Discover the past lives of these historic hotels

by Kelsey Blodget on August 27, 2010

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.

The Liberty Hotel in Boston was once the Charles Street Jail.

Charles Street Jail

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.

The New York Palace was formerly a private mansion during the Gilded Age.

Gilded Age Mansion

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.

The Hotel Monaco began as a post office in the 19th century.

19th-Century Post Office

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.

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