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Main lounge and grounds at La Borde - © Francis Amiand

Best Luxury Hotels in Europe: Grand Awards 2017

January 2017 Hideaway Report | By Andrew Harper

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Grand Award Winners

Mr. Harper's favorite hotels & resorts from the past year of travel

La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez, Hôtel Brittany, La Borde, A Quinta da Auga, Schlosshotel Chastè, Villa Honegg

Despite the threat of terrorism, travel in Europe remains for me a perennial pleasure. This year I found time for trips to Brittany, Burgundy and Bordeaux, plus memorable two-week driving itineraries in Galicia and Switzerland. Several discoveries are now high on my list of all-time favorites.

La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez

Bordeaux, France

Pierre Gagnaire’s restaurant at La Grande Maison © Deepix

La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez offers a taste of the Bordeaux lifestyle, as lived by its great winemakers, including owner Bernard Magrez. From the black-and-white marble floor in the entrance hall to the stairway with a hand-forged wrought iron balustrade, this six-room hotel has a patina of aristocratic luxury. Décors feature sumptuous fabrics by Pierre Frey and Braquenié and furniture by Moissonnier. Chef Pierre Gagnaire, who has three Michelin stars in Paris, oversees the kitchen of the elegant dining room, and the parklike setting provides a wonderful respite from the big city beyond.

Read more about La Grande Maison de Bernard Magrez in the April Hideaway Report »

Hôtel Brittany

Roscoff, France

Restaurant at Le Brittany © Relais & Chateaux

At this 17th-century granite mansion, the air smells bracingly briny, and the cries of the gulls in Roscoff harbor bring the Atlantic right into your bedroom. The port is just across the street from the 23-room Hôtel Brittany, and the superb restaurant, run by chef Loic Le Bail, is supplied daily by local fishermen dropping off just-landed fish, shrimp and oysters. There are beautiful views over the harbor from the dining room, too, as well as a cozy bar with a woodburning fireplace, ideal for a nightcap of Glen Breton whisky on a night when the fog rolls in. There is also a small spa with an indoor saltwater pool and two treatment rooms.

Read more about Hôtel Brittany in the February Hideaway Report »

La Borde

Leugny, France

Pool and grounds at La Borde © Francis Amiand

Certain properties seem the very definition of a luxury hideaway, and La Borde is one of them. Located in the heart of pastoral Burgundy, 45 minutes from Chablis, this five-room retreat dates back to the 16th century. More recently it served as the vacation home of Rik and Marieke Klomp, who converted it into an upscale inn. Our Junior Suite came with ancient wooden beams, original terra-cotta-tile floors and a woodburning fireplace. The heated pool faces timeless Burgundian countryside. There’s also a full spa and fitness center, an airy lounge in a converted carriage house and a restaurant serving delicious meals prepared by Marieke herself. This ingeniously renovated historic complex stands amid 17 acres of flower gardens and topiary. La Borde exemplifies what a French country hideaway should be. Best of all, the Klomps have a true instinct for hospitality, and we felt like their honored guests.

Read more about La Borde in the October Hideaway Report »

A Quinta da Auga

Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Suite bedroom at A Quinta da Auga

After a day in teeming Santiago de Compostela, the sound of the rushing waters of the river Sar is deeply refreshing. The enchanting 51-room A Quinta da Auga, created from an 18th-century former stone paper mill, lies just outside the famous cathedral city. The hospitality at this family-owned property is warm, spontaneous and personal, right down to the fact that their outstanding collection of 19th- and 20th-century oil paintings is displayed in the public rooms and hallways. Every room is individually decorated in a traditional Spanish style, with antiques, potted plants and fresh flowers. Though it comes with an excellent spa, an indoor pool, a bar and a very good restaurant, the intimacy of this hotel often makes you feel more like a guest at someone’s charming country house.

Read more about A Quinta da Auga in the August Hideaway Report »

Schlosshotel Chastè

Tarasp, Switzerland

Schlosshotel Chastè and view of the Lower Engadine valley Photo by Andrew Harper

Located in the tranquil and unspoiled Lower Engadine valley, 40 miles and a world away from glitzy St. Moritz, the Schlosshotel Chastè is almost the definition of a hideaway. Set within a 500-year-old building that has been owned by the Pazeller family for 21 generations, it stands at the foot of the dramatic 11th-century Tarasp Castle, surrounded by the absurdly pretty village of Sparsels. The public areas are wonderfully atmospheric, while the rooms are the embodiment of Alpine charm with wood-paneled walls and thick down duvets. The traditional food is impeccably prepared and supported by an impressive list of surprisingly excellent Swiss wines, including Pinot Noirs from the surrounding canton of Graubünden. The Schlosshotel Chastè is an exceptionally hospitable family-run inn, with a tremendous sense of place.

Read more about Schlosshotel Chastè in the December Hideaway Report »

Villa Honegg

Ennetbürgen, Switzerland

View from the terrace at Villa Honegg © Hotel Villa Honegg/Photos Timo Schwach

In contrast to Switzerland’s many Belle Epoque lakefront hotels, the art nouveau Villa Honegg is set on a mountainside 3,000 feet above Lake Lucerne. The views from the wide restaurant terrace are stupendous, and it is a joy just to sit with a glass of wine watching the ferries far below or gazing at the distant peaks of the Saint-Gotthard Massif. Generally, your reverie is interrupted only by the sound of cowbells. The comfortable and civilized interior, with its log fires and deep sofas, is ideal for a long novel or a game of chess. And in the stylish dining room, friendly and obliging staff serve consistently delicious cuisine. The 23 accommodations are comfortable and well-appointed with spacious modern baths. Aside from a striking indoor pool, the Villa Honegg has a remarkable outdoor horizon pool, heated to 95 degrees year-round. This is a distinctive and unusual property that is unlike any other of my Swiss recommendations.

Read more about Villa Honegg in the December Hideaway Report »

Andrew Harper's Grand Awards

SEE ALL OF OUR 2017 GRAND AWARD WINNERS

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This article appeared in The Hideaway Report, a monthly newsletters exclusively for members.

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Andrew Harper Photo Andrew Harper is the editor of The Hideaway Report, a luxury travel newsletter that first appeared in 1979. He travels anonymously and pays his own expenses in pursuit of unique properties that offer unusually high levels of personal service. Hotels have no idea who he is, so he is treated exactly as you might be.

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