Image: Waldhaus Sils, Switzerland
We all want to check into the hotels that celebrities stay at. Our favourite movie stars, world-leading politicians and iconic singers flock to properties that can ensure them serenity, privacy and luxury – either that or one hell of a party. They seek larger-than-life suites, with world-class dining and a story to tell. They choose these famous hotels in Europe:
1. Hotel Waldhaus Sils: Sils-Maria, Switzerland
Waldhaus Sils doesn’t need to do much to brag. Its impressive roister of celebrity guests say more than words ever could. The grand walls of this seductive, old-world hotel just outside St Moritz have seen generations of artists, philosophers, musicians, actors, scientists, writers, politicians, composers and entrepreneurs. Notable names include Albert Einstein, David Bowie, Richard Strauss, Neville Chamberlain, Hermann Hesse, Marc Chagall and Thomas Mann. It’s always a pleasure to hear the stories of Felix Dietrich (father of hosts Claudio and Patrick), who ran the establishment for 30 years. He believes it was Waldhaus Sils’ ‘welcoming simplicity’ and unique atmosphere that brought iconic guests returning to this famous hotel in Europe.
2. Merrion Hotel: Dublin, Ireland
Merrion Hotel is such a legendary place to stay, even Barack Obama didn’t want to keep it a secret. The 44th President of the United States and his first lady checked into Dublin’s fanciest five-star hotel, set within four Georgian Townhouses, after eschewing the usual presidential accomodation in Phoenix Park in 2011. They’re not the only famous guests to have stayed in the exquisite historic hotel: you might also bump into Rihanna, Cameron Diaz or Nicole Richie on the regal staircase heading down to breakfast in the morning.
3. Aigialos Hotel Santorini
With heartstopping views over cool blue Santorini waters, it’s only natural that Aigialos Hotel was voted the ‘Most Romantic Historic Hotel’ in our HHE Awards 2014. If you’re wondering where you’ve seen it before, it’s probably because the famous hotel in Europe was used for the opening scene of 2003 blockbuster Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, with Angelina Jolie playing lead role. Get a little closer to cinema history with a stay in this exotic bolthole, lounging on white-washed furnishings and chinking toasts as the sun goes down. Neighbouring a handsome blue-domed chapel, much of the hotel is the work of architect Michael Photiadis, whose other projects include the Acropolis in Athens. With earth, sea and sky as your backdrop, you’ll never want to leave this enchanting 18th-century stay.
4. Barberstown Castle: County Kildare, Ireland
Ireland is rich in castles, but none can offer the same claim to fame as Barberstown Castle, a stunning 13th-century historic hotel just a 25-minute drive from Dublin. Arriving at the four-star hideaway in Ireland’s Ancient East is like stepping into a James Joyce novel – it’s small wonder rock and blues guitarist Eric Clapton bought the place once upon a time. The castle isn’t just famous for its past owner, other celebrities who’ve checked in to stay, play and party include Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Van Morrison, The Beckhams, Phil Collins, Jonathan Ross, Ronnie Wood and many more.
Bellevue des Alpes: Wengen, Switzerland
Clint Eastwood hung out at 19th-century historic hotel and restaurant Bellevue des Alpes while filming ‘The Eiger Sanction’ in 1972. Aside from being among one of the illustrious and laidback hotels that celebrities stay at, its many time-warping charms have made it a reason to visit Wengen in its own right – especially the ‘20s interiors.