The 7 Most Unique Must-Stay Hotels in Europe
When you’re on holiday, hotel sightseeing isn’t usually on your itinerary. You may have been on tours where you stay in comfortable but characterless chain hotels. That’s OK now and then, but we think some trips to Europe should be more… special.
From the moment you wake up in the morning to when you close your eyes at night, the accommodation you’re staying in should be an experience in its own right. It should reflect the culture you’re visiting. It should provide a historical insight into the country you’re staying. And, of course, it should be comfortable!
Places with all three of these traits aren’t always easy to find, but they do exist. We’ve picked out seven quirky hotels in Europe that tick all the boxes.
1. ICEHOTEL, Sweden
TIME Magazine listed this ICEHOTEL among the top 100 places to see on our entire planet! Each year when the wild River Torne freezes deeply, they cut out the clear Arctic ice to build an absolutely astonishing ice complex. Each summer the ice melt flows naturally back into its source.
You will be sleeping on an ice platform insulated with reindeer pelts to keep you warm in your -5°C to -7°C room. It is actually warmer inside your room than outside! A fabulously surreal experience where you will be ‘snug as a bug’ in very warm Arctic thermal sleeping bags (tested to -40°C). In the morning you are awakened with a steaming cup of lingonberry juice.
Experience this unbelievable hotel on the Northern Lights, Ice Hotels & Huskies Tour!
2. Sassi Caves, Italy
Looking like something straight out of The Da Vinci Code, the charming Sassi quarters date back to the Stone and Bronze Ages. These caves were transformed into a village that included homes, churches and palaces. Today, part of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a luxurious hotel – fitted with creature comforts – but the stone building retains many original features.
Wake up in candle-lit rooms, under handwoven bedspreads, before taking breakfast in a nearby rock monastery. Perfect.
Rest your head here on the Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour.
3. Alhambra Palace Hotel, Spain
Picture this: it’s been a sweltering Spanish day, but you’ve been out making the most of the sights the beautiful town of Granada has to offer. Now, back at the Alhambra Palace Hotel, you’re sitting out on the restaurant balcony, enjoying the cooler evening air, sipping Sangria and enjoying stunning night-time views over the locations you’ve just had the pleasure of visiting.
Sound good? That’s exactly the type of experience the Alhambra Palace Hotel has been offering guests – including royalty from around the world – since 1910. Enjoy traditional Moorish décor and a hotel with a history that’s as fascinating as the museums and plazas that surround it.
Stay here on the ‘Magnifico’ Spain and Portugal Tour.
4. Trulli Cottages, Italy
We bet not many of your friends can say they’ve stayed in a trullo cottage! Unique to the Italian region of Apulia (the ‘heel’ of the boot), a trullo is a traditional dry stone hut with a conical roof. It’s quaint and charming from the outside, but step indoors and you’ll discover everything needed to make your trullo feel like home.
The trulli cottages are dotted around the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town of Alberobello. No two are the same, so staying here offers an extra little holiday surprise unique to your tour experience.
This is another wondrous stay you’ll enjoy on the Italy, the Deep South & Sicily Tour.
5. CastelBrando, Italy
Just one more Italian entry, we promise!
You know somewhere is exclusive when you have to travel by funicular to reach it. Taking a cable car is the only way to get to your room in CastelBrando. As if the journey wasn’t fancy enough, the hotel’s location provides beautiful views of the village Cison di Valmarino below.
The interior of this 2,000-year-old castle is equally impressive. Picture elegant dining halls, rich tapestries, swords and full suits of armour on display. The temptation to swan around as Lord or Lady of the Castel isn’t just tempting – it’s a must!
Spend the night here during The Italian Grande Tour.
6. Hotel Ruze, Czech Republic
Find the Hotel Ruze in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. The town is famed for its extraordinary architecture and being home to the second-largest complex of castle buildings, only beaten by Prague itself.
Hotel Ruze is on the site of the former 16th century Jesuit dormitory, and if you spend a little time exploring the building, you’ll discover authentic frescos and beautiful archways. Enjoy Renaissance-style décor and, during finer weather, a drink on the summer terrace is a must.
Rest your head here during the Bohemia and Christmas in the Tyrol Tour.
7. Leeds Castle, UK
If you’ve ever wanted to be king or queen of a castle, here’s your chance! Leeds Castle has a 900-year-old history for you to discover. Built in 1119 by a wealthy Norman baron, the stone castle went on to become one of Henry VIII’s palaces, then a Georgian mansion, and today is one of the most visited historical buildings in the UK.
There are a number of accommodation options within Leeds Castle, but tour with us and you’ll feel like royalty. We don’t just book out the entire venue; we make sure you have a butler, wait staff and a footman to call on during your stay!
Spend the night here during the Best of British Tour.
We’re pretty sure there aren’t many holidays where you feel like you need to give special mention to your accommodation. But that’s why we choose quirky hotels in Europe – the roof over your head each night should be part of the story, as much as the actual sightseeing.