by the Editors of Condé Nast Traveler
From an estate on Lake Como to a "palace" in St. Moritz, here are the top resorts on the continent, as chosen by Condé Nast Traveler readers.
8. Powerscourt Hotel (formerly Ritz-Carlton), Wicklow, Ireland
Readers' Rating: 88.553
This Palladian-Georgian hotel, located just 25 minutes from Dublin's city center, is set amidst one of the most scenic and historic estates in Ireland. Built as a 68-room palace in 1741, it was restored in the 1990s after a fire, but you'll find that the grounds are a greater draw: The gardens' 18th-century framework makes the place feel like a homey version of Versailles, with more than 200 kinds of trees and shrubs growing over 47 acres. The fish pie at its Terrace Café is excellent.
7. Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, Zermatt, Switzerland
Readers' Rating: 88.636
This longtime Alpinist mecca boasts spacious, homey rooms with murals, pine paneling, and blue and red accents. Its signature restaurant, Lusi--named after a traditional hiking lantern--serves Mediterranean fare al fresco and by candlelight. The Alpine spa features an ice grotto and an impressively long list of Swiss-based treatments and therapies. Stars Bar offers an open fire and plush, black leather upholstery--the perfect setting for enjoying a smooth brandy.
6. Badrutt's Palace, St. Moritz, Switzerland
Readers' Rating: 88.690
Opened in 1896 by the Badrutt family--and still owned by them--this legendary hotel on the shore of Lake St. Moritz has 157 sumptuous guest rooms, including 37 suites with views over the Alps. It's home to seven different restaurants, the most famous being the iconic Le Restaurant, which boasts a menu heavy with caviar, truffles, and oysters. Its eco-friendly spa draws inspiration from its majestic surroundings, uses organic botanicals and incorporates Indian, Thai and Japanese traditions.
5. The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Scotland
Readers' Rating: 88.988
There's no shortage of things to do at this stately Scottish resort built in 1924: Activities on offer include hot-air balloon rides, golfing, and falconry lessons. For those who are less outdoorsy, there are also whisky master classes, located in the private cellars. Suites are French chateau-inspired, and guests can choose from a traditional or modern design.
4. Kildare Hotel at the K Club, County Kildare, Ireland
Readers' Rating: 90.357
The Kildare's elegant rooms and suites feature original art and antiques, as well as hand-painted bathrooms. It's the ultimate country retreat, sprawled across 550 lush acres, offering fly fishing, horseback riding, and clay pigeon shooting, in addition to two world-class golf courses. A 20,000-square-foot spa with seven treatment rooms and a hammam rounds out the luxe offerings.
3. Blue Palace Resort (Luxury Collection), Crete, Greece
Readers' Rating: 90.960
Set amid the palm and olive trees in Elounda, opposite the isle of Spinalonga, this low-rise property blends into the landscape with clay roof tiles, wooden shutters, and traditional pebble mosaics. Guest rooms are arranged in clusters along a slope overlooking the sea--"definitely splurge on one with a private infinity pool," our readers suggest. Vegetables handpicked by the chef accompany Flame restaurant's locally sourced steak.
2. Ashford Castle Hotel, Mayo, Ireland
Readers' Rating: 92.482
This 13th-century castle, formerly the Guinness family home, is set against an impressive backdrop of thick forest, mountains and Lough Corrib. Its 82 guest rooms feature high ceilings, vintage furnishings, and four-poster beds, some boast fireplaces and claw-foot tubs. Activities like skeet shooting, falconry, and private hawk walks make the most of the beautiful grounds; its Prince of Wales Bar is the perfect spot to unwind with a champagne cocktail (the Arthur's Bellini comes topped with Guinness).
1. Sheen Falls Lodge, County Kerry, Ireland
Readers' Rating: 92.725
This 17th-century fishing lodge turned Relais & Chateaux hotel might have the most idyllic location of all: Nestled between the world famous Ring of Kerry and the Ring of Beara, it overlooks the picturesque Sheen Falls. Guests can choose from rooms, suites, and villas; all are plush with a classic Irish manor feel. La Cascade offers modern Irish cuisine such as Killarney venison with a port essence; its wine cellar boasts over 10,000 bottles. There are stables at the lodge for eager equestrians.
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