Ever thought about sleeping in the same room as a former dictator? Some of the world’s most fearsome leaders resided in grand properties that have since been converted into hotels. So, you can spend the night in dictators’ homes around the globe. Totally cool or bad juju? You decide.
Check out Peter’s report on CBS Saturday Morning and keep reading to see the five hotels with a lot of history.
Vila Bled, Bled, Slovenia
The grand Vila Bled hotel was once home to Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito after World War II. For years, Tito used the villa to host receptions when meeting foreign leaders and dignitaries. Today, it still attracts royalty and celebrities. Guests who stay in this hotel can see the several rooms on display where Tito worked and enjoyed his afternoon tea.
Joseph Stalin’s Villa in Sochi, Russia
Sochi is on everyone’s radar because of the 2014 Winter Olympics but, at one point in history, it was also Joseph Stalin’s favorite summer getaway. Tucked away in the hills of South Russia, Stalin’s dacha is now open to the public. What’s surprising is that his home isn’t an opulent palace or mansion–it’s an understated, three-story villa painted green to blend into the foliage.
Visitors can take a guided tour or even spend a night. They can see Stalin’s office (where his bulletproof couch sits), as well as his desk where he is still working…well, a life-sized wax version of Stalin. You can book a tour of the property through a number of operators, including the Vancouver-based ToursByLocals.com and the Sochi-based Riviera Sochi.
Want to see something really quirky? Check out travel photos from TheWanderingScot, a collection of busts and statues of Lenin and Stalin from around the globe.
Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli, Lake Garda, Italy
Located at the edge of Lake Garda in Northern Italy, the opulent Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli was once the hiding spot of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini during World War II. Built in 1892, the property was originally owned by lumber magnate Faustino Feltrinelli but, in 1943, it was taken over by Nazis who brought in Mussolini and his ministers.
JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, Bucharest, Romania
Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu never had a chance to stay in his Bucharest guest house, but you can. Now a JW Marriott property, it was originally part of a sprawling architectural complex. The property is practically a city in its own, with a shopping center, a casino, several restaurants, and bars. Best of all, rooms at this luxury property start at only about $150 a night. Ceauşescu’s former home is now Parliament Palace, which is within easy walking distance of the hotel.
The Ritz London
The famous Ritz London once served as the home of several European leaders exiled during World War II. King Zog of Albania was ousted by Mussolini in 1939, and then spent several years in exile in London, residing at the Ritz and St. Katharine’s Parmoor.
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By Peter Greenberg for PeterGreenberg.com