Delight at the sights of a charming English countryside? Skiing at the Alps? Or swimming and sunbathing in the Mediterranean beaches? Europe seems to have almost everything — a variety of climates, landscapes. and cultures, natural and man-made wonders, as well as some of the world’s ultra-snooty tourist destinations and places to stay. Europe is everyone’s dream vacation for the rest of us, but for the moneyed crowd, the continent is their playground. They won’t have trouble finding the best luxury hotels and resorts. If you’re one of the privileged, you’ve probably stayed (and enjoyed) any of the fine luxury resorts in Europe on our list.
Located in the municipality of Cernobbio, Italy, Villa d’Este used to be the retreat for the members of aristocratic society way back in the 1500s. Situated on the banks of Lake Como, Villa d’Este boasts 152 rooms and two recently-restored private villas. During your stay, don’t miss the famous risotto done by chef Michele Zambanini.
The island resort village of Sveti Stefan in Montenegro has been the playground for the jet-set high society, so there’s little wonder about the luxury hotels and resorts there. But it is the Aman Sveti Stefan that’s the most recommended. Stars such as Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe were guests at the Aman Sveti Stefan way back then. Thankfully, Amanresorts refurbished and reopened the resort in 2011. Unobstructed views of the Adriatic Sea, infinity pool, 58 guestrooms including 8 villas, a spa, and a fitness center are some of the perks the guests will enjoy when staying there.
In a vast, open and beautiful Irish estate in County Laois there is a mansion-turned-resort called the Ballyfin. Guests will see nothing but pure old-world elegance everywhere they look, it’s like stepping back in time. But of course, this five-star hotel and resort won’t be left behind in terms of modern conveniences such as high-definition flat-screen televisions with DVD players, iPod docking stations, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Guests have the opportunity to try out some new activities such as boating and fishing at the nearby lake, picnics, pony and carriage rides, clay pigeon shooting, and even falconry.
In Baden-Baden, Germany the gorgeous estate and luxury resort Brenners Park Hotel has been operating since it opened in 1872. It boasts 100 rooms, a couple of Michelin-starred restaurants, and a lounge where guests are allowed to smoke cigars. Let yourself be pampered with its famous spa (of course) and treatments, gracious hospitality by its staff, and outstanding dining options. Immaculately groomed parks, a sauna, a solarium, a fitness center, and opportunities for biking and hiking are also available at this resort. You will truly feel like royalty while you’re there.
This century-old luxury seaside resort is located in the commune of Eze, France, just next door to Monaco on the Côte d’Azur. It has 28 guest rooms, a couple of infinity pools that face the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, a famous restaurant, impressive service, and an atmosphere of serenity.
St. Moritz in the Swiss Alps is the playground for the rich and famous who come not only to schuss on the fine snowy powders but also to explore the buzzy apres-ski activity there. If tourists have had too much of the skiing, or night partying (or both), they can make a quiet, snug retreat to the Carlton Hotel. It has sixty luxurious suites, an indoor swimming pool, a spa, a gym, restaurants, Wi-Fi access, excellent room service, and a lot more. Plus the hotel offers guests a gorgeous view of the Lake St. Moritz.
Situated on the 4,000-acre ancient wine estate at the foot of the Montalcino hill in Tuscany, Italy, Castiglion del Bosco seems to be a perfect escape. The resort is beautifully and faithfully restored, plus it offers gorgeous views of the rolling hills and valleys. It combines the best of the old (such the traditional osteria) and the new (a golf course and fitness center) avenues for pleasure, relaxation, and wellness. And by the way, fashion tycoon Massimo Ferragamo currently owns this luxurious property.
Well-heeled party animals will probably know (and probably have been to) the Greek island Mykonos, which is famous for its non-stop parties. After a bout of drinking and dancing, visitors depart for a nice and quiet private respite. Cavo Tagoo is one of the best hotels and resorts on the island, and why not? First, it has a great location in the Mediterranean Sea. Second, it has 33 rooms — each with an infinity pool — which are housed in a flawlessly white building in the familiar Greek design. Third, guests will find other facilities like a spa, a boutique, a lounge, and an excellent dining experience.
Courchevel is a famous ski resort in the French Alps and a part of the Les Trois Vallees which is the largest ski area in the world. Cheval Blanc is a luxury lodging that discerning guests will love. Aside from its close proximity to Les Trois Vallees, the Cheval Blanc has a luxury 34-room chalet, an infinity pool, fitness center, a sauna, free Wi-Fi access, high-end shopping (Dior and Louis Vuitton), and a Michelin-starred restaurant named Le 1947 (owned by Chef Yannick Alleno).
Finca Cortesin is an award-winning luxury resort located in the Andalusian town of Malaga, Spain. The stylishly-built building is known for its sheer exclusivity and also for its famous clients. It has 67 suites, a golf course, a clubhouse, top cuisine (Spanish, Italian and Japanese), a bar, and beaches that are rated with a “blue flag” certification.
Enjoy the ultimate pleasure and relaxation at the Grand Hotel Park in Gstaad, one of Switzerland’s biggest and most renowned skiing areas. It has 94 spacious rooms, four restaurants, a cigar lounge, a wine area called the Caveau, a golf course, a spa, and a library. Grand Hotel Park stands in complete contrast to the grander Gstaad Palace — it is more low-profile — yet no less swanky.
Situated on basalt rock cliffs in the resort town of Antibes, France, Hotel du Cap has been operating since 1870 and is still going strong. In fact, its reputation as a first-rate luxury hotel has never been tarnished, and the hotel just keeps getting better after its big-budget 2011 renovation. It has 118 rooms, a spa, haute cuisine dining, a bar, five clay tennis courts, water sports activities, a kid’s club, and a high-end boutique.
Punta Tragara is one of the best luxury resorts in Capri, Italy. First, it is situated atop a cliff and surrounded by amazing Faraglioni (or “stacks,” which are oceanic rocks formed by erosion) and the Marina Piccola bay. Second, it has a lot of rooms — 44 to be exact — each of them has been newly refurbished and have a decidedly bold and modern style. Third, it has excellent amenities and services — an on-site bar and a restaurant, a fitness center, a pool and a spa, high-speed Wi-Fi access, and accommodating multi-lingual staff.
Located on top of the cliff in the village of Firostefani, this sheer exclusive property highlights Santorini’s famous architecture. You will find various Hellenic, Byzantine as well as modern Greek art collections in each of the resort’s five individually-designed hotels and a villa. It’s like you’re in an art gallery or a museum! Aside from the art factor, you will also appreciate the warm hospitality of the staff and services like a free shuttle service, free a la carte breakfast, free cocktail, infinity pools, a bar, and free Wi-Fi. If you swim at its newest pool, you will enjoy the views of the Santorini caldera.