The Best Hotels
Ooh la la! There is just something about a trip steeped in the history and charm of Europe, and there’s no place better to begin your immersion than in one of these tres magnifique accommodations. Complete with inimitable details like sweeping panoramic views of the Swiss Alps, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces in medieval castles, and breakfasts on balconies overlooking the Mediterranean—in these European hotels, you’ll find luxury, glamour, and definitely that je ne sais quoi.
Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle
Follow in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette when entering the regal doors of Airelles Château de Versailles, Le Grand Contrôle, a hotel on the grounds of Château de Versailles. Every detail in this stately property totaling 14 rooms and apartments—from the antique furniture and original artwork to the staff’s uniforms—recalls the opulence of 18th-century France, including playful upholstery by Pierre Frey. As a royal guest, enjoy a privileged private tour of the Château de Versailles after hours and spend a morning frolicking in the English gardens of the Queen’s Hamlet.
Guided tours of Louis XIV’s Grand Trianon and the Petit Trianon are included in the amenities. The luxurious subterranean spa with treatments by Valmont features hand-painted frescoes and a Carrara-marble floor leading to a 15-meter (49-foot) long swimming pool. Feasts fit for a king are helmed by Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse, with nightly theatrics included. A candlelight dinner in the privacy of your room or a secluded picnic catered by Ducasse along the Grand Canal are also on the menu.
Romans sur Isère, France
Imagine sleeping in what was once a bookstore in the center of a charming French town—snug sleeping quarters and an enticing selection of books included. Or how about a former tannery converted into cozy chambers accented with cowhides? This is exactly what BedinShop has created by converting vacant shops into unusual accommodations.
Sleeping options also include washerwomen’s quarters scented of fresh linens and a rustic cottage where stone and wood details set a centuries-old ambiance. Adding to the list of refurbished storefronts slated for 2022 are a tailor shop, a café, and a shoemaker. This hospitality project is a creative step towards revitalizing the historic center while promoting local craftsmanship. Products to purchase–including honey, walnut oil, leather goods, and soap–are all available within the revamped residences. Adding to the homespun theme, all the room furnishings are upcycled or locally sourced. BedinShop is helping to strengthen the connection between locals and tourists while creating a circular economy. All the more reason to make yourself at home.
Bürgenstock Resort, Switzerland
You may just run into your favorite celebrity or have breakfast with one of Europe’s greatest footballers at the Bürgenstock Resort. The Central Switzerland property has long been an iconic destination for Hollywood starlets like Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren, but after its $530 million renovation in 2007, it’s better than ever.
Perched high up on Mount Burgenberg, the resort overlooks stunning Lake Lucerne—it’s easy to get used to sweeping panoramas like these. More than just a luxury hotel, the resort approaches energy generation and sustainability with purpose, running on energy produced from the lake’s waters. Relish in the power of nature—and her beauty—from either the property’s luxurious infinity pool or in your room’s panoramic bathtub. Unwind further with dinner and drinks at Spices Kitchen & Terrace. One of the 10 fine-dining restaurants on-site, this is where to go for pan-Asian cuisine enlisting the finest Swiss ingredients like sustainable Swiss shrimp and caviar from Rheinfelden and Frutigen, respectively.
Castello di Reschio
Lisciano Niccone, Italy
Imagine staying in a fairytale medieval castle in one of the most pristine corners of Umbria, close to the border with Tuscany. Restyled by an aristocratic family into elegant rooms and suites, Castello di Reschio is part of a wide estate stretching for 1,500 hectares (3,700 acres) which also includes nine exclusive farmhouses each with a private pool, ideal for guests looking for a detox stay amid green rolling hills.
You’ll be pampered with an all-inclusive service: a personal maid, cook, and chauffeur are at your disposal. The decor is a mix of new and old: ancient stone floors, floor-to-ceiling fireplaces, arched vaults, and wood beam ceilings mingle with objects of contemporary design. The castle’s exotic winter garden enclosed by a glass cage and the panoramic infinity pool that blends in with the bucolic setting are perfect for a sunset drink after a day trip to Perugia or Siena. The former tobacco factory hosts art exhibitions and you can always choose between a horse-back ride departing from the castle stables or for a detox swim in the spa which used to be a wine cellar.
Amsterdam, the atmospheric capital of the Netherlands, fuses past and present into every cobblestone crevice. A mecca for gastronomy, innovation, architecture, and—of course—Stroopwafels, the preeminent way to explore this dynamic city is by staying in its nucleus. And The Dylan, a boutique hotel located on the iconic Keizersgracht canal in the heart of the chic Nine Streets District, provides a tranquil escape amid the action.
Arguably the most luxurious hotel in Amsterdam, The Dylan has always been a focal cultural institution—it was even a theater in the 17th century and honors this heritage today with various art events and restored architectural elements. Though this property offers 40 rooms and suites in four varying styles, the common denominator is their distinctly lavish and refined design. The property’s dedication to delighting guests is showcased in the details: 24/7 room service, Frette bathrobes, and a distinguished concierge. The hotel’s Bar Brasserie OCCO is beloved by guests and Dutch locals alike, thanks in part to a stellar steak tartare and briny Dutch oysters. Gourmands enjoy indulging in refined French specialties at The Dylan’s Michelin-starred Restaurant Vinkeles, situated in an 18th-century bakery.
In the heart of London’s Belgravia, you’ll find The Goring. Sophisticated elegance infused with just the right amount of grandeur, this historic five-star hotel incorporates a little of everything when it comes to that quintessential British charm. Silk-lined walls and manicured garden views ensure you never forget you’re staying in the city’s most prestigious neighborhood. The Goring’s century-old heritage means all the essentials are done in the good-old-fashioned way here, which includes footmen on-hand for those staying in the suites and impeccable service across the entire property’s amenities.
Each individual suite at The Goring is designed by a renowned British designer, proudly displaying British heritage across beautiful bedrooms, stylish sitting rooms, and marble-edged bathrooms. But it’s not all traditionally classic. Five varied restaurants and bars cater to every need imaginable, from indulgent afternoon tea to cocktails on the veranda or a memorable Michelin-starred dinner under the careful hands of revered chef, Richard Galli.
What was once the palatial home of the aristocratic Lubomirski family in the heart of Kraków‘s old town has joined a few neighboring buildings to become the H15 Palace Hotel. The family’s celebrated collection of paintings and antiques—some displayed at the Wawel Castle—hang along the hallways and within many of the 71 rooms and suites designed by Mariola Tomczyk. The four imperial apartments revealing ceiling murals, chandeliers, and marble bathrooms are fit for a king.
Once used to welcome a horse and carriage, the elaborately detailed lobby features original wooden floors and family busts. To add to the ornate décor, modern works by artist Ivo Nikić add pops of color. History and modernity mingle in the lush spa where a pool and jacuzzi define the space complete with 15th-century stone walls. At the stylish bistro, Chef Mateusz Suliga concocts innovative dishes recalling Kraków’s past—artichoke soup with gorgonzola mousse among them. The latest additions to this five-star address include a wine bar and nightclub, in the very same covert spot where storied celebrations once took place.
Heckfield Place Hotel
Just an hour from London but a world away from city life, Heckfield Place is a splendid Georgian family home dating from 1790, converted into a luxury hotel in 2018. Sitting on 400 acres of stunning countryside, there are endless opportunities for interesting walks—you could head to Jane Austen’s home in Chawton or wander through the peaceful Hampshire countryside at Bramshill Forest nearby. The views tend towards spectacular; on a clear day you can even see Windsor Castle.
Rooms have been expertly restored, retaining historic Georgian features blended with contemporary facilities. It’s a comfortable yet stylish approach, designed to make guests feel at home. Wander through the gardens, relax with a good book, or cycle through the estate. Wild swimming in the lakes is a favorite guest activity as is a visit to The Bothy Spa. Set in the walled garden, it’s a peaceful haven offering up a range of indulgent treatments including a circadian-inspired Wildsmith Time treatment designed to rebalance and re-energize. Most of the food at Heckfield Place comes from the estate biodiversity farm and both Marle and Hearth are overseen by award-winning chef Skye Gingell. Each enlists seasonal ingredients as inspiration for the menu, bringing the countryside to the table.
Settle into what was the last home of Oscar Wilde over a cocktail at the bar named after this popular poet and playwright, and stay the night. Try the signature L’Hotel, an eminently sippable combination of vodka, St. Germain, cherry, and lemon, and snack on fine French cheese and charcuterie in an atmospheric setting recalling the 19th century.
Tucked away in Paris’s Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood, each of the 20 opulent rooms and suites in L’Hotel is decked out in antique furnishings, plush bedding, and gold trims. There’s even a spacious Oscar Wilde suite in homage to the hotel’s most famous resident. The smaller and equally charming Mignon rooms look out over Rue de Beaux Arts. Head to the lower level spa and sink into the hammam pool and steam room where you can also book a detoxifying treatment. Dating back to 1828 and refurbished in 1967, this intimate five-star address also entertained such notable personalities as Salvador Dali, Princess Grace, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Jim Morrison, and Serge Gainsbourg. How’s that for a guest list?
Less than a five-minute walk from the Cala Alta de Porta beach and nestled in the foothills of Ibiza, Oku Ibiza provides a worthy escape from the bustle of city life. The scent of coconut wafting through the hotel serves to further enhance the Ibiza experience. Each room features large glass windows, a private balcony, sleek fixtures, a rainforest shower, and stunning views. The sultry decor, relying mostly on natural and earthy tones, emits muted luxury, while liberal use of sustainable materials, bohemian furniture, and dynamic energy make clear this is no regular island resort. create an intimate, bohemian, and youthful vibe.
There are four on-site dining options, including the signature OKU restaurant, a poolside bar, a juice bar, and a casual restaurant serving delectable Mediterranean cuisine. If socializing is key then there’s no better place to enjoy a glass of champagne than at one of the two swimming pools while dancing to the hypnotic tunes of the DJ.
Boca Bay, Montenegro
In a heaven-on-earth setting off the Adriatic coastline in Montenegro’s Bay of Kotor is the One&Only Portonovi, the newly-opened resort from the award-winning One&Only hospitality group. Boasting jaw-dropping views and an air of refinement, this exquisite hotel along Montenegro’s riviera is bound to blow anyone away with its sheer beauty. Meticulously designed and elegantly decorated rooms, sleek suites, and panoramic villas with floor-to-ceiling glass walls, private beach, jetty, pool, and garden, blend into the stunning natural locale. The perfect place to while away a morning—or a full day— is on the beach, unwinding and enjoying the good life. Or take to Boca Bay’s calm waters for a boat trip. Further on-land exploration leads to UNESCO-listed parks dotted with castles, chapels, monasteries, and healing springs.
Day to night, beachside Tapasake Bar sets the mood with tantalizing cocktails, whetting the appetite for Japanese-inspired fusion flavors and creative cuisine. To keep the party going, energetic dance sessions inspired by DJs spinning hypnotic music ought to do the trick.
Øyna Cultural Landscape Hotel
Rarely is the comparison of a luxury hotel to a hobbit house a la Lord of the Rings a positive thing. But the Øyna Cultural Landscape Hotel, a sanctuary quite literally tucked away in a hillslope atop central Norway’s town of Inderøy, embraces the compliment.
That’s right: Each of the boutique property’s 18 rooms is integrated into the region’s topography, camouflaged by lush grass roofs. The Norwegian architect team, Green Advisers AS, intended to blur the lines between nature and architecture without compromising luxury and modernity. Melding cabin coziness with the perks of a five-star hotel, each room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies. The radial layout of the property gives every residence a panoramic view of the Trondheimsfjorden and “The Golden Road,” a detour that weaves through striking scenery in the Inderøy municipality. Locals and hotel guests alike enjoy Øyna’s public facilities, including a Viking-inspired banqueting venue, optimal for weddings or conferences. And diners at Litjstua, Øyna’s traditionally built restaurant, relish in sweeping views and local fare, including cured meats and long-cooked deer. Litjstua sources 90% of their produce from 10 surrounding municipalities (and let’s be honest, you can probably spot each of them from your lofty perch!).
Located in the picturesque village of Bernalda set in Italy’s deep southern region of Basilicata, Palazzo Margherita is a lavish 1800s mansion restyled into a boutique hotel by Francis Ford Coppola, whose ancestors hailed from here. With just nine exclusive suites, the stylish decor of hand-painted frescoed ceilings and original marble floors create a dreamy, old-timey vibe. You can chill out at the pool, lush gardens, or internal courtyard while sipping a local liqueur or savoring traditional specialties from the restaurant.
The slow-pace lifestyle of Bernalda is reflected in the laid-back but sophisticated ambiance of the rooms which come with super amenities such as a digital movie collection specializing in Italian cinema and a daily free shuttle to the palazzo’s private beach, just 15 minutes away. The rooms’ balconies overlook the reddish painted roof tiles and stone portals of the historical dwellings that dot the old village district, where time stands still. Palazzo Margherita is ideal for visiting some of Italy’s top spots including UNESCO World Heritage-listed Matera, the seaside town of Maratea, and for exploring the offbeat Ionian Coast.
San Canzian Village and Hotel
Perched on a hilltop overlooking a lush valley in the heart of Istria stands San Canzian Village and Hotel. Surrounded by vineyards and olive trees, this splendid countryside retreat is ideal for relaxation. Its 24 spacious rooms and suites colored in soft earthy tones include cozy sofas and inviting love seats set on traditional rugs. Rustic touches of wood and stone create a warm, homey feel. Breakfast is served in a fragrant herb garden, and dinner features local Istrian dishes created with ingredients straight from the farm, and of course, Istria’s celebrated wine. The hotel even produces (and sells) its own olive oil and dried fig jam. A beautifully decorated “wellness zone” offers pampering and care in candlelight, but first take in the glorious sunset by the pool, where the views are otherworldly.
This history-packed location is a perfect starting point to explore quaint Medieval towns, sleepy fishing villages, and Grožnjan, the “Town of Artists,” where galleries and jazz thrive in equal measure.
White Pebble Suites
On a quiet corner of a quiet island, White Pebble Suites is the relaxing dream escape we’ve all been lusting after since the start of the pandemic. This boutique hotel with only 12 keys opened this past summer—it’s the brainchild of three Australian-Greek women who oversaw the project while stuck in lockdown Down Under. The result is a minimalist wonderland overlooking the ethereal lunar beaches of Milos, in Greece’s Cyclades. Eight of the rooms have private plunge pools and all have spacious lanais, resulting in a hotel so comfortable that it’s nearly impossible to summon the energy to drag yourself away from it. But we encourage you to occasionally leave White Pebble and explore the nearby town of Pollonia, a village with only eight restaurants, that’s one of the best small towns for foodies in all of Europe.
And speaking of food, the breakfast at White Pebble is shockingly outstanding—served every morning on your own balcony, the chef delivers a basket full of deliciousness. It’s a feast of eggs, breads, cheeses, and fruits that’s so beautiful Instagram influencers will faint upon seeing it. Though a small hotel with a tiny staff, the friendly service rivals the world’s finest luxury chains.