The Best City Hotels in Europe in 2016
The great cities of Europe are beautiful and complex, repositories of fine art and monumental architecture, home to vibrant and varied dining scenes, and magnets for tourists from around the globe.
Accordingly, the top hotels in cities such as Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Budapest are gems of the industry. Whether it’s an Art Nouveau palace overlooking the Danube, like the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, or a brick mansion with views of London's Kensington Gardens (the Milestone Hotel), the best city hotels in Europe deliver inspiring design, attentive service, and stunning locations.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotels on their rooms/facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort based on their locations.
This year Europe’s top city hotels are largely—though not exclusively—intimate, lesser-known hotels that cater to discerning travelers. The quaint Egerton House Hotel in London, which ranked eighth on the list, charmed readers with its posh Knightsbridge address and thoughtful touches like fresh fruit and flowers in each room. In Paris, La Réserve, which takes the bronze this year, is a tranquil escape near the Champs-Élysées with its own indoor pool and perfumery. It delivers, according to one couple, “the most personal service we have ever encountered.”
This year’s No. 1 winner—41, in London—was praised for its stunning décor, unbeatable location, and staff that treats guests “like family.” Designed like an old-fashioned private club, the 30-room boutique property is tucked behind Buckingham Palace and has all the amenities (free snacks, 24-hour room service) guests could want.
Another trend on this year’s list: new and renovated hotels that embody the best of their cities. Readers loved the music-themed Aria Hotel in Budapest, a city that is in the middle of a design revolution. Paris mainstay Le Bristol is fresh off a $130 million renovation that accentuated its Eiffel Tower views and enhanced its penthouse suites.
Back in London, the 18-month redo of the Lanesborough has made it even grander; it features crystal chandeliers and butlers that can be summoned via iPad. “Once you stay here,” said one happy past guest, “there is no other hotel to consider.”
No. 15: Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
No. 14: St. Regis Florence, Italy
No. 13: Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest, Hungary
No. 12: Fairmont Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Hamburg, Germany
No. 11: Hotel Maria Cristina, the Luxury Collection, San Sebastián, Spain
No. 10: Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
No. 9: Aria Hotel Budapest, Hungary
No. 8: The Egerton House Hotel, London
No. 7: The Lanesborough, London
No. 6: Villa Cora, Florence, Italy
No. 5: Le Bristol, Paris
No. 4: The Goring, London
No. 3: La Réserve Paris Hotel, Spa & Apartments, Paris
No. 2: The Milestone Hotel, London
No. 1: 41, London
“The perfect hotel, down to every detail,” mused one reader about 41, and it’s difficult to disagree. Like a private English club, this 30-room boutique is all mahogany paneling and chandeliers, but the attentive staff “make you feel like you are visiting a close friend or family,” as another reader put it. The fifth-floor den, with fully stocked bookshelves and antique leather armchairs arranged around a fireplace, is a gathering place at any hour. The hotel sits opposite Buckingham Palace’s Royal Mews—close enough to the action, but blissfully off the tourist track.