Historic, charming hotels in Europe have an appeal all their own. They run the gamut from ancient inns to grand old palaces, where everyone from local legends to the rich and famous of the day would once stay.
Many of the hotels in our collection are still owned by the same families who built these glorious buildings centuries ago – giving them an atmosphere and style that no modern chain can compare to. Step inside and let us take you back in time…
1. Schwarzer Bock: Ansbach, Germany
In a world of cookie-cutter hotels, this Baroque-cum-modern building feels like a surreal dream. Schwarzer Bock stays true to its historic roots without the stuffiness. Guests love the 19th-century ladies bathroom marked with original guilloche and the historic restaurant serving up the same gravy-laden, rib-sticking Bavarian and Franconian dishes of centuries gone by. Sample to local wild game meat and order a bottle of the famous Bocksbeutel wine to wash it down with.
2. Sierakow Manor: Krakow, Poland
You’re a short journey from the UNESCO-listed Wieliczka salt mine and in easy access of Krakow, yet this stately, 19th-century manor house wraps you within five hectares of lush parkland. As well as being one of the most charming hotels in Europe, Sierakow Manor has one of the best stocked wine cellars in Poland.
3. Avli Lounge Apartments: Crete, Greece
It’s a scene of ludicrous beauty – Rethymno’s unspoiled, Venetian-esque old town. Among fountains, loggias and Turkish-style mosques, remarkable houses punctuate the labyrinthine streets. Among these authentic characters, Avli Lounge Apartments is probably the finest example. Venetian arches, canopy beds, luxurious upholstery and limestone walls respect the traditional architecture, but bring it bang up to date with a modern designer feel. Foodies love it: try the kalitsounia (stuffed, often cheesy Cretan pies) and don’t miss the authentic local breakfast.
4. No.1 Pery Square: Limerick, Ireland
It seems there isn’t an inch of No.1 Pery Square that doesn’t breathe the building’s history. Tucked away from city life, guests drift from heritage treatments in the historic vault to homemade pork pies and Guinness cake in the glorious drawing room. Book the Lord Barrington Suite for views over Lord Barrington’s famous People’s Park, the city’s own pristine garden.
5. Ghan House: Carlingford, Ireland
With its good looks, log fires and Georgian ambience, Ghan House could get away with scrimping on everything else. But this beautifully restored 18th-century country house does everything but. Dublin politician William Stannus is to thank for building a haven among lottery-win views (sea or mountain – your choice), while today’s host Paul Carroll and his ‘family’ of loyal chefs are the masterminds behind the hotel’s award-winning Irish restaurant. Ghan House has been voted ‘One of ‘Best 100 places to stay in Ireland’ every year since 1998 in John McKenna’s Guide to Ireland.
6. Hotel Royal Palace: Turčianske Teplice, Slovakia
The luxury five-star Hotel Royal Palace carries its Art Nouveau glow from 1883 wondrously. Every inch of its Insta-worthy interior dazzles with golden elegance and luxurious nostalgia from its regal past. Book up for a weekend or a week-long regenerative stay, with treatments recommended by the Royal doctor and a mineral healing thermal spring inside the Royal bath.
7. Romantik Hotel Hof zur Linde: Munster, Germany
If you’re keen to feel like a 17th-century country home owner in the dainty German town of Munster, Romantik Hotel Hof zur Linde is the place to do it. Now onto its third generation of hosts, this cosy-yet-breezy, light-filled sanctuary will set to work on your soul the moment you arrive.
8. Villa Cipriani: Asolo, Italy
Villa Cipriani is the Italian poster boy for charming hotels in Europe. Its walls drip with history, its mountain views make you feel like the richest person on Earth and its gardens rejuvenate the soul. No wonder this Asolo-based gem has gained five-star luxury status.
9. Vetrov Castle Hotel: Czech Republic
It’s hard to believe that Vetrov Castle Hotel was once practically abandoned. Following a three-year restoration, the 19th-century chateau opened its doors as a magnificent four-star castle hotel in 2005. Harmoniously located within 15 hectares of natural park, aromatic gardens and six ponds, it’s a haven of pure sophistication within sensational surroundings.
10. Kyrimai: Greece
Oozing with Deep-Mani-cool, Kyrimai is a waterside wonderland that pays full attention to local history and tradition. With award-winning cuisine, deluxe amenities and 18 gorgeous rooms and suites, this former warehouse smatters all of the senses.
11. Ard na Sidhe Country House: Caragh Lake, Ireland
Country-life splendour, lakeside strolls and wonderfully warm hosts, Ard na Sidhe Country House is like stepping into a romantic novel. Rooms come equipped with four-poster beds, Edwardian-style bathrooms and (importantly) no television – this is a place to shut off from the world and fully relax in an Irish oasis of calm.
12. Hotel Alte Goste: Puster Valley, Italy
Hotel Alte Goste is a unique blend of historic and contemporary elements that complement the romantic surroundings of Puster Valley perfectly. First mentioned in a document in 1142, this traditional guesthouse rivals the most charming hotels in Europe for its old-world hospitality, authentic spa facilities and natural landscape.
13. Kasteel Sterkenburg: Driebergen-Rijsenburg, Netherlands
Sleeping in a 13th-century castle on its very own island is the ultimate weekend away, if you ask us. Kasteel Sterkenburg, with its verdant grounds bursting in flora and fauna, is the place to be in summer. This is another charming hotel in Europe without televisions in the bedrooms – the idea is to escape modern technology and experience a nature-packed hotel stay as it used to be. You’ll take breakfast in the former gardener’s house – the homemade plum jam is to die for.
14. Penrhiw Priory: Pembrokeshire, Wales
Quaint St. Davids, with its religious history and tiny, record-breaking size, is on your doorstep here: that is, if you can bring yourself to leave the vicinity. Penrhiw Priory envelopes guests in maximum tranquillity: pampering you with multi-award-winning breakfasts, works of art in every room and woodland paths galore.
15. Wallby Manor: Smaland, Sweden
Fill your lungs with fresh air, fill your heart with joy and fill your belly with sparkling seafood at Wallby Manor. Along with its surrounding cottages, this historic hotel is a leafy paradise in picturesque Smaland. Heart-warming happenings are going on inside – charming simplicity and excellent hospitality is the ethos throughout.