Hotel fans, take out your bucket lists (which should always be kept in pockets): you're going to need them. We’re about to elevate (the sometimes mundane) spending of the night in a hotel into a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which is kind of a big deal. Europe is undoubtedly home to some of the world's finest hotels, but those we’re highlighting here are in a class of their own. We're talking iconic character and charm, with such a high level of exclusivity, even Jay and Beyoncé would be lucky to get a room in such a spot on short notice. From hosting legendary celebrity weddings to offering the cover for secret wartime meetings, these eight luxurious European hotels should definitely make your bucket list.
Used as the Nazi headquarters during the German
occupation of Paris, it was from a suite in Le Meurice that the German governor
Dietrich Von Choltitz took the call from Hitler to destroy the city before they
fled. Thankfully Choltitz was convinced by a Swedish diplomat to disobey the
order, leaving Le Meurice and the rest of Paris standing. Decorated in classic
Louis XVI decor throughout, the hotel hasn’t changed much through its 200-year
history. Its spacious period rooms are decorated with luxurious
fabrics, with grand marble bathrooms attached; they all come at a handsome price.
If it’s good enough for Her Royal Highness the Duchess
of Cambridge — AKA Kate Middleton — to stay in on the night before her wedding,
The Goring is good enough to add to your list of dream hotel stays. Fit for a
princess, the exceptional London hotel oozes Royal pedigree with classic English-style
rooms. It also has prime proximity to Buckingham Palace and five-star luxury throughout.
When it’s time to get your regal, old-timey European
glamour on, why would you go anywhere else but Baur au Lac, a grand dame set
amongst beautiful gardens on the banks of Lake Zurich? During its 170-year
history, the hotel has hosted famous faces from Henry Kissinger to Ghandi, and in
1856 it provided the setting for the debut performance of the first act of
Wagner’s Valkyrie opera. The hotel features some of the highest room rates in Zurich, one of Europe’s most expensive
cities, but you can take solace in the bonus of free minibar goodies in all of Baur au
Lac’s elegant guest rooms.
Taking time out during World War II, President
Eisenhower and Winston Churchill held secret war meetings at the Punta Tragera
hotel, perched on top of a cliff just outside Capri town. After discussing the
allied efforts, they more than likely did not take a dip in the inviting azure
water of the Tyrrhenian Sea below — but you can. Set in tropical gardens, this
private, rustic hotel offers stylish villas with sea views in one of the
island’s most peaceful locations.
After Justin’s love affair with Britney, followed by
Cameron Diaz, it was at the hotel Borgo Egnazia in Puglia that Mr. Timberlake
committed in matrimony to Jessica Biel. Featuring cream-colored stone walls, chic,
stylish rooms, plus a gorgeous private beach, golf course, spa and, fabulous on-site
seafood restaurant, the luxury complex is a celebrity haven and the perfect
place to drop $6.5 million on your fairytale wedding, just like J&J. The good
news is rooms don’t cost quite as much as an A-list wedding.
Located on the banks of the River Thames, The Royal
Horseguards features stunning high ceilings, ornate sculpting, and exceptional
craftsmanship throughout its beautiful five-pearl interior. And it has a rich history
equal to its good looks. Used as a base for British Secret Service during the
First World War and home to the Ministry of Defense during World War II, here secret
tunnels run from the hotel to the Houses of Parliament, used to ferry ministers
back and forth between the war cabinet. Based on the design of a French
Chateau, the luxury hotel is an iconic choice in London.
Embracing a contemporary design, Barcelona’sMandarin
Oriental takes luxury in a different direction from most on this list. Rooms are
stylish and minimal, the spa is beautiful, private terraces offer stunning city views from
decks covered in shrubbery, and some of the city’s best cuisine can be found in
Catalan chef Carme Ruscalleda’s in-house Michelin-starred restaurant, Moments.
If you’re looking for inspiration for that novel
you’re working on, look to Rome’s iconic Hotel d’Inghilterra. A writer’s haven,
the hotel has attracted the likes of John Keats, Ernest Hemingway, Lord Byron,
Percy Shelley, and Mark Twain to its stunning location beside the Spanish Steps.
Rooms are richly decorated and the romantic property has a charming Old World
atmosphere. Take to the rooftop garden with paper and pen and enjoy the views that
might inspire a masterpiece.
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