My 20 Favorite European Hotel Rooms {thus far}

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From leahtravels.com, by Leah Walker
My 20 Favorite European Hotel Rooms {thus far}

Since I started this site in the fall of 2011, I’ve traveled to many incredible places and am slowly marking items off my 100+ item to do list. Throughout this time, I’ve fallen in love with hotels. In fact, this has become one of my favorite aspects of travel. It’s not just the perfectly made beds and the fluffy white robes that make me swoon. I really love discovering concepts, amenities, and design.

In 2014 alone, I slept in 55 different hotels, and I’d estimate that I’ve stayed in approximately 150 hotels since launching this site. If you count the hotels I’ve toured or experienced the spa, bar, or restaurant, the number is probably around 300+. Having set my eyes on so many hotels and resorts, you’d think that they would all be a blur. That isn’t the case, although some stand out more than others.

Leah Travels_Cognac France

Recently, I made a list of accommodations that are particularly memorable, which turned out to be quite lengthy. Rather than a 3,000+ word post, I decided to break the list down into categories: Europe, The Americas, and Asia/Africa/Middle East. Thus in no particular order, here are 20 of my favorite European hotel rooms {thus far}:

Le Clos des Roses

 

Le Clos des Roses1_Leah Walker 1

Le Clos des Roses2_Leah Walker

Possibly my favorite region of France, the light in Provence is indescribable. I will never forget watching the sunrise over the vineyards at Le Clos des Roses. The vines were awash with warm reds, gold, and oranges of fall. The view outside perfectly completed the ambiance of my Elegance Room. The French-country vibe is exactly what I hoped this inn found in the Provençal vines would be.

Fréjus, France

Visited: October 2016

Website

Le Fer à Cheval

 Le Fer Cheval_Leah Walker

Imagine what a hotel in the French Alps might look like and Le Fer à Cheval will probably come to mind. The 53-room, five-star hotel in the village of Megève set my heart aflutter. What I loved about my room, besides the electric skylight shades and four-foot tall bedside lamps, was the floor-to-ceiling faux fur rug that hung behind the bed.

Megève, France

Visited: July 2014

Website

Les Chalets de Philippe

 

Les Chalets de Philippe4_Leah Walker

Les Chalets de Philippe3_Leah Walker

I do love to experience something different when traveling and Les Chalets de Philippe is just that. Philippe has been collecting mountain chalets for years, along with antiques, to create his little French village in the shadows of Mont Blanc. It’s kind of like Hobbiton, but French and luxurious. I stayed in Chalet Les Trolles, a two-bedroom, two-story chalet where Kylie Minogue once laid her head. A breakfast spread that put Martha Stewart to shame magically appeared on my dining room table, and a meal in the 17th century dining room was only surpassed by the deliciousness of the food. I would welcome a trip back to see Philippe and his magical chalets in a heartbeat.

Chamonix, France

Visited: July 2014

Website

Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s

 

Fouquets Paris_Leah Walker

The red awnings on the corner of the Champs-Élysées and George V are legendary, but many people don’t realize that there’s a hotel attached to the famous restaurant. Hôtel Barrière Le Fouquet’s was designed by Jacques Garcia and is dripping with French glamour. Three things stand out to me about this hotel: each room, regardless of level, comes with a butler; the room is customized according to a personal preference questionnaire answered prior to arrival; and contents of the mini bar are included in the price of the room. It’s the little things, people.

Paris, France

Visited: January 2014 and October 2014

Website

Margaux Apartment

 

Paris Perfect2_Leah Walker

Paris Perfect1_Leah Walker

Well, not a hotel, but rather an apartment makes my list. However, this isn’t just any apartment. This three-bedroom beauty sits on the top floor of a building in the 7th arrondissement. With a terrace that essentially wraps around the entire flat, the view of Les Invalides is lovely, but it’s Madame Eiffel that’s the real star. She’s practically sitting in the master bedroom. Beyond my obsession with the Iron Lady, I covet the idea of living in the 1,210 square-foot Margaux apartment forever. Maybe the Eiffel Tower’s twinkling lights cast a spell, but I seriously thought I’d have to be forcibly removed from the premises.

Paris, France

Visited: December 2015

Website

Hôtel Maison Souquet

 

Maison Souquet_Leah Walker

I’ve written about Maison Souquet on numerous occasions because it’s a place in Paris that is really special. I love a place with a story, and this spot located seconds from the Moulin Rouge has a good one: it used to be a brothel…and a school for girls. Designer, Jacques Garcia, kept true to his signature style and an 18th century pleasure house. Although my room’s design and comfort are a huge improvement over its past life, allowing my imagination to run wild just added to its appeal.

Paris, France

Visited: July 2015

Website

L’Home du Monde

 

Home du Monde_Leah Walker

Believe it or not, L’Home du Monde was my first ever stay in a bed and breakfast. This little spot in Normandy set the bar high for others. The owner, a former science teacher, did the remodeling and his wife the décor. Each room has a different theme, but the common areas of the home are a testament to their extensive travels throughout Asia. It’s difficult to say whether I enjoyed the hospitality or food more.

Bretteville-l’Orgueilleuse, France

Visited: October 2014

Website

Mont Cervin Palace

 

Mount Cervin Palace

When getting off the train in the car-free village of Zermatt, the horse and carriage of Mont Cervin Palace is waiting to whisk you to the hotel. If that’s not a great first impression, then I don’t know what is. Oh, there’s also this little mountain called the Matterhorn that greets guests to this storybook Swiss town. What I love about Mont Cervin Palace is that it’s definitely a mountain hotel, but there’s just the right amount of Alpine kitsch. My classic junior suite was modern and stylish without the cliché décor. Think wool, flannel, and faux fur fabrics with black and white vintage photos from Zermatt.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Visited: July 2014

Website

Carlton Hotel

 

Carlton Hotel_Leah Walker

Carlton Hotel1_Leah Walker

Possibly one of the most glamorous places in the world, St. Moritz has no shortage of luxury and the Carlton Hotel is at the top of the heap. It reminds me of the property in The Grand Budapest Hotel. This classic, historical hotel also has a bit of quirkiness and plenty of color. My massive salmon-colored suite had every modern convenience, including electronic drapes that opened to reveal views over the frozen Lake St. Moritz and snow-covered Swiss Alps. I’ll never forget the Blue Hour as seen from the Carlton.

St. Moritz, Switzerland

Visited: February 2014

Website

Four Seasons Geneva

 

Four Seasons Geneva_Leah Walker

Having visited and lived in Europe much of the last four years, I’ve come to really appreciate Switzerland. Besides the chocolate and cheese, things just work there. It’s a kind of utopia, so it comes as no surprise that the Four Seasons Geneva is the personification of Swiss excellence. The meticulous restoration of this hotel is seen from floor to ceiling, and my Lalique-blue, toile-covered suite made me feel like a precious gem sleeping in a lavish jewelry box.

Geneva, Switzerland

Visited: July 2014

Website

Four Seasons Florence

 

Four Seasons Florence1_Leah Walker

Four Seasons Florence2_Leah Walker.

Four Seasons Florence is ridiculous in the very best way. It’s everything that I love about Italy: nude marble statues, frescoes, and ornate chandeliers. The art found throughout the hotel warrants its own coffee table book {and one exists!}. What I loved most about my room, other than the view of the perfectly manicured garden, was the marble drenched bathroom. Bella!

Florence, Italy

Visited: October 2014

Website

The Old Mill

 

Old Mill Tuscany1 Leah Walker

Old Mill Tuscany2 Leah Walker

Not a hotel, but this villa on ten Tuscan acres is a dream, as are the owners, Lido and Giovanna. Dubbed “The Old Mill,” the 3,200-square foot villa is a thousand-year old mill that has been transformed to a luxury retreat near Florence. The extensive grounds beg to be walked and the river running through the property, along with the church bells of Bacchereto, provide the perfect soundtrack. The house and its outdoor living spaces are the things of Tuscan dreams.

Tuscany, Italy

Visited: October 2014

Website

Hotel Santavenere

 Hotel Santavenere1_Leah Walker 1

Southern Italy and its Tyrrhenian coast is a place I would have never discovered without my friend, Jennifer from Luxe Adventure Traveler. She invited me on a week long road trip literally around Italy. We stayed three nights in Hotel Santavenere, which turned out to be entirely too short. The unexpected 1950s suite décor, along with the private garden overlooking Santavenere Bay and view of the Cristo Redentore statue, made this room stand out in my mind. And don’t get me started on the spa. You’ll just have to check out their Website.

Maratea, Italy

Visited: July 2015

Website

Palais Hansen Kempinski

 Palais Hansen Kempinski_Leah Walker

I’m not going to even pretend that my suite at Palais Hansen Kempinski didn’t blow me away. I can’t exactly put a finger on why, but perhaps it’s the mix of a historical Viennese building with a super-stylish and techie design. It’s getting more and more common, but an iPad in the room controls everything from the TV to the temperature. Need room or laundry service? It’s at your fingertips. I loved this room, and even name it as one of my favorite city hotels in my FAQs.

Vienna, Austria

Visited: March 2014

Website

Arlberg Hospiz Hotel

 

Arlberg Hospiz Hotel1

Arlberg Hospiz Hotel2

As you’ve probably noticed, I love a hotel with an interesting history. Located in the tiny village of St. Christoph, in the legendary ski country of Austria, is the five-star Hospiz Hotel. Dating to 1386, a man named Heinrich built the hospice on the Arlberg after seeing so many people freeze to death crossing the Arlberg. The Werner family bought and started renovating the property in 1955. Just thinking about my time in the Hospiz brings a big smile to my face. Tyrolean hospitality and traditional Austrian Alpine décor make the Hospiz truly special. As a wine lover, I was in heaven in the 600-year old Brotherhood’s wine cellar and was giddy to see Adi Werner’s collection of big bottle Bordeaux and Burgundy wines in the Hospiz Alm cellar. It’s the world’s largest collection of its kind. Honestly, I could have slept in a closet and still loved this hotel. Fortunately, my room was just as lovely as the rest of the property.

St. Christoph, Austria

Visited: February 2014

Website

Hotel Julien

 

Hotel Julien_Leah Walker

Two 16th century buildings located in the historic center of Antwerp were combined to create Hotel Julien. Stylish, quiet, and modern, this boutique hotel tickled my fancy. Rustic décor, high ceilings with exposed original rafters, and a fire place are just a few things I liked about this place.

Antwerp, Belgium

Visited: June 2015

Website

Four Seasons Gresham Palace

 

Four Seasons Budapest2_Leah Walker

Four Seasons Budapest_Leah Walker

In interviews and various other places, I’ve declared Four Seasons Gresham Palace in Budapest to be one of my top city hotels. Not too long ago, this historic building on the banks of the Danube River was in ruins. Judging by the looks now, it’s impossible to imagine tanks rolling through the lobby. Impeccably restored, it’s a tourist attraction in and of itself. The rooms still show signs of their former lives as swanky apartments. My room terrace overlooked the Chain Bridge, Danube, and Senate, framing some of the most beautiful parts of Budapest.

Budapest, Hungary

Visited: July 2013

Website

Four Seasons Canary Wharf

 

Four Seasons Canary Wharf_Leah Walker

Four Seasons Canary Wharf2_Leah Walker

Although Canary Wharf isn’t at the top of my list when it comes to Four Seasons properties, I did very much enjoy my room in this business-oriented hotel. Well, I shouldn’t call it a room. Rather, it was the Presidential Suite. Overlooking the Thames River, the suite’s bathroom was where the steamy, sexy shower scene with Daniel Craig in Skyfall was filmed. If it’s good enough for James Bond then it’s certainly good enough to make this list.

London, England

Visited: March 2013

Website

Four Seasons Park Lane

 

The wall of wines inside the Amaranto Bar at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane

Four Seasons Park Lane2

No doubt London is full of lovely luxury hotels, but Four Seasons Park Lane’s red, black, and zebra-print motif in the public areas left me enamored. In contrast to the modern décor in the restaurant, bar, and lobby, the guest rooms are more classic in design. My one bedroom suite {with adjoining room} included living and dining rooms, fireplace, and multiple terraces overlooking the London Eye. Now, how could one not be smitten with such posh digs in London?

London, England

Visited: December 2012

Website

Dromoland Castle

 

Dromoland Castle

Dromoland Castle_Queen Anne

I challenge you to find anyone who doesn’t want to stay in a castle at least once in his life. I’m not talking about some dank, drab castle, but a pristine property that harkens to days of old, with the most modern of conveniences, of course. At Dromoland Castle in the County Clare, that’s exactly what I got. Outside of Shannon, this place dates to the 5th century. My head rested in the Queen Anne Suite. And although not my personal taste, I loved that it is believed to be haunted. Although I didn’t encounter any paranormal activity, I did encounter Irish hospitality at its finest.

Dromoland, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Ireland

Visited: April 2013

Website

Leah Walker_Davos Switzerland

Stay tuned for the next two installments of my favorite hotels that will feature stays in North and South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. I know that this list will evolve as I continue traveling and experiencing more properties from around the world. Until then, you can read more of my luxury European hotel and spa overviews found on Forbes Travel Guide.

Photos of Mont Cervin Palace, Four Seasons Park Lane, and Dromoland Castle are property of the respective hotels.

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