By paying attention to both the past and the present, the brand new owners of these grand old homes transformed them into boutique hotels that burst with personality.
Perhaps some other time we’ll cover the mansion hotels that present a perfectly preserved replica of an earlier age. For the purposes of this list, however, we’re focusing on mansion hotels that maintain the intimate character of their original structure but are not beholden to the past. The current owners combined a thoughtful restoration with a careful revisioning, mindful of the design trends that had accumulated in the years since the buildings were erected. What you’re left with is what we love most: personality.
Anachronisms are welcome. And so are you.
Solar Egas Moniz Charming House
The owners of this 19th-century family manor aim to merge the concepts of a hotel stay and an immersive local experience. They provide cultural experiences and personally tailored amenities that you’re unlikely to find at a hotel, and the intimate, unique interior design pays tribute to the history of Portugal and adds to the feeling that you’re staying in someone’s well-conceived home.
Topping Rose House
Bridgehampton, New York
With no little effort, this 1842 Greek Revival mansion has been thoroughly converted into a small yet luxurious hotel, filling a bit of a hole at the high end of the Hamptons hospitality scene. Inside you’ll find modernist design classics alongside contemporary pieces and well-chosen antiques, and the overall impression is clean and soothing yet far from dull.
For the setting of their first urban hotel in Europe, Aman made use of a meticulously preserved Renaissance palace located right on the Grand Canal. Inside you’ll find some subtly stylish contemporary interior design interventions, and a generous shipment of modern furniture from the likes of B&B Italia, but otherwise it’s looking much as its old merchant founders would have left it.
The Good is a stylish and thoughtful hotel located inside a restored mansion in the heart of Antigua’s UNESCO-protected historic center. Guest rooms are airy and minimalist, with a few well-chosen details — from geometric lighting fixtures to vintage-inspired desk chairs — that add visual interest, and there’s a range of communal spaces ideal for relaxing and socializing.
The basic form of the riad — an inside-out courtyard mansion — was perfected long ago. L’Hôtel stands out from the rest thanks to the exquisite taste and craftsmanship of designer Jason Conran, who put an enormous amount of work into remodeling and redesigning this one. The result: the hotel feels fresh, cutting-edge, and also as though it’s been here forever.
From the outside, Hotel Ella looks much the same as it did in days gone by: it’s a two-story stone Greek Revival–style mansion with wraparound porches supported by grand columns. Inside, things have changed. The parlors and boudoirs have been reshaped with a craftsmanship that befits the era that inspired the place: heavy, luxurious materials, granite-topped desks, combed cotton towels, etc.
Hôtel de la Villeon
The antique front door of this 18th-century mansion on the Rhone river is considered a historical monument in France. And it gives you an idea of what to expect inside: picture gilded chandeliers, wooden floorboards, marble fireplaces and old-fashioned moulding, a stone staircase with a cast-iron banister. Mixed throughout all this tradition is a subtle hint of modernity.
Atemporal is presented as the home of an imaginary globetrotting photographer, one who’s left you full access to his 1940s Tudor-style mansion in Lima’s Miraflores neighborhood, his car, his staff — with instructions to anticipate and meet your every need — and his modern decor that still matches Lima’s pervasive European colonial vibe.
Technically, Görvälns Slott is a castle. But a castle is a kind of mansion — and it takes all kinds. This interiors of this 17th-century Swedish castle-cum-manor house play out like some child empress’s fever dream, taking rococo to its ornate, curlicued, filigreed, diapered, Louis XV extreme. We’re talking furred lampshades, a riot of cabriole legs, gilt-gesso-style headboards, the works.
The Fort Printers
Galle, Sri Lanka
Fort Printers is a masterpiece carved out of three historic buildings in the walled city of Galle Fort: a former print shop and a pair of 18th-century Dutch mansions. They’re all different in layout and design, but all are spectacularly well-designed — contemporary, sparely furnished, open to the sun and breeze, with high ceilings, huge windows, jackwood floors and whitewashed walls.
This renovated and landmarked 1874 mansion anchors its Eastend Frankfurt neighborhood, buoying the up-and-coming creatives there with a dash of old-world dignity. The ten suites come individually designed, surprising at every turn with rich details like delicate plaster floral molds, headless mannequins, and kitchenette stovetops squeezed into repurposed tool cupboards.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
With just four guest rooms housed in a renovated colonial mansion, it’s tempting to say that staying at L’Ôtel feels like visiting the home of a gracious friend. But that does a disservice to what is actually a masterfully executed hotel experience full of curated art, hothouse colors, delicious cuisine, vibrant plant life, luxury amenities, and distinctive custom furnishings.
Armenia, New York
Troutbeck has been a creative retreat for well over a century, having welcomed Mark Twain, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and many others along the way. Rather than let the place become a museum piece, the new owners opted for a very thorough renovation that preserves the historical character while bringing the experience entirely up to date.
Hospes Palacio del Baílio
Equal parts hacienda and Moorish mansion, the original structures at Palacio del Baílio span many different eras — some rooms feature century-old frescoes or ancient stone arches, and the glass floor of the main atrium looks down into the ruins of a Roman-era villa. It’s no museum, though — this backdrop of antiquity just serves as a contrast to the crisp contemporary interiors and playful modern fixtures.