Lonely Planet Writer

Check out these luxury hotels from the past, their celebrity guests and what they now look like

A price comparison has been made of luxury hotels operating today in the US that were once the lodgings of choice of famous figures in the mid-20th Century. Luxury travel flash deals site, Secret Escapes, compiled the report, and says that swanky hotels have always been staples of old-school glamour, where the rich, famous and even presidential came to mingle, drink and stay. All of these hotels are still sought-after today, serving a whole new generation of luxury seekers.

The Snapdragon Inn

The Snapdragon Inn in Vermont was the former residence of Maxwell Perkins. Image: Secret Escapes
The Snapdragon Inn in Vermont was the former residence of Maxwell Perkins. Image: Secret Escapes

The Snapdragon Inn in Vermont, New England, used to be the residence of Maxwell Perkins, editor at Scribner’s publishing. He was, famously, a mentor to Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Hemingway often passed afternoons relaxing on Perkins’s veranda.

American writer Ernest Hemingway used to spend time on the veranda of The Snapdragon Inn in Vermont, when it was the former residence of Maxwell Perkins. Image: Earl Theisen/Getty Images
American writer Ernest Hemingway used to spend time on the veranda of the Snapdragon Inn in Vermont, when it was the former residence of Maxwell Perkins. Image: Earl Theisen/Getty Images

Today, you can look out onto the beautiful backyard of the Snapdragon Hotel for $300 per night, which translates to about $17 in 1935, a few years before Hemingway’s book, To Have and Have Not, was published. This book was said to be highly influenced by Perkins.

The Snapdragon Inn in Vermont was the former residence of Maxwell Perkins. Image: Secret Escapes
The Snapdragon Inn in Vermont was the former residence of Maxwell Perkins. Image: Secret Escapes

The Colony Palms Hotel

Frank Sinatra was a frequent guest at The Colony Palms Hotel in California. Image: Secret Escapes
Frank Sinatra was a frequent guest at the Colony Palms Hotel in California. Image: Secret Escapes

Frank Sinatra first visited Palm Springs, California, in 1947, and built his former home, Twin Palms, there. Prior to that, he was a frequent guest at the Colony Palms Hotel, and the hotel named a suite, the Sinatra Suite, after him.

Frank Sinatra was a frequent guest at The Colony Palms Hotel in California. Image: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
Frank Sinatra was a frequent guest at the Colony Palms Hotel in California. Image: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images

Today, an average stay in the Colony Palms costs $300 a night, or $27.27 in 1947. That would have been pocket change for Sinatra though, as his net worth was around $100 million by the time of his death in 1998.

Frank Sinatra was a frequent guest at The Colony Palms Hotel in California. Image: Secret Escapes
Frank Sinatra was a frequent guest at the Colony Palms Hotel in California. Image: Secret Escapes

The Biltmore Hotel

President Franklin D. Roosevelt stayed at The Biltmore in Miami. Image: Secret Escapes
President Franklin D. Roosevelt stayed at the Biltmore in Miami. Image: Secret Escapes

The Biltmore Hotel in Miami was one of the most fashionable resorts in the entire country in its heyday. It has housed the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby and Al Capone.

Franklin D. Roosevelt greets crowds at Bayfront Park a moment before his attempted assassination. Image: Frank Sinatra was a frequent guest at The Colony Palms Hotel in California. Image: Bettmann/Getty Images
Franklin D. Roosevelt greets crowds at Bayfront Park a moment before his attempted assassination. Image: Bettmann/Getty Images

President Franklin D. Roosevelt also stayed there, and he was nearly gunned down while vacationing in Miami before he took office in 1933. Today a suite at the Biltmore costs upwards of $400 a night, which equates to around $22 a night in 1933.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt stayed at The Biltmore in Miami. Image: Secret Escapes
President Franklin D. Roosevelt stayed at The Biltmore in Miami. Image: Secret Escapes

The Hollywood Roosevelt

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller are said to have met at the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes
Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller are said to have met at the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller are said to have met at the iconic Roosevelt hotel in Hollywood. Marilyn also lived at the hotel for two years very early in her career. She posed for her first commercial shoot by the rooftop pool, and legend has it that her ghost haunts the hotel.

Marilyn Monroe met her husband Arthur Miller at teh Hollywood Roosevelt. Image: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Marilyn Monroe met her husband Arthur Miller at the Hollywood Roosevelt. Image: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

You can stay at the Hollywood Roosevelt for approximately $320 dollars, but in 1951, when Marilyn and Arthur met, it would have cost around $33 a night. No extra charge for any ghost sightings!

Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller are said to have met at the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes
Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller are said to have met at the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes

Pontchartrain Hotel

Tennessee Williams wrote part of his Pulitzer prize-winning drama, A Streetcar Named Desire, in 1947 while staying at the Pontchartrain Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes
Tennessee Williams wrote part of his Pulitzer prize-winning drama, A Streetcar Named Desire, in 1947 while staying at the Pontchartrain Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes

The Pontchartrain Hotel in New Orleans originally opened as a luxury apartment building in 1927. In the 1940s, it was refashioned as a luxury hotel called the Pontchartrain. People who stayed there included Frank Sinatra, The Doors, Rita Hayworth, and presidents Gerald Ford and George Bush.

Tennessee Williams wrote part of his Pulitzer Prize-winning drama A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947 while staying at the Pontchartrain Hotel. Image: Herb Snitzer/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images
Tennessee Williams wrote part of his Pulitzer Prize-winning drama A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947 while staying at the Pontchartrain Hotel. Image: Herb Snitzer/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

Most notably, New Orleans’ favourite son and playwright, Tennessee Williams, wrote part of his Pulitzer prize-winning drama, A Streetcar Named Desire while staying there in 1947. The Pontchartrain is located directly on the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line. An average night at the Pontchartrain costs $112, but was a mere $10 dollars out of Tennessee’s pocket in 1947.

Tennessee Williams wrote part of his Pulitzer Prize-winning drama A Streetcar Named Desire in 1947 while staying at the Pontchartrain Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes
Tennessee Williams wrote part of his Pulitzer prize-winning drama, A Streetcar Named Desire, in 1947 while staying at the Pontchartrain Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes

The Warwick

The Beatles stayed at The Warwick Hotel in New York in 1964. Image: Secret Escapes
The Beatles stayed at the Warwick Hotel in New York in 1964. Image: Secret Escapes

The Warwick in New York was established in 1926. Elvis Presley was a frequent guest and Cary Grant was a long-term resident at one point. The Beatles stayed at the Warwick in 1964 when they performed on The Ed Sullivan Show.

The Beatles at a press conference at the Warwick Hotel. (l-r) Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison. Image: Bettmann via Getty Images
The Beatles at a press conference at the Warwick Hotel. (l-r) Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison. Image: Bettmann via Getty Images

A room at The Warwick costs around $500 today, which would have translated to about $63.42 in 1962. Can’t buy me love – or a luxury room in NYC – for that price these days.

The Beatles stayed at The Warwick Hotel in New York in 1964. Image: Secret Escapes
The Beatles stayed at the Warwick Hotel in New York in 1964. Image: Secret Escapes

The Claridge Hotel

Marilyn Monroe, JFK and Al Capone stayed at The Claridge Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes
Marilyn Monroe, JFK and Al Capone stayed at the Claridge Hotel. Image: Secret Escapes

Since it opened in 1930, the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, has housed legends such as John F. Kennedy and Al Capone. Marilyn Monroe also stayed there when she was grand marshal of the Miss America Pageant in 1952.

Marilyn Monroe arriving to stay at The Claridge Hotel in 1952. Image: Secret Escapes
Marilyn Monroe arriving to stay at The Claridge Hotel in 1952. Image: Secret Escapes

Today, a night at the Claridge Hotel averages around $164 a night, but Marilyn would have only shelled out around $18.37 in 1952 for a stay at luxurious establishment.

The Claridge Hotel today in Atlantic City. Image: Secret Escapes
The Claridge Hotel today in Atlantic City. Image: Secret Escapes