5 New Hotels Where the Past Meets the Present

When is a hotel more than a place to sleep? When it’s in a building with a storied past, allowing guests to go back in time to the Gilded Age or Edwardian era as easily as they go to the gym or spa.

Nowadays you can check into a 17th-century former soap factory on the French Riviera, or part of the Old War Office in London, or a Renaissance-palazzo-style building that was once a bank in New York. Here are five new hotels in historic spaces where you can experience the past and present, delighting in the architecture of vanished days even as you indulge in the latest luxuries.

Château de Théoule

Théoule-sur-Mer, France

On the Côte d’Azur in France, Château de Théoule, a 17th-century soap factory that resembles a castle, has 44 rooms and suites, some in the old main building and others in villas.Credit…Gaelle Le Boulicaut

This seaside respite on the Côte d’Azur was once a 17th-century soap factory yet looks like a castle thanks to a Scottish lord who, in the early 1900s, added turrets and crenelated ramparts. Near the Massif de l’Estérel mountain range, the property opened this month with 44 rooms and suites, some in the castle and others in villas. All have an airy feel, thanks to linen curtains, rattan light fixtures, hardwood floors and views of the Bay of Cannes.

While the building begs to be explored, soft sand and sunshine are the order of the day — and the hotel has its own beach, La Plage Blanche, with 90 sun beds. Château de Théoule is about 20 minutes from Cannes, though if you get hungry there’s no need to leave the sand. A beach restaurant and lounge has cocktails — like the Strambery Fields(elderberry-infused gin, vanilla syrup, strawberry purée, tonic and egg white) — and menu items that include salads, pissaladière (think focaccia with confit onions, anchovies and black olives), and grilled octopus with citrus fennel and chimichurri. If you can bear to leave your lounge chair, explore the area’s hiking trails, swim in the pool, or visit the hotel spa for a massage or body treatment.

As evening descends, head to Mareluna on the terrace of the castle overlooking the bay for Mediterranean food and wine with dishes like cuttlefish tagliatelle with avocado and smoked herring eggs.Prices from 360 euros, or about $390 in low season, and from €920 in high season (mid-June to mid-September). The hotel will close for the season in mid-November.

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