Each of YTL’s historic retreats has its own storied past just waiting to be revealed. Every stay at these hotels is an opportunity for the guest to learn more about their rich history and discover intriguing legends.
The Academy Hotel, England
Situated in the heart of Bloomsbury in London’s West End, The Academy Hotel is a 50-bedroom boutique hotel made up of five Georgian houses. The streets of Bloomsbury feature grassy squares and grand Georgian townhouses with a history dating back 240 years. Founded in Bloomsbury, The Bloomsbury Set was a group of associated English writers, philosophers, and artists, that included Virginia Woolf, as well as E. M. Forster, and Lytton Strachey in the first half of the 20th century. The Academy is a quick ten-minute walk to Virginia’s home in Fitzroy Square. The hotel pays homage to the Set that called Bloomsbury home in the key literary pocket of the capital, offering a sophisticated space dedicated to the group.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa, England
Located in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site, The Gainsborough Bath Spa is centered around the natural thermal waters believed to have come from rainfall approximately 10,000 years ago. The hotel occupies two 18th-century buildings with distinguished Georgian and Victorian façades that were originally built as two hospitals. During an excavation in 1864, the foundations of The Gainsborough were laden with hidden treasures from an intricate 4th-century Roman mosaic, as well as a Victorian-era time capsule. Nearly two centuries later in 2007, 17,500 Roman coins weighing about 120kg were also discovered among the foundations, dating back to 32 BC.
The Threadneedles Hotel, England
The former head offices of the London City and Midland bank, The Threadneedles Hotel is located in the historical business district of London. The 130,000 square foot property is the city’s oldest surviving premises for a joint-stock bank. The original building, built in 1856, was home to the London City and Midland Bank, and the stunning stained-glass dome in the lobby is an iconic centerpiece dating back to the days when it was used as a bank.
Monkey Island Estate, England
Situated on a private island in the River Thames at Bray, Monkey Island Estate is a centuries-old retreat. Its history dates back to 1197, when monks attached to the Merton Priory settled nearby. 300 years later, the clergy sold the island to the Englefield family, but it wasn’t until the 1666 Great Fire of London that the island was a suitable site for building. In 1723, the land was sold to the 3rd Duke of Marlborough, who created an angling retreat and had a two-story Fishing Temple and octagonal Fishing Pavilion commissioned by architect Robert Morris. The Pavilion featured a Monkey Room, slathered in depictions of monkeys punting, fishing, and hunting. In 1956, the Duke’s old idyll was linked to the shore by a 1956 footbridge, then the island was sold in the 1980s, and closed its doors until 2019. Set across seven acres, Monkey Island Estate features 40 exquisite guest rooms, and the Grade 1 listed Wedgewood Suite, designed by the award-winning New York-based Champalimaud Design. The retreat is home to the UK’s First-of-its-kind Floating Spa.
The Glasshouse, Scotland
The 170-year-old church founded by Lady Glenorchy was converted into The Glasshouse Hotel in 2003. The gothic façade of this historic luxury hotel in Edinburgh is what remains of the chapel that was constructed in 1846. The congregation who worshipped at what is now The Glasshouse Hotel takes service at the nearby Greenside Church, keeping the patronage of Viscountess Glenorchy alive. The hotel features 77 rooms that boast floor-to-ceiling windows, and offers a sumptuous homemade Scottish afternoon tea in its cozy Snug – a perennial favorite among guests.
Majestic Malacca, Malaysia
The heart of Majestic Malacca hotel is a restored 1920s Straits Settlement mansion that features original porcelain tile flooring and teakwood fittings. It has been extended to house the guest rooms and suites as well as an award-winning spa. Located on the banks of the small fishing village of Malacca, the hotel is an integral part of the area’s colorful history of being a commercial hub for the trade of Eastern goods, including silk and porcelain from China, textiles from India, spices from the Moluccas, and more.
Cameron Highlands Resort, Malaysia
Cameron Highlands Resort is set 1,500 metres above sea level in a forested mountainscape. The hotel is built as a long extension from an existing 1930s cottage with architecture dating from the 1970s. Cameron Highlands was named after William Cameron, a British Government surveyor who discovered it in 1885 on a mapping expedition but failed to mark his discovery. It was not until 1925 that Sir George Maxwell recorded Cameron’s discovery and developed it as a hill station luring British colonials and expatriates, including British planters who saw the potential of its fertile mountain slopes for growing tea. The interiors of this historic hotel are inspired by its grand colonial heritage and feature tall French doors, timber-beamed ceilings and plantation shutters combined with the colors and textures of Jim Thompson’s famed Asian silks.
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