Indulge in the epitome of luxury and charm at these grand European hotels - your ultimate summer escapes.
Nothing transports you from the plodding familiarity of daily life like a stay in one of Europe’s grand hotels. Set apart by their history, architecture and lavish interiors, these iconic hotels – built in most cases over 100 years ago – offer a luxurious base from which to explore Europe’s most romantic cities. Like the monarchs, world leaders and Hollywood film stars that have gone before, you can revel in impeccable service and unparalleled glamour at our pick of the five best.
Surrounded by the sparkling Alpine streams and pine-scented air of the Engadin Valley, Badrutt’s Palace in St Moritz isn’t just a winter destination. Although famed for its skiing, St Mortiz has just as much to offer in the summer: high-end shopping, of course, and a host of outdoor activities including paragliding and horse riding, as well as a glittering social scene. Badrutt’s could hardly be better positioned to take advantage of all three. It’s entrance stands directly opposite Gucci and Louis Vuitton on the famous Via Serlas, and its Gothic windows offer breath-taking views across the valley and Lake St Mortiz. As a result, the hotel has attracted a wealthy international clientele since 1896 – including Alfred Hitchcock, who was a regular visitor to Suite 501 for decades.
It’s hard to outmatch Hotel Sacher’s previous guests – counting, as they do, JFK, Queen Elizabeth II and John Lennon among them. Indeed, this paragon of refined Viennese luxury has hosted countless authors, singers and leaders since it opened in 1876, and continues to draw a discerning crowd to its stately rooms. However it is perhaps most famous for its association with the Sacher-Torte: a traditional Viennese chocolate cake invented by the father of the hotel’s founder, Eduard Sacher. Every year thousands of sweet-toothed fans queue to sample it at the hotel’s cafés. As a resident, you can expect a mini version in your room on arrival.
Berlin, famously, has no closing time. It’s the city of hip clubs, chic bars and live music. And though it hosts 24-hour party people from all walks of life, the wealthy ones are most likely to stay at the Hotel Adlon Kempinksi, a glamorous landmark facing the Brandenburg Gate. And that has been the case since 1907 when it opened: it was in a lift at the Adlon that Greta Garbo bumped into MGM’s Louis B Mayer and launched her film career in America. Today, guests can enjoy the two-Michelin-starred Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer restaurant, a limousine service and mobile phones rather than landlines in the rooms. Because even party people need to recharge occasionally.
At the more boutique end of the scale – but still grand in terms of reputation and celebrity following – is the Philippe Starck-designed Palazzina Grassi. Tucked behind a 16th century façade, the ultra-modern Krug-stocked suites offer unmatched views over the Grand Canal or the rooftops of Venice. The hotel makes a fabulous base for experiencing the city, whether by gondola, island-hopping in the Venetian lagoon or on a private guided night-time walk through the more mysterious quarters. After dark the hotel’s restaurant becomes ‘The Club’ – an invite-only VIP venue for the jet set.
From Hong Kong to New York, Paris to Bangkok, the world’s most glamorous cities boast outposts from the esteemed The Peninsula hotel brand. Now, there is a shiny, new opening to add to the portfolio, right in the heart of London.
In an illuminating tête-à-tête, we delve into the world of the renowned Martinhal Luxury Family Hotels & Resorts, exploring their celebrated establishments, the essence of community living at The Residences, and the pivotal role of kinship within the enterprise.
As you approach the majestic Grand Hotel Kronenhof, you could be mistaken for entering the set of The Grand Budapest Hotel. It's a 5-star superior hotel that delivers on the wow factor even from a distance.
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