Our 5 Favourite Hotels in Europe
With our newest, most thrilling addition to the family, our travel plans will need to shimmy around slightly to adjust to the demands of a pint-sized adventurer. Cue houses over hotels, beaches over cities and Legoland over wine-tasting. Ok, I won’t totally be forgoing that last one. Before bébé, Sam & I have been lucky enough to stay at some phenomenal hotels during our time in Europe. There have been several standouts I wanted to share. Be warned, you may struggle to venture beyond your room…
The country-bumpkin: The Pig, Brockenhurst, England
Earlier this year Sam & I were absorbing the news of our little one being on the way, with a dash of shock and overwhelming emotion bobbing about. Needing to escape the city, we packed up our overnighters and headed for a weekend at The Pig. It quickly became our favourite hotel of all time. It was everything we ever dreamed of for a countryside break. Roaring fires, forest walks, locally foraged fare and muddy gumboots feature in abundance. Best to check out the post I wrote back in March here as I could go on and on and on here but in short, we have grand plans to turn it into our annual sans-bébé destination for the next couple of years. Sorry, George - we promise we’ll take you to Disneyland soon!
The uber-cool: The Hoxton, Amsterdam
I was last in Amsterdam at the turn of the seasons, autumn’s orange hue retreating in the face of chilly frosts. The Hoxton is a welcome epicentre of cheery warmth, with nighttimes seeing the locals clinking drams of whiskey at the bar underneath the watchful eyes of the city’s ancestors immortalized in Vermeer-esque portraits. Centrally situated in one of the canal’s magnificent multi-story mansions with an exceptional menu, there is literally no reason to leave. If you have friends in town, get them to visit you. It is well worth waking in time for brunch, and I am not ashamed to admit that all of the in-room, cream-laden stationery made it into my overnight bag. No matter how cool your decor at home is, The Hoxton wins.
The super-luxe: Filario Hotel, Lake Como
For those happiest by the pool with spectacular views, this one is for you. After a sweltering few days touring through Modena and Milan, Filario Hotel was like a mirage on the horizon as we arrived at Lake Como at the height of summer last year. Filario is a relatively new kid on the block, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. I swear the bed was bigger than our entire bedroom in London. Lakeside swimming, dining and lazing on your own private balcony does not get better than this. It is well worth saving your pennies for this one. Stock up the kindle, pack more than one swimsuit, don your oversized sunglasses aaannnddd relax. With an Aperol Spritz in hand.
The spa retreat: The Corinthia Hotel, Budapest
As cash-strapped students one winter, Sam & I jumped at the opportunity to visit Budapest with my parents during a bitingly cold January. The Corinthia franchise is well known for its grandeur, and their Budapest establishment definitely leads the pack. The majority of our time was spent padding around in our slippers and fluffy robes over our swimsuits, and then lazing away in one of the many natural hot spring tubs watching our feet prune. Breaks from the spa consisted of snacking on the complimentary dried fruit and chocolate, and ensuring we were around for the five o’clock wine and cheese that was duly rolled out for guests. The beds were palatial and the rooms sumptuous. Be sure to head down the road to the New York Café for a burger one lunchtime - Sam attests it is the best burger he’s had on the continent.
The whacky: Propellor Island Hotel, Berlin
Sam & I found ourselves in Berlin one exceptionally hot Easter. The warm weather called for shorts and the streets were full of chocolate-laden festivities. I’d heard about Propellor Island Hotel from several friends, and was so excited to finally check it out. Each room has a completely different theme, all varieties of weird and wonderful and nothing done by halves. We opted for Room 15 feeling like we were in a futuristic space pod completely covered in mirrors. If you are anything like me, you will spend a lot of time pulling faces and checking out yourself from every angle.
Have you stayed at any of these? I'd love to know what your top five are in the comments below.
With Love, Kate