A heavenly stay!
Once the home of the holy, these former monasteries, churches, convents, and temples have been converted into beautifully restored hotels with well-preserved original features and historic souls.
WHERE: Prague, Czech Republic
The historic Augustine hotel in the heart of Prague takes its name from the Augustinian monks who inhabited some of the many buildings that now make up this high-end hotel complex. Dating back to 1284, you can still see flashes of the old world in the property’s baroque frescoed ceilings, religious status, and archways.
WHERE: Washington, D.C.
With formidable columns and neoclassical curb appeal, it’s no surprise that chic boutique hotel, the LINE DC, had a previous life as a church built in 1912. The lobby in particular shows off plenty of the preserved architectural features including massive copper entry doors and sweeping 60-foot vaulted ceilings. The church’s organ pipes have been upcycled to form a contemporary chandelier and the original pews are now used as seating.
INSIDER TIPDon’t miss the epic views of the Washington Monument and the Washington National Cathedral from the hotel’s rooftop.
WHERE: Pays De La Loire, France
Once a priory, the breathtaking Fontevraud L’Hôtel has been outfitted with the greatest respect for the almost 1,000-year-old Fontevraud Royal Abbey that surrounds it. At nightfall, guests of the elegant, 54-room hotel get full reign over the 34-acre Royal Abbey and can stroll the holy property in monastic silence and moonlight.
JW Marriott El Convento Cusco
WHERE: Cusco, Peru
Located in the World Heritage city of Cusco, JW Marriott El Convento Cusco is a restored 16th-century stone convent of the Augustinian order. At the site of the former chapel, there’s now a gold-toned and crystal-encrusted lobby, a tribute to the Incan sun god.
INSIDER TIPThe hotel also plays host to even older ancient ruins, some of which pre-date the Incans. Daily tours and on-site exhibits explore this history.
WHERE: Mechelen, Belgium
Martin’s Patershof took shaped from an 800-year-old Franciscan church in the Flemish city
of Mechelen, 20 minutes from Brussels. Many of the church’s exquisite details remain including the heavenly exterior and vaulted ceilings. Some of the guest rooms even let you sleep alongside stained-glass lancet windows, like the Best of Home suite, which is located just over the church’s former altar.
Argos in Cappadocia
WHERE: Nevşehir, Turkey
Situated on an ancient holy site, Argos in Cappadocia is carved into the cliff side and presents guests with cave rooms and stone tunnels. The transformation from religious site to boutique hotel included repurposing a 2,000-year-old chapel into an event space and concert hall.
Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa
WHERE: Campania, Italy
What better place for spiritual contemplation and blessed solitude than atop a sheer bluff high above the sea? The heaven-like, five-star Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa takes full advantage of its mind-blowing natural location, while also maintaining its 17th-century monastic heritage. Rooms are outfitted from former nun’s quarters and named after herbs grown in the gardens.
Quinta Real Oaxaca
WHERE: Oaxaca, Mexico
Originally a Dominican convent constructed in 1576, Quinta Real Oaxaca retains its stunning Spanish-Colonial style as seen in the cloister archways; a courtyard fountain formally used as a laundry basin; and frescoes and floor tiles. Each room is unique and has views over either the old-world courtyard or the well-preserved, historic center of Oaxaca.
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The High Line Hotel
WHERE: New York, New York
Across the High Line Park, a former railway track, stands The High Line Hotel, a former Episcopalian seminary. This fresh and fun boutique hotel has an awe-inducing 3,300-square-foot refectory that looks straight out of Hogwarts. The fun doesn’t stop there: Outfitted with period pieces like gas lamps and rotary telephones, this hotel is made to be Instagrammed.
INSIDER TIPTake a ride through the hotel’s Chelsea neighborhood on one of the property’s complimentary Shinola bicycles.
WHERE: Maastricht, Netherlands
“Design between heaven and earth”: That’s the applicable tagline for Kruisherenhotel Maastricht, a former 15th-century Kruisheren monastery and Gothic church that’s now a stylishly modernized hotel. Arty copper tunnels, contemporary glass elevators, and light installations work alongside the late-medieval church nave, cloister corridors, and original ceiling paintings. The mishmash of old and new is wonderfully whimsical.
WHERE: El Jadida, Morocco
An hour south of Casablanca, the old Portuguese city of El Jadida is a fascinating blend of European and Moroccan cultures. Hotel L’Iglesia is too: A former Spanish church, this character-filled building is now a 14-room hotel adorned with Moroccan antiques, art deco accents, and remnants of the building’s past life—like a church bell.
INSIDER TIPFor a soak with a view, check out the bathtub on the rooftop of the bell tower.
The Church House
WHERE: Fish Creek, Australia
Set in the green hills of Australia’s Wilsons Promontory National Park, The Church House is a gourmet boutique escape housed in the former St. Georges Anglican Church. The church was actually first made in Melbourne in 1876, but in 2009—when it about to demolished—it was saved by the current owners and dismantled, relocated, rebuilt, and rebirthed into this charming, rustic retreat.
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena
WHERE: Bolívar, Colombia
Crypts and confessionals are just a few of the architectural features preserved from the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena’s past as a cloister. Across the hotel’s colonial courtyard stands the refined restaurant 1621, which is named after the year of the property’s birth. (Though back then, the restaurant was a simple mess hall for the Poor Clare nuns.)
INSIDER TIPColombian author Gabriel García Márquez once lived right next door to the hotel.
St Cuthbert’s House
WHERE: Northumberland, United Kingdom
Cozy English countryside B&B, St Cuthbert’s House has had quite the religious history: In 1810 it was built as a Burgher Meeting House, then a Presbyterian chapel, and then it became Cuthbert’s United Reformed Church. But once the congregation began to meet in the Anglican church just 200 meters away, the building became this delightful B&B.
INSIDER TIPIf you stop by the B&B’s bar, try the house ale, which is brewed and bottled by a local brewery.
WHERE: Syracuse, New York
Without its current signage, it would be hard to guess that the former Temple Adath Yeshurun is now the eco-friendly and energy-efficient Hotel Skyler. The building, first built as a Jewish house of worship in 1921, was actually transformed into a theater before morphing into its current iteration as a green hotel.
Belmond Hotel Splendido
WHERE: Portofino, Italy
In the famously beautiful fishing village of Portofino, Belmond Hotel Splendido is a well-known celebrity hotspot. But it wasn’t always the glitzy property that it is today. First, it was a 16th-century Benedictine monastery—that is until the monks abandoned it after repeated raidings by pirates.
Abbaye de la Bussière
Michelin-starred restaurants and whirlpool bathtubs were likely unimaginable to the 12th-century monks who once inhabited the fairytale-like Abbaye de la Bussière. With much of the ancient stonework remaining remarkably intact, entering the hotel feels like stepping back in time.