by The Daily Telegraph, February 1, 2017
It isn't just Europe's classic hotels that house incredible suites. Alongside centuries-old abodes crammed with antiquities and exceptional original features, the continent is home to some of the world's most architecturally progressive and unexpected accommodation. Read on for our experts' guide to the best hotel suites in Europe.
Redentore Terrazza Suite; The Gritti Palace, Venice - Italy
The Redentore Terrazza Suite is not the largest or grandest of the Gritti Palace ’s 21 suites. Rather, it is a cosy and romantic eyrie, with rug-covered wooden floors, a colour scheme of rich, warm reds, pretty floral silk wall-coverings and all the many treasures – valuable antiques, prints, paintings, frescoes and fine furniture – that lend the Gritti its sumptuous period splendour. The two-storey suite has private lift access from the lobby, discreetly integrated state-of-the-art technology, including Bang & Olufsen televisions, as well as pleasing incidentals such as Acqua di Parma toiletries. How long you will spend in the suite is a moot point, however, because the chances are you’ll be out on the suite’s star turn – its magnificient terrace – to eat, drink, sunbathe, share cocktails with a hundred of your best friends, lie in the pool and look at the stars or simply to stare in wonder across the Grand Canal at one of the most mesmerising views of any city in the world.
Sleeps 2; 3,014sq ft; from £7,680; thegrittipalace.com
Read More: The Gritti Palace's Riva tour of secret Venice
ROOM; The Beaumont Hotel, London - UK
Although neither big nor – by suite standards – particularly expensive, Room is unique, serving as a monumental artwork created by Antony Gormley, an extension to The Beaumont hotel, and a cave-like space in which Gormley has attempted to “sculpt darkness”. From the outside, Room takes the form of a giant steel figure perched on the edge of the building; inside, this figure forms the suite’s bedroom, which is unfurnished save for a bed, and which has a single window placed so high above that the only view is of the sky. Guests undress in the adjoining bathroom, climb marble steps to the bedchamber and settle down to sleep. Concealed in the upper part of the bedroom are LEDs whose faint light slowly becomes discernible as they adjust to the apparent darkness and only then do they experience Room’s subtle interplay of form, darkness and subliminal light, an attempt, as Gormley puts it, “to structure night as a preamble to sleeping” and “to confront the monumental with the most intimate personal experience”.
Sleeps 2; 742sq ft; from £1,375; thebeaumont.com
Read more: inside London's best hotel suites
The Panorama Suite; The Alpina Gstaad - Switzerland
The crowning glory of a £250-million property, the Panorama Suite is built like a private – a very private – apartment, complete with a sophisticated security system. The interior is a classic combination of traditional Alpine and more contemporary Swiss elements in which almost every detail is imbued with a sense of history or tagged with a high-end name, from the countless antiques and floor lamps by Lorenzo Tondelli to the wood panelling, which was sourced from old farmhouses and chalets. Set over two storeys, the suite features three bedrooms, two fireplaces, a huge veranda, a private spa, an exercise room and an outdoor Jacuzzi, the last arguably enjoying some of the best views in Gstaad. As ever, though, what makes a suite stand out is the little things – the engraved silver Christofle cutlery in the private kitchen or the heated glass ceiling windows that melt any snow obstructing your views. And it’s the views, of course, that lend the Panorama Suite its name, broad sweeps of beautiful Alpine scenery afforded by the hotel’s commanding head-of-the-valley position.
Sleeps 6; 4,305sq ft; £11,700; thealpinagstaad.ch
Read more: hotel suites with spectacular views
Shangri-La Suite; Shangri-La Hotel, At the Shard, London - UK
Look down from your 39th-floor living room and dining room, and there’s Canary Wharf in the distance, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge just below, and the City just over the river. Roll out of bed and you can see St Paul’s, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. You could almost explore the city without leaving the suite - its setting is what sets this hotel apart and there's no better place from which to appreciate the vista than here. The clean-lined décor feels part-Italian, part-Oriental, and mixes Armani lamps, cream quilted sofas and Rubelli Venezia silk cushions with chinoiserie, Eastern artworks and palm-leafpatterned carpets. Every detail is considered, from brass-inlaid tables and an extensive collection of coffee-table books to sheets (super-soft Chinese cotton), goose-down pillows, thick mattress toppers, marble (green, brown and black, from all over the world), flowers (huge bowls of white orchids) and treats (jars of macarons and a chocolate model of The Shard). The bathroom is particularly appealing, with a Jacuzzi bath and steam shower, and an adjoining walk-in wardrobe with heavy hangers and elegant finishing.
Sleeps 2; 2,021sq ft; £10,000; shangri-la.com
Read more: the best hotels in London
Emperor Bonaparte Suite; Residenza Ruspoli Bonaparte, Rome - Italy
The Residenza Ruspoli Bonaparte is the family home of Principessa Maria Pia and Principessa Giacinta Ruspoli, where Queen Ortensia lived with her young regent son Napoleon III. The Emperor Bonaparte Suite – one of three suites in the residence – is where the young emperor lived for several years in the early 19th century, and its original décor reflects its owner and the splendour of the day. Marble antiquities line the 100-odd marble steps of the Longhi-designed grand staircase, which concludes at the tapestried entrance of the Residenza and its colourfully frescoed ceilings and walls. Think of it as a large-scale heirloom that you get to call home for a short while. The Bonaparte Suite includes the grand Blue Room with parquet floor, plus a living room with original coffered ceiling and family coat of arms, a veranda, a private terrace and a bedroom with another, smaller connecting bedroom. The interiors throughout are an opulent mix of frescoes, tapestries, Murano chandeliers, gilded frames, precious oil paintings and other family heirlooms.
Sleeps 4; 3,230sq ft; from £450; residenzaruspolibonaparte.com
Read more: the best hotels in Rome
Penthouse Suite; Four Seasons George V, Paris - France
Candelit dinners for two on the private terrace are a popular request at the Four Seasons George V penthouse suite . It’s easy to see why. Housed on the eighth floor, the suite offers a 360-degree panorama from its main balcony, with Haussmann’s elegant grid of streets below, the Eiffel Tower to one side and landmarks, from Sacré Coeur to the American Cathedral, ranged across the horizon. The view from the smaller, elevated balcony is even better, spanning the Panthéon, Invalides, Madeleine and beyond. Feeling more like a private apartment than part of the Four Seasons George V, the elegant and contemporary suite was created by Pierre-Yves Rochon and skilfully blends old and new. Baccarat crystal glassware and Second Empire furniture stand alongside plasma screens and an infinity bath with underwater lighting. Exceptional floral displays adorn the rooms and thoughtful touches, such as a choice of either Sodashi or Bulgari toiletries, add an extra level of comfort and attention to detail.
Sleeps 2; 1,722sq ft; £19,000; fourseasons.com
Read more: The Four Seasons George V Presidential Suite 301 review
Villa 20; Amanzoe, Porto Heli - Greece
If it’s space you’re after in Greece, and then more space – plus a choice of six swimming pools – this immense villa in the eastern Peloponnese is for you: its footprint is one and a half times the size of Trafalgar Square. With nine en-suite bedrooms, Villa 20 is more like a monumental Greek temple than a home, with a colossal marble staircase, classical colonnades and sweeping views across the Aegean. Despite its size, the villa has a relaxed feel, thanks in part to its muted marble, blond wood and white classical columns, which bring a sense harmony to its buildings. In a property larger than many resorts there's little need to navigate the rest of Amanzoe and always something extraordinary to explore: the spa, with its gym, hammam, treatment rooms and yoga platform; the games room, which has table football, pool table and jukebox; and the beach cabana, where guests can stay the night.
Sleeps up to 20; 205,000sq ft; £21,000; aman.com
Read more: Amanzoe spa review
Royal Penthouse Suite; Park Hyatt Vienna - Austria
The Royal Penthouse is one of Europe’s largest suites, and overlooks Am Hof, Vienna ’s oldest square, close to the upmarket Goldenes Quartier shopping district and minutes from St Stephen’s Cathedral. A fingerprint scanner guards the suite’s entrance, which opens into a two-storey, two-bedroom space with four terraces and glorious views across the city’s spires and rooftops to the vine-covered hills beyond. The hotel 's chefs will rustle up meals in the dining room, where the table is covered in mother-of-pearl, a translucent counterpoint to the suite’s £340,000 white Iranian onyx spiral staircase. Most of the furniture is by Fendi – a coffee table fashioned from stalagmites is one of the standout pieces – while entertainment centres on a 75in television hidden behind a retractable golden screen.
Sleeps 4; 8,826sq ft; from £16,720; vienna.park.hyatt.com
Read more: incredible penthouse suites
The Tower Suite; The Augustine, Prague - Czech Republic
The bedroom of the gloriously romantic Tower Suite affords 360-degree views across much of Prague. Built as a high-rise observatory by the monks of the nearby St Thomas monastery, the suite is arranged over three floors. You enter via a compact sitting room, from which a narrow spiral staircase of ironwork, high-tensile wire and 40 oak steps rises through a porphyry-coloured marble bathroom to a bedroom with panoramic windows on four sides. This is the pièce de résistance; a space furnished with reproductions of pieces by some of the great pioneers of early-20th-century Modernist architecture and design, among them Adolf Loos (a gorgeous curved chaise longue upholstered in olive velvet), Vlastislav Hofman and Pavel Janák.
Sleeps 2; 678sq ft; £1,480; augustinehotel.com
Read more: the best hotels in Prague
The Private Farm House; Pädaste Manor - Estonia
You might well want to hide away forever in this 300-year-old log house belonging to the Pädaste Manor hotel . The location – secretive and romantic – is the tiny island of Muhu in the Baltic, just off the coast of Estonia. The property was once the office of the steward of the Manor, and is beautifully set in a secluded spot on the estate in its own garden and apple orchard. While the scenery on Muhu is grand and wild, the farmhouse is a cosy and intimate refuge. There’s a large, wood-burning fireplace and a private sauna, both perfect options after a swim in the bay or walk in the woods. The house has two master bedrooms with large bathrooms, plus a smaller double. For those who can live without the private cinema, there’s a charming on-site library filled with fine books to curl up with after a treatment at the Pädaste Spa or a dinner soirée at Alexander, considered the best restaurant in Estonia.
Sleeps 8; 1,507sq ft; from £845; padaste.ee
The Space Suite; Kameha Grand - Switzerland
In 2015, Zürich’s Kameha Grand unveiled a futuristic Space Suite, adding another extraordinary element to the hotel’s surreal interiors, where doors look like slabs of chocolate and giant cow bells are suspended in the lobby. But even in these Dalí-esque surroundings, the Space Suite appears otherworldly. An automated female voice welcomes you to the all-white “living module”, in which the window is a mirror, spotlights look like rocket engines and images from the Hubble Space Telescope decorate the carpet. A space-gloved hand stretches from the wall to take your mobile and the International Space Station streams live images to your television. The “sleeping module” appears to float (think zero gravity) next to a shelf filled with books on spaceflight. An eerily immersive experience – but one for the aesthetically adventurous.
Sleeps 2; 1,237sq ft; from £1,252; kamehagrandzuerich.com
Read more: the best hotels in Zurich
Le Chalet des Fermes; Les Fermes de Marie, Megeve - France
Le Chalet des Fermes is perfect for indecisive guests: seemingly set within a rural Alpine hamlet – actually several reclaimed chalets within the grounds of Les Fermes de Marie hotel – it offers the seclusion and luxury of a private chalet while delivering the amenities of a five-star hotel. Despite its blissful sense of isolation, it’s also just a five-minute stroll from the boutiques and restaurants of Megève. The former home of the hotel’s owners, Le Chalet is quintessentially Alpine and cosy – all furs, tweeds, wood fires and exposed beams – and all five bedrooms afford views of the surrounding mountains (best admired from the freestanding baths). The chalet boasts its own garden, hot tub, sauna, treatment room and gym, with the hotel spa, Pure Altitude, a pleasant walk away through the grounds.
Sleeps 12; 4,305sq ft; from £2,950; chalets.fermesdemarie.com
Gabriella Le Breton
Villa Sphere Ovest; Villa Eden, Gardone - Italy
Villa Sphere Ovest is the pick of the 11 villas and nine-suite Clubhouse that make up the Villa Eden, the work of superstar architects such as Matteo Thun, Marc Mark and David Chipperfield, and set amid acres of cypress and lemon trees in the hills above Lake Garda. The contemporary four-storey cubist building stands at the property’s highest point, half-hidden in olive groves and part-supported by stilts, giving the impression that it is somehow floating above the lake, whose shimmering waters can be seen from every room. Five spacious bedrooms are ranged around the upper floors, with a swimming pool through the heart of the villa below, flanked by a spa, dining and living room and a minimalist open-plan kitchen. A Frauscher motorboat is poised to whisk you across the lake for sundowners; chef Christoph Stiglitz, who earned his culinary stripes at Nobu and The Fat Duck, stands ready to whip up killer poolside barbecues; and the concierge is there to source money-can’t-buy tickets for the concert season at nearby Isola del Garda.
Sleeps 10; 9,020sq ft; from £84,000 per week full board; villa-eden-gardone.com
Gabriella Le Breton
Royal Mandarin Suite; Mandarin Oriental Paris - France
Parisian suites tend to look to Versailles for decorative inspiration. Not at the Mandarin Oriental, where the penthouse has a refreshingly contemporary edge. Though the lofty living room is finished in velvets and silks, the mostly white and beige colour scheme draws the eye to the double-height windows, and to a glorious Parisian panorama – though the Eiffel Tower views are best admired from the terrace or while horizontal in the bath. Well-chosen modern Asian art, a nod to Mandarin Oriental’s Far Eastern roots, rounds out the serene dining room, while the rest of the suite includes a full kitchen, bar, study, gym and sleeping space for up to five. The master bedroom is a joy, the decadent bed in particular – all French linen, goose-down and an opulent headboard that was hand-embroidered by Chanel’s house of Lesage.
Sleeps 5; 3,767sq ft; from £16,890; mandarinoriental.com
The Sterling Suite; The Langham, London - UK
A glance at the floorplan of The Sterling Suite – with its six bedrooms – bears out The Langham ’s claim that its star turn “serves to exceed every notion of luxury and space”. But if London’s largest hotel suite impresses on paper, it’s even more compelling in the flesh. As elegant as you would expect from a stellar hotel, it offers a light, fresh feel, from the white grand piano in the drawing room and custom-made, gold leaf-trimmed furniture, to the Murano glass chandeliers and the hand-painted birds, butterflies and vines etched into the softly shimmering silver-leaf walls in the master bedroom. A media room, full of gadgetry, provides a focal point for any parties you might want to throw, while the drawing room, complete with board games and coffee-table books, caters to any rather more genteel gatherings you have in mind. It’s a beautiful space, but what sets The Sterling apart is that service, which is discreet and impeccable in every regard: drinks replenished instantly by the butler; reservations secured promptly; and other needs met before guests even realise they have them.
Sleeps up to 12; 4,844sq ft; from £24,000; langhamhotels.com
Read more: the best hotels in London
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