SmoothRed’s top vineyard hotels for 2018
If there’s one thing Europe does well, it’s hotels. From the finest French châteaux to the most spectacular vineyard views and some of the most renowned hotel restaurants in the world, the continent is a veritable treasure trove for lovers of luxury, relaxation and, of course, great wines. These, however, which are located across Europe – from Portugal to Spain to France to Italy – are among the very best. We’ve hand-picked the hotels which we believe do what they do better than anybody else.
Les Sources de Caudalie
Nestled among the vineyards of the legendary Château Smith Haut Lafitte, in Bordeaux, Les Sources de Caudalie is a luxury spa hotel which thrives on the belief that the diet and lifestyle of south-western France – and, in particular, the drinking of good wine – is good for your health. The hotel features its own vinotherapy spa, two swimming pools and an outdoor jacuzzi which draws water from a nearby natural hot spring. A personal trainer is available for guests staying between April and October, and the hotel’s three restaurants offer food ranging from fine, Michelin-starred dining to quirky bistro food and casual bar delicacies taken from local recipes.
Domaine de Verchant
Languedoc’s Domaine de Verchant perfectly encapsulates the laid-back, simple elegance of the region itself. Surrounded by picturesque gardens and situated only a short drive from the Mediterranean, Domaine de Verchant offer guests a choice of 26 unique apartments, rooms or suites (the low capacity is deliberate, of course, to ensure each guest is treated with the optimal service and comfort) with two restaurants, each with their own stunning views across the hotel grounds, and a spa.
Hotel Le Domaine
Voted the best hotel in Spain in 2016 by TripAdvisor, Ribera del Duero’s LeDomaine is located in the midst of a number of renowned wine estates around the Duero river. LeDomaine, which was once a Romanesque-Baroque monastery (and which still maintains a 12th-century abbey nearby) comes with a Michelin-starred restaurant, uniquely-designed, spacious rooms and a spa to wind down in after a day among the vines.
Tuscany isn’t exactly short on spectacle when it comes to places to stay, but Le Fontanelle really is something special. A short distance from Siena, Le Fontanelle nonetheless manages to offer total seclusion in the heart of the rolling hills of Chianti. The hotel’s rooms are rustic, cosy yet spacious and look out on some of the finest country views in Italy. The food comes in the form of a fine dining restaurant and a more relaxed lounge bar, as well as a lunch bar situated by the outdoor swimming pool. The hotel also has its own spa, offers free use of mountain bikes to all guests and is surrounded by its own park and botanic gardens.
Hotel Marques de Riscal
Thanks in large to the genius of Frank Gehry, who designed the hotel, the Marques de Riscal can probably be easily counted among the most striking and iconic hotels on the planet. Sitting in the shadow of the Cantabrian Mountains, the Marques de Riscal marries fine dining and local wines to offer a comprehensive, and likely unforgettable, Riojan experience. Naturally, the hotel’s vinotherapy spa should provide an alternative – but no less tempting – use for the grapes that are grown in walking distance of the hotel’s doors.
This hotel might provide for six senses, but we think it’s taste that wins out here. With a restaurant which offers intimate fine dining, a relaxed bar environment and the chance to enjoy a meal prepared and hosted by the chef all at the same time, there’s certainly no lack of choice here when it comes to that particular sense. The fact that you’ve also got some of the most impressive views of the Douro Valley, access to a wine library (with daily tastings) and spa, plus a range of activities hosted by the hotel throughout the week, all just seems like the world’s best bonus.