By Siobhan Reid
July 10, 2019
Courtesy J.K. Place Firenze

Many of Europe’s best city hotels have the built-in benefit of centuries’ worth of history. You see it in the lavish design, the white-glove service, and the profound sense of place that emanates from the walls. But far from resting on their laurels, these hotels are in constant reinvention mode, creating amenities and experiences that go above and beyond to defy guest expectations. For this reason, Europe’s top city hotels continue to impress.

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 ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Related: The World's Best Awards 2019

Several grandes dames made it onto this year’s list, including the Peninsula Paris, which earned the No. 7 spot. Set inside a classic late-19th-century French building near the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées, the stunning hotel — first opened in 1908 — has hosted notable figures like Marcel Proust, James Joyce, and George Gershwin, who wrote An American in Paris while residing at the hotel.

Readers also loved the sense of history at Hotel Bristol Warsaw (No. 4), an old-world beauty dating back to 1901. With its Art Nouveau interiors, atmospheric bars and restaurants, and city views (which include the Presidential Palace next door), the landmark property — housed inside one of the only buildings to have survived the Nazi occupation — has endured as one of the city’s preeminent stays. “It is one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in,” gushed one guest. “Everything was perfect.”

Related: The Top 15 Cities in Europe

But plenty of newcomers (at least by European standards) also made it onto the list, like La Réserve Paris Hôtel & Spa, this year’s runner-up and last year’s winner. Despite its historic address inside a 19th-century mansion, the boutique hotel didn’t swing open its doors until 2015. Still, a sense of history pervades the opulent property, whose halls and guest quarters sport lavish touches like velvet drapery, silk damask walls, and herringbone parquet floors. “This hotel stands above all the rest in Paris,” wrote one respondent.

Curious to see what property earned the winning spot? Read on.

10. Ham Yard Hotel, London

Courtesy of Ham Yard Hotel

Score: 94.24

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9. 41, London

Courtesy of Hotel 41

Score: 94.46

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8. Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Score: 94.57

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7. The Peninsula Paris

Courtesy of The Peninsula Hotels

Score: 94.74

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6. The Milestone Hotel, London

Courtesy of The Milestone

Score: 95.33

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5. Le Meurice, Paris

Courtesy of Le Meurice

Score: 95.44

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4. Hotel Bristol, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Warsaw

Courtesy of Hotel Bristol, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Warsaw

Score: 95.60

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3. The Lanesborough, London

Courtesy of The Lanesborough

Score: 95.80

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2. La Réserve Paris Hôtel & Spa

Courtesy of La Réserve Paris Hotel & Spa

Score: 96.00

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1. J.K. Place Firenze, Florence

Courtesy J.K. Place Firenze

Score: 97.27

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You’ll feel like you’re staying in the private home of a Florentine aristocrat at this stylish boutique hotel on the lively Piazza Santa Maria Novella. The property’s GM, Claudio Meli, and his team have cultivated an atmosphere of warmth and intimacy that belies the hotel’s stately bones. The sumptuous rooms have four-poster beds with heavy drapery and travertine bathrooms, while the public spaces feature a panoply of antiques, framed charcoal drawings, and art books. The breakfast spread alone — fresh pastries, scrambled eggs, and pillowy slices of French toast — is worth getting out of bed for. “Outstanding,” commented one reader on his stay.

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2019.