Hotels offer us a choice of king and queen beds. Why not take them literally? With a long tradition of British monarchy visiting stateside, it’s not hard to find a hotel bed — or at least a hotel — slept in by a royal. Here are a few options.
1. The Williamsburg Inn
The Williamsburg Inn is the only American hotel where Queen Elizabeth II stayed twice — once in 1957 for the 350th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement and once in 2007 for the 400th.
The National Trust property was built by the Rockefeller family in 1937 and designed to resemble a gracious Virginian estate. The lobby is Regency-style — antique wood furnishings, high-backed armchairs, crystal chandeliers, and gold-framed paintings.
The Queen stayed on the second floor, where windows are accented by green silk drapes with cascades of taupe silk brocade with soft pink, green and gold accents. Her bed had a gilded cornice headboard.
Buckingham Palace did suggest additions — white Egyptian cotton sheets, a new mattress, extra vases for bouquets, and a teapot!
If you stay, expect fine dining, exquisite afternoon teas, a croquet lawn, and the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club. Williamsburg’s historic district is a few minutes walk away with its colonial-era taverns, shops, and houses. Holidaymakers can replicate the Queen’s itinerary. The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg offers colonial-era and more modern treatments. There are two heated pools, exercise classes, and rental bikes. The hotel also offers a free shuttle service.
“Commoners” rooms are available from $359 a night. Book the Queen’s Suite by contacting the hotel directly. Not staying? A cocktail on The Social Terrace, where 7,000 square feet of elegant outdoor seating goes a long way to giving you a sense of this historic hotel. And for more on spending time in Williamsburg, consider:
- Visiting Williamsburg, VA, With The Whole Family: 9 Things To Do
- The Best Places To Have A Cocktail In Williamsburg, VA
2. The Drake
Princess Diana stayed in the Presidential Suite (now renamed the Princess Diana Suite) at The Drake for three nights in 1996. The ritzy 1,200 square-foot suite has been left as it was when she stayed. Ritzy. A marble foyer, grand fireplace, crystal chandeliers, a large bedroom, a huge living area, a galley kitchen, and a reading room. Photos commemorate her visit and memorabilia includes her registry signature.
When royalty lives in palaces with servants and butlers, it must be hard for a hotel to impress them. Maybe the point of difference here were the massive windows, framing views across Lake Michigan, and Chicago’s famous skyscrapers. Better than a view of the London fog.
Downstairs the white lobby space — the Palm Court — is home to one of the country’s best afternoon teas. Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth (on separate occasions) enjoyed this repaste. Diana’s favorite tea was Rose Pouchong.
The Drake is one of America’s great luxury hotels. Rooms start at $150 a night. For the Princess Diana suite, you have to ask! But here’s a clue: To celebrate the release of Diana’s appearance in the latest series of The Crown, The Duke is offering a Crowning a Lady package for $32,000 with the same meal Dianna enjoyed. Not sure she ate that much.
For a fraction of the price, The Drake’s Afternoon Tea and History Tours give a taste of what Princess Diana experienced. Beyond the hotel, try these 11 Pizza Places Chicagoans Love and visit our picks for 10 Perfect Spots To Take A Great Chicago Photo.
3. The Carlyle
New York City
Located on the corner of Madison Avenue and 76th Street on the Upper East Side The Carlyle was built by architects Bien and Prince in 1930.
Prince William and Kate stayed in 2014. William’s mother Princess Diana stayed often leading up to her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996. Her trips to New York are back in focus due to The Crown. Part of the appeal was the hotel’s discretion when it came to high-profile guests. JFK was good training for staff. He owned an apartment on the 34th floor for a decade, and Marilyn Monroe and others were secreted in.
But some events were so surprising they seeped out. One day, an elevator operator had Princess Diana, Steve Jobs, and Michael Jackson on board. All staring forward, Princess Diana decided to break the silence by singing “Beat It.”
Princess Diana stayed in the Royal Suite on the 22nd floor, which boasts 1,800 square feet, 14-foot ceilings, and a floor-to-ceiling marble fireplace. The Carlyle is more artistically-chic than regally staid, with interiors by some of the world’s legendary decorators — Dorothy Draper, Mark Hampton, Renzo Mongiardino, and Thierry Despont. The hotel also features 1947 murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the Madeline books.
Guests go on shopping sprees on Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue. Just a block from Central Park, the hotel is close to the Guggenheim, the Met, and the Frick.
Rooms start at $831 a night. Suites from $1528 to $23,740. Or, for a taste of the experience, a cocktail at Bemelmans Bar, perhaps?
4. The Adolphus
The Queen stayed in the Wendy Reves Suite in 1991, which was thereafter named after her. While insights into royal guests’ stays are rare, The Adolphus wrote: “The Queen Elizabeth II Suite is one of The Adolphus’ treasures. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip relaxed in its luxury, including taking afternoon tea there. They and their staff are the perfect guests, kind and undemanding, with the most beautiful manners.”
A Beaux-Arts masterpiece, The Adolphus was completed in 1912. The facade has carved Roman soldiers, Greco-Roman gods, and mythical animals. Built for Adolphus Busch, a German immigrant, the exterior was modeled on a German castle. Inside, you’ll find European charm with Flemish tapestries and an ornately carved Victorian Steinway owned by the Guggenheims.
Remodeled in 2018, the hotel now has a rooftop pool and wheelchair-accessible rooms plus a spa with six treatment rooms.
The Adolphus is in a good location for walking around Dallas. It’s close to The Sixth Floor Museum, Old Red Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Nasher Sculpture Center, and the Dallas World Aquarium. The hotel also offers a free shuttle to attractions within a 2-mile radius.
Rooms $200 to $300 per night. The price for the Queen Elizabeth Suite is available by request. Even if you’re not staying, make sure to have afternoon tea at The French Room. Also consider these 16 incredible Dallas restaurants perfect for outdoor dining and the best things to do on a weekend getaway in Dallas.
5. Beverly Hills Hotel
Princess Margaret stayed here with Lord Snowden. William and Kate followed in their footsteps staying during their royal tour in 2011. According to the BBC, the young couple had the presidential suites, which cost $10,800.
The Beverly Hills Hotel, also known as The Pink Palace, offers 210 guest rooms and 23 bungalows, all secreted within twelve acres of exotic gardens. The hotel was built in 1912 before the movie studios even existed — hence the expansive grounds.
It’s just so Hollywood with palm trees and poolside cabanas and is famous for Oscar after-parties and sunbaking starlets.
Situated on Sunset Boulevard, the hotel is steps away from shopping, dining, and nightlife. Minutes from the Greek Theater, LA Zoo, the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Griffith Park Observatory, Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Gene Autry National Center, and Lake Hollywood.
Rooms run $169 to $499, but for the celebrity bungalows, you’ll need to ask. Even if you only plan to have a drink or meal here, you can soak up the ambiance.
6. The Broadmoor
They say wilderness is not a luxury, but here it is. The Broadmoor has five stars and, like other hotels where the royals stay, exemplary service, privacy, and traditional European elegance.
Being situated in the West, this hotel offers activities befitting a young prince of high spirits including mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, paintballing, and ziplining.
For those seeking activity with less adrenalin-rush, there’s lap swimming, golf, falconry, hiking, and fly fishing. Or relax with hydrotherapy spa treatments mimicking a cascading waterfall, dine in one of the hotel’s 18 restaurants, or enjoy culinary packages that will let you meet the chefs.
Rates start at $249 a night and climb into the thousands. Not staying? Grab a drink at one of the bars or sit by the lake soaking in the same scenery enjoyed by royalty.
For more Broadmoor inspiration, consider Jill Dutton’s “Lessons I Learned From My First Fly Fishing Experience At The Broadmoor Fishing Camp” and which dish is her favorite at The Broadmoor’s La Taverne, plus why it made our list of 10 Fabulous Foods To Try In Colorado Springs.
7. Fairmont Empress
Victoria, British Columbia
The regal Fairmont Empress presides over Victoria’s famous waterfront. Open since 1908, many royals have visited. Prince Charles and Camilla Bowles in 2009, and Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 2002. Perhaps the Queen Mother tipped off her daughter as she had stayed at the hotel with her husband King George VI in 1939.
Many rooms offer magnificent views of Victoria Harbor. My daughter stayed with her husband for an anniversary, so it is certainly in the realm of mere mortals. I haven’t stayed but suggestions do pass down through families, and I’ve walked through the foyer soaking in the ambiance and reading up on the history.
The hotel seems more British than many English hotels. Apt given that Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, was named after Queen Victoria. English afternoon teas have been a tradition here for over 110 years. Enjoy raisin scones, clotted cream, and lavender and strawberry jam as well as pastries on tiered stands.
Step out the front door to see the vibrant waterfront teeming with boats, landing seaplanes, and awaiting water taxis. The water ferry ballet on Sundays is not to be missed. Next to the Empress is the imposing British Columbia Parliament Building designed by the same architect as the hotel. There are free 45-minute tours, and I can recommend lunch in the Parliament Building basement where the Members of Parliament dine.
Rooms at the Fairmont Empress start at $342 a night. Whether you check in there or elsewhere, don’t miss the best things to see and do in Victoria, British Columbia.
8. Fairmont Chateau
Whistler, British Columbia
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler sits inside Whistler Blackcomb, the largest ski resort on the continent with more than 200 runs. In 1998, the year following Princess Di’s death, Prince Charles brought William and Harry for four days of skiing and relaxation.
Built in 1989, it’s a modern rendering of a chateau hotel with turrets and a regal lobby.
The hotel is a complete destination with a heated lap pool, spa, championship golf course, daily bike rides and guided hikes, complimentary yoga, and outdoor hot tubs. There’s something about soaking surrounded by snow. Whistler Village and its offerings are only a shuttle ride away.
Standard rooms start at $230 and suites are available starting at $387. There are seaplane flights between Whistler and Victoria Harbor if you want to stay at both Fairmont properties and arrive in princely style. Whistler bound? Don’t miss Whistler: The Best Things To See And Do In Every Season.