Since its conception in Japan, hotels have stayed true to their French etymology e always aiming to provide a warm safe place for travellers to label their home away from home, providing not only accommodation but also care. When one envisions the purpose of a hotel, this is the definition that most likely comes to mind.
However, history has prevailed and the world has demanded the multipurpose nature of hotels to come to light. Whether it is catering for political, cultural or environmental demands, hotels have been the unlikely saviour providing the ground for unlikely events. Here is an insightful list of three hotels that have offered more to their visitors then a place to rest their head:
Hôtel des Mille Collines, Kigali, Rwanda
Imagine being responsible for the lives of more than one thousand people in the face of 100 days of violence. This was the insurmountable task entrusted to hotel manager, Paul Rusesabagina , throughout the genocidal violence that swept Rwanda in 1994. As the clash of the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups caused the perishing of 800, 000 men, women and children, the humble Hotel des Mille Collines became an unlikely safe haven.
Immortalising itself on the silver screen, the unbelievable and inspiring story of the hotel took centre stage in the 2004 Oscar-nominated Hollywood film, ‘Hotel Rwanda’. Although the film, garnered more attention for its spin on reality, a story worthy of being remembered was told. Today the hotel invites guests to enjoy a Legacy of hospitality coupled with remarkable European traditions.
Grand Hotel Oslo, Norway
Think tradition. Think hope. Think excellence. Think the most highly regarded and honoured prize in history. Since 1901, the Grand Hotel Oslo has been home to the presentation of the highly acclaimed Nobel Peace Prize. When Alfred Nobel drew up his will declaring that his wealth would be devoted “to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind”, he surely had in mind the magnificence of Norway’s Grand Hotel. Treating the Nobel laureates to a torchlight parade, a scrumptious banquet and the most comfortable of comfortable rooms, surely the Grand Hotel Oslo is worthy of their own prize.
What’s more, when they aren’t busy entertaining the whims of the honoured Nobel laureates, The Grand Hotel invites guests to experience a recreation of the unforgettable Nobel dinner complete with a selection of Nobel menus dating several years back. The Grand Hotel is warranted as perhaps the most venerable, elegant and timelessly classic hotel Norway has to offer.
Hotel de Bilderberg, Oosterbeek, Netherlands et al.
I want you to imagine all the mystery of a James Bond film, minus the insanely attractive leading men and women. You are left with all the intrigue that is endowed to the annual Bildeberg conference designed to foster dialogue between Europe and North America.
A highly secretive meeting that invites 120-150 political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia and the media who are unbound by the conventions of their office or by pre-agreed positions to take part in the private conference. No detailed agenda, no resolutions are proposed, no votes are taken, and no policy statements are issued. Rather time is taken to listen, reflect and gather insights.
On second thoughts, maybe James Bond is invited. Each year the Bildebergs meet in a secret hotel location, the first of which, being the Hotel de Bilderberg. They have slightly upped the ane since then, extending to the Copenhagen Marriot Hotel , the Grove Hotel in the United Kingdom, the Suvretta House in Switzerland, the Astir Palace resort in Greece and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Istanbul.
If you think that’s the end of the list, you’ll be surprised with the antics that have gone down at some of your favourite hotels. Never go past the history section, hotels have never been a place to merely rest your head..