Five for the Ages

Tablet Plus in the 17th Century

When you become a Tablet Plus member, you gain exclusive access to a selection of the world’s finest hotels, each one committed to providing you with seamless, VIP-level hospitality. Fab Five is a series of collections dedicated to celebrating these truly exceptional properties.

When a place survives 400 years and people are still clamoring to get on the grounds, it’s no coincidence. Sometimes it’s the building, sometimes it’s the architecture, sometimes it’s just the location of the place that never went out of style. The following hotels — not that they necessarily began their lives that way — have backstories stretching to the 1600s, their prestige growing with each passing century, their current iterations employing all the best in modern innovation to build upon antique foundations. To use an obvious cliche, they’ve all stood the test of time. And with such pedigree, it should come as no surprise that they’re all Tablet Plus.

Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa

Cartagena, Colombia

Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa - boutique hotel in Cartagena

Monasteries and convents make great hotels. For while their ultimate purposes — one otherworldly, the other earthly — could scarcely be more at odds, in terms of day-to-day operation they’re actually quite similar. Both require a room with a bit of peace and quiet, a setting that inspires contemplation, and some places to gather, whether in worship or simply over a meal. Cartagena’s Santa Teresa has followed more or less this exact formula from its seventeenth-century founding to the present day, in its incarnation as the Hotel Charleston Santa Teresa.

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Downtown Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico

Downtown Mexico - boutique hotel in Mexico City

Architecturally it’s a bit of a departure from the Habita group’s usual ambitions, occupying a brick-fronted 17th-century palace a short walk from the Plaza de la Constitución, as central a location as a Mexico City hotel could ask for. Once inside, though, that signature Habita architectural flair returns with a vengeance: the original high ceilings remain intact, among other charmingly weathered period details, but the prevailing atmosphere is that of a very clean, very contemporary modern boutique style. Simple forms highlight rich textures, from the dark tiled floors to the raw wood furnishings to the screens, almost Moorish in style, that set the bathrooms apart from the bedrooms.

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Rome, Italy

G-Rough - boutique hotel in Rome

As the old saying goes, you take the rough with the smooth. It means something rather different when the rough in question is G-Rough, the Roman sequel to Venice’s high-design PalazzinaG. Here, aside from some raw textures and finishes, the rough side very rarely comes up — and the concept, outfitting a 17th-century building with Italian design classics from the Thirties, Forties and Fifties, is the very definition of smooth itself.

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Villa La Coste

Aix-en-Provence, France

Villa La Coste - boutique hotel in Aix-en-Provence

As magical as the typical Provençal country hotel can be, it’s not all the only hospitality experience the south of France has to offer. Villa La Coste begins with a 17th-century farmhouse surrounded by rambling stone buildings, but it’s the contemporary additions by architects like Frank Gehry, Oscar Niemeyer, and Tadao Ando that set it apart from the ordinary bastide hotel — not to mention its 600 acres of parkland, vineyards, and gardens, and an art collection that rivals some urban museums.

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Hotel Du Petit Moulin

Paris, France

Hotel Du Petit Moulin - boutique hotel in Paris

The Hôtel du Petit Moulin may take some determination to find — the sign on this listed 17th-century building still reads “Boulangerie” — but those who persevere are in for a treat. Hidden behind this century-old facade is a vibrant and contemporary environment designed from top to bottom by the fashion designer Christian Lacroix, an environment that is remarkable for the fact that it’s equally opposed both to the 19th-century antique look on display in most Parisian hotels and to the minimalist style that’s the default option for modern boutique hotels the world over.

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