Imagine a room with a view and a decadent dinner worthy of the local duke. If that’s your ultimate European experience, then consider the 400-year-old Hôtel Château Eza, in the French Riviera. The 11-room coastal château, which is located next to the ancient rock walls of a medieval village, once belonged to a prince—and it’s now home to a Michelin-starred chef.
That winning combination of a stellar location and world-class dining is surely one reason the Hôtel Château Eza was voted one of the best hotels in Europe, according to Travel + Leisure readers in the annual World’s Best Awards survey. Other winning hotels range from a Renaissance villa to a recently renovated property with panoramic lakeside vistas. All together, the top 20 hotels are a veritable wish list for Europhiles.
Americans are doing more than wishing about travel to Europe this year, however. In a recent TripAdvisor survey, 51 percent of U.S. respondents said they plan to visit the Continent this summer, up from 42 percent last year. And according to the American Society of Travel Agents, Americans’ favorite European destinations are still the classics: London, Paris, and Rome, with Italy ranking as the favorite country.
Travel+Leisure readers agree: in the list of the best hotels in Europe, Italy and France rise to the top—both destinations have six winners each. In Italy, the Amalfi Coast stole the show. Ranked No. 3 is Le Sirenuse, a restored villa in Positano once frequented by John Steinbeck; now the 63-room hotel has a Champagne-and-oyster bar and a small fleet of boats at the ready for sightseeing.
Not all of Europe’s best hotels come with Le Sirenuse’s $680 per night room rate. The Four Seasons Hotel Dublin—with English country accents in oversize rooms—offers rates starting at $233 a night.
While Ireland is generally a good deal (as are Spain and Greece), you’ll also find some great values in France. The highest-ranking affordable hotel in Europe is the Domaine des Hauts de Loire, a 19th-century hunting lodge on 178 forested acres; it’s less than $250 a night, which means you’ll want to splurge on hotel-arranged hot-air balloon rides and tours of neighboring châteaux.
But which European hotel is ranked No. 1? Read on for the winners.