Storms may be raging across the northern hemisphere, but take refuge in one of these warm and welcoming winter dwellings and find good reason to celebrate the coming cold.
With romantic snow-painted landscapes, roaring blazes in the fireplace and an abundance of traditional holiday cheer, these 10 top-rated European hotels, compiled by the hotel search site www.trivago.com are guaranteed to delight the senses and banish winter blues.
Hotel De Brugsche Suites (Bruges, Belgium)" width="52" height="52"/>
The quaint Hotel De Brugsche Suites lies in the historical center of Bruges, Belgium. Fine tapestries and treasured paintings adorn the rooms of this charming town house. Each of the hotel’s three rooms has its own fireplace -- a treat whose value is fully appreciated after a day spent exploring the many attractions of this stunning Flemish city. A stroll through the medieval Old Town is an absolute must, and sweet tooths will be thrilled to explore the innumerable chocolatiers for which Belgium is famous.
Hotel Kościuszko (Krakow, Poland)" width="52" height="52"/>
Hotel Kościuszko is a former guesthouse of the summer residence of the bishops of Krakow. To this day, the four-star hotel has preserved the distinguished elegance of earlier times -- its rich holiday colors, rustic touches and exquisite antique furniture all contribute to the building’s venerable character. Newcomers to Krakow should not miss the opportunity to visit Wawel Castle and stroll through the city’s Old Town, which holds some of Europe’s most impressive medieval architecture. At the end of the day, guests can curl up in a warm chair by the lobby’s large, open fireplace or retreat to the warmth of a regally-decorated room.
Parador de Artíes (Artíes, Spain)" width="52" height="52"/>
The Parador de Arties is located in a small mountain village in the Catalan Pyrenees. This charming four-star estate attracts a variety of winter sports enthusiasts -- offering visitors the opportunity to go canyoning, horseback-riding, paragliding, rafting, skiing, trekking or canoeing in the surrounding deep valleys and snow-capped mountain peaks. Heavy wooden beams and a steep slate roof provide the structure of this historical site -- having been formerly inhabited by Gaspar de Portola, founder of the city of San Diego. Don’t miss the highly acclaimed restaurant, which offers regional specialties of olla aranesa, a rich, meaty stew; trucha a la llosa, a local dish made of trout; civet de jabalí, a vibrantly-spiced dish made from wild boar; and pescajus de Arties, a rich and delectable crepe-like pastry.
Turm Hotel Grächerhof (Grächen, Switzerland)" width="52" height="52"/>
On a high plateau in the Swiss Alps, the tower hotel, Grächerhof greets its guests 5,000 feet above sea level in the car-free holiday town of Grächen. Visitors are promised ultimate relaxation -- by cuddling up by one of the countless fireplaces, utilizing the estate’s well equipped vitality center (free of charge) or enjoying a hearty meal at the Sacré-Feu grill restaurant. In addition, the hotel’s location in the wine-growing region of Valais makes it an excellent starting point for an exploration of the area’s scenic and viticultural treasures.
Les Grands Montets (Argentière, France)" width="52" height="52"/>
Nestled in the stunning French Alps, in Argentière’s popular ski resort, lies the Les Grands Montets. Superb wood paneling and cozy cottage palates give a distinct alpine ambiance to the hotel and its 48 individual rooms. Active guests can spend the day skiing or snowboarding in the areas impressive Alps, while guests seeking for a more leisurely stay may choose to take a chair lift up to the top of the 13,000-foot high Aiguille Verte (Green Needle) mountain, from which a breathtaking view of the valley can be found.
Hotel Palazzo Seneca (Norcia, Italy)" width="52" height="52"/>
The Palazzo Seneca is an impressive residence in the Umbrian town of Norcia. This 16th-century palace is run by the Bianconi family, who can proudly claim an uninterrupted 150-year hotelier tradition. Guests staying in one of the hotel’s 24 rooms will find themselves living in true regal splendor. Sumptuous furniture and fine leather upholstery merge to create a truly impressive atmosphere. The surrounding National Park, Monti Sibillini, invites winter excursions in the wild for hikers and photographers alike. In the evenings, guests will surely enjoy a candle-lit dinner at the Vespasia restaurant.
Hotel Culloden House (Inverness, Scotland)" width="52" height="52"/>
The Culloden House Hotel is a magnificent estate in Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The building dates from the 16th century and was refurbished in a Gregorian style. Over the course of its illustrious history, Culloden House has served as the battle headquarters and residence of many royal guests. Guests are received with true Highland hospitality, and the hotel’s 40 acres of land are home to countless parks and gardens for those wishing to witness Scotland’s ethereal winter beauty for themselves. A trip to the Loch Ness is a must on any itinerary, and an original Scottish whiskey by the crackling fireplace is an excellent way to end the day in style.
Hotel the Montague on the Gardens (London, England)" width="52" height="52"/>
Hotel the Montague on the Gardens is an elegant city hotel in the West End of London. The hotel is centrally located, but well-sheltered from the hectic bustle of the urban center -- and therefore an excellent place to escape the throngs of visitors that tour the city daily. London is a treasure trove of cultural activity. After visiting famous landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge and the markets of Camden Town, sipping tea in the Montague’s tea room is a delightful way to bring an English evening to a close.
Hotel Staudacherhof (Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany)" width="52" height="52"/>
The cozy Hotel Staudacherhof is perched atop the Bavarian mountain town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Guests will find themselves in modern accommodations that blend country style with a soft Mediterranean touch. The hotel specializes in wellness and relaxation, giving guests the opportunity to unwind in one of the pools, in the alpine Turkish bath or with a soothing couples massage. Avoid the cold at the hotel restaurant by indulging in a steaming, Bavarian delicacy made with only the freshest seasonal ingredients.
Hotel Schwarzer Adler Kitzbühel (Kitzbühel, Austria)" width="52" height="52"/>
The Hotel Schwarzer Adler is a contemporary boutique hotel rich in western Austrian charm. Modern minimalism blends with rustic, alpine touches to create a trendy, yet exceedingly cozy interior. The resort offers a plethora of ski options for outdoor adventurers of all levels. Alternatively, guests can take refuge from the outside chill by heading to the Schwarzer Adler’s 10,000 square-foot spa. In the evening, enjoy the creations of the hotel’s celebrated chef Stefan Hofer.
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