Saturday, July 19, 2014

My favorite European hotels… so far

Bill and I have been very fortunate to have spent a lot of time in Europe.  I'm very happy to be going back, if only because it means I can blog about the cool places we're bound to see while we're there this time.  One important part of traveling in Europe is finding a good place to stay.  Europe has an abundance of good hotels, but a few we've stayed in over the years stick out in my mind.  Here's a list of some of my favorite hotels in Europe.


We were fortunate to be able to take one last quick trip before we PCS'd back to the US in September 2009.  I decided we should go to Budapest, because I figured the other places I wanted to see-- mostly western European capital cities-- were more accessible from the United States.  Budapest seemed more exotic and it was also cheaper than places like Rome and Madrid (both of which we visited later).  Corinthia Hotel turned out to be a wonderful place to spend three nights.  We sprang for a reasonably priced executive room, which gave us access to a lounge where we had generous access to snacks and drinks all day.  The hotel itself is beautiful and conveniently located.  It also features a fantastic spa.  We were left we a great impression of Budapest and would happily go back… 


Parliament in Budapest


We visited Bella Baita in May 2008.  Run by American pastry chef Marla and her Italian husband Fabrizio, this adorable little B&B is located about five kilometers up a mountain side and offers stunning views of the French border.  Bella Baita is very reasonably priced, yet it offers a very authentic taste of Italian culture.  Marla and Fabrizio go to great lengths to give guests unique ideas on things to do.  When we stayed with them, we took a cooking class and Marla took us to the market in Pinerolo, a very charming little city where there are very few Americans.  We also visited Turin, which is where the flagship Eataly store is (a great place to visit if you're a foodie), and Briancon, a charming Alpine French border town.  I hope we can visit Bella Baita again during our next stint in Germany.


View from Bella Baita


Bill and I visited The Blue Beetroot in Bolaslaweic, Poland in November 2008.  At the time, it was a fairly new place that was just being discovered by American military wives on the hunt for Polish pottery.  Since then, it's become a booming place.  Bill and I didn't go there for pottery, though we did bring some home with us.  We went because it was our 6th anniversary and we wanted to visit Dresden and Prague.  I wasn't so hung up on pottery as I was interested in The Blue Beetroot, which I had stumbled across on Trip Advisor and thought sounded like a neat place.  We spent five nights there and visited Karpacz, a ski resort area, the Borowski glass factory, Dariusz Milinski's art gallery, and Legnica.  It was very cost effective and we kept surprisingly busy!  


Mr. Milinski's Puppet Theatre… across the street from his art gallery.  It's an amazing place.


We stayed at this charming, family run hotel near Dijon just a couple of months ago.  I wish we'd had longer than one night to enjoy this cute little inn.  We had an adorable room with a great view of the surrounding area and the hotel is located in a darling little residential area complete with a beautiful chapel.  It's a healthy walk to Dijon proper, but I managed to do it despite being well past my 20s.  Breakfast is served in a parlor and includes a delicious fruit salad, croissants, and fresh coffee by the pot.  The couple who owns this hotel are very kind and gracious.  If you don't mind being outside of the city center of Dijon, I highly recommend Hotel la Bonbonierre.  


Breakfast near Dijon...


This is a nice hotel in the Jewish Quarter of Seville.  It's located within steps of the cathedral and the maze like Santa Cruz neighborhood in Seville.  Bill and I really enjoyed this hotel's stylish interior and helpful staffers.  It's right in the thick of things without being too noisy.  If you visit Seville and enjoy spas, be sure to visit Aire, a very relaxing hammam within walking distance of the hotel.  And if you didn't bring a bathing suit, don't worry.  They have some there you can borrow.


Inside the Seville cathedral…


We found this gem of a family run hotel on Jetsetter.com and stayed there in May 2013.  It's located outside the city limits of Florence on a beautiful private estate.  Step behind the gated entry and enjoy the beautiful, natural scenery, peace, and quiet.  The hustle and bustle of Florence is just a short cab ride away.  One thing that made this hotel extra special for us was the arrangement they had with a local trattoria owned by another family.  It was close enough to walk to from the hotel, but the owners of the restaurant would pick up hotel patrons because the road in front of the hotel was dangerous to walk along with its hairpin turns and heavy traffic.  The restaurant offers delightful and authentic Italian cuisine and a waiter who easily speaks four languages.  


The view at Hotel Marignolle...

I may have to continue this post soon, but for now, these are just a few places we've enjoyed since our European adventures began in 2007.  I can hardly wait to discover more places when we go back to Germany in two weeks!  





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