For many culture lovers, a chain-branded hotel just doesn’t speak to their soul. If you’re one of them, you’ll always be looking for hotels with history – stories in their walls, charm in their services and wonder at every corner.
We know, because we’re exactly the same. That’s why our properties are all painstakingly handpicked for their authenticity, individualism and quality. Here are a few of those treasures, many run by the same families for centuries, who work tirelessly to preserve historically important properties in Europe.
1. Chateau Liblice: Liblice, Czech Republic
This Baroque castle, built in the late 17th century for Ernest Josef Pachta of Rájov, was designed by Italian architect Giovanni Battista Alliprandi – famous other noble buildings in the Czech Republic. Following an extensive revamp in 2007, Chateau Liblice is now a unique mix of modern and traditional elements. If you prefer more of the latter, ask for a room adorned with historical furniture. Contemporary lovers might want to plump for the modern rooms – with stunning castle views and hydro-massage showers.
2. Agriturismo L´Unicorno: Bedizzole, Italy
Venture high above the vineyards of Valtenesi and into the quaint farming village of Macesina. Here, the oldest Bedizzole house ever built remains – and you can stay there. Agriturismo L´Unicorno was built in 1654 and has been painstakingly restored. From the former barns to the noble wing, every room has been updated with modern comforts, without losing its centuries-old charm.
3. Solar do Castelo: Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon-lovers frequent Portugal’s capital for its fascinating history, unique culture and lip-smacking cuisine. It’s also why they stay at Solar Do Castelo – a medieval castle in a walled village in the heart of the city. Peacocks roam the noble patios, locals hang flowerpots and birdcages from their windows, and the souls of princes enchant the walls for eternity.
4. Eccles Hotel: Cork, Ireland
The ambience is vibrant and relaxed, the bedrooms are filled with light, and the views over Bantry Bay and Garinish Island haven’t changed much since the hotel was built in 1745. Eccles Hotel is luxurious to the bone – whether you’re being pampered with a bespoke VOYA spa experience or dining on foraged, artisanal cuisine from the talented Head Chef Eddie Attwell.
5. Roch Castle: Haverfordwest, Wales
The time-warping Roch Castle was built in 1195, perched high on the Pembrokeshire hills. As well as preserving that precious feeling of a real castle, it cocoons guests in the luxury of contemporary interiors and five-star comfort. Your hosts have thought of everything, from Sky TV to bathrobes and slippers. FYI – the chef’s astonishing Welsh Laverbread is a winning way to start your day.
6. Dalen Hotel: Telemark, Norway
Known as “the hotel from the fairytales”, Dalen Hotel makes time-travel possible. You’ll feel the charming 19th-century atmosphere wherever you are in the dragon-style building – from the gallery to the gardens. To create a true authentic ambience, the hotel purposely has no modern features such as TVs. Instead, you’ll experience out-of-the-ordinary cuisine, iconic canal boat trips, or mountain adventures.
7. Villa Le Barone: Chianti, Italy
You will immediately fall in love with Villa Le Barone and fantasise about living there. In the vineyard-lined Chianti countryside, this 16th-century haven is still filled with paintings, rare books and romantic objects from the family’s past. There’s something to do whatever your holiday style – relax in the heated saltwater infinity pool, hike your way through your Tuscan surroundings, dine by candlelight, or simply find one of many quiet nooks to read in.
8. Rathmullan House: Donegal, Ireland
You can count on Ireland to find a stay with soul. Rathmullan House is one of those – a distinctive hotel with history dating back to 1760. Guests who plump for a grand superior room can step back to the early 19th-century in a room with original features, traditional decor and a Lough Swilly view, which hasn’t changed for centuries.
9. Schloss Hertefeld: Weeze, Germany
Schloss Hertefeld, Awarded the Best Historic Hotel of Europe with ‘a story to tell’ in 2013, this 800-year-old castle is a worthy winner. A victim of war, this picturesque place was destroyed to the ground in 1945, then partly rebuilt in 2004 with original refurbished rooms intact. Directly on the banks of the Niers and just 70km from Düsseldorf, the group of heritage-listed buildings even has its very own boat dock and large park.
10. Hotel Stefanie: Vienna, Austria
When you land upon the oldest hotel in Vienna on your hunt for hotels with history, you know you’ve hit the jackpot. Guests have been well-looked-after at this treasured establishment since the year 1600, starting its life as “The White Rose”. In 1888, the great-grandfather of the current owner bought the building and renamed it ‘Hotel Stefanie’ to celebrate the marriage of Prince Rudolf with Princess Stephanie of Belgium.
11. Castel Rundegg: Meran, Italy
Ever wondered how it would feel to like land-owning gentry in a 12th-century castle? Spending a weekend at Castel Rundegg is possibly the closest many of us will come. Furnished traditionally, with walnut woods, antique chairs and Persian rugs, this stunningly renovated hotel is the grandest way to live la dolce vita.
12. Villa Astra: Lovran, Croatia
There’s something gloriously multicultural about Hotel Villa Astra. Not only did its architect Renato Renosco hail from Venice, but it was then completed by Art Nouveau master builder Attilio Maguolo in 1905. Maguolo plunged headlong into Floral-Gothic wonder – and the stay retains this era’s exquisite energy today.
13. Bouclier d´Or: Strasbourg, France
You’re at the heart of history: the Cathedral of Strasbourg is just a short stroll from your front door, along with all the cosy cafes of La Petite France. The 16th-century Bouclier d’Or fits in well with its centuries-old neighbours, inside and out. Expect a grand spiral staircase, columns, 15th-century frescoes and plenty of Renaissance flamboyance.
14. Schlosshotel Klink: Klink, Germany
Your hosts at Schlosshotel Klink have retained all the traditional elements of this fairytale castle, blended them with comfy, modern facilities, and created a stay steeped in history and romance. Overlooking the glistening Lake Muritz, Klink’s 30 rooms are individually decorated and based in the main castle or the adjoining Orangery.
15. Kurhaus Bergün: Bergün, Switzerland
It’s impossible to stay at Kurhaus Bergün and not ponder its storied past. The former wellness hotel dates back to 1906, boasting a spellbinding ballroom, beautifully preserved lounges and its original canteen. It’s even won an award for its unusual collection of Art Nouveau lighting fixtures.