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Photo © St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
St. Pancras Renaissance, London (photo)
Then: Built in 1873 as part of the city’s St. Pancras train station, the hotel offered central heating, a Moroccan-style coffee shop and an opulent restaurant—the height of Victorian-era hospitality and luxury.
Now: After a 76-year closure, St. Pancras has been carefully restored, including reproductions of the original glassware, with some modern design touches. A concession to the times: Rooms have iPads. stpancras.com.
The Algonquin, New York City
Then: A Jazz Age-era hotel and famous watering hole for the city’s intelligentsia, it was the site of Dorothy Parker’s Round Table. Owner Frank Case was known to offer free rooms to struggling authors.
Now: All 174 rooms have been renovated, some for the first time since the hotel’s 1902 opening. The Blue Bar has been updated, and the Oak Room cabaret turned into a lounge. algonquinhotel.com.
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
Then: Opened in 1946, the hotel became a favorite of 1950s Hollywood. Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis and Tony Curtis were regulars. Marilyn Monroe sat for one of her final photo shoots here and Grace Kelly stayed the night she won her Oscar.
Now: Recently renovated, the property has a new eponymous restaurant by Wolfgang Puck, who also masterminded the bar, lounge and room-service menus. A signature dish and locavore favorite: snapper crudo with Santa Barbara uni. hotelbelair.com.