A word of advice: Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to searching for the perfect hotel stay. In fact, for those seeking a more intimate, charming ambience with a personal touch, a boutique hotel is the way to go. Whether you’re heading off on a long vacation or sneaking in a short weekend getaway, Europe has a wealth of stylish bijou properties that make for irresistible alternatives to the corporate chain hotels. With that in mind, here are 10 of the most charming boutique hotels in Europe.
1. Borgo Santo Pietro, Siena, Italy
Located in the rolling Tuscan countryside, the Borgo Santo Pietro is spread across a 100-acre property that surrounds a beautifully renovated 13th-century villa. The 16 individually styled rooms and suites here are stunningly elegant, outfitted with antique furniture, rustic wood-beamed ceilings, and heavy crystal chandeliers. While decor is timeless and traditional, amenities are high-tech (think pre-loaded iPads and flat-screen TVs). Other huge draws include the hotel’s sprawling gardens, outdoor infinity pool, and top-notch spa. To top it off, not only do the two restaurants (one of which is Michelin-starred) use ingredients grown on the property, but the spa offers holistic treatments and has its own line of products created on-site using herbs and sheep milk sourced from the property.
2. Boutique Hotel Jardi de ses Bruixes, Mahon, Minorca
Meaning “Garden of the Dandelions,” the Boutique Hotel Jardi de ses Bruixes is set in a traditional Minorcan townhouse on a street in the capital’s quaint Old Town. From its warm and welcoming lounge to the wonderful array of patterned tiling to the secluded orange-tree courtyard, the hotel creates a delightful atmosphere for guests. Combining original architectural details with impeccably tasteful decor, rooms are bright and beautifully finished, and all feature wood-burning stoves for snug winter evenings. A charming vintage cafe also provides a top-notch a la carte menu, and a lookout tower offers 360-degree views over the picturesque Mahon rooftops. A luxe basement spa, which opened in 2017, completes the truly wonderful package.
3. Balcon de Cordoba, Spain
The 10-room Balcon de Cordoba is a romantic boutique hotel in a 17th-century Andalusian house, built around three beautiful courtyards with decorative tiling, an orange tree, and shabby-chic furniture. The property also houses a vast collection of fascinating ancient artifacts, including columns, statues, and fragments of Roman gravestones. The rooftop terrace boasts panoramic views of the city and its famous mosque, while communal areas and rooms feel relaxed and stylish, with memory foam mattresses and blackout shutters for a fantastic night’s sleep.
4. Hotel Particulier Montmartre, Paris, France
Guests must ring a doorbell to be granted access to the private, gated lane where Hotel Particulier Montmarte is located, giving a feel of secluded exclusivity before even setting foot inside the property. A leafy garden with cobblestone steps and tall trees surrounds the beautiful 19th-century building. Visually stunning, the interiors are opulent, with heavy drapes, gilded mirrors, and atmospheric lighting. Le Tres Particulier is the secret cocktail bar, with sumptuous decor and a moody ambience. With only five suites and an intimate atmosphere throughout, this hotel is definitely one for couples seeking a romantic getaway.
5. Son Brull Hotel and Spa, Pollenca, Majorca
Popular with honeymooners, the 23-room Son Brull Hotel and Spa is a luxurious boutique-style property occupying a beautifully restored 18th-century monastery. The impeccably tasteful interiors are modern and stylish, with plenty of room for the historic features to shine through. Parts of the property feel untouched, such as a charming cobbled courtyard, while the teakwood spa is the picture of contemporary minimalism. Plus, the monastery’s original (and enormous) olive press makes a particularly impressive backdrop to the bar. The hotel’s scenic, rural setting is stunning, and its infinity-edge pool provides loungers, daybeds, and gorgeous views. Food is outstanding from breakfast through dinner, and brimming with homegrown produce. Overall, it’s one of the finest -- and inevitably priciest -- luxury retreats in Majorca.
6. The Zetter Townhouse Clerkenwell, London, England
Set within two Georgian townhouses, this 13-room boutique hotel is full of eccentric English charm. The interiors are creative and flamboyant, and the house is designed to give the feel of a private house -- guests greeted in the bar rather than the traditional reception area. The lavish yet cozy cocktail lounge has a delicious and inventive cocktail list, and contemporary twists on British culinary classics. Some rooms are on the small side, but all are individually styled in a gloriously eclectic manner. And though the hotel lacks a restaurant, there are plenty of eateries within walking distance.
7. Pastis Hotel, Saint-Tropez, France
From the outside, the Pastis Hotel is a classic Provençal beauty -- a glorious three-story manor house with wrought-iron balconies and slate-blue shutters. Inside, a savvy celebration of 20th-century design extends from the lobby/lounge with its cheery zinc bar right through to the 10 unique rooms, each boasting its own terrace or balcony and luxe bathroom. There’s also a palm-fringed pool area that oozes St. Tropez chic. All in all, it’s a charming place for a low-key stay on the stunning French Riviera.
8. The Dylan, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Formerly home to a 17th-century theater, this charming 41-room property is centrally located in the Canal Ring and has a mix of high-end contemporary design and period details. A cozy lounge, trendy brassier and bar, and lovely courtyard are all draws, but the real highlight here is the Michelin-starred Vinkeles restaurant, which serves contemporary French cuisine in an exclusive space. Situated in what was a bakery in the 18th century, the restaurant displays exposed brick floors, original bakers ovens, and dark wood-beam ceilings. Rooms range from wood-beamed lofts to modern duplexes in all white. Attracting everyone from business travelers to families to couples, this hotel has retained its historic charm while offering a wealth of state-of-the-art amenities and impeccable design.
9. Teatro Hotel Porto, Portugal
Opened on the former site of the Teatro Baquet, a cultural hub and theater built in 1859 and destroyed by a fire in 1888, the Teatro Hotel Porto honors its legacy. Interiors are highly stylized and theatrical, including spotlight-style lighting, costume cabinets, and a reception desk designed to resemble a theater box office. The hotel has a well-regarded Portuguese restaurant, stylish cocktail bar, and is within easy walking distance of Porto’s old town. And like the common areas, the 74 richly decorated rooms are also dramatic, with wall-size mirrors and curved wooden canopy headboards.
10. The Witchery by the Castle, Edinburgh, Scotland
With its sumptuous Gothic aesthetic, flamboyant sense of drama, and more than a little brooding sensuality, The Witchery by the Castle takes plush splendor to the next level. Built into a 16th-century stone building at the gates of Edinburgh Castle, the hotel houses nine ornately designed suites and two restaurants, including a saloon-style place with red leather seating and red velvet tablecloths as well as the candle-lit Secret Garden restaurant. Overall, it excels in the small touches -- slippers, chocolates, Champagne, and nightly turndown service by an attentive staff.
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