Mary Winston Nicklin, Jena Tesse Fox, Meagan Drillinger and Ruthanne Terrero contributed to this report.
We say we can never have enough luxury in our lives and European luxury ranks pretty high on our list of favorite things.
Here’s a look at some of the fine hotels that opened in London and on the continent this year.
The London Edition
The London Edition (above) was created in partnership between Marriott and Ian Schrager, the brand of luxury lifestyle hotels currently only has one other property in its portfolio worldwide—the Istanbul Edition.
Located on the site of the former Berners Hotel in Fitzrovia, the London Edition has 173 wood-paneled rooms, a 24/7 fitness center, a lounge dubbed the Punch Room, and a restaurant called Berner’s Tavern run by Jason Atherton, who created Maze for Gordon Ramsay Holdings.
The hotel is located near the British Museum and Soho and has been a homerun since it opened in September.
Café Royal, London
Café Royal London in its past was the go-to nightspot for celebrities and management aims to get that market back with its painstaking renovation and restoration of the original building and the addition of two other structures. It's just opened six historic suites which we're sure will be a big draw for A-listers.
History here is complemented by the contemporary comforts of Nespresso machines, free Wi-Fi, and Bang & Olufsen entertainment systems.
For more information, visit www.hotelcaferoyal.com.
The Rosewood London (above) just opened in a 1914 Edwardian Belle Epoque building in Holborn. The hotel's wrought-iron gates that lead to an intimate courtyard make an impressive welcome. The Grand Manor House Wing is accessed via a private elevator and its own street entrance, this is the only hotel suite in the world to have its own postcode. Beyond that, the suite has six bedrooms, a dressing chamber, a library, a dining room and several sitting rooms that spread out over 6,318 square feet of living space.
The Garden House, meanwhile, has a garden terrace overlooking the London skyline while the Chancery House has plenty of old-fashioned grandeur.
J.K. Place Roma
The J.K Place Roma opened this summer in the heart of Rome. Occupying a historic building at Via Monte d'Oro 30 just off the Via Condotti, within walking distance to the Spanish Steps, the J.K. Place Roma has chic, contemporary interiors. At the helm is General Manager Samuel Porecca, who created such a successful vibe at the J.K. Place Capri.
Rooms come with rosewood canopy beds or handmade fabric beds, spacious marble bathrooms, plus complimentary mini bar and free wifi. The J.K. Master Room is the largest at 540 square feet. Composed of a living room and separate bedroom, the suite is decked out with custom furniture by Architect Michele Bonan.
Ma&Ma Grand Hotel Resort, Sardinia, Italy
What’s so unique about the Ma&Ma Grand Hotel Resort (above) is its location: inside the Archipelago of La Maddalena, a scattering of islets in the Bonifacio Strait that’s been a National Park since 1996. With the turquoise water and lush vegetation, you’d think you were in the tropics. The resort’s official website promises you’ll experience the “deep, inner and exclusive Sardinia.” Opened earlier this summer, the five-star Ma&MA Grand Hotel Resort was designed in an eco-conscious fashion to blend into the surrounding landscape.
Each of the 92 rooms comes with a verandah for taking in the sea views, marble mosaic bathrooms, toiletries by Acqua di Parma, and ultra-comfortable beds wrapped in satin sheets. The restaurant focuses on local cuisine and seasonal produce, and the spa has some cool features: a thalassotherapy Magnapool, a Finnish Bio-Sauna, a Turkish bath, aromatherapy showers, a “Float Room,” and a fitness center by Technogym.
Waldorf Astoria Berlin
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts opened the highly anticipated (and long-delayed) Waldorf Astoria Berlin (above) in January.
The hotel has 232 guest rooms and suites across 32 floors (as well as the highest presidential suite in the whole city on the top floor), and is part of the new Zoofenster skyscraper, designed by German architect Christoph Mäckler. The hotel’s interior design has been conceived by Parisian agency Inter Art Etudes with plenty of Art Deco flare.
Room with a view: The Presidential Suite has 360-degree views of Berlin’s City West—even from the bathroom. The hotel’s location puts guests on the doorstep of some of the city’s most famous tourist attractions, including the historic church, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, built as a memorial to Kaiser Wilhelm I, the first man to become emperor of a united Germany. The city’s premium shopping boulevard, Kurfürstendamm, is only minutes away and is home to many designer fashion houses.
Guests can choose from five different dining venues, the most exclusive of which is Les Solistes, where the menu was thought up by Michelin-starred Chef Pierre Gagnaire. And be sure to visit the Guerlain Beauty Spa, the only Guerlain outpost in Germany.
Aman Canal Grande, Venice
Amanresorts got a foothold in the city of canals in an historic building; we hear rooms are huge and so are the bathrooms. Decor is simple and contemporary and clean, just what we Aman junkies expect. They're complemented by some amazing ornamentation that's been kept intact, such as 18th-century frescoed ceilings and rococo mirrors.
Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna
The Palais Hansen Kempinski (above) opened in March. Originally built as a hotel for the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873, the building is located in the heart of the city, not far from St. Stephen’s Cathedral. In its new life, it has two restaurants, a winter garden, a spa, and what’s expected to be happening nightlife spots. (including a Cigar Lounge). Decorated with fine fabrics and furnishings in a contemporary style, the rooms come with all the creature comforts (like a pillow menu and espresso machine).
Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg, Russia
Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace St. Petersburg (above) is filled with history; the triangular building was originally conceived in 1817 by Auguste Montferrand as the private address of the city's elite close to the Winter Palace. During the renovation, the original concept and aesthetic was studied and many elements were maintained. Neo-classic materials were acquired from across Europe (like gilt mirrors and marble fixtures) to keep the ambiance in sync. The hotel has several dining options: In the Tea Lounge, styled as a winter garden filled with trees and flowers, guests can try traditional Russian specialities, while locals (in turn) can opt for modern interpretations of old favorites.
The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland
The Chedi Andermatt (above) opens in December, and we say the ski resort is set to become a new Grande Dame hotel for Switzerland. The best suite to book is the Gemsstock Suite, which spans an expansive 1,400 square feet. All rooms and suites are on the third and fourth floors. The best views are of the Gemsstock mountain and toward Hospental, facing the direction of St. Gotthard Pass. All rooms have dedicated ski butlers, as well.
The Chedi’s pool and relaxation area includes day beds and couches for lounging.Upon opening, the resort will be able to arrange over-the-top requests for guests, such as customized day excursions, sightseeing in Lucerne, guided hiking trips to a cheese-making farm and concert tickets for the Lucerne Festival.
InterContinental Marseille, Hotel Dieu
Housed in the centuries-old Hotel Dieu, a landmark historic monument on the Old Port, InterContinental Marseille, Hotel Dieu (right) opened as the city’s “first true five-star hotel”—and as one of the world’s hottest hotel openings in 2013.
Luxury Travel Advisor got a sneak peek on a “hard hat tour” at the end of 2012, and we were blown away by the scale of the project. The historic structure—which commands incredible views over the city and port—has been meticulously renovated so that historic details—like a 12-century chapel and its gorgeous mosaic—are preserved, highlighted, and harmonized with the contemporary interior design.
There’s a light-filled fitness center; two restaurants overseen by chef Lionel Levy of Une Table au Sud fame; a beautiful and spacious spa by Clarins; and a sprawling outdoor terrace. Booking tips: 72 of the 194 rooms have panoramic views of the Old Port, and 33 have private terraces.