Five-star stays: yes, please. After such a difficult year, it’s only right that the next travel plans you make come complete with the best service, delectable food, amazing activities… and anything else your heart may desire, in fact. A holiday that ticks all the boxes.

To help you plan your perfect 2021 getaway, we’ve put together some of our finest five-star stays for you to choose from. Head to the ever-astounding alps, enjoy luxury in Slovakia, revel in rural Ireland and more. Which of these magnificent hotels is for you?

Hotel Royal Palace, Slovakia

Crafted in 1883, Hotel Royal Palace has always been the epitome of elegance, culture and class. Filled with vibrant art deco details – along with nostalgic furnishings – its lush interiors hark back to times gone by, when social nobility flocked its hallways.

We’re sure that same nobility would be just as impressed with the palace now as they were back then: especially if they dipped their toes into the hotel’s serene spa. As well as various treatments, you’ll find a quintessentially Slovakian Royal Bath there – a circular shaped swimming pool with a golden mosaic that has its own active “piscina”, where thermal water from the underground soothes and nourishes you.

Continuing on the theme of “nourishment”, Restaurant Sissi – the hotel’s onsite eaterie – takes further steps to gratify your body through its menu, which includes recipes that were once popular in royal kitchens (another nod to the building’s noble origins) and Slovakian specialities. Eating and bathing all day long: what could be better?

Don’t miss: Experience both sides of traditional Slovakian life – from the royal to the regular – with a trip to The Museum of the Slovak Village. It’s the largest ethnographic open-air exposition in the country, and includes examples of folk architecture, agricultural homesteads, a Roman-Catholic church from 1792 and more. Check out the museum’s programme before you book your visit: they host events all year round.

Park Hotel Kenmare, Ireland

There’s a reason why the New York Times dubbed Park Hotel Kenmare “one of the world’s most renowned hotels”. Based on the shores of Kenmare Bay, this luxurious establishment is blessed with world-class service and a range of exciting activities, both inside and outside of its walls.

Out in the surrounding areas, guests can enjoy one of the hotel’s many lifestyle programmes, enjoying mental and physical relaxation through carefully-planned heritage walks, hiking, yoga, golf and fishing. It’s not even necessary to wander that far, though. Those who want to go less further afield are sure to enjoy the hotel’s pool, tennis court and other amenities, while its terraced gardens make for a wonderful romantic walk after dinner, where you’ll eat meals composed largely of local wares.

You can’t talk about this hotel without mentioning its award-winning spa, either. SÁMAS spa blends healing and therapeutic traditions from the East and West to restore you on every level – ensuring you  check out of this hotel feeling like your very best self.

Don’t miss: A scenic cruise of Kenmare Bay. The bay’s tantalising waters are home to varied wildlife, including puffins and eagles – and with the salty sea wind teasing your hair and the gentle lapping of waves beneath your feet, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more wonderful way to spend an afternoon in this part of Ireland.

Hotel Villa Cipriani, Italy

Spending time at Hotel Villa Cipriani? It’s simply heavenly. Encased by ambrosial views of rural Asolo and resplendent throughout with examples of the finest Italian craftsmanship – including eye-catching watercolours – it’s no wonder that this establishment was once owned by the beauty-loving poet, Robert Browning.

Indeed – even the shortest stay at this hotel is bound to inspire the poet in you! In the spring and summer, aromatic flowers burst into bloom on the villa’s walls and in its surrounding gardens, while its glittering pool – which sits like a sapphire among the surrounding flora and fauna – is a constant temptation under the hot Florentine sun.

There’s nothing better than snuggling up in one of the hotel’s cosy rooms during the colder months, either. Furnished with antiques and complete with big windows, which fill each space with the soft glow of natural light, you’ll feel truly at peace here. Filled with so many delights, it’s no wonder that Hotel Villa Cipriani is considered one of our most remarkable five-star stays.

Don’t miss: If you’ve got a soft spot for golfing, Asolo is the place to indulge it. Asolo Golf Club is a 27-hole course that neighbours Monte Grappa and sits within several acres of lush, green parkland, making it a jaw-droppingly scenic space to enjoy the sport. You’ll be enchanted.

Puteus Palace, Croatia

If you’re seeking five-star stays with a personal touch, Puteus Palace is the place to go. This Croatian heritage hotel has only fifteen rooms and suites, assuring wonderful, hands-on hospitality to each guest that sagely chooses to stay here. Renovated throughout, its clean, bright and breezy interiors are sure to put a spring in your step, while outdoor and private wellness facilities like a pool, finnish sauna and jacuzzi only contribute more to the paradisiacal vibes of the villa.

For a touch of refinery, don’t forget to try out the Puteus Wine Bar. Here, you can sample the finest Dalmatian-made reds, crisp whites and more – a truly sophisticated afternoon treat that tastes all the better after a day of exploring Brač, where the hotel is situated. This island is one of Croatia’s less touristy areas, giving true nomadic souls a glimpse of authentic island life.

Don’t miss: Sampling the olive oil. Brač is known as Croatia’s “olive island”, and for good reason.  Over one million olive trees are grown here – including a rare variety called buhavica – making this little island the nation’s largest olive grove. Throughout history, these olive trees have been well protected, too: so much so, that authorities declared that anyone who destroyed an olive tree was to be banned from Brač for up to ten years!

Roch Castle, Wales

Five-star stays are made even more special when they’re spent in a castle, and Roch Castle is the perfect example of one at its very best. This historic venue, built in 1195, has housed conquerors and courtesans, served as a royal stronghold and survived wars before becoming the grand getaway it is today – and we really do mean “grand”. Roch Castle is decked out from tower to base with pockets of comfort and plush furnishings: its rooms boast everything from hypo-allergenic toppers to 300 thread count linens – promising a seamless night’s sleep – while elsewhere, a unique Sun Room will take your breath away. Fitted with glass walls and an alfresco viewing platform, you can enjoy the castle’s panoramic views of St Brides Bay and Preseli Hills from dawn until dusk.

Beyond the charming castle walls, you’ll find plenty of ways to amuse yourself. Wander 186 miles of National Park coastline, enjoy cosmopolitan quirks at the city of St Davids or dive into the wildlife rich islands of Ramsey, Skomer and Skokholm during your top-tier stay. Don’t be surprised if you end up coming here more than once…

Don’t miss: Ever fancied horseback riding on the beach? Check out Nolton Stables. Just a stone’s throw away from the castle, you can book beach rides, woodland rides and combined rides.

Hotel L’Helios & SPA, France

Snow capped mountains, cabin vibes and family-friendly rooms are the bread and butter of this ski escape: Hotel L’Helios & SPA, one of our most standout five-star stays. Kids and adults alike will love cosying up next to the bar’s grand fireplace, while skiing opportunities and luxurious spa areas – including an indoor pool and Hamman  – will give adult guests that extra chance to unwind.

The food here is exceptional, too – an especial advantage considering all the energy you’ll need for your daily adventures in the snow! Sample melt-in-the-mouth crepes at the onsite creperie, Le 2 du Doron, or enjoy elegant dining at L’Helios Restaurant. Serving up Savoie delicacies with a twist, just one bite of the restaurant’s sophisticated wares will make it obvious why they’ve won so many awards.

Don’t miss: Based in Méribel, this hotel is ideally situated to explore the 3 Valleys, where you can try hundreds of activities from biking and hiking in the Plan de la Tuéda nature reserve, to taking advantage of the mountain’s equally-split expert and easy ski runs. You’ll be constantly entertained.

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