The Best Resort Hotels in Europe
Whether it’s a thousand-year-old castle, a chic new Alpine resort, or a grande dame hotel, each of the properties that made our list of the best resorts in Europe has an incredible sense of place. At these properties, travelers can experience the best the country and culture has to offer without ever leaving the grounds.
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 and facilities, location, service, food and drink, and overall value. Properties were categorized as city or resort based on their locations.
Four of the category’s top 10 properties are in Italy—indicative of the country’s global, perennial appeal. Readers loved the beauty and glamour of the Amalfi Coast, where Hotel Santa Caterina, a 1904 Belle Époque gem that was once the haunt of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, and Palazzo Avino, an ornate 12th-century palazzo, offer enviable views of the Mediterranean Sea. Another crowd-pleaser: JK Place Capri, a 22-room white villa on the cliffs above the Bay of Naples that feels more like a chic home away from home than a hotel.
Switzerland was the only other destination that took multiple spots on the roster—two, to be exact. Readers deemed the elegant, four-year-old Alpina Gstaad worthy of the mountain town that is so popular among Europe’s ski set. Meanwhile, in Lausanne, the Hôtel Beau-Rivage Palace is a style scene of a different kind: the former residence of Coco Chanel, it drew votes with its top-notch service, atmospheric interiors complete with stained glass and murals, and acres of gardens overlooking Lake Geneva and the Alps.
That sense of place can most certainly be found at Ashford Castle in Ireland, a medieval fortification once owned by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness that offers opportunities to golf, learn falconry, or sip pints by a pub fireplace. Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden, Germany, has an expansive spa that has cutting-edge beauty and health treatments and programs that are appropriate to the area, which has been a wellness retreat since Roman times. Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
No. 10: Palazzo Avino, Ravello, Italy
No. 9: Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland
No. 8: J.K. Place Capri, Italy
No. 7: Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi, Italy
No. 6: Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland
No. 5: Katikies Hotel, Santorini, Greece
No. 2 (tie): Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany
No. 2 (tie): Beau-Rivage Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland
No. 2 (tie): Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland
No. 1: Hotel Castello di Casole–A Timbers Resort, Casole d'Elsa, Italy
Amid the olive groves and rolling hills of Tuscany, this 4,200-acre estate is like a small village that allows guests to take a dip into rural Italian life. The 10th-century castle, once the home of film director Luchino Visconti, is now a 41-suite retreat filled with oil paintings and reclaimed terra-cotta, complete with a pool terrace and a wine cellar that’s been converted into a seven-room spa. For even deeper immersion, a clutch of farmhouse villas are scattered throughout the peaceful vineyards—private homes for spending days (or weeks) under the Tuscan sun.