But you don’t always expect it from the hotel you’re staying in. That’s where the 400 properties represented by Historic Hotel of Europe differ – each has a story to share, giving every stay that extra special touch. Wondering where to set your compass next? These three fascinating hotel stories may inspire your next holiday…
The one that was won in a card game:
Currarevagh House, Ireland
From the lavish Edwardian breakfasts to the unparalleled personal service, it’s this old-world, traditional character that makes Currarevagh such a unique stay. Henry’s great grandfather, seven times back, would be proud. He’s the man who won the property in a card game, before opening its doors as a guest house in 1880. Before then, he’d made his fortune from tin and copper in the area, putting two steamboats on the lake named the Lioness and the Tigress.
Henry and his wife Lucy, both trained chefs, brought the Hodgson touch back to the property in 2008. They’ll greet you like a friend, then ply you with hake and tarragon fish cakes, roast rumps of Irish beef, and pecan and ginger treacle tart. Everyone gathers in the drawing rooms before dinner and sits at the same time – simmering with understated country charm that will have you wishing you could move in for good.
The one with the (almost) sunken cross:
Hotel Alte Goste, Italy
First mentioned in a Tyrolean document in 1142, Alte Goste was the first guesthouse in the region. It’s also home to one of Europe’s iconic wayside crosses: you’ll find the religious monument below Hotel Alte Goste on the ancient road of Gostnerhof (Old Goste). These Christian crosses have multiple stories behind their erection: markers of routes for Christian pilgrims, protection for roads and fields, or shrines to local saints.
This particular wayside cross was discovered by grandfather Johann Zingerle. When the Olang lake was built in 1958 and the reservoir was filled, he was rowing a boat to the crossroads when he came across the wooden crucifix – rescuing it from the rising water and taking it to safety. According to archeology reports, the cross is between 400 and 450 years old.
The one owned by the same family for seven generations:
Coopershill House, Ireland
It’s been this way since it was built for the O’Hara family in 1774. In 2005, Simon O’Hara became the seventh generation to take the helm. After years working as a safari guide in Nairobi and then setting up his own travel business in Mexico, the adventurer is happy to be home in Co.Sligo. Even more so, because the house is where O’Hara met his now-wife Christina, an award-winning, Ballymaloe-trained chef who worked for Simon’s mother in the hotel.
The atmosphere at breakfast is noticeably cheery, perhaps because the menu delivers the works, including homemade muesli, bread and yoghurts as well as freshly-laid eggs. This is also the perfect place to sink your teeth into a venison sausage, which comes from Coopershill’s own farm set up by Simon’s parents, now in their 70s.