A hotel with a wine list to die for is one thing but an entire retreat based around the grape? If your idea of a dream holiday is seductive cellars and exquisite vineyards, bookmark these hotels with impressive wine connections.
1. Grimsel Hospice: Guttannen, Switzerland
Grimsel Hospice is a treasure trove for oenophiles; housing more than 300 wines in its rock cellar. Many come from the sunny vineyards of neighbouring Valais – just waiting to be savoured in the wood-lined dining room or the coolly-chic bedrooms. The hotel itself has a rich history to discover: built in 1932 between two dam walls after the old hospice had been flooded, it was the first electrically-heated hotel in Europe.
2. St Peter’s Island: Erlach, Switzerland
St Peter’s Island
It’s the mild climate of St Peter’s Island that provides the perfect ripening touch for the vineyards of the region. And wherever the grapes are happy, we are. Escape to this tranquil island, sipping wines (chardonnay and pinot gris are its speciality grapes) in the company of Lake Biel and its breathtaking mountains. What more could a wine lover ask for?
3. Jabajak Vineyard: Llanboidy, Whitland, Wales
From blind tastings to vineyard jaunts, Jabajak is the perfect getaway for wine fans. The small hotel, with fine dining restaurant and vineyard, is an unconventional Welsh retreat: a country retreat, without the usual country house surroundings. Expect worldwide and Welsh influences from the cuisine – much of the produce from Jabajak’s own seven acres of land – and wine from the Welsh vineyards themselves (the first harvest is this year).
4. Agriturismo L’Unicorno: Bedizzole, Brescia, Italy
Naturally, Italy makes our wine-lover’s list – and Agriturismo L’Unicorno is the quintessence of the Italian vineyard. Built in 1654, it is the oldest house in the hamlet of Macesina and has produced the fine red wine groppello since the 16th century. Uncork a bottle yourself and enjoy with local cheese or homemade salami: at least half of the produce is from L’Unicorno itself, whilst the rest is from farms of the Garda Lake region.
5. Villa Le Barone: Panzano in Chianti, Florence, Italy
Villa Le Barone
You can always rely on Chianti to bring the finest wines to the global cellar – and Villa Le Barone doesn’t let the region down. The picturesque hotel still houses the old press from its days of producing wine, though more modern machines are in charge of the process these days. In front of the villa, one area of the vineyard turns a darker red than the rest – marking both the landscape and the fine Tuscan wines themselves.
6. Mojmírovce Manor Hotel: Mojmírovce, Ponitrie, Slovakia
Mojmírovce Manor Hotel
With more than 700 years of winemaking under its belt, the village of Mojmírovce should be top of a wine-lover’s to-visit list. Mojmírovce Manor Hotel offers wine experiences in its 300-year-old cellar, with vaulted brick ceilings, enchanting history and magnificent art. Two important Mojmírovce bottles to note: blaufränkisch frankovka modrá (chosen when presidents Bush and Putin met in Bratislava in 2005) and a cabernet sauvignon rosé (which won the gold medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles wine competition, 2013).
7. Hotel Château Béla: Béla, Podunajsko, Slovakia
If there’s two men who know how to make wine, it’s Egon Müller and Miroslav Petrech. The celebrated winemakers from Germany and Slovak Republic produce fine wines for the dazzling Château Béla: a 5 star hotel in the midst of southern Slovakia’s landscapes. Since 2001, the hotel’s vineyard has blessed the country with some of its finest rieslings and cabernet sauvignons. Uncork a bottle of Slovakia’s finest vintage and enjoy with game from surrounding lands in Restaurant Baldacci.