Introduction | Secluded Retreats | City Lights | Into the Wilderness | Along the Shore | Best Values | Urban Classics | Country Grandeur | Beachfront Property | Rustic Lodges | Inns and Country Houses | Overwater Bungalows | Private Islands
Castle Murray House, Ireland
Named for the nearby ruins of the ancient Celtic fortress, the 10-room hotel in one of Ireland's most scenic and least visited areas—the rugged Donegal Peninsula—isn't a castle at all. Still, the culinary know-how and Irish hospitality are worthy of a king and queen. Dinner draws gastronomes from as far away as Dublin, some arriving by helicopter. St. John's Point, Dunkinnely, Donegal, Ireland; 353-73/37022; www.castlemurray.com; doubles from $110, including breakfast.
Château de Talhouet, France
This 16th-century granite hotel in Brittany may not be for lovers only, but it certainly is tailored to them. Service is whisperingly discreet. The eight guest rooms are spacious. And the 50-acre park, planted with ancient wide-waisted oak, beech, and chestnut trees, must have been designed for lovers to get lost in—deliberately. Rochefort-en-Terre, France; 33-2/97-43-34-72; www.chateaudetalhouet.com; doubles from $98.
Hotel Linslerhof, Germany
When Frau Brigitte von Boch, scion of the Villeroy & Boch ceramics company, remodeled her family's centuries-old manor house, she kept the best parts: tree-trimmed paths, a stable full of horses, traditional German prints. Then she added the sort of luxuries she knows all about, like Villeroy & Boch bathroom fixtures. Amble under the chestnut trees, or just cuddle up with a book and your mate in front of a roaring fire. Ueberherrn, Germany; 49-68/368-070; www.linslerhof.de; doubles from $95.
Hotel Aliki, Greece
So prized is Sími—a vest-pocket island in the Dodecanese with a mere 2,500 residents (but an incredible 68 monasteries)—that the Greek government has awarded it national-monument status. No place embodies the island's Neoclassical architecture more eloquently than the Hotel Aliki, a 15-room 1895 mansion just steps from the Aegean. Sími, Greece; 30-246/71665; www.simi-hotelaliki.gr; doubles from $84, including breakfast.
Hotel Korcula, Croatia
The town of Korcula is a labyrinth of streets and courtyards where terra-cotta roofs color the skyline and balustraded balconies are supported by stone mermaids. The elegant, two-story hotel clings to the medieval city wall. Watch fishing boats on the turquoise water below, and imagine it's the French Riviera, circa 1950. Korcula, Croatia; 385-20/711-078; www.korcula.net; doubles from $70.