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You wouldn’t believe how old the world’s oldest hotels really are

Hotels are one of the oldest staples of the service industry. The origin of the world’s oldest hotels is not completely known, but it is known that hotels have been around in some capacity since before the Common Era.

A hotel that was operating at that point in time could hardly be able to still be operational today. But there are some hotels that have been serving customers for hundreds of years and are still offering people a place to stay.

For this list, we will be looking at the world’s oldest hotels. Since we are dealing with a whole planet, and hotels are commonplace across the world of the service industry, we will feature one hotel per heavily populated continent that has provided lodging for the longest time.

North America

world's oldest hotels
Seaside Inn (Via

On the coast of Southern Maine lies the oldest operating hotel in North America.

Seaside Inn in Kennebunkport Maine opened in 1667 and has been operated by the same family since it opened. It was founded by the region’s first settler and has been operated through his lineage to this day.

The hotel is open year-round, and features 22 rooms with great views and easy beach access. The nightly fee is 158 USD, which is relatively average for a beachfront hotel.

South America

hotels service industry
Gran Hotel Del Paraguay (Via

Gran Hotel Del Paraguay is truly a sight to see. Located in Paraguay’s capital Asuncion, this marvelous hotel has been open and operating since 1873.

At one point in its storied history, the hotel actually featured a fully functioning theater. Though that hasn’t been the case in some time, this hotel is full of modern amenities.

It features a lounge, an on-sight restaurant, an outdoor pool, and beautiful bathrooms. A night’s stay here is quite affordable, with an average rate of 73 USD per night.


hotels service industry
Zum Roten Bären (Via

Europe has many, many, many old hotels. In fact, 9 out of 10 of the oldest operating hotels in the entire world are in Europe. The oldest of the old belongs to the German hotel Zum Roten Bären in the town of Freiburg.

This hotel was built in 1120 and is quite literally older than the town it resides in. In 1744, it was nearly destroyed in a conflict with the French since it is close to the border of France.

The modern hotel is quaint and lovely, as is the city it’s in. It features a restaurant, and bar, as well as modern amenities such as free wifi and handicap accessibility. A night’s stay is a little on the pricier side. An average nightly rate is around 175 USD.


hotels service industry
Al Waddan Hotel (Via

Located in Libya’s capital city of Tripoli, Al Waddan Hotel has been open for business since 1936. It was originally built so that European travelers would have a place to stay when they attended the Libyan Grand Prix.

The modern hotel has air conditioning, an outdoor pool, wifi, and is handicap accessible. Libya is still not a very safe destination, so you may want to think twice before booking a stay here.

There is lacking online transparency about nightly rates, but that most likely doesn’t matter because of the lack of international tourism.


Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan

Nestled in a remote, mountainous region of Japan lies the oldest operating hotel in the world. Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan has been around since 705 A.D., making it not only the oldest operating hotels, but one of the oldest operating buildings in the world.

This hotel has been managed by the same family since its founding, and has been passed down through 52 generations of the original founder. The hotel is famous for its legendary natural hot springs, which has been their main attraction.

The hotel has 37 rooms, and a traditional Japanese multi-course restaurant called a kaiseki restaurant. Unless you are wealthy, this is more likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you, as the rate at this legendary hotel can run between 350-600 USD for just one night’s stay.


bush inn Tasmania

Located on the Australian island of Tasmania, Bush Inn is Oceania’s oldest licensed hotel and pub. Although the argument could be made that at this time it is more of a pub than it is a hotel, there are still rooms to be rented at any given time.

The building was constructed in 1815 and became a licensed hotel in 1825. Since then, it has stayed open as a quaint, reasonably priced pub and inn.

Not much else is known about this place, and there are no online rates or booking options. But it is open year-round, so if your ever in Tasmania, check it out for the history, if nothing else.

The world’s oldest hotels share a rich history of the service industry

One need not only search for a museum to find historical culture. It is all around them, from city streets, to old farmhouses, to near-ancient old hotels.

If you ever find yourself near one of these hotels, take a peak in. You will likely learn a lot more about the country, continent, and world than you ever imagined before.

Research credited to Budget Direct at