When booking a hotel stay, the age and history of the property can impact your guest experience. Older hotels come with distinct charms like historic architecture and nostalgic vibes. But some travelers prefer newer lodgings with modern amenities and decor.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Researching the hotel’s website and reviews, checking permits and records, looking up the building’s style and materials, and asking the staff are the best ways to determine the age and history of a hotel.

In this comprehensive guide, we detail every technique you can use to uncover when a hotel was built and key moments in its evolution. Learn how to estimate construction dates, spot renovated spaces, dig into historical records, and leverage staff insights to get the full story of a hotel’s lifespan.

Estimating by Appearance and Style

When trying to determine the age of a hotel, there are several visual cues that can help you make an educated guess. By examining the architectural style, interior stylings, furnishings, decor, and presence of modern amenities, you can get a good sense of how old a hotel is.

Architectural Style

The architectural style of a hotel can provide valuable clues about its age. Different eras have distinct architectural trends that can be easily identified. For example, if you notice intricate detailing, decorative elements, and ornate facades, it might indicate that the hotel was built during the Victorian era.

On the other hand, sleek lines, minimalist designs, and the use of glass and steel may suggest a more modern construction.

Interior Stylings

The interior stylings of a hotel can also provide insights into its age. Pay attention to the overall layout, color schemes, and design elements used in the common areas and rooms. For instance, if you come across bold patterns, shag carpets, and vibrant colors, it could indicate a hotel from the 1970s.

On the contrary, a minimalist and contemporary design with neutral colors and clean lines might suggest a more recent construction.

Furnishings and Decor

The furnishings and decor within a hotel can reveal a lot about its age. Take note of the furniture styles, materials used, and overall aesthetic. For example, if you encounter heavy wooden furniture, ornate fixtures, and vintage artwork, it might suggest an older establishment.

Conversely, sleek and modern furnishings, minimalist decor, and abstract art could indicate a more contemporary hotel.

Presence of Modern Amenities

Another way to estimate the age of a hotel is by looking at the presence of modern amenities. Older hotels may lack certain conveniences that have become standard in newer establishments, such as high-speed internet access, flat-screen TVs, or state-of-the-art fitness centers.

If you notice a lack of these amenities or outdated technology, it could indicate that the hotel is older.

While these visual cues can provide valuable information about the age of a hotel, it’s important to remember that appearances can be deceiving. Some hotels may undergo renovations or adopt a retro style, making it harder to accurately determine their age.

To get a more precise idea, you can also check the hotel’s website or consult online travel forums where fellow travelers may have shared information about the hotel’s history or renovation dates.

Researching Online Sources

When it comes to determining the age of a hotel, conducting online research can provide valuable information. Here are some online sources that can help you in your quest:

Hotel’s Website

The first place to start your search is the hotel’s official website. Many hotels proudly display their establishment date on their website, providing you with a quick and reliable way to determine its age.

Look for an “About Us” or “History” section on the website, where you may find interesting facts about the hotel’s origins and its journey through time. If the hotel’s website does not mention its age, don’t worry! There are other sources to explore.

Travel Review Sites

Travel review sites such as TripAdvisor or Expedia can be a goldmine of information when it comes to researching the age of a hotel. Not only can you read reviews from previous guests, but you can also find photos and descriptions that may indicate the hotel’s historical significance.

Look for mentions of the hotel’s age or any references to renovations or updates that may have taken place over the years.

Local Historical Sites

If the hotel you are researching is located in a historically significant area, consider visiting local historical sites or museums. These establishments often have archives or records that can provide valuable information about the hotel’s construction date and its role in the local community.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the staff or volunteers at these sites, as they may be able to point you in the right direction or provide additional resources for your research.

News Reports

Another way to find information about a hotel’s age is by searching for news reports or articles related to its opening or any notable events that have taken place over the years. Local newspapers or online news outlets may have covered the hotel’s grand opening or major renovations, providing you with specific dates or interesting anecdotes about its history.

By diving into news archives, you can uncover fascinating stories that add depth to your understanding of the hotel’s age and significance.

Remember, online sources can be a great starting point for your research, but it’s always a good idea to cross-reference information from multiple sources to ensure accuracy. By utilizing these online sources, you can gather valuable insight into the age of a hotel and appreciate its historical context.

Checking Public Records

If you’re curious about the age of a hotel, there are several ways to uncover its history. One of the most reliable methods is to dig into public records. These documents can provide valuable insights into the building’s construction, ownership, and any renovations or inspections it has undergone over the years.

Building Permits

Building permits are a great starting point when trying to determine the age of a hotel. These permits are typically issued by local government agencies and provide information about when the building was constructed or renovated.

You can visit your city or county’s permit department or check their website to access these records. For example, the City of New York has an online portal where you can search for building permits dating back to the 1800s.

By examining these permits, you can get a clear idea of when the hotel was built or last underwent significant changes.

Property Deeds

Property deeds can also be a valuable source of information when it comes to determining a hotel’s age. Deeds contain details about the property’s ownership history, including the dates of previous sales and transfers.

By reviewing the property deeds, you can trace the ownership lineage and potentially find clues about the hotel’s construction or significant renovations. Websites like Zillow or local county clerk’s offices often provide access to property deed records.

Inspection Reports

Inspection reports can shed light on a hotel’s maintenance history and any issues it may have had in the past. These reports are conducted by health departments or building inspectors and can reveal the dates of inspections, as well as any violations or improvements required.

You can typically request inspection reports from the local health department or access them online through government websites. By examining these reports, you can not only learn more about the age of the hotel but also gain insights into its overall condition.

Renovation Documentation

Hotels often undergo renovations to update their facilities or comply with changing regulations. Documentation of these renovations can provide valuable information about the age of the hotel. Checking with the hotel’s management or reviewing their website may provide details about recent renovations.

Additionally, you can inquire with local construction companies or architects who may have been involved in the renovation process. By piecing together this information, you can get a better understanding of when significant changes were made to the hotel.

Historic Site Registries

If the hotel has historical significance or is located in an area with a rich history, it may be listed on a historic site registry. These registries typically include information about the age, architectural style, and historical significance of the building.

Websites like the National Register of Historic Places or local historical society websites can provide details about listed hotels. Exploring these registries can not only help you determine the age of the hotel but also provide fascinating insights into its cultural and architectural heritage.

By delving into public records, you can uncover a wealth of information about the age of a hotel. Whether through building permits, property deeds, inspection reports, renovation documentation, or historic site registries, these records can provide a fascinating glimpse into the past of these establishments.

So the next time you check into a hotel, take a moment to appreciate its history and the stories it holds.

Talking to the Hotel Staff

When trying to determine the age of a hotel, one of the best sources of information is the hotel staff. They have firsthand knowledge and can provide valuable insights about the history of the establishment. Here are some key members of the hotel staff to talk to:

Front Desk Agents

The front desk agents are often the first point of contact for guests and possess a wealth of information about the hotel. They are usually well-informed about the hotel’s history and can provide details about renovations, upgrades, or any significant changes that have taken place over the years.

Don’t hesitate to strike up a friendly conversation with them to gain some insights into the hotel’s age.


The concierge is another great resource to tap into when trying to determine the age of a hotel. They are knowledgeable about the local area and can often provide information about the hotel’s history and any notable events that have taken place there.

They may also have access to historical records or photographs that can offer a glimpse into the past.


Hotel managers are responsible for overseeing the overall operations of the establishment, including any renovations or updates. They are likely to have a comprehensive understanding of the hotel’s history and can provide valuable insights into its age.

If you have specific questions or want more detailed information, reaching out to the hotel manager can be a good idea.

Longtime Employees

Longtime employees, such as housekeeping staff or maintenance personnel, may have been working at the hotel for many years and have witnessed its evolution over time. They can offer unique perspectives and share interesting anecdotes about the hotel’s past.

Strike up a conversation with them during your stay and you might uncover some fascinating stories about the hotel’s age and its transformation throughout the years.

Remember, the hotel staff is there to assist you and enhance your experience. They are likely to be more than happy to share their knowledge and insights with you. So, don’t hesitate to engage in friendly conversations and ask questions about the hotel’s history.

You never know what interesting tidbits you might uncover!

Hiring a Hotel Historian

Using Expert Research

When it comes to determining the age of a hotel, hiring a hotel historian can be an invaluable resource. These experts specialize in researching and analyzing the history of hotels and can provide valuable insights into the age and significance of a particular property.

Hotel historians often have access to extensive archives and databases, allowing them to gather information from a variety of sources, including historical documents, photographs, and newspaper articles.

They are skilled at piecing together the timeline of a hotel’s existence, identifying key milestones and changes that have occurred over the years. By utilizing their expertise, you can gain a deeper understanding of the historical context in which a hotel was built and how it has evolved over time.

Accessing Archived Documents

One of the primary ways hotel historians gather information is by accessing archived documents. These can include building permits, property records, and construction plans, among others. These documents can provide valuable clues about when a hotel was built and any subsequent renovations or expansions that may have taken place.

Hotel historians are skilled at navigating through various archives, including local government offices, historical societies, and libraries, to uncover these documents. By studying these records, they can piece together a detailed timeline of a hotel’s history and provide accurate information about its age.

Conducting Interviews

To further supplement their research, hotel historians often conduct interviews with key individuals who have knowledge of a hotel’s history. This can include previous owners, long-time employees, and local residents who may have witnessed the hotel’s construction or significant events that took place there.

Through these interviews, historians can gather firsthand accounts and anecdotes that may not be documented elsewhere. These personal stories can provide valuable insights into the hotel’s early years and add a human touch to its history.

Providing Historical Analysis

Once all the research has been gathered, a hotel historian will analyze the information to provide a comprehensive historical analysis of the property. This analysis may include a detailed timeline of the hotel’s construction, any notable events or guests that have stayed there, and how the hotel has adapted to changing times.

Hotel historians can also provide context about the architectural style of the hotel, comparing it to other buildings of the same era. They can identify design elements that were popular during a specific time period and determine if the hotel has undergone any significant architectural changes over the years.

By hiring a hotel historian, you can gain a wealth of knowledge about the age and history of a hotel. Whether you are a history enthusiast or a hotel owner looking to showcase the historical significance of your property, their expertise can provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Tracing Renovations and Additions

Identifying Earlier Decor

One way to determine the age of a hotel is by examining its interior decor. Different design trends come and go, so by observing the style and aesthetics of the furniture, wallpaper, and fixtures, you can get a sense of when the hotel was last renovated.

For example, if you spot floral patterns and shag carpets, it might indicate that the hotel underwent a renovation in the 1970s. On the other hand, if you notice sleek and modern furnishings, it could suggest a more recent renovation in the past decade.

Spotting Construction Scars

Another clue to the age of a hotel is to look for visible signs of construction scars. These scars can include patched-up walls, filled-in doorways, or mismatched flooring. By identifying these imperfections, you can infer that the hotel underwent some renovations or additions in the past.

Additionally, if you notice outdated electrical outlets or plumbing fixtures, it may indicate that the hotel has aged and hasn’t been renovated in a while.

Changes in Floor Plans

Comparing the current floor plan of a hotel with older floor plans can also provide insights into its age. If you find that certain areas of the hotel have been significantly expanded or modified, it’s likely that renovations or additions have taken place.

For example, a hotel that initially had only one wing but now has multiple wings may have undergone expansions to accommodate increased demand.

Newer vs. Older Wings

Some hotels have distinct sections or wings that were built at different times. By exploring these areas, you can gain a better understanding of the hotel’s history. Pay attention to differences in architectural styles, room layouts, and amenities.

Newer wings may have more modern features, while older sections may have a more traditional or outdated design. By comparing these differences, you can estimate the age of the different parts of the hotel.

Reviewing Promotional Materials

Hotel promotional materials can provide valuable information about the age of the establishment. Look for brochures, websites, or social media posts that showcase the hotel’s history or highlight significant milestones.

Some hotels proudly advertise their anniversary dates or mention recent renovations. By reviewing these materials, you can gather clues about when the hotel was built or last renovated. Additionally, websites such as Historic Hotels of America can provide insights into the history and age of older hotels.


Determining the origin story of a hotel takes a bit of sleuthing, but uncovering those fascinating details can enrich your travel experience. Estimating based on architecture and decor provides a starting point.

But confirming the exact age requires digging into permits, deeds, records, and staff insights.

Tracing renovations also reveals the layers of history within a hotel. While the vintage charm of an older property adds nostalgia, newer establishments offer the most updated amenities. Whether you prefer historic or modern accommodations, knowing a hotel’s age gives helpful context.

With a few detective methods, you can discover the full lifespan and evolution of any hotel to inform and enhance your booking choices and stay.

Similar Posts