As someone who travels a lot, I’m always looking for unique places to stay and these WWII-inspired hotels and Airbnbs have won out!
Previously, it was rare I would run across WWII-themed hotels or rentals. (Okay, maybe “war” isn’t the most relaxation-inducing theme for a hotel.) So, I decided to seek them out for myself. Turns out, there are more out there than I initially thought.
If you want to turn your visit to some of the world’s inspiring World War II sites into a more immersive experience, these hotels and rentals are for you. If you want to pretend you’re back in the Fightin’ Forties or to just be able to say you’ve spent the night on a submarine, start here.
This post was originally published in 2020 but has been completely updated for 2023.
WWII hotels and Airbnbs in the United States
The majority of the WWII-inspired hotels and Airbnbs on this list can be found right here in the United States. And I’m going to start with the biggest.
1. The Higgins Hotel – New Orleans, Louisiana
Technically a part of the National WWII Museum in New Orleans, the Higgins Hotel is a World War II history buff’s dream stay. Its name honors Andrew Higgins whose name you may know from the more than 20,000 amphibious boats he designed and built in New Orleans.
The Higgins Hotel is directly across the street from the National WWII Museum–the United States’ official World War II museum as designated by Congress.
This beautiful hotel offers:
- more than 200 WWII era-inspired rooms
- a full-service restaurant (Café Normandie featuring French-inspired cuisine)
- a casual lobby bar & lounge (Kilroy’s)
- a rooftop bar (Rosie’s on the Roof)
- and tons more space, all on-theme
The details at this place are astonishing–from the artwork and décor, to the menus and music, to the bedspreads and beyond. It’s also brand new having just opened in December 2019.
Book your stay here: Higgins Hotel New Orleans
2. The Hangar Hotel – Fredericksburg, Texas
The Hangar Hotel in Fredericksburg, Texas is not just a place to stay, but a place to take in. It was designed specifically to resemble a 1940’s World War II airplane hangar.
The Hangar Hotel offers 50 rooms, a hotel bar and lounge, and a 1940’s-themed diner as well. All décor and furniture are reminiscent of the World War II period and this hotel even features actual WWII aircraft and artifacts.
But the best part? It’s actually located off an airport runway and yes, you can fly in for your visit to the Hangar Hotel!
Also, being located in Fredericksburg, this hotel is just a 10-minute drive to the National Museum of the Pacific War, the continental U.S.’ only museum solely dedicated to the Pacific theater of World War II.
3. Converted WWII Train Car – Maryville, Tennessee
About a half hour south of Knoxville, Tennessee is where you’ll find this unique Airbnb rental–a converted WWII train car.
Known as Platform1346, this rental was once a troop train kitchen car. Now, it’s an adorable “tiny house” with an open floor plan, wood floors and modern industrial furnishings, a patio with outdoor fire pit and pond-adjacent gazebo, and everything else you could need for a fun, unique stay. It’s really too cute to describe. (Just check out the photos!)
Book your stay here: Converted WWII Train Car with Patio
4. The Bunker Suite – St. Louis, Missouri
Located inside a 1941 art deco building is the Bunker Suite–an apartment inside a converted WWII-era bomb shelter.
This 1500-sq-foot, fully-furnished studio apartment includes a large kitchen, authentic vintage furnishings, and unique touches like a large bathroom inside the original vault. This building has an interesting history and you can read all the details in the listing.
For the traveler who really likes his/her privacy, can you do any better than a bedroom in a bunker? Methinks not. Book your stay here: The Bunker Suite
Update: As of Jan 2023 this listing is no longer active but I’m keeping it up in case it opens up again.
5. Secret City 1943 WWII Time Capsule – Oak Ridge, Tennessee
For starters, if you don’t know the fascinating history behind the “Secret City” of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, be sure to first check out my post on exploring Manhattan Projects sites in Oak Ridge.
Now, in Oak Ridge you can rent the Secret City WWII Time Capsule, a 1-bedroom apartment that has changed little since 1943. At one time the lodging of a Manhattan Project worker, this rental showcases original furnishings and décor to send you right back in time. (Some of the pieces even belonged to famous Oak Ridgers from the Manhattan Project days.)
However, they have included modern technology and conveniences like a washer/dryer, WiFi, flat-screen TV, and more. For those who want a true 40s experience, just pretend none of that is there (shhh).
Check out these photos—this place is truly a time capsule. This would be perfect for any World War II history buffs visiting Oak Ridge to learn about the Manhattan Project.
Book your stay here: Secret City 1943 WWII Time Capsule
6. Historic World War II Tugboat – Sitka, Alaska
One of the more remote of the WWII hotels and Airbnbs on this list is this one—the Captain’s Suite of a historic WWII tugboat in Sitka, Alaska.
This rental includes the entire topside stateroom of a renovated WWII Army Harbor Tug—the last remaining vessel of its kind. Shower, kitchen, laundry facilities, and the lower deck are shared, but there’s plenty of privacy on this unique boat.
Plus, the volcano views and the overall experience of watching otters and sea lions frolicking in the water outside can’t be beat. This rental has an incredibly historic feel on board but still with all the warmth and modern conveniences you’ll need.
Book your stay here: Historic World War II Tugboat
7. Sub Bnb, WWII Submarine – Manitowoc, Wisconsin
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat” you say? Well, I’ve got you. If a tugboat isn’t your thing, how about a World War II submarine?
Located at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc is the USS Cobia. This fully restored WWII submarine is the best preserved submarine in the country and is capable of sleeping up to 65 people.
If you’re looking for a unique stay, this is definitely it. Guests can sleep in bunks in the crew’s quarters, the torpedo rooms, the officer’s room, and other locations throughout the ship. Guests will have access to the entire submarine and the museum during their stay. You’ll get a personalized behind-the-scenes tour as well at private screenings of selected WWII and maritime movies.
Board games and cards are provided in the crew’s mess but, honestly, exploring your very own WWII submarine sounds like entertainment enough.
Book your stay here: Sub Bnb, WWII Submarine
Also check out
If you’re into WWII ships, you might also like my post on visiting the SS American Victory in Tampa, Florida. And if you’re not convinced yet, take a look at 8 reasons battleship museums are the best museums.
8. Harbord Kourt Motor Inn – Coleman, Texas
The Harbord Kourt Motor Inn is a small private cottage in Coleman, Texas, once home to a flying school during World War II.
This small cottage features modern furnishings and conveniences, but with an emphasis on World War II patriotism. You won’t find a full kitchen (it does have a microwave and refrigerator though) but you will find plenty of local WWII memories and artwork.
Book your stay here: Harbord Kourt Motor Inn
9. 1941 Restored Vintage Caboose – Lock Haven, Pennsylvania
Smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania is the town of Lock Haven and the next entry in our list of WWII hotels and Airbnbs—the 1941 Restored Vintage Caboose.
Parked at a historic train station is the chance to spend the night in a WWII-era train caboose. This stay comes with bedroom and bathroom, cute kitchen and dinette, and tons of vintage touches. It has been fully restored to its original specs but features modern conveniences like flushing toilets. Score!
Book your stay here: 1941 Restored Vintage Caboose
Heading to Pennsylvania? While you’re there, be sure to check out the WWII Weekend festival in Reading, PA.
WWII hotels and Airbnbs in Europe
Europe also has its fair share of WWII hotels and Airbnbs as you’d accurately expect. Prepare to discover WWII sleeping situations you’d have to experience to believe.
10. Villa Feltrinelli – Gargnano, Italy
One of the more interesting WWII hotels out there is the Grand Hotel Villa Feltrinelli on the shores of Lake Garda in Gargnano, Italy. However, from what I can tell they do keep their WWII history hidden, and understandably so. Villa Feltrinelli was where Benito Mussolini spent his last couple of years.
Once referred to as “Mussolini’s Castle,” Villa Feltrinelli was the mandated hideout for Mussolini from 1943 – 1945. It was here he was, more or less, held captive to do the Nazi’s bidding. And it is here you can stay for $2000 – $4000 a night.
This you-gotta-see-it-to-believe-it property offers 13 extravagant guest rooms and 4 private cottages, a lakeside pool, private dock and boat tours of the lake, a 2-Michelin-starred restaurant, a croquet green, and plenty of parking for your Lamborghini.
The building’s WWII paint job has been covered up but much of this incredible structure remains as it always has. Its controversial history may not be so obvious but there’s no denying the role Villa Feltrinelli played in World War II.
11. The Corrugated Cottage WWII – Somerset, England
Built in 1940, the Corrugated Cottage once housed the Women’s Land Army—a group of women working on local farms to assist with the war effort. Today, you can rent this cottage and have the entire place to yourself.
Just a few miles from Glastonbury, this cottage retains many of the original details. You’ll love the 1940’s mint green kitchen appliances (at least, I do), vintage furnishings, record player (featuring selected LPs), and claw-foot tub.
And, as you’d expect, the Corrugated Cottage features its own garden and air raid shelter. You may even be visited by some of the locals of the badger, fox, and owl varieties (magical!).
Book your stay here: The Corrugated Cottage WWII
12. Historic WW2 Cliff Top Lookout – Cromer, Norfolk, United Kingdom
The name says so much here. Next up in WWII hotels and Airbnbs is this original World War II gun emplacement and lookout. It sits atop a cliff overlooking the picturesque North Sea and town of Cromer, a “quintessential British seaside holiday town.”
Built in 1942, the building retains much of its original structure including the concrete fence posts and bronze alloy windows. Inside, however, you’ll find a more modern scene.
This house (if that’s what you’d call it) offers panoramic ocean views, as you’d expect from a military lookout. There’s also a beautiful garden, a sun deck, and direct access to the beach.
Book your stay here: Historic WW2 Cliff Top Lookout | Update: As of Jan 2023 this listing is no longer active but I’m keeping it up in case it opens up again.
13. Authentic German Bunker – Brittany, France
Well, it doesn’t get any realer than this, ladies and gentlemen. Head to the town of Saint-PABU in Brittany, France to spend the night in an authentic German WWII bunker. If you dare.
This is… well, it’s exactly what you’d picture from a World War II bunker: low ceilings, bright lights, thick walls, and not a window in sight. It is spacious though and consists of 24 rooms across two floors. (At first I was afraid, I was petrified. But the more I look at these pictures the more I want to stay here!)
This bunker, Bunker L479, was built in 1944 as part of Germany’s airborne detection and transmission centers. It’s just a quarter mile from the beach.
For a truly immersive and perhaps slightly terrifying overnight adventure (not for claustrophobes), book your stay here: Authentic German Bunker
Also read: Which is the Best D-Day Beach to Visit in Normandy? Here’s how to choose…
14. Château la Cheneviere – Normandy, France
During World War II, this massive estate was occupied by German soldiers who turned it into an administrative site and eventually the headquarters for high-ranking Nazi officers.
On this site you’ll find a commemorative plaque to Armand Lapierre, a member of the French Resistance, who helped sever German communication lines at the Château the night before the D-Day invasions.
For an unforgettable stay in this historic and well-located property, book your room here: Château la Cheneviere.
15. Spirit of 1944 – Normandy, France
One of the few genuine WWII hotels on this list is Normandy’s Spirit of 1944 in the commune of La Cambe.
This guesthouse is just a short drive from Omaha Beach and many of the other best D-Day sites in Normandy. The property and rooms are simply beautiful with an emphasis on World War II history and memorabilia. Like many on this list of WWII hotels, Spirit of 1944 aims to bring you back to a long ago time, but with all the modern comforts of the 21st century.
Spirit of 1944 offers a handful of guest rooms, but my favorite is the General Dwight D. Eisenhower with its understated WWII homage. The rooms are cozy, the kitchen is delightful, and the property is French countryside perfection.
There’s actually so much to see and explore here, I can’t imagine a more perfect place to stay while visiting Normandy. Check out these photos—this place is a must for any WWII enthusiast.
Book your stay here: Spirit of 1944
Also check out my post on all the WWII sites in Paris: 20+ fascinating museums, memorials, and more.
16. Dutch Military Bunker – Vuren, Netherlands
For those of you who loved the idea of spending the night underground, check out this Dutch military bunker.
Built in 1939 as a shelter from enemy fire, this bunker bills itself as “reasonably basic” meaning it doesn’t offer heat and you’ll need to bring your own bed linens and/or sleeping bags and towels.
It’s small and simple but extraordinary in its authenticity. If you’re a WWII buff traveling through the Netherlands, the bunker at Fort Vuren is worth checking out.
Book your stay here: Dutch Military Bunker
Also check out
While you’re in the Netherlands, be sure not to miss one of Amsterdam’s most popular sites, the Anne Frank House–the museum located at the site of Anne Frank’s secret annex during Nazi occupation where she wrote her famous diary.
17. Chateau De Vignée – Rochefort, Belgium
Belgium’s historic Chateau de Vignée has a centuries-old background. What began as a hunting lodge just outside the Ardennes in the 17th century eventually served as a field hospital during World War II.
Today it serves us as an upscale boutique hotel on a gorgeous property. Book your room here: Chateau De Vignée.
What else is there to do in Belgium? Check out this super simple 4-day Belgium itinerary.
18. Chateau d’Urspelt – Luxembourg
Another fabulous chateau worth your stay is the Chateau d’Urspelt in Urspelt, Luxembourg. What is today a fancy chateau hotel was again occupied by German forces during World War II.
And like the chateaux listed above, it served as their headquarters and a field hospital, this time for the northern Luxembourg campaigns. That is, until they were forced to abandon it during the Battle of the Bulge.
Check out this amazing property the next time you’re in lovely little Luxembourg. Book your room here: Chateau d’Urspelt.
What else is there to do in Luxembourg? Check out this post on taking a day trip to this tiny country.
19. WWII Radio Control Tower – Jersey, United Kingdom
I am all about these cliff top observation towers-turned-overnight rentals. Given their nature, they offer some of the best seaside views around. This one is on the island of Jersey, just on the other side of the Cotentin peninsula from the D-Day sites of Utah Beach.
It was built during World War II by German forces and includes original observation windows and steel doors. Today, it boasts gorgeous 360° views and accommodation spread out over 6 floors connected by a spiral staircase. You can read more about its history on the history tab of the listing.
This control tower rental offers three double bedrooms with ensuite shower for each, oven, refrigerator, and microwave, central heating, parking, free WiFi, and a secluded location.
Book your stay here: WWII Radio Control Tower
20. The Control Tower Bed & Breakfast – Walsingham, UK
If you like the idea of staying overnight in a control tower, let’s keep the fun going! This one in Walsingham, UK is on a former airfield and is actually an all-vegetarian bed and breakfast.
It was originally built in 1943 as a standard air tower controlling takeoffs and landings. It was part of the No. 100 (Bomber Support) Group which was responsible for electronic warfare development and operation, i.e. using such things as radio or radar signals against the enemy. Complex stuff.
The building resembles its original self on the outside, but on the inside presents a more modern feel (with some art deco touches and period furnishings here and there). There are a handful of different suites available and all are devoid of TVs and other “high -tech gizmos.”
They pride themselves on offering only locally-sourced, organic vegetarian breakfasts, locally baked biscuits and tea, and natural toiletries from the nearby town. Actually, their breakfasts seem like reason enough to stay there in the first place.
Book your stay here: The Control Tower Bed & Breakfast
WWII hotels and Airbnbs in Australia
Seeing so many of these original control towers being turned into WWII hotels and Airbnbs makes me so happy. I love that people are working hard to find creative ways to use these incredibly significant structures — even if it’s one no one in the 1940s could have predicted.
21. WWII Communication Tower – New south Wales, Australia
So yes, here we have another WWII control tower, this time on the other side of the world in New South Wales, Australia.
This rural rental is located on a farm more than 3,000 feet above sea level with animals and an off-grid, solar-powered outhouse. It was used during World War II as an Army control tower and is part of a larger WWII Army camp nearby.
The listing emphasizes its remote location and the harsh weather conditions it faces during the winter. So, if you’re looking for WWII hotels where you can really “rough it,” I think this is your stop.
This control tower rental offers a double bed + bunk bed, a small kitchenette with a cooktop but no refrigerator, and toilets that actually flush. It even has—what looks to be—its own small jail cell. So that’s something you don’t see at every Airbnb rental.
Regardless of its simplicity, it has excellent reviews and everyone has loved staying here. This place will definitely take you back.
Book your stay here: WWII Communication Tower | Update: As of Jan 2023 this listing is no longer active but I’m keeping it up in case it opens up again.
Which of these WWII hotels and Airbnbs would you most like to stay in?
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