Where nuns and monks once lived a simple life, travel lovers can now eat, drink, relax and stay the night. These gorgeous monastery hotels boast buildings with a story to tell, and friendly staff who treat guests as if they are Christ himself.
From France to Switzerland, these religious boltholes provide a welcome remedy to hectic modern life. They mix centuries of religious heritage with slick contemporary service – but what you’ll notice the most is just how much peace reigns in these monastery hotels. Make like a monk and turn off your smartphone too, if you like. You won’t regret it.
1. Abbaye de Maisieres, France
Holy walls and even holier wine, Abbaye de Maisieres is no longer just a place for pilgrims to rest their weary limbs. Visitors to the former 12th-century abbey these days tend to be discerning travellers wanting to spend the night in a historic hotel with wonderful services. This boutique bolthole, which adjoins the first-ever city walls, doesn’t disappoint. Its restaurant awaits in the cellar, serving authentic cuisine from Burgundy under dramatic curves and whitewashed walls. Wander up the spiralling staircase and you’ll find four different kinds of room complete with antique furniture and all the comforts today’s modern adventurer could wish for.
2. Vadstena Convent Hotel, Sweden
This former Catholic monastery, build for monks and nuns of the Brigittine order, is now an exquisitely decorated hotel. Located by Lake Vattern, the Vadstena Convent Hotel is surrounded by Swedish loveliness – flocked to by famous names including Holy Bridget, King Gustav Vasa and Prince Eugen. The monastery hotel sits within the same medieval buildings that were once the religious centre, with modern updates throughout. Not to mention the hotel restaurant’s eye-widening wine cellar, stocked with wines from all major districts.
3. Hotel Prinsenhof, Netherlands
Spirits will still be high long after a stay in Hotel Prinsenhof. The bolthole’s charms are evident the moment you step into the magnificent grounds, not least the pristine Prince’s Garden complete with rose garden, herb garden and majestic sun dial. Dating back to 1436, the hotel’s Grand Cafe was once an abbey church – sitting here is the only time it’s acceptable to ignore your company and gape at the building’s exquisite details. The hotel’s heritage remains prominent in its interior design: glimmering chandeliers, grand tiled fireplaces and wooden beams supporting chic and minimalist rooms.
4. Hotel St. Petersinsel, Switzerland
Hugging pristine Swiss waters on St. Peter’s Island, this monastery hotel is an ideal antidote to fast-paced urban life. The beauty is in Hotel St.Petersinsel’s monastic simplicity: the rooms are elegantly minimalist, the grapes from the wine grow in the grounds and the produce comes from the island farmers. Sample them in the bright and homely restaurant, glugged down with full-bodied wines from the region. Your tranquil sleeping space for the night will be a former monk’s cell – these days with a modern bathroom and all the luxurious amenities.