If walls could talk then Europe’s hotels could tell a tale or two. Namely, they’d reverberate the names and stories of monarchs, artists and legends from hundreds of years ago.
We take a look at the people behind the continent’s historic hotels.
Villa Le Barone: Tuscany, Italy
Dating back to the middle ages, Villa Le Barone was the seat of a baronetcy, which gave the ancient watchtower it’s name. The tower was converted into a villa during the Renaissance period and been kept by the famous Della Robbia family since the 16th century.
Once the summer retreat of Florentine ceramist and sculptor Luca Della Robbia, famous for his glazed terracotta roundels and the Cantoria in the Cathedral of Florence, the villa was later converted into one of the first boutique hotels in Chianti by Marchesa Maria Bianca Viviani Della Robbia’s daughter, Duchess Franca Visconti.
Today, Villa Le Barone is the property of Visconti’s heirs, who you will certainly be able to meet during your stay. The villa offers a peaceful retreat in the romantic rolling hills of Tuscany, boasting blooming gardens and classic Tuscan food and wine.
Chateau Bjertorp: Kvänum, Sweden
Twentieth century art-nouveau meets modern day comfort at Bjertorp Slott, a castle steeped in history in the heart of idyllic Varaslätten, between Skara and Gothenburg.
It’s original owner, Knut Henrik Littorin, built his fortune in oil and gas investments throughout Russia. He built the sumptuous palatial building on the land where he grew up as a child, once his father’s farm.
His spirit remains in the walls of the castle; from the impressive marble cloakroom to the Russian bears displayed in the foyer (according to the story, felled by Littorin himself).
Dr Holms Hotel: Geilo, Norway
This hotel is good for your health; or so was the intention of Dr J.C. Holms, who opened the Dr Holms Hotel in the Norwegian ski resort town of Geilo in 1909.
Holms was a specialist in respiratory diseases who wished to establish the ultimate place of restoration, where his patients could breathe fresh mountain air. His revitalising retreat has since become one of the most famous resort hotels in Norway.
Whether you wish to enjoy warm summer hikes in the mountain ranges, or hit the slopes on skis in the winter, Dr Holms Hotel offers a blissful escape. Today the hotel boasts 126 rooms, a classic restuarant, piano bar, pub, wine cellar (with tasting) and of course, Dr Holms Spa (the only Shiseido Spa in Scandinavia).