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"Most hotels come online as fully fledged hotels. Their restaurants are purposebuilt and gleaming with stainless steel from the get-go. Their pools are spacious enough to accommodate groups of guests. And the fitness centers, well, they're marvels of technology, whirring with spinning wheels, and decorated with television screens angled for optimum viewing.
Then there are the hotels that started off as homes first—resorts that were built as lavish dwellings for kings, bishops, famous architects and royal families many years ago. Now travelers can get a taste of the intimate luxury enjoyed by the reigning class in days gone by, if only for a night or two."