Enjoy breakfast at Hotel National in Moscow in the room where Lenin stayed.

Alive with echoes of the First World War 

Reverend Clayton established Talbot House in Poperinge, Belgium, in 1915 as a refuge for weary soldiers of all ranks. It’s now a living museum full of iron bedsteads, ancient armchairs, witty signs and the almost tangible presence of warriors past – and has seven rooms to stay in. From £32, (R604) talbothouse.be/bb/home

Step into the heart of the Russian Revolution.

The first Soviet government met at the Hotel National in Moscow following the Russian Revolution of 1918. Lenin stayed in room 107 and Trotsky was a guest. Some of the furniture was plundered from the palaces of Tsars. It overlooks Red Square and the Kremlin. From £225, (R4,250).

Savour the birth of Irish independence

In 1922, under Michael Collins, the Constitution of Ireland was drafted in room 112 of Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel. Now the Constitution Room, and available for private dining, it features the original antique table and chairs used for the landmark signing. From £377, marriott.com

Return to the scene of a British surrender 

The Japanese symbolically made the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong their post-invasion HQ in 1941, and Governor Sir Mark Aitchison Young signed surrender documents in room 336 on Christmas Day. From £410, (R7,744) hongkong.peninsula.com

The Egyptian view that charmed Churchill

In November and December 1943, top-level Cairo Conferences were held by Winston Churchill, US President Franklin D Roosevelt and China’s Chiang Kai-shek at Mena House. Plans for the Normandy Landings were discussed. Churchill loved the view of the Pyramids from suite 623 and slept with the curtains open. From £81, (R1,530) marriott.com

The San Fransisco bolthole where the UN came to life.

US Secretary of State Edward Stettinius stayed at the Fairmont in San Francisco in 1945 during the drafting of the UN Charter. Key negotiations with the Big Five happened in his penthouse suite. From £227, (R4,287) fairmont.com/sanfrancisco

The stately home of a political scandal

John Profumo met Christine Keeler, a guest of osteopath Stephen Ward, by the pool at Viscount Astor’s Cliveden House (now a hotel) in Buckinghamshire in July 1961. The resulting affair between the Secretary of State for War and the showgirl rocked the Establishment. From £545, (R10,294) clivedenhouse.co.uk

A big slice of Beatlemania

The Beatles were mobbed in New York in February 1964. Their appearance on TV’s Ed Sullivan Show galvanized American youth and changed the direction of rock. They stayed in the 12th floor Presidential Suites of the Plaza Hotel (rooms 1209-1216) while girls screamed from the sidewalks. From £680, (R12,844) fairmont.com/the-plaza-new-york

The hotel that gave its name to a crisis

In 1972, the Democratic National Committee was famously burgled for secrets, leading to President Nixon’s downfall. The theft was orchestrated from room 214 of the Watergate Hotel in Washington. The Watergate Scandal Room comes with a 1970s typewriter and a key card reading No Need To Break In. From £228, (R4,306) thewatergatehotel.com

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Show me the way to the @nextwhiskybar!

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Surrounded by peace in Jerusalem

An oasis of tranquillity in Israel’s tumultuous city of Jerusalem, The American Colony Hotel has hosted distinguished visitors from Lawrence of Arabia to Tony Blair. In 1992, members of the Israeli government met the PLO in room 16 to thrash out the Oslo Accord. From £235, (R4,439) americancolony.com

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sixties affair : Cliveden House (7), where John Profumo met Christine Keeler, and The Beatles, top left, in their New York Plaza Hotel suite (8)