While most elevators serve as mundane mechanical boxes that transport passengers from point A to point B, some hotels are turning their contraptions into attractions in their own right. From futuristic, rocket-ship pods that look like they belong on a film set to tricked-out, amusement park-worthy rides that bolt up inside an aquarium, we rounded up some of the world’s coolest hotel elevators that make for an entertaining 15 seconds.
Mariott Marquis New York
Stepping inside the space-age elevator at this Times Square hotel is the closest you’ll get to time traveling to the future -- or at the very least starring in an episode of “The Jetsons.” The glass-enclosed, neon-glowing pod launches from the hotel’s atrium lobby and zips up 49 floors at 1,000 feet per minute. The journey to the top brings amusing views of the expansive lobby, but watching the futuristic car rise and fall from the ground floor is just as mesmerizing.
The Morgan, Dublin
Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting at the Louvre might be one of the most recognizable pieces of art in the world, but this mural of the iconic character mooning visitors at The Morgan hotel might just be the cheekiest. Inspired by Banksy’s graffiti design, this creatively naughty painting will have guests giggling (and doing a double take) every time they retire to their rooms.
Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah, Istanbul
From the Belle Epoque decor to the sedan chair that once transported guests from the Orient Express stop at Sirkeci Train Station, everything about this 121-year-old luxury hotel harkens back to its glory days. The historic touches even extend to the hotel’s elevator, which just so happens to be the OG electric elevator in Turkey. The cast-iron and wood contraption still shuttles guests from the lobby to their rooms and suites, many of which are named after famous former guests, including Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway, and Greta Garbo.
Borghese Palace Art Hotel, Florence
Gone are the days of awkwardly standing still and staring at the button panel as the floors ding by. When guests board the elevator at this upscale Florentine hotel, they’ll be embarking on an exciting ride. Surrounded by a winding set of steel stairs, the circular glass enclosure offers 360-degree views, including some of the outdoors, as it ascends.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Berlin
At 82 feet tall, the AquaDom in Berlin’s Radisson Blu Hotel is the largest cylindrical aquarium in the world. But its size isn’t the only way it takes things to new heights (or rather, depths). Guests can get a unique interior panorama of the underwater lair thanks to a transparent built-in elevator that leisurely runs up the center of the tank. Ooh and ahh over nearly one hundred different fish species that swim in more than one million liters of water.
Hotel Palomar Philadelphia
For many of the aforementioned elevators, the highlight of their ride is the fancy façade, which often allows passengers to peep outdoors. For the elevator pod at Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square, it’s what’s on the inside (hint: a sense of humor) that counts. Once the doors open, quirky mustached portraits keep guests company as they ascend to and descend from their stylish rooms, which are outfitted in1960s-inspired furniture.
Hotel del Coronado, San Diego
The elevator at the historic, red-roofed Hotel del Coronado in San Diego is as much about function as it is about form. Take a moment to admire the ornate design adorning the exterior of the elevator, which also happens to be the original from when the hotel first swung its doors open in 1888. Formerly powered by steam hydraulics, the now electric-powered elevator goes by the name of Otis No. 61. Step inside and let the elevator operator take you on a trip to yesteryear.
Luxor Las Vegas
The elevator inside Sin City’s pyramid-shaped Luxor hotel might not be the flashiest or fastest of the bunch, but it still stands out. The car, which is outfitted in hieroglyphics, careens up 30 floors at a 39-degree angle, offering passengers a unique vantage point of the hotel’s atrium. Tip: Hop aboard after dark when the lights and decor of the ancient Egyptian-themed lobby dazzle below.