Words by Renae Spinks
Europe offers up a host of luxury hotels as varied and beautiful as its landscapes. Along with rich histories reflected in the period architecture, these 5-star stays go above and beyond in service and amenity. From incredible views to outstanding heritage, here's a taste of some of Europe's most luxurious hotels.
Shangri-La Paris, France
Picture: Shangri-La Paris
If it’s a view of the Eiffel Tower you want, you cannot do better than the Shangri-La Paris. La Tour is so close, it seems as if you could almost reach out and touch it! In fact, some rooms even have direct views from their marble bathtubs.
While the views may be enough to sway you to book a room, rest assured the rest of the Shangri-La Paris more than lives up to expectations. It's no wonder as this palatial hotel used to be the former home of Napoleon's grand-nephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte. The royal treatment comes standard across all of its 101 rooms and suites.
Dine in the one-Michelin-star Shang Palace, the two-Michelin-star L’Abeille, or beneath the Murano chandelier at La Bauhinia. Take a dip in the stunningly beautiful swimming pool, or let your troubles melt away at CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La.
Nearby: The exclusive fashion designers of Avenue Montaigne and Avenue George V.
Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace, Hungary
Picture: Four Seasons
Luxury lovers with an affection for Art Nouveau need not look any further than the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest. Completed in 1906, it sits at the end of the Chain Bridge with views over the Danube, Old City and hills of Buda.
There are 179 rooms, including 19 suites with vaulted ceilings and private balconies. The interiors have been lovingly resorted by wrought-iron specialists, silversmiths, stained-glass makers, mosaicists and other artisans to ensure the history of the building was maintained.
Kollazs Brasserie & Bar offers creative cuisine and Hungarian wine; or settle into The Bar and Lobby Lounge for cocktails beneath the historic Pava Udvar’s glass cupola. For the ultimate indulgence, visit the spa for the Omorovicza Gold Sugar Scrub – a golden sugar body polish and massage with ylang-ylang oil enriched with gold particles.
Nearby: The opulent Hungarian State Opera House.
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Hotel Metropole, Monaco
Picture: Hotel Metropole Monaco
Monaco is known for its high rollers, and the Hotel Metropole has seen its fair share over the years. It was built in 1886 in the Belle Epoque style – something the current hotel continues to uphold with its new concept that draws on this rich history. From the standard rooms to the Signature Suites, all guests are treated to a lavish stay that aims to be a destination in itself. The crowning glory of the 126 rooms and suites is the 2,500 square-foot Suite Carre D’Or penthouse, which has sweeping views of Monte Carlo, the casino gardens and the Mediterranean.
Dine in Joel Robuchon’s two-Michelin-star restaurant or his Yoshi Japanese restaurant. Alternatively, enjoy an aperitif in The Lobby Bar. Laze in the Karl Lagerfeld designed pool area, with its fresco-styled glass installation that portrays Ulysses’ journey. Or envelop yourself in the glittering cocoon that is the Metropole SPA. It even features a hammam.
This luxurious hotel also features a prime viewing position for the F1 Grand Prix, one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Visit during the race and you could feel the wind in your hair as these high performance racers speed past.
Nearby: The legendary Monte Carlo Casino; and the F1 Grand Prix circuit.
Rocco Forte Villa Kennedy, Germany
The strains of Strauss and the quantum mechanical musings Max Planck once rang out in the walls of Frankfurt’s Villa Kennedy. Initially Villa Speyer, the hotel was the home of the influential Speyer banking family, who entertained composer Richard Strauss. It later served as the Max Planck Institute for biophysics. These days it houses 127 rooms, 36 suites to please the discerning traveller.
You can dine at the Italian Gusto restaurant, or take afternoon tea (or something stronger) at the JFK Bar. The Villa Spa has four levels, including a garden, treatment rooms, beauty salon, pool, Jacuzzi, Finnish sauna, steam room, relaxation suite, gym and fitness studio.
Oh yeah, if you’re wondering about all the Kennedy references, the hotel sits on Kennedyallee, the road named in honour of the US President’s visit in 1963.
Nearby: The beautiful Opera House and St Batholomew's cathedral.