Hot New Hotels in Europe’s Capital Cities
In case you were doubting whether London, Stockholm, and Amsterdam could get any better, a wave of new sleeps are proving otherwise. From a resuscitated grand dame in Paris to a designer debut in Helsinki, the newest hotels in Europe's capital cities will have you rethinking that countryside getaway. Time to check in.
The Principal London, U.K.
London’s Bloomsbury district is experiencing a resurgence, as new hotels vie for space among its leafy, landmark building-lined lanes and try to out-luxe the other. The Bloomsbury Hotel and L’Oscar both opened within the last year, followed closely by The Principal London, which debuts a new look courtesy of designers Tara Bernerd and Russell Sage inside a heritage 1898 building built by Charles Fitzroy Doll. The Renaissance-revival terra cotta exterior hints at the lavishness inside. We're talking original marble surfaces, rich velvet upholstery, a Palm Court lined with limestone columns, an Art Deco restaurant serving up delicacies like Isle of Mull scallops and Exmoor caviar, and a sultry cocktail bar decorated in all amounts of curios (ostrich feathers, antique clocks, eclectic artwork). Upstairs, the 334 guest rooms are airier and brighter, with canopied four-poster beds, billowy gold curtains, white marble baths, and (in the best of them) views of Russell Square.
Kettner's Townhouse, London, U.K.
Soho House loves revamping places rich with history—a 150-year-old Italianate palazzo in Istanbul, a converted belt factory in Chicago, Amsterdam’s landmark 1930s-era Bungehuis—and their latest London outpost is no different. The row of Georgian townhouses in ritzy Soho now occupied by Kettner’s Townhouse was once the home of London’s oldest and most famous French restaurants, where Napoleon III’s former chef wined and dined guests like Margaret Thatcher and Oscar Wilde. Today, the restaurant (and accompanying champagne bar) lives on as a classic bistro that retains its original mirrors, plasterwork, and marble bar; elsewhere, 33 rooms are modeled after French boudoirs with floral wallpaper, velvet and damask fabrics, and glittering chandeliers. And, though the property sits across the street from the famous Palace Theatre, guests will find equal enjoyment at the newly added piano bar, where bartenders in white jackets serve drinks accompanied by live jazz.
Soho House Amsterdam, The Netherlands
An imposing 1930s canal-side building in the heart of the city is the first Netherlands outpost for elite hospitality brand Soho House. You’ll find brand staples here, including a forthcoming Cecconi’s restaurant and Cowshed spa—though it’s the rooftop pool and bar, which borders the entire building, that’s the biggest game-changer for Amsterdam (which has little in the way of rooftop scenes). Inside, you’ll find restored period details like glazed tile floors, a grand staircase, and stained-glass windows echoed by newer Art Deco touches like geometric patterned throws, freestanding copper bathtubs, and “cocktail cabinets.” There’s even an in-house movie theater lined with velvet armchairs if you’re up for a post-museum wind-down.
Hotel Lutetia, Paris, France
A hub for intellectuals and artists like James Joyce and Picasso, Hotel Lutetia has been an Art Nouveau icon on Paris’s Left Bank ever since it opened in 1910. This year put the finishing touches on a four-year-long, $234 million renovation, and the hotel is now as lavish as ever. Original details like stained-glass windows and a unique fresco-painted ceiling have been renewed, while the 184 guest rooms (down from 233) are more subdued but no less luxurious—think oak flooring, Murano glass wall sconces, and an elegant color palette of blues and caramels. The hotel’s “see and be seen” mentality is anchored at the still-famous Lutetia Brasserie, where chef Gérald Passédat (of three-Michelin-star Marseille restaurant Le Petit Nice) feeds the city’s elite in between cocktails and jazz at Bar Josephine. The Wellbeing Centre is worth booking a treatment at, if only so you can enjoy the gorgeous subterranean infinity lap pool and hot tub.
VP Plaza España Design, Madrid, Spain
There’s nothing subtle about this massive 12-story sleep in the heart of Madrid. The building is as contemporary as it gets: all glass and gold, with pops of teal and tangerine in public areas, statement artwork (don’t miss the golf-leaf sculptures by Nacho Zebelu or the lobby’s metal waterfall installation), and lots of space in the 214 rooms—many of which feature floor-to-ceiling windows framing the city. It’s a shame that the ground-floor restaurant Botania isn’t more popular, what with its courtyard seats and stellar menu stocked with prawn tacos and beef burgers—but it’s hard to edge out the top-floor Ginkgo Skybar, home to a glass-bottom pool and restaurant where Asian and Spanish dishes (baby squid with wok vegetables; galician beef burger with Arzúa cheese) are served alongside skyline and Sierra de Guadarrama views.
Hotel St. George, Helsinki, Finland
The same designers behind two of Helsinki's most stylish hotels—Klaus K and Hotel Kämp—have added a third stunner to their portfolio. A landmark building designed by lauded Finnish National Theatre architect Onni Tarjanne is now the 148-room Hotel St. George, whose interiors are stylishly Scandinavian—think faux fur throws, platform beds dressed in crisp white linens, pillows in jewel-tone shades like emerald and rust red, and design that's high on function. There's also a spa with its own public sauna (this is Finland, after all), a restaurant, an in-house bakery, and a winter garden—a tranquil escape suited for the north's harsh winters. Another highlight: the property's curated selection of art, including an Ai Wei Wei installation in the lobby.
Perianth Hotel, Athens, Greece
Athenian modernism has a new place to call home in Greece’s capital city: the Perianth Hotel. Local design firm du jour K-Studio transformed a 1930s Bauhaus building into a design-lover’s dream: terrazzo floors, black marble benches, brass piping, and angles everywhere create a soothing mood in its 38 rooms, where Asian-inspired details like Buddha statues also pay homage to the next-door meditation and yoga studio, Zen Center Athens. Each also features a small terrace and curated work by native talents like abstract artist Yiannis Varelas and photographer Margarita Myrogianni. The on-site restaurant Il Baretto is equally beautiful, with its open-plan layout, curved marble bar, and drop-light chandeliers that accentuate Italian staples like pastas and paninis. The clincher: despite being off the tourist trail, the hotel is still within walking distance of the Acropolis.
RELATED: The Most Underrated Places in Greece
Bank Hotel, Stockholm, Sweden
There’s a certain boldness to Stockholm’s newest boutique, and it’s not just the fact that it lives inside a grand 1910 former bank. The mood starts in the light-filled lobby, where checkerboard marble floors and mahogany walls lead to Bonnie’s Restaurant, an Instagram-worthy space with green velvet banquettes, aubergine-hued armchairs, tropical potted plants, and statement chandeliers dripping from a gorgeous glass ceiling. The 115 guest rooms are just as chic and heavy on texture—outfitted with suede armchairs, velvet headboards, marble nightstands, and floral pillows that give off serious energy. There are a few bars to choose from on site, including Sophie's (more low-key) and Papillon (more upscale); after a drink, be sure to pop by the Bank Vault, which is now an art space.
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