Looking for something a little extra on your next European jaunt? Or just want to take a look at how the other half lives? These luxury hotels all offer the ultimate in accommodation, from former castles and gilded palaces to the ultimate in modern design.
1. La Réserve Paris Hotel and Spa, Paris
Opening its doors in 2015, La Reserve is something of a newcomer to the scene, but has already made its mark in the world of luxury, rated Best Hotel in the World by Conde Nast readers in 2017. Its less grand hotel and more private mansion, set on a quiet tree-lined street in one of the city’s more exclusive areas. Inside are just 40 rooms, adding to the personal touch, all with sumptuous furnishings and lashings of velvet, silk and gilding. Don’t miss a visit to the spa, the cigar room or the emerald green library.
2. Ashford Castle, Ireland
Nothing says living like a king like spending the night in an actual castle. First built in 1228 as the residence of the de Burgo family, this hotel stay is one for lovers of history as well as luxury. The décor is inspired by traditional elegance and opulence, making the most of the castle’s original features. Guest don’t miss out on modern comforts though, with the latest conveniences in every room. Not to mention the hotel’s 32-seat cinema. Surrounding the hotel is an impressive 350-acre estate with options for fishing, horse riding and even falconry.
3. Conservatorium Hotel, Amsterdam
Combining cool with luxury, Amsterdam’s Conservatorium Hotel is more minimalism than excess. Housed in a former bank building just a stone’s throw from the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum, the hotel is a shining example of sleek modern architecture and contemporary interior design. Rooms are simple but elegant, with brush-oak flooring, Japanese style bathtubs and large walk-in showers. The spa gets a big tick for its comprehensive treatment list and 18-metre pool, while the lobby-lounge is considered one of the best in the city.
4. Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal
Not too far from the city of Porto you’ll find the wine growing region known as the Douro Valley. Here, among the generations old-vineyards sits the Six Senses Douro Valley, a 19th century manor house now featuring 57 hotel rooms. The rooms themselves are contemporary chic, with the best offering views of the Douro River and surrounding vineyards. It goes without saying it’s an ideal stay for oenophiles, with a wine library on site and wine tours on offer. The area itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so the hotel is also dedicated to carbon reduction and environmentally friendly policies.
5. The Lanesborough, London
Unabashedly traditional in style, the Lanesborough is the epitome of Regency luxury and classic British charm. Situated close to Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace, it’s easy to feel like royalty with a stay here. The high-ceilinged, heavily gilded rooms all come with a butler on demand, and feature cleverly hidden modern conveniences, such as televisions hidden behind faux oil paintings. The hidden gem however is the food, with Michelin-starred restaurant Celeste serving up the very best of gourmet British fare.
6. Mardan Palace, Turkey
Unlike some of the more restrained hotels on this list, Mardan Palace goes all out in terms of obvious luxury. Built in 2009 for a whopping $1.65 billion, this palace oozes lavish at every turn. Each room has a view of the pool or Taurus Mountains, and comes equipped with amenities from Hermes. The hotel is situated on the shores of the Turkish Riviera and includes a private beach area as well as one of the largest outdoor pools in Europe – five acres of lagoon that extend out to the beach.
7. Britannia Hotel, Norway
Located just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, this Norwegian gem is widely recognized as the world’s most northerly palace hotel. Reopening in 2019 after a $160 million renovation, the Britannia Hotel is now even more luxurious than before. The top room is the new Tower Suite, a one-bedroom extravagance with separate living and dining areas, a fireplace, baby grand piano and access via a private elevator. Also part of the new offerings is the renovated spa, featuring mineral pool, heated lap pools, Nordic saunas and an infrared cabin.
8. Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Italy
Surrounded by holiday residences of the rich and famous – think Madonna and George Clooney – the Grand Hotel Tremezzo is beautifully located on the shores of Lake Como. The area has long been associated with old-world glamour, and this hotel is no exception. The hotel retains its original turn-of-the-century style with design features such as bow windows, marble bathrooms and antique furniture. The grounds of the hotel are just as impressive, with a manicured par, waterside bars and a private beach area.
9. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest
Part of this stunning hotel’s appeal is the location with a prime view of the city’s famous Chain Bridge that crosses the River Danube. It’s not only convenient for seeing the sights the city has to offer, but incredibly romantic too. Inside and out the hotel sets something of a benchmark for luxury. The Art Nouveau façade features palatial arches, columns and statues, while inside the period stained glass and chandeliers have been returned to their former glory.
10. Amanzoe in Porti Helli, Greece
If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in your own private villa, and that’s what you’ll find here at this exclusive resort. Set on a hill among the vineyards and olive groves, with a view of the Aegean Sea, Amanzoe’s location is just one of its many drawcards. Each generous villa here has a contemporary interior of marble, stone and wood, but more importantly, its own private garden area, terrace and private pool. The focus here is on health and wellbeing, so don’t skip a trip to the well-stocked spa.