The Most Romantic Hotels in Europe 2015
For some, a hotel is simply a place to crash away from home, but at Travel + Leisure, we believe that hotels can be a reason to travel in and of themselves. Exceptional properties can inspire you to reflect on what’s important, encourage you to bask in the glow of a new romance, or reignite the passion that so often gets dampened by daily routine. That’s definitely true of the places on our annual World’s Best list. Take the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como for example—one T+L reader called it, “a perfect location with ambiance to refresh your soul and recharge your batteries,” while another wrote, “Thank you Grand Hotel Tremezzo for restoring clarity to my life.”
For many travelers, Europe is the romantic destination of choice. A number of the hotels that received the highest marks for romance in our survey are set in gorgeous Continental locales: Paris, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast all have several contenders vying for the title of the world’s best hotel. What they’ve got in common: historic quarters, lavish interiors, world-class cuisine, and phenomenal service. Even if you never venture out to explore, a stay at one of these hotels can provide all the diversion you need.
Our survey asked readers to rate hotels they’ve visited based on location, rooms, service, and overall value, as well as romance. Many readers shared stories of getting engaged, going on babymoons, or celebrating a milestone anniversary at charming properties. The next time you’re looking to celebrate love, consider booking a room at one. And don’t forget to vote for your own favorites in the 2016 World’s Best Awards.
No. 23: Baglioni Hotel Luna, Venice, Italy
Just steps from Piazza San Marco, the 900-year-old Baglioni Hotel Luna is the oldest in Venice. Aristocratic décor provides the backdrop for a romantic stay in the heart of the city, where guests feel transported to another era. One T+L reader commented, “if you want luxury, a great breakfast buffet, and to be treated like royalty, this is your hotel.”
No. 22: Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy
T+L readers raved about the Grand Hotel Tremezzo on Lake Como, calling it “the true meaning of la dolce vita” and declaring that it exceeded all expectations. The Art Nouveau palazzo is the definition of Italian luxury, with three pools, opulent rooms and suites, a spa, five restaurants and bars, a Venetian motor launch that ferries guests around the lake, and warm service. One reader noted, “the staff is extremely attentive and they guess your wants and desires without you even voicing them!” For the ultimate romantic experience, they can arrange a private candlelit dinner on the property’s most scenic spot overlooking the mountains and Lake Como.
No. 21: Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy
One of the Mediterranean’s most storied hotels, Le Sirenuse opened in 1951 and played host to John Steinbeck, who wrote about it in an article for Harpar’s Bazaar. What started as the Sersale family’s summer home has become one of the world’s best hotels—now run by a second generation of Sersales. The 18th-century villa is furnished with antiques and boasts hand-painted ceramic tile floors; most rooms have a private balcony overlooking the bay. Be sure to take advantage of the al fresco champagne-and-oyster bar and the vintage wooden boat—the best way to see the Amalfi Coast. As one T+L reader put it, “a sunset signature cocktail with your beloved will imprint on your memory forever.”
No. 20: Grand Hotel Quisisana, Capri
The Grand Hotel Quisisana, on the idyllic island of Capri, dates back to 1845 and is a model of old-world glamor. Rooms and suites are decorated in shades of white, meant to contrast with the gleaming turquoise water just outside. Guests can dine by candlelight in the Rendez-Vous restaurant or savor fresh fish and pasta al fresco by the pool.
No. 19: Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris
With its distinctive red awnings and stately façade, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée is a Paris institution. A recent $268 million renovation brought it up to date, ensuring the grand dame is as chic today as it was when it opened in 1911. The Alain Ducasse restaurant juxtaposes futuristic metallic banquettes with classic moldings and sparkling chandeliers. The bar, with its glowing glass countertop, is the place to see and be seen. Guests can indulge in spa treatments at the Dior Institut, which incorporate the brand’s beauty products. As one T+L reader put it, “this is the standard that all hotels must strive to reach.”
No. 18: 41 Hotel, London
Tucked away behind London’s Buckingham Palace, 41 Hotel resembles a British club, with mahogany paneling, chandeliers, leather club chairs, and individually-designed rooms and suites sporting a black-and-white color scheme. T+L readers raved about the staff, saying they “really go the extra mile” and “interact as if you were in a private members club.” The boutique hotel received high marks for romance—one reader even said, “my wonderful fiancé proposed here and it couldn’t have been more perfect.”
No. 16: Hotel Hassler Roma, Rome
For five-star luxury in the Eternal City, Hotel Hassler Roma is unparalleled. Perched atop the Spanish Steps, this 1930s palazzo offers panoramic views of the city’s terra-cotta rooftops. The 96-room hotel epitomizes classic style (gilded furniture, silks, antiques, and plenty of marble); the Michelin-starred restaurant, Imàgo, serves inventive cuisine with views of Saint Peter’s Basilica. One T+L reader gushed that the hotel is “superb in every way.”
No. 14: Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy
If soaking in a heated infinity pool on a bluff overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea sounds like your idea of romance, book a room at the Belmond Hotel Caruso in Ravello, a quaint village on the Amalfi Coast. The pool is just the beginning—the hotel is set in an 11th-century palace with terraced gardens, and was a favorite of celebrities such as Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo, and Jackie Kennedy. Savor your morning cappuccino on the terrace overlooking the sea, then enjoy a complimentary boat ride around the coast. As one T+L reader opined, “this is as close to Eden as it gets.”
No. 13: Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
Just steps from the Champs Elysées, the Four Seasons Hotel George V caters to travelers who won’t settle for anything but the best. The property’s 244 rooms and suites feature classic furnishings in soft pastels, and marble bathrooms with soaking tubs. Some even have a terrace with views of the Eiffel Tower. One reader noted, “the florals on display get you every time you walk in.” Be sure to book dinner à deux at Le Cinq, helmed by acclaimed chef Christian Lesquer.
No. 12: St. Regis Florence, Italy
In a city famous for its world-class art, no hotel embodies that romantic culture better than the St. Regis Florence. Filippo Brunelleschi designed the medieval landmark in 1432, and rooms feature restored hand-painted frescoes, high coffered ceilings, tapestries, and brocade fabric. Some have balconies overlooking the Arno. Butler service and Bentley tours of Tuscany ensure guests will have everything they could possibly want for an amorous getaway.
No. 11: Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Venice
The legendary property on Venice’s Grand Canal exudes Old World luxury, thanks to a $55 million restoration by Starwood. This brought the opulent Gritti Palace into the 21st century while still preserving its historic cachet. “It really felt like a palace inside,” one reader remarked. Picture: silk wall coverings with 18th-century patterns, Murano chandeliers, gleaming terrazzo floors, antique furniture, marble bathrooms. “It emphasized the entire mood of Venice,” another reader said. It’s a standout in a supremely romantic city.
No. 10: Château de la Chèvre d’Or, Eze Village, France
Perched on a seaside cliff between Nice and Monaco, the Château de la Chèvre d’Or exemplifies the glamor of the French Riviera. The stone-walled Relais & Château property grew from a restaurant opened in 1953 into a 37-room hotel that has drawn movie stars such as Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Taylor, and Robert de Niro. The Michelin two-starred restaurant entices diners with stunning views of the Mediterranean and exquisite tasting menus.
No. 9: Hotel Alfonso XIII, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Sevilla, Spain
Built in 1929 for the king that gave the property its name, Hotel Alfonso XIII, A Luxury Collection Hotel recently received a $25 million renovation under Starwood, ensuring its position as Seville’s most stunning hotel. Inside, Moorish architecture is complimented by colorful tiles, stained glass, and silk-draped walls. T+L readers took note of its beautiful design, great location, and excellent amenities, all major factors in a flawless getaway with your beau.
No. 8: Hôtel Le Bristol, Paris
A lavish yet discreet palace hotel on the right bank of Paris, Le Bristol received rave reviews from T+L readers, who praised the unparalleled service and attention to detail. One couple who stayed there for their 40th anniversary appreciated how the staff went out of their way to make their stay extra memorable, filling the room with champagne, cookies, and red rose petals forming a heart on the bed. All guests can expect classic elegance—Louis XV and XVI furnishings, a Michelin-starred restaurant, and an excellent cocktail bar.
No. 7: Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Budapest
A landmarked Art Nouveau building houses the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace. Several readers praised its central location at the base of the Chain Bridge and the Danube River, in addition to impeccable service, excellent food, and atmosphere. One reader claimed, “it has the most beautiful lobby area and entrance of any hotel in the world.” The city has plenty of cultural attractions to offer, and the hotel can even arrange a once-in-a-lifetime private dinner and concert at the Hungarian State Opera House. How’s that for a date night?
No. 6: Le Meurice, Paris
When it comes to romance, you can’t go wrong in the city of light, but if you really want to do it right, book a room at Le Meurice, one of the most luxurious hotels not just in Paris but in the whole world. One T+L reader called it “the most romantic room I’ve ever shared with a lover.” The grand dame near the Louvre received a facelift by Philippe Starck in 2007, bringing its Rococo aesthetic into the 21st century. Spacious rooms and suites feature furnishings inspired by Louis XVI and views of the Eiffel Tower or the Tuileries. Master chef Alain Ducasse helms both of the splurge-worthy restaurants.
No. 5: Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Istanbul
It’s hard to beat the location of the Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul at Sultanahmet, in the middle of the old city and within walking distance of the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and Topkapi Palace. Set in a former prison, it’s decidedly more comfortable now, with 65 plush rooms and suites, a rooftop terrace, and a verdant courtyard. Guests look forward to the impeccable service the Four Seasons brand is known for—readers took note of its hospitality.
No. 4: Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Italy
Guests staying at the Belmond Hotel Cipriani will find themselves whisked off the mainland by boat to the hotel’s private dock on Giuddeca Island, just five minutes from Piazza San Marco but eons away from the crowds of Venice. Housed in a 19th-century palazzo, the hotel’s 95 rooms and suites feature ornate décor, including antiques, parquet floors, and Murano chandeliers. Guests can swim in the Olympic-sized pool, play tennis, and enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner on the terrace overlooking the lagoon.
No. 3: Il San Pietro di Positano, Italy
Perched atop a cliff on Italy’s mind-bogglingly gorgeous Amalfi Coast, Il San Pietro di Positano is a favorite retreat of stars like George Clooney and Julia Roberts. The Relais & Châteaux property received high marks in our World’s Best Awards, with readers praising the location, service, and overall vibe. Book a room with a private terrace overlooking the Bay of Naples, enjoy the superb views from the rooftop garden and bar, and take advantage of the beachfront access and sunbathing patio—reachable by an elevator that descends through the cliff.
No. 2: Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, Istanbul
East meets West in Istanbul, and at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus, you get the best of both worlds. Set in the 19th-century Ottoman palace along the riverfront, the property delivers understated luxury and excellent service. Elegant rooms decorated in neutral colors channel a sophisticated European hotel, while a traditional Turkish hammam draws on the region’s rich heritage. The property earned high marks for romance, with one reader calling it “Istanbul’s star.”
No. 1: Castello di Casole—A Timbers Resort, Italy
For anyone who harbors fantasies of reliving Under the Tuscan Sun, this stunning estate near Siena is the place to go. It earned rave reviews from readers—one of whom called it “an absolute Tuscan dream.” The 4,200-acre property dates back to the 10th century and was home to director Luchino Vistonti in the 1960s. For the ultimate romantic Italian getaway, book a villa and spend the days exploring the property’s vineyards, savoring rustic cuisine (the hotel’s sustainable dining program is next-level), and indulging in treatments at the spa.