Some of the most enticing properties in Europe are just a few hours from our doorstep, making a long weekend on the continent an oh-so tempting prospect.
With forthcoming Bank Holidays affording the perfect excuse for a short-haul getaway, we’ve taken the liberty of cherry-picking some of the finest European locations for a luxurious stay.
Forestis, The Dolomites
A serene retreat surrounded by nature, Forestis’ luxury is in its simplicity and solitude. With architecture inspired by the elements, the property is perched amid fragrant forests of pine, delivering uninterrupted views of the Dolomites.
The healing power of nature is a key focus throughout – its spa and wellness offering includes experiences such as Wyda, a form of Celtic yoga, and millennia-old meditation practices, in addition to forest bathing, wild swimming, Alpine hiking, and stargazing. Cuisine, from Executive Chef Roland Lamprecht, embraces the principles of variety, naturalness, and authenticity, with local ingredients used to blend established traditions with creative modern cooking. From this mountain retreat you will undoubtedly leave healed, revived, and ready to face the world.
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Hotel Aristide, Syros
Seeking a softer side to the Cyclades? Try Syros, a great alternative to the show-stopping Santorini and Mykonos. The isle is home to boutique Hotel Aristide, a property which has been developed with sustainability in mind – though does not compromise on luxury. Reopening for its second season after a soft opening during lockdown last year, 2022 brings a new rooftop restaurant, three plunge pool suites, and an environmental regeneration programme.
With artistic leanings the hotel’s walls are flanked with art – the permanent collection includes works by artists such as Christy Lee Rogers, Igor Skaletsky, and Riccardo Vecchio –, whilst a residency programme offers accommodation in the hotel and exclusive use of the workshop for visual artists. Upcoming artists in residence include: Swedish figurative painter Simon Dahlgen Stråat, Romanian travel, fashion, and lifestyle photographer Lavinia Carnau, and French artist and designer Arthur Vallin, each of whom will be offering weekly workshops to guests.
Le Sirenuse, The Amalfi Coast
It would be remiss of us to create such a list without including at least one hotel on the Amalfi Coast. With its dramatic coastline, private coves, and sea of uniform striped umbrellas, reminiscent of something out of The Talented Mr Ripley, it’s always an irresistible choice. Nowhere more so than Le Sirenuse. Hotel rooms are painted in a soothing, crisp white to reflect the luminous light of the Mediterranean and accommodations come complete with private terraces to take in that spectacular view. Every detail is elegant, from the antique furniture and artworks, to the Suzani rugs; it’s an homage to Italian charm.
Whilst you could easily while away your time by the bougainvillea- and lemon-fringed pool, your stay’s complimentary additions, including wine tastings, cocktail lessons, Pilates workouts, and boat excursions around that iconic coastline, make for a more varied break; there’s always time to relax with a sundowner at one of the hotel’s bars at the day’s end.
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap D’Antibes
The jewel in the French Riviera’s crown for 152 years (and counting), Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc has played host to many famous guests, from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Pablo Picasso to Elizabeth Taylor and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. An icon the world over, its awe-inspiring saltwater swimming pool is a must visit for those wanting to truly experience the Riviera high life. Accommodation includes both rooms and suites, alongside the new star of its private offering: Villa Sainte-Anne. Purchased by the hotel in 2019 and extensively refurbished, the villa was originally built in the early 20th century as a private home. With over 22,000 square foot of cascading gardens concealing a private pool and a terrace boasting spectacular views across the bay of Juan-les-Pins, the property is sure to become a firm favourite of guests.
Cotton House Hotel, Barcelona
Cotton House Hotel is located at the former headquarters of the Cotton Textile Foundation, Fundaçion Textile Algondera. Opening in 2015, the hotel is an homage to the history of this Neoclassical landmark. Rooms are inspired by cotton – extending from the furnishings to the chromatic colour palette of the cotton plant and all it evokes; softness, comfort, delicacy, and naturalness. The cosmopolitan Batuar cocktail bar and restaurant serves delicious dishes, like Galician wild turbot, Segovian suckling pig terrine, and wild sea bass with plankton pil pil, whilst a well-stocked library and rooftop outdoor pool ensure maximum relaxation. The hotel even has a long stay option for those who really can’t bare to depart.
The Rooster, Antiparos
Created as a wellness and lifestyle resort that embraces slow living, The Rooster is somewhere that really resonates with the modern conscious traveller. A holistic and mindful escape, The Rooster epitomises privacy and tranquility, with just 17 individual suites, villas, and houses – each offering private gardens and stunning views of the Aegean Sea.
Rooms have no televisions, unless requested, encouraging guests to engage in a digital detox – the perfect excuse to check out and unwind. For added zen, guests can enjoy custom-made treatments using pure organic products, and also partake in specially guided rituals which draw on traditional ancestral and ancient medicine – these include sound healing, sacred gong bath ceremonies, and a Greek ceremony of fire and celebration of the elements.
Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, Interlaken
The Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa really is the Grand Dame of Swiss luxury hotels. For unrivalled views of the glorious Bernese Oberland and crisp Alpine air, there is simply nowhere finer.
It’s no surprise the hotel’s 5500m² spa is considered one of the finest in Switzerland – with an indoor pool, an outdoor brine pool with views of the Harder, whirlpool baths, a sauna area, a gym, and a menu of treatments by NESCENS and Sensai, it’s perfectly possible to spend the entirety of your visit in the spa. Still, with the wonder of the Alps on your doorstep, it’s the ideal location for making the most of outdoor activities – the postcard-perfect resort of Grindelwald a mere 20km away.
Belmond Splendido, Portofino
The Belmond Splendido Portofino is the embodiment of la dolce vita. Sitting above the Gulf of Portofino, this beautifully restored 16th-century monastery boasts an award-winning spa, unrivalled cuisine, and a shimmering pool looking out over the ocean. What more could you ask for?
With guest experiences including hikes of the local Cinque Terre villages, boat excursions to the picture-perfect fishing village of Portovenere, trips on a traditional wooden gozzo boat, pizza and pesto-making masterclasses at neighbouring property Splendido Mare, and a visit to a self-sufficient local eco-farm, the hotel places focus on experiencing the very best this delicious slice of northern Italy has to offer.