Where in Europe should you travel to in 2017? What are the best destinations, both in the city and in the country? What I don’t know about Europe’s best luxury hotels isn’t worth knowing. Here is my pick of the best destinations in Europe for 2017.
In the wake of the recent terror attacks across Europe and particularly in Paris, France is being ignored by many international travellers. But lets get this into perspective; you are more likely to be in a car accident than to be the unlucky victim of an attack and France is a wonderful country. From the elegant Champs Elysées and romantic walks along the Seine in Paris, to the glorious sunshine of the Cote D’Azur (pictured above), France is my number one pick of 2017.
Take advantage of lower hotel rates across Paris and stay in one of the Grande Dames or how about picking a trendy boutique hotel – see my top 10 boutique hotels in Paris for inspiration! On the Cote D’Azur, if your budget will stretch, you must stay at the Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat a Four Seasons hotel, for sunset beers on the pinnacle of the Cap Ferrat peninsula, or try the Monte Carlo Bay for the hotel that comes in at the top of my list of the best swimming pools in Europe, or Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo with views across Monaco harbour.
London remains one of my favourite cities in the world. The food is fantastic, the shopping magnificent – I love wandering around Harrods and their Toy Department is the best toy shop in London. Visit the Queen in Buckingham Palace, tour of the galleries, or simply take a stroll around the many parks right in the centre. Hotels like the Intercontinental and the Four Seasons London Park Lane border Regents Park which meanders around numerous lakes with waterside cafes, perfect for grabbing a coffee, and Green Park which sits between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar square. There is something magical being in the midst of woodland with the city skyline poking over the trees.
Beyond London, the Cotswolds are about as chocolate box English as you will find. Drive through the rolling hills and stay in an elegant country house like The Greenway or in an olde world country pub and enjoy long walks in the country.
Switzerland remains on my list of favourite European countries to visit as it has so many uber luxury hotels. From it’s lakeside cities of Zurich and Geneva, to the many rural and mountain retreats, you will be spoilt for choice when choosing where to lay your head. For something a bit different why not try the over water bungalows of Hôtel Palafitte. For Skiing it has to be Gstaad and if you love your music you must try the Jazz festival of Lausanne, a short train ride from Geneva.
For me life doesn’t get better than the Cipriani in Venice. I will never get over the novelty of swimming outdoors as a boat floats past, or the romance of catching a water taxi from the airport and speeding across the water to your hotel. I would always start with a couple of nights at the Aman Grande Canal with incredible staff and service and views out onto the Aman Grande Canal from the most intricate and beautiful building. I would then while 3 nights away at the Cipriani to simply relax as boats pass by.
Of course the joy of Italy is not restricted to Venice. The Amalfi coast must be on your bucket list of places to visit. With cliffs towering above Azur blue waters and higgledy-piggledy villages full of designer shops, high-end hotels and visitors dressed as beautifully as the views, Capri, Positano and Sorrento are all beautiful places to lay your head. My first choice would always be the JK Palace or the Capri Palace on the island of Capri.
With so many new hotels popping up, Amsterdam in the Netherlands (or Holland) is my fifth choice of must visit of places in Europe. Top new hotels include Sir Adam Amsterdam (where they actually call you “Sir”!), the new Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, Nhow Amsterdam, Maritim Amsterdam, Rosewood Hotel Amsterdam and Boot&Co in Houthavens. Old favourites of mine include the Intercontinental Amstel, which, like the Cipriani above, is another hotel where you can swim in a pool while boats motor by on the Amstel Canal. The Intercontinental is set in a beautiful historic building and the main hall is reminiscent of a wedding cake. If you prefer something modern, the 5 star Hyatt Andaz along Princes Canal is also a good choice.
There is no better place to enjoy a refreshing waterside beer than Amsterdam. Go in spring for the tulips in Keukenhof or the summer to enjoy the alfresco cafe scene of this truly unique city.
You can also read my other top five best articles to discover the best beaches and luxury hotels around the world.