The Top 10 Resort Hotels in Europe
Historic manor homes in the Irish countryside. Adults-only retreats along the Amalfi Coast. Ski retreats beloved by the jet set in St. Moritz. This year’s best resort hotels in Europe may differ in style, size, and location, but all share a common thread: exacting service and old-world grandeur, with the ability to transport guests to another, more civilized era.
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 2018 World's Best Awards
Dramatic scenery also goes a long way toward creating a sense of adventure and escape — and this year’s winners have some pretty awe-inspiring backdrops. Badrutt’s Palace Hotel and Carlton Hotel St. Moritz are both set in the postcard-perfect Swiss town of St. Moritz, Switzerland, home to emerald forests, snowcapped Alpine peaks, and glittering lakes. There’s also Il San Pietro di Positano, a celeb-favorite hideaway overlooking the Bay of Positano. It is the only hotel in the area with a private beach — let alone one reached by an elevator carved into a cliff. “The location is remarkable,” said one fan of the family-run property, which opened in 1970. “The rooms are fabulous. The service is fantastic. Get the point?”
We certainly do. The finest resorts go above and beyond to offer guest experiences that are authentic to their place. Take Inverlochy Castle Hotel, an 1863 Highland estate a few miles from the base of Ben Nevis mountain. Here, guests can try their hand at traditional Scottish-country pastimes like falconry, skeet shooting, and even sheepdog herding.
Meanwhile, the Six Senses Douro Valley, in Portugal’s northern wine region, places its focus on a holistic approach to well-being. Here, guests do aerial yoga among the trees; indulge in locally driven spa treatments (think lemon wraps with fruit from the gardens); and relax in outdoor meditation pods scattered throughout the forest.
Read on to find out what European resort hotel claimed the winning spot.
10. J.K. Place, Capri, Italy
9. The Alpina, Gstaad, Switzerland
8. Carlton Hotel, St. Moritz, Switzerland
7. Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St. Moritz, Switzerland
6. Sheen Falls Lodge, County Kerry, Ireland
5. Il San Pietro di Positano, Italy
4. Borgo Egnazia, Savelletri di Fasano, Italy
3. Six Senses Douro Valley, Lamego, Portugal
2. Inverlochy Castle Hotel, Torlundy, Scotland
1. Ballyfin, County Laois, Ireland
For the royal treatment, look no further than this Regency mansion near the Slieve Bloom Mountains, an hour and a half east of Dublin. With just 20 rooms set on 614 acres, the Relais & Châteaux property was formerly a grand country estate, and it’s a great place to fulfill all your Downton Abbey fantasies. Said one respondent of the princely property: “Ballyfin is hands down the most spectacular hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Its impeccable design, rich history, and warm staff made the trip absolutely unforgettable.” After strolling the manicured gardens, get a different perspective on the sprawling estate by getting a butler to row you out on the lake. Back at the hotel, curl up with a book in the library, take a swim in the 45-foot-long indoor pool, browse 17th-century Flemish tapestries in the Tapestry Room, and sip afternoon tea from Fabergé china in an original Turner conservatory.
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2018.