Always striving to get the best out of Europe, we have partnered with the team at Triptich.com to bring you an essential guide to the ten best undiscovered design hotels in Europe. So before you hit 'BOOK' on your next city-break check out the ten incredible finds below and holiday like a King this summer.
SANT FRANCESC HOTEL SINGULAR
New York meets the Med at this sultry, souped-up manor house, forming part of Palma’s rebirth as a haven for high-end hotels. Chequerboard floors and sweeping staircases merge with modern glass walls; the restaurant is located in a former horse stable; and the understated rooftop pool provides panoramas of the city’s sun-soaked skyline.
This duck-egg blue townhouse is emblematic of Porto’s opulent past and regenerative present in the wake of recession. Formerly of one of Europe’s oldest stationery shops, it nods towards its history with quirky artefacts such as typewriters, printers and dial phones, whilst maintaining a sleek modernity matching the hopeful note of the city’s young entrepreneurs.
If Don Draper was looking to take his European mistress somewhere for a long weekend, we imagine PURO would be his first port of call. Humming like a recently-landed spaceship in Kraków’s picturesque Old Town, its cube-like exterior exudes a smart, retro-futuristic aesthetic, continued in an elegantly kitschy interior palette of mustards, greys and limes.
Playfully channelling childhood nostalgia alongside awe-inspiring modern design, Treehotel consists of several avant-garde residences amongst the treetops of the Swedish forest.
Choose between a bird’s nest, mirrored cube, spaceship or the recently opened ‘seventh room’ as your stylish respite from hiking, kayaking and ziplining.
Perched on the Spanish hillside next to a 17th-century church, Viura is what a hotel designed by Picasso might look like. A jumbled assortment of cubes piled atop each other in harmonious incoherence, the juxtaposition with the surrounding medieval village somehow works. An in-house vinoteca and rooftop space add to its unexpected flair.
Hidden in Malta’s historic capital, this 19th-century mansion has been in the family of the owners, the Ellul brothers, for several generations. Consequently, a stay in one of its eight unique suites is akin to visiting a family home, albeit an incredibly well-heeled one - individual details include roll-top bathtubs, colourful tiled floors and a piano.
The Dean’s solemn, Georgian brick façade gives way to a vibrant, youthful interior - a kind of gentlemen’s club for millennials. Concrete walls are counterpointed with colourful patchwork carpets, neon lighting and specially commissioned, for-sale Irish art. Rooms range from Pods and ‘Punk Bunks’ to the penthouse and live DJs and music seal its independent spirit.
Owner Giacomo Fiermonte acquired this 17th-century former private home in homage to his grandmother Antonia, who flouted convention by running off to 1930s Paris in the pursuit of love, art and adventure. Its seductive blend of classicism and modernism encapsulates her character, marrying stone arches with custom Italian furniture within Lecce’s ancient city walls.
This former warehouse is one of ten listed Art Nouveau buildings in Ålesund and is situated directly on the river, close enough to watch the fishing boats pass by. Its 47 rooms share a rustic modernity; however, the most coveted is Room 47, a converted lighthouse at the end of the nearby jetty.
Proving that it’s not all about London, new brand Principal has repurposed historical buildings in several up-and-coming UK destinations from Edinburgh to Liverpool. The Principal Manchester transforms three former office blocks into a grand yet contemporary creative hub, with a co-working space, conservatory and games room all hidden within its redbrick walls.
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Olivia Squire is a freelance travel writer and Senior Creative Exec for a travel events and media agency. She loves old buildings, new books, strong drinks and bright lipstick, and is on the constant lookout for hotels that combine all four.