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11 luxurious European hotels to add to your bucket list

April 26, 2020
9 min read
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Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials note that the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel deals and destination content because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn’t advise booking trips for travel until summer or fall — and even then be mindful of cancellation policies.

If you're stuck at home daydreaming of that perfect infinity pool in Ibiza, luxe staycation in London or spa in Portugal, you're not alone. More than ever, the TPG staff is dreaming of taking all of our bucket list trips, and that includes some seriously luxurious, unique or special European hotels that have been on our radar for a while. After all, you don't have to jet off to the Maldives or New York City to find an incredible hotel, there are many in Europe that you'll hopefully be able to visit very soon. Here are some of the most amazing, once-in-a-lifetime hotels to visit in Europe to add to your bucket list

1. SIX SENSES DOURO VALLEY, Portugal

(Photo courtesy of Six Senses)
(Photo courtesy of Six Senses)

Wine lovers should visit this hotel set high in the hills of northern Portugal overlooking the Douro Valley and River. Rest and rejuvenate at the hotel's spa, inspired by water, stone and wood. The spa features 10 treatment rooms that offer locally inspired grape therapy treatments (among others). For the ultimate splurge, book the vineyard rooftop suite, which comes with a garden deck and hot tub overlooking the vineyards. This property will eventually be bookable with IHG Reward points, so keep working on growing your stash.

2. The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland

(Photo courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland)
(Photo courtesy of Blue Lagoon Iceland)

Visiting Iceland's Blue Lagoon is already a bucket list experience, but The Retreat takes it to the next level of luxury. Lagoon suites come with private lagoon access and some seriously gorgeous free-standing bathtubs. The spa features the Lava Cove, a private suite with a kitchen, butler, fireplace and of course, private access to a Blue Lagoon cove where you can soak in the energizing waters, get in-water massages or guided water yoga sessions.

3. Nobu Ibiza, Spain

(Photo courtesy of Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay/Facebook)
(Photo courtesy of Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay/Facebook)

For some Ibiza is all about partying, but you can also experience some very special boho-chic luxury on this youthful, carefree Spanish Island. Get the tie-dye, roped hammock and free-spirited Ibicenco vibe but with added opulence at Nobu Ibiza, which has two stunning swimming pools and overlooks Talamanca Bay. For the ultimate experience, book the Royal Suite, which has an enormous, sea-facing deck with a hot tub.

4. Rosewood London, U.K.

(Photo courtesy of Rosewood London)
(Photo courtesy of Rosewood London)

Live like British Royalty by staying in one of the Rosewood London's signature suites, like the Chancery House, which has a special sunken dining room and marble fireplace, or the Garden House which includes a private terrace with views. Immerse yourself in a unique Sense Spa treatment, many of which include eastern healing rituals using Himalayan salt, essential oils or volcanic clay.

Related: What are the finest hotels in the UK to book with points?

5. Belmond Hotel Caruso, Italy

(Photo courtesy of Belmond Hotel Caruso/Facebook)
(Photo courtesy of Belmond Hotel Caruso/Facebook)

Italy's Amalfi Coast is already a bucket list destination, and the Belmond Caruso is the perfect splurge. A former 11th-century palace perched on a cliff, the massive infinity pool overlooking the sea is simply divine. The colorful executive suites ooze Italian charm, each with a private balcony featuring magnificent Amalfi Coast views.

6. Aman Sveti Stefan, Montenegro

(Photo courtesy of Aman)
(Photo courtesy of Aman)

Set on a private island on Montenegro's coast, expect a one-of-a-kind experience at this hotel, including pink-sand beaches, a cliff top pool (one of three) and charming yet stylish stone cottages. Or, test out an exclusive suite inside the Villa Milocer, an imposing mansion part of the hotel. The historic home-turned-hotel that was once a playground for Serbian royalty is located on the mainland surrounded by private woods and a beach.

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7. Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris, France

(Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels)
(Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels)

Paris is teeming with incredible hotels, but if Michelin-starred cuisine is also on your bucket list, the Four Seasons George V Paris has three restaurants totaling five Michelin stars between them, so come hungry. Once you're feeling the Parisian food coma, relax in grandeur atop French luxury linens admiring Eiffel Tower views from the floor-to-ceiling windows, or dive into the indoor pool.

8. Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

Built by the former Caledonian Railway Compay in 1924, this sprawling Scottish escape is perfect for those wanting both a regal and rural getaway. Explore the grounds with activities like falconry, archery and gun-dog training -- and the grounds are home to three world-renowned golf courses. Guest rooms and suites are decidedly Scottish, with gold furnishings and touches of plaid and patterns. TPG U.K. had a chance to experience all the Gleneagles glory last year -- read the review here.

Related: Second cities: Destinations to add onto a trip to Edinburgh

9. Amanzoe, Port Heli, Greece

(Photo courtesy of Aman)
(Photo courtesy of Amanzoe)

The Amanzoe proves you don't have to actually go to the Greek Islands to find true beauty. One of the most exclusive properties in Greece, plan to arrive in the Peloponnese region (one of Greece's most underrated mainland spots) from Athens by helicopter, admiring the turquoise-blue waters, olive groves and white-sand beaches from up above. Stay in one of the villas, which come with private pools overlooking the sea, immersive art décor and free-standing, outdoor bathtubs with views.

10. W VERBIER, Switzerland

(Photo courtesy of Marriott Hotels)
(Photo courtesy of Marriott Hotels)

Set amid the Swiss Alps in the town of Val de Bagnes, this Marriott property was made for those who love to ski. Each room comes with a fireplace and private balcony so you can admire the snow-capped mountains. Or, live it up with the WOW suite complete with a loft, private sauna, rotating bed and cocktail bar. If you're not a skier, the hotel's natural surroundings make for a beautiful bucket list getaway at any time of the year.

Related: The ultimate guide to riding Swiss trains

11. The Bodrum Edition, Turkey

(Photo by Nick Ellis / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Bodrum, Turkey, is chock full of gorgeous hotels, so it was hard to pick our favorite. But this Marriott Edition is high on our list, thanks to its stunning pool setting and gorgeous guest rooms -- some which feature private pools, balconies or gardens. TPG Reviews Editor Nick Ellis stayed there last summer (read his review here) and was positively enthralled with the fact that the glorious and expansive breakfast spread was available until 4 p.m. each day.

Bottom line

While Europe has a never-ending selection of bucket list hotels, these are some of our top favorites to add to your list as you start daydreaming about your next adventure.

Featured image by (Photo by Nick Ellis / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Rewards

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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees