“But how could you live and have no story to tell?” Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky said that. And he’s right – something that never goes out of season is stories. Our collection of historic hotels in Europe have tales upon tales to share, with centuries of happenings ranging from the heartstopping to the heartwarming.
Movie-famous, Insta-famous and historically famous, a stay within their walls is always a true escape – physically and mentally. These cultural treasures offer you no choice but to succumb to their state-of-the-art services, culinary wonders and stories that capture you entirely. Open the book and come on in…
1. Allegory Boutique Hotel: Rhodes, Greece
If you’re dazzled by the blue jewel that appears within Allegory Boutique Hotel’s rooms, you might want to ask your hosts about the myth behind its name. It’s based on the love story of Pierre and Anatoli, a tale of enduring romance during the siege of Rhodes by the Ottomans in 1522. The name literally translates to ‘friend of a stranger’ – perfect for a luxurious haven with fantasy-like facilities. Winner of our ‘Historic Hotel with a Story to Tell’ 2018 award, this culture-soaked stay is a gem in Rhodes’ historic crown.
2. Schloss Hotel Hertefeld: Weeze, Germany
We’ve all dreamt of nights like those in Heaven’s Room – one of Schloss Hotel Hertefeld’s most covetable rooms with two bathtubs and a roof that allows you to admire stars showing off their twinkles as you soak. Oh, may we add that you’re tucked peacefully into a Baroque castle (complete with moat). It’s the only place in Germany where you can do this, pampered by your attentive hosts, whose family have been tending to guests in this very venue for 800 years. The Lord of the castle delights in tales of Hertefeld’s historic happenings on his tour, from its 14th-century beginnings to its fascinating natural restoration.
3. Alpinhotel Grimsel Hospiz: Guttannen, Switzerland
In 1142, Grimsel Hospice was the first certified guest house in the vicinity. Move forward to 1932 and it ticked another innovational feat from its list – becoming Europe’s first electrically heated hotel. Expect four-star alpine splendour cleverly heated by hydroelectricity – the work of Swiss pioneers determined to create eco-friendly power. Luxuriate in the Grimsel jacuzzi, daydream in the panoramic lounge and wind down after a day in the Swiss outdoors with a velvety glass of red from the extensive wine cellar.
4. Hotel Refsnes Gods: Ostfold, Norway
Hotel Refsnes Gods has played host to a wildly exciting bunch in its centuries of service: iconic artist Edvard Munch (famous for The Scream), King Oscar II and feminist writer Camilla Collett to name a few. The 18th-century beauty wraps up history, warmth, service, food and wine in one unique package. The cherry on top? Its walls are adorned with 400 original works of art from more than 90 artists, showcasing a breathtaking variety of contemporary works.
5. Aigialos Hotel: Santorini, Greece
If you recognise the cool waters and white-washed chillout spots of this paradisiacal stay, it may be because it’s something of a celebrity. The romantic 18th-century hotel was used for the opening scene of Lara Croft 2003 blockbuster Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. In it, you’ll see the building’s harmonious stone design, with its Insta-worthy cobbles and azure pools. But even Hollywood can’t portray it’s full beauty – you need to experience it yourself. We awarded Aigialos Hotel Santorini our ‘Historic Hotel with a Story to Tell’ award in 2016.