Seven European Historic Hotels You Need to Visit

Venice cruising Editorial Use Only Copyright by Susan J Young Europe cruise
Photo by Susan J Young

See Europe in the way it was originally intended to be seen: by staying in a historical hotel. Europe has some of the richest history in the world and travelers know there is no better way to learn about a culture than to immerse yourself in it as much as possible, and what better way to do that than to stay in hotels from centuries past? We’ve compiled a list of seven great historic hotels recently opened/renovated that anyone looking for an authentic European experience needs to check out.

Palé Hall, United Kingdom

Pale Hall
Snowdonia National Park/Photo by roman babakin/istock/getty images plus/Getty Images

Located on the edge of Snowdonia National Park in Northern Wales, Palé Hall is a 19th century, Grade II-listed country home. Built in 1871 by railway engineer Henry Robertson, the manor house has seen its fair share of memorable guests, including Winston Churchill and Queen Victoria. The home’s new owners, Alan and Angela Harper, have recently restored the property’s 18 bedrooms and suites, giving them each their own unique identity and style, complete with Zoffany furnishings and William Morris prints. Insider tip: Each guestroom offers views of the Welsh landscape, which is perfect for country walks that are easily accessible from Palé Hall’s prime location, so bring your walking shoes. In terms of dining, the hotel has teamed up with British chef Michael Caines and his head chef Gareth Stevenson to develop and produce the food and beverage offerings at Palé Hall. The hotel has three dining areas, each with their own different, unique feels: the grand Henry Robertson dining room, the Venetian themed dining room and an intimate library, each serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. 

Hotel Pulitzer, Amsterdam

Hotel Pulitzer
Photo by Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam

The UNESCO World Heritage canal district in Amsterdam is now offering seventeenth century luxury to its visitors with the newly renovated Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam. The Pulitzer Amsterdam, located within the 400-year-oold Golden Age canal house buildings, re-opened its doors recently after a complete renovation of the historic hotel. The renovation re-introduced the hidden historical beauty of the site to combine natural historical elements with a new, contemporary luxury style. The hotel offers 225 guestrooms and  one-of-a-kind suites. Other on-site amenities include Pulitzer’s Bar, the new Jansz restaurant, an alfresco café overlooking the Pause at Pulitzer, a gym, a library, an in-house flower shop and gardens on site. Fun fact: Looking for a whimsical way to relax? Hit up the hotels adult swing to let loose and laugh like a kid again! Nearby attractions of the Preferred Hotels & Resorts LVX Collection site include Dam Square, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, the Van Goh Museum, Anne Frank’s house, the fashionable Nine Streets, the shops of Jordaan, the flower market and the Royal Palace, all easily accessible by foot, bike or boat, so get ready to explore the Dutch capital a bit.

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Kulm Hotel, Switzerland

The first hotel ever built in St. Moritz, the Kulm Hotel, recently unveiled its largest ever room renovations for the 2016 season. The renovations of the legendary hotel was overseen by designer Pierre-Yves Rochon, known for his luxurious interior decorating found in hotels around the world, like the Four Seasons. The room count of the Neukulm wing was reduced from 33 to 26 oversized rooms, comprising four doubles, six junior suites, three deluxe junior suites and three suites, all with large living areas. In total, the hotel offers 173 rooms for guests to choose from. The new stylings incorporate tradition Swiss elements and the contemporary details that Rochon is known for, like Swiss stone pine wood ceilings. Good to know: Also expanded was the hotel’s ski room, now equipped with larger lockers, heating rods, gloves, boots and helmets for each guest, making it easier than ever for guests to hit the slopes. Rental equipment is available on-site for those who don’t want to travel with their own through an exclusive partnership with Head. If skiing isn’t your style, the Kulm Hotel also offers a variety of other facilities, including five restaurants, the Kulm Spa with an indoor pool and gym, a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, ice skating and the Marmotta Kids’ Club for your little ones.

The Phoenicia, Malta

Located at the entrance to Valetta, The Phoenicia was built in 1939 as Malta’s first luxury hotel. Currently, the CampbellGray Hotels property and Leading Hotels of the World member is closed for a top-to-bottom refurbishment, and is slated to reopen in October 2016. The revamp is aimed at restoring the historic Art Deco hotel to its original grandeur. The hotels 136 guestrooms and bathrooms are getting a full makeover, along with all of the hotel’s public spaces. The renovations have been entrusted to Peter Young Design and Mary Fox Linton, who plan on adding new rooftop Sky Suites. Also, the renovations include the addition of a new outdoor infinity pool overlooking the harbor, the restoration of the hotel’s classic façade, the refurbishment of the Grand Ballroom and new landscaping for the hotel’s seven-and-a-half acre grounds and terraces. For those looking for a break, when the hotel reopens it will introduce the new Health Club and Spa, complete with eight treatment rooms, a gym and an indoor swimming pool.

The Franklin Hotel, London

Franklin Hotel
The Franklin Hotel in London

Housed in a row of Victorian townhouses in London’s Knightsbridge district, The Franklin Hotel is a newly renovated Starhotels property that is now one of 29 other luxury hotels the brand has throughout Europe. Acquired by Starhotels two years ago, The Franklin Hotel was closed for a year to undergo extensive renovations to restore the classic hotel to its original historical nature combined with the elegant luxury London and Starhotels provide. Anouska Hempel, renowned interior designer and hotelier decorated the hotels 35 guestrooms with mirrored furniture and velvet and silk fabrics. The hotel’s general manager, Francesco Roccato, previously worked for the Lungarno Collection. To unwind, we suggest stopping at the hotel’s Champagne and Martini bar. Other amenities of the hotel include a wellbeing floor, complete with a hamman, spa room and gym and an Italian restaurant, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Alfredo Russo, facing the Egerton Gardens.

Il Sogno di Giulietta, Italy

Shakespeare fans will love staying at Il Sogno di Guilietta, a luxury boutique hotel inside the courtyard of Juliet (a la Romeo and Juliet’s) house. The hotel occupies an original Medieval house adjoining Casa di Giulietta in historic Verona. The property offers private access to Verona’s top tourist attraction – the courtyard of the legendary home of Shakespeare’s Juliet. The 14th-century house has no public rooms except a small reception desk and sitting room, though guestrooms are a good size. Each of the hotel’s 16 rooms are named according to unobvious quotes from Shakespeare’s play.  Rooms feature historic parquet floors, beamed ceilings, painted furniture, rich fabrics and more. Pro Tip: Each room is so stylistically different that you should look online for photographs before booking to ensure you stay in the room you’d like most. The hotel offers 24-hour reception to let guests in and out of the courtyard as well as to address any other needs guests may have. There is no restaurant on site but breakfast can be ordered to your room (the night before) from a local restaurant for a white-linen start to your morning.

Baur au Lac, Zurich

Baur au Lac
Photo by Joe Pike

Baur au Lac first opened its doors in 1844, but today, it’s got all the modern touches that travelers have come to expect, without compromising any of its 19th century elegance. Luxury Travel Advisor recently visited the historic hotel, which is the perfect fit for the luxury traveler still looking for that old school Swiss charm. The hotel is located in the heart of Zurich’s vibrant “city center,” or the financial district, so travelers won’t have to stray too far to find some of Zurich’s best restaurants and shopping. Within the hotel are 120 total rooms, including 18 suites and 27 junior suites. In each room, guests will find a tablet for their use and a complimentary mini bar, restocked daily. The hotel is home to one of the oldest elevators in Zurich, which is still in operation for guests to ride today. Atop the historic hotel sits a spacious rooftop area, prefect for cocktail party rentals. Views from the roof include a beautifully maintained park, owned by Baur au Lac that is used for events such as weddings, art exhibits and children’s activities. Fun fact: History buffs will love to know that it’s been said that the first talks of the Nobel Peace Prize were developed within Baur au Lac.

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