Travel

USA Today names top 10 historic hotels in the U.S.

From haunted hotels to beachfront properties and spas, this list has it all.

Photo courtesy of Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

Ready for a classic American road trip? Staying at one of America's historic hotels can compliment the experience by providing a unique stay at a property that doesn't fit the standard hotel chain box, all while providing first-class amenities and charm.

USA Today readers chose these top hotels during an online poll. Some have appeared on the list in previous years though rankings have shuffled. The youngest hotel on this list is 91 years old. The oldest celebrates its 173-year anniversary this year.

Scroll down to see the winners.

No. 10 - The Langham, Huntington – Pasadena, California (1907)

The Langham, Huntington

Photo courtesy of The Langham, Huntington

The Langham, Huntington dates back to the Gilded Age, but its has generations of unique history, including a rough start - the original hotel property closed after just one season of service. Still, it lives on today, much refreshed and revived. The hotel sits in the Los Angeles metro but offered a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the crowd. Historical Property tours are offered daily at 2:00 p.m.

No. 9 - Congress Hall – Cape May, New Jersey (1879)

Congress Hall

Photo courtesy of Congress Hall

Named as America's First Seaside Resort", Congress Hall traces its roots back to the early 19th Century with the property starting as a boarding house in 1816. A fire destroyed that property, but the owners rebuilt. The new lodgings became a frequent destination for U.S. presidents including Ulysses S. Grant, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan. It was President Benjamin Harrison that made Congress Hall his "summer White House" and conducted the affairs of state from the hotel.

No. 8 - The Hermitage Hotel – Nashville, Tennessee (1910)

The Hermitage Hotel

Photo courtesy of The Hermitage Hotel

The Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville sits at the intersection of old meets new in the booming Southern town. The 122-room luxury hotel has played host to a long list of famous Americans including Babe Ruth, President John F. Kennedy, Patsy Cline, and Johnny Cash. The pet-friendly establishment has its huge painted glass lobby skylight as just one of its standout architectural features.

No. 7 - Grand Hotel – Mackinac Island, Michigan (1887)

Grand Hotel

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

Located on Michigan's Mackinac Island, the elegant Grand Hotel is steeped in history and tradition. It's home to the world's longest porch, which comes fully stocked with rocking chairs, that allows for views of the Straits of Mackinac. No cars are allowed on the small island so you'll take a ferry from the mainland then travel via horse-drawn carriage, bicycle, or on foot to the hotel.

No. 6 - Deer Path Inn – Lake Forest, Illinois (1929)

Deer Path Inn

Photo courtesy of Deer Path Inn

Halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago, on the Illinois side of the border, sits the Deer Path Inn, not too far from Lake Michigan. The design of the newly restored hotel is reminiscent of a 15th century Tudor mansion, complete with roaring fireplaces and English gardens. Guests can book afternoon tea or grab something stronger in the on-site pub.

No. 5 - The Francis House – Calistoga, California (1886)

The Francis House

Photo courtesy of The Francis House

The Francis House is unique, not just for Napa Valley, but also for a hotel. It boasts just five guest rooms and is the only stone building with authentic French Second Empire architecture in Napa County. It was shut in 1965 and remained vacant for 52 years until it was given a new life in 2018. The hotel is located near a number of tasting rooms.

No. 4 - Mission Inn Hotel & Spa – Riverside, California (1876)

Mission Inn Hotel & Spa\u200b

Photo courtesy of Mission Inn Hotel & Spa

The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa in Riverside, California is easy to overlook with all the hustle and bustle of the Los Angeles metro area. However, it stands worthy of consideration with spaces filled with fine art (it houses the oldest bell in Christendom, dating back to 1247), its link to Hollywood movie history (it's been featured in numerous films), and ties to U.S. Presidents (Presidents Roosevelt, Taft, Hoover, Nixon, Reagan and George W. Bush have all stayed there). The hotel also has an award-winning spa and breathtaking architecture, which help it stand out from the crowd.

No. 3 - Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa – Point Clear, Alabama (1847)

Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa

The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa in Point Clear is part of the Autograph Collection of hotels. It sits just south of Mobile on Mobile Bay, right on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. The resort features two golf courses, a 20,000-square-foot spa, tennis courts, and white sand beaches.

No. 2 - Historic Hotel Bethlehem – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (1922)

Historic Hotel Bethlehem

Photo courtesy of Historic Hotel Bethlehem

The Historic Hotel Bethlehem has only been around since 1922 but the tradition of hospitality began at the site of the current hotel in 1741. The historic accommodations recently added a 5,000-square-foot convention center. Each year, the town goes all-out during the Christmas season, but year-round, you'll find that the Historic Hotel Bethlehem is celebrating its ghosts.

No. 1 - The Peabody Memphis – Memphis, Tennessee (1869)

The Peabody Memphis

Photo courtesy of The Peabody

The Peabody is also known as the "South's Grand Hotel" and is known the world over for its elegance and five resident ducks, who march through the lobby daily at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., something that has been happening since 1940. The hotel is located in downtown Memphis, just steps from the Mississippi River.

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The CX-50 features body cladding and rugged styling.

Mazda

Mazda's got a busy 2021 and 2022 as it gears up to release several new vehicles. The first is almost here, and today the automaker shared preliminary details. The CX-50 is an all-new SUV that shares a platform with the Mazda 3 and CX-30.

2023 Mazda CX-50 Production begins in January 2022. Mazda

At first, the CX-50 will be offered with Mazda's 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, one of which is turbocharged, but electrified powertrain options will join the lineup down the road, including a traditional hybrid. Both gas engines come with a six-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. A new drive mode select system is also standard that allows the driver to change the CX-50's behavior to match road and driving conditions such as towing and off-roading.

2023 Mazda CX-50 A new drive mode selection feature allows the driver to change vehicle behavior. Mazda

The new SUV's styling is a departure from the norm for Mazda, whose typical designs are sleek and elegant but far from rugged. That changes with the CX-50. Mazda installed beefy fender flares, body cladding, and a chunky front bumper that make the SUV look ready for the trail. New colors debut with the CX-50 as well, including Zircon Sand for the exterior and a terracotta upholstery option for the interior. The SUV will be the first Mazda to be offered with a panoramic sunroof.

2023 Mazda CX-50 New color schemes are available for both the interior and exterior. Mazda

We don't have full pricing or options details yet, but Mazda says that the CX-50 will be built at the facility in Huntsville, Alabama that it shares with Toyota. Production is scheduled for January 2022.

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The Corolla Cross hits a sweet spot in terms of size and price.

Toyota

Smart move! Every automaker is trying to grow their lineups. Toyota is no exception, and has now filled the white space between the C-HR subcompact utility vehicle and the compact RAV4 with the 2022 Corolla Cross, an entry-level offering that marries the Corolla sedan to an all-new model with crossover styling and utility. The venerable Corolla isn't simply well-known -- it's the best-selling nameplate of all time and is marketed in 150 countries with over 50 million in sales to date. And, even though the segment that Corolla Cross will join is filled with close to two-dozen offerings, it's attracting more buyers than ever as consumers choose crossovers over sedans.

A Sweet Spot in a Crowded Segment

Toyota's goal was to seek a sweet spot in the value-priced small crossover market, marrying engaging driving features with cargo-carrying functionality, and to endow the 2022 Corolla Cross with a long list of technology, infotainment and safety features. On sale in October, starting at $22,195 for the front-drive base model (an all-wheel drive version adds $1300) and up to $27, 625 for a top-of-the-line AWD (delivery and handling adds $1,215). Grades include L, LE and XLE; all can pull up to 1,500 pounds. This weight will accommodate personal watercraft on a trailer. Fuel economy is estimated to be 32mpg on the FWD and up to 30 on the AWD. Wheel options include 17-inch steel on L and 18-inch alloy on XLE. It will be built at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant, in Huntsville, Alabama on Toyota's high-strength TNGA-C platform.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross The Corolla Cross brings an impressive list of standard features.Toyota

Look to the compact RAV4 and even the midsize Highlander for some of the Corolla Cross' styling cues. This is especially from the back end, where Toyota has installed an integrated spoiler and LED lighting. This new stretched crossover/hatchback has a high belt line and strong arching shoulders above the wheel wells, and starts with a chiseled front grille with LEDs. It's 5 inches shorter than the RAV4 and 3 inches longer than the C-HR. The idea was to attract young, diverse, multicultural buyers who are smart and tech savvy, so designers penned looks meant to catch their eye in a way that is "refined with an urban edge". Hence, our drive to test the new model took place in the hip environs of Austin, TX. I drove both the FWD base model and the top-level AWD and liked each, with the biggest differences found the in distinguishing trim elements outside and, as expected, a more upscale interior on the XLE.

Strong List of Standard Features

There are a number of impressive features on this 5-passenger runabout with 60/40 folding rear seats include standard heating and air conditioning vents for rear passengers. Up-level models and options include SoftTex-trimmed 10-way power seats, a power moonroof, as well as either single- or dual-zone automatic climate control, a power lift gate with height adjustability, and a host of available accessories such as a roof rack with crossbars, an activity mount for carrying sporting goods such as bicycles, a tow hitch and all-weather floormats. Cargo Capacity with the 2nd Row in place is 26.5 cu.ft. for FWD/ 25.2 for the AWD; with the second row folded, it expands to 66.8/65.5 (slightly less for each for models with the moonroof).

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross The Corolla Cross sits between the C-HR and RAV4 in the Toyota lineup.Toyota

Fuel Economy Over Power

Power comes from Toyota's sophisticated Dynamic Force 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) that makes 169 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque and is shifted through a CVT. During my 100-mile-long drive, I found this powerplant has ample horsepower and torque to motivate it around town and on the highway; I found the AWD XLE a bit quieter overall and especially on hard throttle. A physical first gear provides a more punchy and better fuel economy. Also aiding in fuel economy is Toyota's Dynamic Torque Control system that directs up to 50 percent of power to the rear wheels when it's needed – and disengages completely when not. The suspension for AWDs is a fully independent set-up while, while FWDs feature a brand-new torsion beam system in the rear. Impressive is the 8 inches of ground clearance, close to that of the RAV4, that will allow some backcountry and dirt road travel.

The interior will remind consumers of the Corolla sedan and hatch in looks and layout, with quality materials, good visibility and sensibly-placed controls. A 7-inch multimedia touchscreen comes on the L and LE, while XLE features an 8-inch touchscreen. There is a long list of in-car entertainment and connected functionalities, including standard compatibility for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross Styling is somewhere between a RAV4 and a Highlander.Toyota

Wireless charging is standard on LE and XLE, and all trims have conveniently-located USB media ports. The LE and XLE grades bring two USB charging ports for rear seat passengers. Also onboard are Audio Plus multimedia with Remote Connect and a nine-speaker JBL sound system as well as Amazon Alexa connectivity. Standard is a three-month SiriusXM Platinum subscription. Of note, XLE owners can get key info at a glance, courtesy of an available 7-inch Multi-Information Display with various vehicle and systems info to choose from.

All grades come standard with nine airbags and both the Toyota Safety Sense suite of advanced active safety systems, as well as Toyota's STAR Safety System. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert come standard on LE and XLE, while Front and Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking is standard on XLE. Other top features in the safety bundle include Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Automatic High Beams, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, and Traction Control.

2022 Toyota Corolla Cross The Alabama-built Corolla Cross goes on sale in October.Toyota

The 2022 Corolla Cross also comes standard with complimentary ToyotaCare that covers normal factory-scheduled maintenance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, and two years of Roadside Assistance, regardless of mileage.

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