As we continue our theme of history this month, we look at how travelling can give us insight into local histories from around the world. There are many ways we can learn about history through our travels. Visiting world heritage sites or ancient ruins can be as informative as a museum, as can wandering through historic cities, absorbing the architecture. Whichever way you choose to soak up the history of your destination, you can almost guarantee that it’s done outside the hotel or resort you’re staying at. The destinations we focus on this month give a little more, incorporating local history into the guests’ stay from the outset.

Cora Cora Maldives

The Maldives are not a travel destination usually visited for its rich history. Many people travel there for the gorgeous views, stunning weather, and to escape to a place of relaxation and rejuvenation. Cora Cora Maldives brings guests all of the key features of a relaxing getaway on the tiny island of Raa Maamigili in the Raa Atoll of the Maldives. With stunning views and the chance to explore the crystal-clear ocean, there is certainly plenty to keep guests busy within this resort, but the same could be said of many different resorts around the Maldives. What makes Cora Cora Maldives stand out? They bring to light the fantastic history of the Maldives. Through historical sites on the island and the creation of a museum dedicated to the heritage of the islands, guests can explore the Maldives through time alongside exploring its flora and fauna.

Guests’ historical journey begins as early as check-in with the museum gallery situated in the resort’s lobby. Here, various objects that detail the long history of the island’s unique position in the Indian Ocean are displayed for guests to peruse before they find their room. Some of the most exciting pieces date back to 500 AD and tell the tale of the traders who stopped on their journeys along the Spice Routes. Ultimate Library contributed to this mini-museum experience by providing educational and stunningly beautiful books for the lobby area. With titles focussing on the beauty of the ocean and the extraordinary life found on the islands, we also included titles such as The Modern Explorers by Robert Twigger and Robin Hanbury-Tenison. These titles on history and exploration tie into the relationship the Maldives has had with traders and explorers throughout the centuries.

Around the rest of the island, there are outdoor historical sites for guests to explore, including ancient memorials. These memorials, some dating back 500 years, provide a unique insight into the visitors that came to islands centuries prior. The highlights are two temple tanks in the centre of the island used for ceremonial purposes, thought to be 900 years old. Guests can always find out more about the island’s history with free guided tours from Cora Cora’s very own museum expert.

The Fellows House – Cambridge

A city like Cambridge is a more conventional place for travellers to learn about history. With its famous university, there is a rich collegiate atmosphere and guests can expect this theme to transfer directly into The Fellow House, a Hilton Curio Collection hotel in the centre of the city. As the name suggests, the hotel is themed around the fellows of Cambridge University, celebrating their achievements, discoveries and inventions. The city of Cambridge itself is steeped in history; With the university being founded in 1209, the university buildings dominate the cities skyline and architecture, giving the whole centre an ancient feel. There is also many a museum for guests to explore during their visit, where guests can explore archaeology, zoology and the history of Cambridge itself.

The Fellows House pays homage to the great minds of the university in many ways, but especially through its décor and the visual language used throughout the hotel. With quotes, scientific drawings and poetry featured around the hotel, guests are immersed in the writing from students passed, absorbing the thoughts of previous generations. With names such as Alan Turing and John Milton included it’s hard not to see how these inspirational thinkers can teach guests about the history of the city and of the people who studied there.

Ultimate Library helped bring this inspiration directly to the guests by providing a library inspired by the Cambridge fellows. Alongside titles authored by more recent fellows, we included works that explore the history of Cambridge fellows’ contributions to society. With titles such as A History of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr and biographies of historic fellows, the library collection gives guests a way to immerse themselves in the history on display at the hotel and throughout the city.

Learning more about local history can be part of any holiday and is one of the most wonderful parts of travelling. These two destinations bring their local history to guests in an easily digestible format, augmenting their guests stay. The addition of a library or book collection can bring the local history closer to guests, spark their imaginations and give them knowledge to take home, along with their memories.