furniture, wooden floors and high ceilings.

For relaxation, there's an outdoor pool, and plenty of in-house restaurants to choose from. Rates start at $250.

Sofitel Metropole Hanoi
15 Ngo Quyen Street
10000 HANOI
Phone: +84 4 8266919

Norfolk Hotel, Nairobi

Now owned by Fairmont Hotels, the Norfolk opened in 1904, and was once a favorite stomping ground of Lord Delamere, as well as weary travelers beginning (or ending) a safari. Today the hotel is still a glamorous place to kick off a Kenyan safari, offering luxury rooms and a calm setting in a shaded garden.

The hotel has kept many of its colonial-era artifacts, including a 1928 Ford, an ox wagon and a rickshaw. Rates start at $269.

Norfolk Hotel
PO Box 58581 00200
Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: 254-(0)-20-2216940

The Foreign Correspondents Club, Cambodia

This art-deco masterpiece is the former residence of the French governor, and overlooks Angkor's Siem Reap River. The Foreign Correspondent's Club has 31 refurbished guestrooms, all done up in a soothing beige and cream.

The landscaped gardens are lush and tropical, and for relaxing there's a large saltwater pool. The in-house bar is one of the hottest places to hang out in town. Rates start at $130.

The Foreign Correspondents Club
Pokambor Ave., next to the Royal Residence
Siem Reap, Cambodia

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