Colonial hotels to visit
Whatever your reason for picking a destination, its history will seep through every aspect. That’s most certainly the case with architecture, which forms a lasting visual that’s reminiscent of the time in which it was built. If that’s an era when a mother country ruled, there are multiple reasons to pay a visit to these colonial mansions.
With many still standing (whether because of good workmanship or constant restoration) the original detail of these buildings can be appreciated just as much as the British, French, Spanish and Portuguese styles; set against a native landscape.
The Flexicover team has picked out five of the world’s best colonial hotels to visit, where you can don linen trousers, enjoy a gin and tonic and soak up the history from within its walls.
Victoria Falls Hotel, Zimbabwe
Despite its proximity to the wondrous force that is the Victoria Falls, the Edwardian façade of this five-star hotel, built in 1904, speaks volumes of its British heritage. Built to accommodate the railway workers on the ‘Cape to Cairo’ route, the hotel is still half-owned by the National Railways of Zimbabwe. But instead of labourers residing in the impressive building, it’s been refurbished and now acts as a luxury abode right near the falls. Adventurers can enjoy high tea or a Tom Collins on Stanley's Terrace, which boasts a direct view of Victoria Falls – or rather the resulting mist that covers it.
Schoone Oordt Country House, South Africa
Nestled into the side of the Langeberg Mountains in Swellendam, the third oldest town in South Africa, Schoone Oordt Country House is known for being one of the world’s leading hotels despite being in operation since the Victorian era. There are only ten rooms in this family-owned five-star house, leading to a serene atmosphere and personal service. For those interested enough in colonialism to tear themselves away from the idyllic hotel, the nearby Drostdy Museum tells the story of its British and Dutch occupation.
Glenburn Tea Estate, India
Harking back to the days of India under British rule, the Glenburn Tea Estate is a modern-day reminder of their influence in India’s tea industry. Glenburn, near Darjeeling, was started by a Scottish company in 1859. But when the Brits retreated, it was taken over by the Prakashes and is still a working plantation and factory today. The main house is now an eight-suite, quaint hotel that offers spectacular views of the rolling hills, covered in the distinct green of tea leaves. Undoubtedly, this hotel will leave you feeling on top of the world.
Raffles Hotel, Singapore
Never mind the colonial aspect, Raffles is a delight to visit under any circumstance. Opened in 1887 as a 10-bungalow complex, 200 years later the original hotel plus its additions earned the status of a National Monument by the Singapore government. And no wonder. Its old world styling is faithfully found in the neo-Renaissance look – down to the finest detail (check out the antique grandfather clock in the lobby, which is quite the opening gambit). With such an elegant environment and personable luxury, it's attracted the world's great and good to its £310-a-night rooms. Raffles is currently undergoing a staged refurbishment and will be closed at the end of 2017 with a grand reopening planned for the middle of 2018, so if you are tempted get planning early.
The Governor's Residence, Myanmar
With a name that evokes both colonial times and luxury, how could The Governor's Residence not be on our list? Enter the five-star hotel through their vibrant, landscaped gardens and be transported back in time. Preserving the feel from its beginnings in 1920, original teak furnishings, wooden flooring and antique pieces blend into the background as luxury centrepieces wow guests - from sunken baths to spectacular floral bouquets in each bedroom. Pure bliss.
So wherever you plan to head to this year it’s good to know that Flexicover is committed to providing you with the highest level of cover to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.