20 of Europe’s most beautiful hotels
(CNN) — With so many iconic cities and diverse landscapes, beautiful hotels in Europe are commonplace. But some are, quite simply, more beautiful than others.
1. Monastero Santa Rosa (Amalfi Coast, Italy)
Everything from its original wooden doors to the long, arched corridors have been kept intact and beautifully restored. Its 20 suites have high, vaulted ceilings, Jerusalem stone floors and 17th-century furnishings handpicked by owner Bianca Sharma.
The piece de resistance: a heated infinity pool on the edge of a cliff, 660 feet above the ocean.
2. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet (Istanbul)
Built in 1918, this buttercup-yellow hotel is so unabashedly opulent you’d never guess it was Istanbul’s first prison.In fact, the neoclassical property is built completely around what was formerly an exercise yard for inmates — now a landscaped courtyard.
Its 65 rooms are individually decorated with opulent furnishings, handwoven kilim rugs and original Turkish artwork. It’s located in the heart of the Old City, steps away from the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.
3. Mystique (Santorini, Greece)
Pool with a panorama: Santorini’s Mystique.
The airy, free-form rooms are carved directly into the cliff and feature private, ocean-facing terraces. The highlight of the property is its pool bar, Aura, which serves up cocktails to match the showstopping sunsets.
4. The Peninsula Paris (Paris)
The building’s sculpted stone facade — covered in intricate bas-reliefs — was meticulously restored to its former neoclassical splendor. Inside are similarly restored marble, gilt work and 19th-century mosaics, which complement the hotel’s modern artwork and fixtures.
There are 200 bright, spacious rooms, a 19,000-square-foot spa and a sleek indoor swimming pool. But what everyone’s really here for is the rooftop restaurant, L’Oiseau Blanc, with its sweeping 360-degree views over the entire city.
5. Cliveden House (Berkshire, England)
Though it’s just an hour’s drive from London, Cliveden House feels worlds away, flanked by acres of thick woodland and rolling countryside. Built in the 1850s in a blend of English Palladian and Roman Cinquecento architectural styles, it looks and feels more like a grand private home than a hotel.
There are just 38 rooms and suites, each named after a figure from the house’s past — Henry James, Lady Astor, The Prince of Wales — and individually furnished to match. Outside, there’s a historic maze, a heated pool within a walled garden and a magnificent 17th-century parterre formal garden.
6. Ashford Castle (Cong, Ireland)
Luxury lounging: Ashford Castle.
Courtesy Ashford Castle
Reopened in March 2015 after a year-long renovation, Ireland’s oldest castle — built in 1228 — also doubles as one of its most beautiful and beloved hotels.
It’s unsurprisingly grandiose, decked out in Connemara marble and adorned with brocade silk, crystal chandeliers and antiques. Its 82 rooms are individually furnished, though most have four-poster beds, fireplaces and claw-foot tubs. Though the castle is a destination in and of itself, it’s also conveniently located on the picturesque shores of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s second largest lake.
7. Four Seasons Hotel Firenze (Florence, Italy)
The Four Seasons in Florence feels more like a sprawling Tuscan country estate than a hotel in the heart of a bustling metropolis.For starters, it’s built within Giardino della Gherardesca — Florence’s largest private garden, spanning 11 acres.
The hotel consists of two separate Renaissance palazzi: the 15th-century Palazzo della Gherardesca and 16th-century La Villa (a former convent). Between the two, there are 116 rooms and suites, most of which feature original frescoes, bas-reliefs and stuccoes. The Della Gherardesca Royal Suite spans 25,000 square feet and has original 18th-century majolica floors by artist Ignazio Chiaiese.
8. Bela Vista Hotel & Spa (Algarve, Portugal)
Located on the pristine beachfront at Praia da Rocha, Bela Vista was the first hotel to open on the Algarve, back in 1934. Though it’s since been joined by dozens of other high-end lodgings, its eclectic charm and intimate boutique feel keeps it above the rest.
The hotel’s original decor — painted wooden ceilings and colorful wall mosaics — has been kept intact through a recent refurbishment that’s outfitted the property with modern updates and chic, bold furnishings. The highlight of the hotel is without doubt its outdoor freshwater pool, which is flanked by palm trees and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.
9. Hotel d’Angleterre Geneva (Geneva)
Situated on the banks of Lake Geneva facing the Jet d’Eau fountain, this family-run hotel is a landmark in its own right. It’s been around since 1872, and is considered Geneva’s ultimate grande dame hotel thanks to its Old World elegance and A-list clientele.
Behind its stately facade are 45 rooms decorated with antiques, rich fabrics and original artwork. Its aptly named signature restaurant, Windows, features floor-to-ceiling panes of glass and overlooks Lake Geneva.
10. Trianon Palace Versailles (Versailles, France)
Set in an ornate Belle Epoque-style building built in 1909, Trianon Palace is impressive from the outset. It’s flanked by manicured gardens and situated inside a three-acre wooded park, just 30 minutes from Paris. But it’s more than just a pretty face.
Inside are 199 plush rooms outfitted with fireplaces and terraces, as well as a two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Gordon Ramsay au Trianon. The best part?
Trianon Palace is built right on the doorstep of the Versailles gardens and within walking distance of the Palace of Versailles.
11. Schloss Fuschl (Fuschlsee-Salzburg, Austria)
Lakeside leisure: Schloss Fuschl.
Courtesy Schloss Fuschl
Set in a 15th-century hunting lodge on the densely wooded peninsula of an alpine lake, Schloss Fuschl comes complete with fairy tale vibe. The romantic resort has 110 rooms and suites, including six lakeside cottages perched on the lake shore, each with its own private sauna, terrace and fireplace.
Much like the resort itself, decor is grand yet intimate. There are Renaissance-inspired antiques paired with comfy armchairs and wood-burning fireplaces. Close by is Lake Fuschl, where the resort’s private jetty provides the launch point for a wooden boat ride or swim.
12. Blue Palace (Crete, Greece)
The striking simplicity of this low-rise, whitewashed resort proves that beauty doesn’t necessarily equal opulence. Its 256 rooms are bright, minimalist and bohemian, allowing luxe touches like the ocean-facing terraces and private plunge pools to shine.
Clay roof tiles, wooden shutters and pebble mosaics add to the property’s low-key charm, while palms and olive-tree-filled gardens help it blend into the wild landscape. From the main pool, guests can enjoy breathtaking views over the Cretan Sea and the island of Spinalonga.
13. Schloss Elmau Retreat (Elmau, Germany)
It’s hard to get more secluded than this: Schloss Elmau is placed inside a green valley at the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, flanked on all sides by thick forest.
In fact, it was founded in 1916 by philosopher Johannes Mueller as a sanctuary for artists and creatives looking to escape the “outside world.”
Comprising two separate hotels, aptly named Hideaway and Retreat, the resort is grand yet cozy, thanks to thoughtful, globally curated decor — carpets from Iran, linen from India, tables from Indonesia — and a warm, inviting color palette. In winter, the entire resort transforms into a snowy wonderland.
14. Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace (Budapest)
With its two-million-piece mosaic tiled floor, 19th-century stained glass roof panels and intricate ironwork, the Four Seasons in Budapest is an art nouveau masterpiece. The lobby is a work of art in and of itself, with its Moorish glass-domed ceiling and dazzling spiked-glass chandelier.
Rooms are spacious and luxe with vaulted ceilings and marble bathrooms; many are outfitted with private balconies overlooking the Danube or Buda Castle. It sits at the base of the Chain Bridge, within easy walking distance of the Castle District on the opposite side of the river.
15. Le Sirenuse, Positano (Amalfi Coast, Italy)
When it comes to Amalfi Coast hotels, Le Sirenuse’s iconic status is well deserved. Everything about it is legendary, from its illustrious guests to its swimming pool overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Its 60 majolica-tiled rooms are thoughtfully decorated with handpicked antiques and feature vaulted ceilings, French doors and private terraces. The hotel’s alfresco bar, Franco’s, is a new addition to the grande dame hotel with its quirky decor and unmatched coastal views.
16. Belmond La Residencia (Mallorca, Spain)
Mallorca’s Belmond La Residencia: Mediterranean magic.
Courtesy Belmond Las Residencia
In the foothills of the Serra de Tramuntana on Mallorca’s beautiful northwest coast, La Residencia is perfectly situated between the mountains and the Mediterranean. Made up of several 16th-century farmhouses sprawled across the hillside, the hotel’s local stonework and cantilevered gardens blend seamlessly into the mountainous landscape.
Inside, dark wood furniture and wood-beam ceilings offset the whitewashed walls and understated natural tones. Its 67 rooms are decorated in traditional Mallorcan style with terracotta tile floors and canopied, hand-carved beds.
Highlights of the property include its sculpture garden — a nod to the area’s artistic heritage — and its two freshwater swimming pools.
17. Villa Gallici (Aix-en-Provence, France)
Situated in a dense cypress tree forest just north of the Old Town, this 18th-century Provencal villa is the ultimate French countryside escape. Its 22 rooms are decorated with antiques, four-poster beds, rich tapestries and hand-painted Chinoiserie wallpaper.
Common areas are similarly lavish, blending old-world Provencal opulence with French Colonial elements. Outside is a leafy seven-acre garden centered around a beautiful swimming pool where guests do dinner and cocktails.
18. Mandarin Oriental Prague (Prague)
In the quiet, cobblestoned Mala Strana district, this Gothic-Baroque beauty feels like an urban oasis hidden in plain sight.
A 14th-century monastery, the hotel blends original architectural features with contemporary touches. Its 99 rooms feature vaulted ceilings, parquet floors and views of either the old monastery courtyard or Prague Castle. The highlight of the hotel is its two-level spa, which is housed in a former chapel and showcases the remains of its 14th-century foundations beneath the glass floors of the lobby.
19. Gravetye Manor (Sussex, England)
Built in 1598, this stately Elizabethan manor was the former home of pioneering gardener William Robinson, considered the father of the English natural garden.
So it comes as no surprise that Gravetye Manor is bordered by the most enchanting and colorful wild gardens in Sussex, created by Robinson himself. There’s lots to admire inside, too, from the 16th-century art to the grand fireplaces that burn in the sitting rooms. Throw in a wood-paneled, Michelin-starred restaurant and sweeping countryside views, and you’ve got the perfect English countryside retreat.
20. Hotel Savoy (Florence, Italy)
Located steps from the Duomo and overlooking lively Piazza della Repubblica, the Hotel Savoy occupies the best address in the city.
Its aristocratic, 19th-century facade belies its whimsical modern interiors — a pleasant surprise in a city dominated by posh Renaissance-era hotels.
Its 102 rooms are brightly decorated with fashion-inspired art by local artists and bookshelves stuffed with literary classics. Many have small balconies overlooking the piazza. The hotel’s sixth-floor gym has excellent views of the Duomo and Campanile.
Krisanne Fordham has written for Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s Travel, Departures and Travel + Leisure. She grew up in Sydney and now splits time between Umbria, Italy and New York.
News credit : Cnn