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One has a tragic past, one used to house guests who weren’t allowed to leave and one is on a property that included a discreet spot for ladies to swim in the days when sea bathing was considered a bit shocking. These five resorts around the world are built on top of ruins, some dating back to the days of the Mayans.

RELATED: These are Budapest’s best ruin pubs

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet | Photo courtesy of Four Seasons

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet: Istanbul, Turkey

The luxury, five-star Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet is built on the remnants of a 4th-century palace built by Constantine the Great. At another point in its long life, the site served as a place where “guests” slept on stone slabs and weren’t allowed to check out. In that iteration, it was an early 20th-century, neo-classical prison that housed men, women and sometimes children. While the level of service and available amenities have dramatically improved, some elements of the prison remain, including marble pillars, wooden archways and hand-painted tiles in some common areas.

JW Marriott El Convento Cusco

JW Marriott El Convento Cusco | Photo courtesy of JW Marriott

JW Marriott El Convento Cusco: Cusco, Peru

Most resorts are built from the ground up. How about from below ground? The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco, opened in 2012, was constructed on top of a 16th-century San Agustin convent, which was the site of Incan ruins before that. It took a large team of architects, restorers and engineers to preserve as much of the property’s historic past as possible. Guests can view the original arches of the convent and some guest rooms include views of the Inca-era walls. The property includes an underground museum with ancient artifacts and an archeological exhibition area.

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Barnsley Resort

Barnsley Resort | Photo by Jan Schroder

Barnsley Resort: Adairsville, GA

Barnsley Resort in north Georgia is built around the ruins of a pre-Civil War estate known as Woodlands that wealthy cotton broker Godfrey Barnsley built for his beloved wife, Julie. Sadly, she died before the Italianate-style house was completed. He lived in the lavishly furnished home with his children. During the Civil War the home was raided, then suffered damage in a tornado in 1906 and fell into ruins. When Barnsley Resort opened in 1999 on the property, the ruins were incorporated into the 3,000-acre resort and are a popular spot for weddings and events.

Ruins at Occidental at Xcaret Destination

Occidental at Xcaret Destination | Photo by Jan Schroder

Occidental at Xcaret Destination: Riviera Maya, Mexico

Guests at Occidental at Xcaret Destination in the Yucatan don’t need to sign up for an excursion to take in some of the ancient culture that ruled from 1800 B.C. to A.D. 250. The resort sits on 25 acres nestled in the jungle and still has several of the ancient ruins scattered about the property. Some have a view of the Caribbean and are a popular spot for weddings.

Crane Resort, Barbados

The Crane Resort | Photo courtesy of The Crane Resort

The Crane Resort: St. Philip, Barbados

Back in the 18th century, it was frowned upon for proper ladies to bathe in the ocean. But in 1769 there was a discreet spot in Barbados known as the “Horse” where women could frolic and expose those sexy ankles in private. Remains of the staircase to the Horse can still be seen on the grounds of The Crane Resort, which opened in 1887 as the Crane Beach Hotel, Barbados’ first resort. The hotel was built on the property of a mansion called Marine Villa built around 1790. Much of the mansion remains intact and was incorporated into the resort. Ruins of the stables form the structure of the spa pool.

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Tagged: Cancun, Caribbean, Mexico

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Jan Schroder
An award-winner writer based in Atlanta, Jan Schroder is an editor, book author, publisher of Girl on the Go and a really pathetic packer for a travel writer. She is also editorial director of The 100 Companies, a publishing platform with 100-word stories and 100-second videos.
Jan Schroder
Jan Schroder
Jan Schroder

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