Other than the destination and your companions, what else can make or break a private luxury trip?
The hotel, of course. We’ve all heard the nightmare stories of unsuspecting vacationers arriving to find the hotel they’ve booked is still under construction; or finding out the ocean view they’ve looking forward to for 6 months has been obscured by a new high-rise.
There are so many ways a hotel that can ruin your vacation before it’s even begun. Luckily, the luxury-travel experts at Insight Guides have chosen the ultimate luxury hotels in Europe, to make sure your own private getaway only exceeds your expectations.
Golden Well Hotel
Prague, Czech Republic
Set in a 16th-century, Renaissance-style building perched on a hillside, the Golden Well is the best hotel in the Czech Republic. With just 19 rooms, it offers a personal and cosy experience. It’s well situated, with Prague Castle, Charles Bridge and the Town Square all in close proximity; the nearest Metro station is a 10-minute walk. Inside, many grand Renaissance features have been perfectly preserved, and three romantic old wooden terraces look out over Prague’s Old Town.
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The Gritti Palace, A Luxury Collection Hotel
Even older than the Golden Well Hotel, The Gritti Palace is centrally located in a 15th-century palazzo on the banks of Venice’s Grand Canal. In a city that’s world renowned for grandeur and luxury, the Gritti stands head and shoulders above the rest. The 82 rooms are grand and impeccably decorated in Venetian style, with high ceilings, antique furniture, chandeliers, Murano glass windows and Renaissance art. Sip Negronis and dine on the terrace, where you can watch the canal carry life back and forth. The inn’s famous past guests include Nobel Prize-winning writer Ernest Hemingway.
At the Hotel 41, the Queen of England is practically a neighbor — her digs at Buckingham Palace are right across the street. Inside the hotel, there are checkered floor tiles, original wooden paneling and relics of the once-great British Empire. Guests are greeted with a complimentary glass of Champagne on arrival. The 28 bedrooms come with high ceilings, luxury marble bathrooms and an extensive pillow menu.
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Le Bristol Paris
Being the premier five-star hotel in a city like Paris is a big deal, yet Le Bristol Paris manages it with consummate ease. Younger than its three counterparts on this list, the hotel is a mere whippersnapper, dating back to 1925. (Famous guests include none other than Charlie Chaplin and Rita Hayworth.) The grand building is just a 5-minute walk from the Avenue de Champs de Elysees, which is regarded as one of the finest avenues in Europe. Inside, there’s a swimming pool and a spa which features an aromatherapy treatment room. Bedrooms feature elegant Louis XV and XVI furniture.
Part of the famous international Raffles hotel group, Raffles Istanbul has wasted no time in establishing itself as the best luxury hotel in the Turkish city. The modern building is set above a luxury shopping complex called the Zorlu Centre, and the chic, luxury rooms boast amazing views of the city and graceful Bosphorus. All rooms come with cutting-edge technology, floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies, while the hotel includes a gym, two restaurants — and even a helipad.
Have we given you itchy feet? Speak with a local expert about a private, luxury trip to Mexico.