If shabby-chic was the prevailing hotel style of the aughts, this decade may yet be defined by rustic luxury—an aesthetic built on historical features, industrial touches, recycled materials, and natural tones and textures combined with the finest bed linens, service, and locations.
In Europe, several properties are pioneers of the genre, and here are a few of our favorites.
Mother Goose, Utrecht, Netherlands
Utrecht’s moment in the spotlight as the location of the Tour De France’s grand depart this year may have passed, but this unsung city is brimming with things to see and do, and rivals Antwerp for its design credentials. The city’s newest hotel, Mother Goose, is all bare bricks and distressed wood with a smart Dutch sheen—you’d never guess the building was once two squats. Book a room on the ‘Black Goose’ floor for a moody color scheme and views of Domotoren, the highest church tower in the country.
San Giorgio, Mykonos, Greece
Created by the founder of the Design Hotels brand, this laidback 32-room hotel has embraced the textures and trinkets of its location, in a classic whitewashed building on a rocky beach on the Mykonos coast. The wooden bathing platforms and ocean pool have become a hub for the island’s fancy boho types, while inside, hand-made trinkets, simple hammocks and tapestry cushions form an Insta-worthy backdrop for fun in the sun with a stylish set.
Monteverdi, Tuscany, Italy
The new spa at this Tuscan village retreat (pictured above) is a sigh-worthy vision of earthy tones in an indoor-outdoor building, tucked into the hillside in this former medieval village. Designer Ilaria Miani was partly inspired by the Japanese school of Wabi-Sabi in creating a spot that caters as much to serenity seekers as style mavens, with mottled walls, rush matting rugs, and plenty of wood, in the form of ancient beams and trees. Accommodation in the 12 rooms of the boutique hotel are similarly decorated, with copper baths and wire-frame beds providing points of interest in carefully pared down rooms.
Durslade House at Hauser & Worth, Somerset, U.K.
The 18th century agricultural architecture creates a rambling and rickety charm at this old farmhouse restoration, on the grounds of the stunning Hauser & Worth art complex in rural Somerset. The six bedrooms are an innovative mix of bare plastered walls, vintage fabrics, and original features. The panache comes in the form of unique contemporary art from the gallery and stunning reclaimed chandeliers. Although the property is self-catering, it’s possible to book hotel-level service in the form of catered dinners and breakfasts.
Montagne Alternative, Commeire, Switzerland
This small collection of cabins in the Alpine village of Commeire epitomize Swiss attention to detail and brevity. Local craftsmen have revived one dilapidated collection of barns with kitchens made of centuries-old larch wood and clever eco details, setting the historic stone buildings against a streamlined modern style that allows the location—overlooking the rocky mountains of the St. Bernard region—to take center stage.
D'une Île, Le Perche, France
Constant renovation is the mantra of the creative Dutch owners of this farm-turned-inn (pictured above) in the little-known Le Perche region of northern France. Nine cottages feature mid-century furnishings and displays of artistic objets (for sale) on old wooden and chunky tiled floors. A restaurant, in the old cowshed, serves local produce for breakfast or dinner, including loaves of bread marked with the official seal of the region. The effect is like staying with your most insouciantly design-savvy friends.
Emily Mathieson is on the U.K. beat for Travel + Leisure. Based in London, you can follow her at @emilymtraveled.