Historic sites, days on bikes and really, really great pasta. We round up some sexy new spots for your next Eurotrip.
San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice
The best way to visit the lagoon city — one of Europe’s most romantic but also one of it’s most touristy — is, arguably, to stay just off it. The six-hectare private island of San Clemente is a bucolic parkland planted with groves of limes, elms and cypress trees. It’s just a 15-minute boat ride from San Marco, with a free shuttle that runs every 30 minutes. The 190 rooms and suites of the Kempinski hotel are located in a beautiful former monastery and church dating from the 12th century. They are surrounded by lush gardens and antique courtyards. The island also has three restaurants, three bars, a pitch-and-putt course, a tennis court and a 20-metre heated outdoor pool.
When hilly, residential Buda and historic Óbuda on the western bank of the Danube merged with flat, industrial Pest on the eastern side to form the modern city of Budapest in 1873, a beautiful and vibrant hub was formed. If you haven’t yet wandered the meandering cobbled streets of the World-Heritage listed Buda Castle district, had a dip in one of the city’s many thermal springs, or feasted on goulash and strudel, there’s a big shiny new reason to go. Housed in a protected historic building near the river, Budapest’s first Ritz-Carlton sits a stones throw from the Four Seasons and the Danube River. Its 170 luxurious rooms and 30 suites have picturesque views of the magnificent St Stephen’s Basilica, and the spa, which opened in December, has a large swimming pool, gym, sauna, steam room and three beauty treatment rooms—a true oasis in the heart of the old town.
Coco Chanel lived there and Sophia Loren declared it the most romantic hotel in the world. Such a storied address is the Paris Ritz that when its owner, Mohamed Al-Fayed, closed its doors in 2012 for a full renovation, many feared too much change. In fact, the US$450 million, four-year redesign has maintained all the hotel’s former tradition and glory, while modernising for the 21st century. Guests can unwind in the fabulous new Chanel spa and enjoy the chic gardens year-round due to a newly retractable roof. Its days as a high-life haven of indulgence and intrigue may well, it seems, live on.
Amsterdam must be the most misunderstood city in Europe, with its reputation for red lights and stag nights often eclipsing the reality of the arty haven of canals, higgledy-piggledy canal houses and world-class museums. The W Hotel sits right behind Dam Square, making it the perfect place from which to rent bikes and explore. Return to sip champagne in the rooftop pool overlooking the royal palace, feast on steak in Mr Porter or enjoy a treatment in the spa. It’s a perfect base from which to discover the capital of the country of Edam, Gouda and tulips.
This post originally appeared on the website of our sister publication, Hong Kong Tatler.