From wine-soaked spa treatments to living like a rockstar: Europe’s most unusual luxury hotels

Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas offers a luxury experience in Greece - with a quirky edge
Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas offers a luxury experience in Greece - with a quirky edge Copyright Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas
Copyright Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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From Amsterdan to Tuscany, skip the chain hotels and plan a more memorable stay.


If you're a keen traveller who's after the quirkiest stays, but aren't prepared to compromise on luxury, these European hotspots could be perfect to add to your bucket list.

Pay a visit to the perfect escape for wine aficionados in Tuscany.

Set amidst 1,700 acres of lush grounds overlooking the serene Serchio Valley and the majestic Apennine Mountains in Tuscany, the Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa is a must for wine lovers.

Billed as offering an unparalleled retreat for the senses, guests can unwind in one of the 180 elegantly appointed rooms and suites - but it’s the spa where this hotel really shines.

The region is well known for its wide selection of world famous wines - and this hotel has taken that and run with it.

Enter: wine-themed spa treatments.

Choose from experiences like a Wine Ritual, which features a wine bath, and a sensory massage with grapeseed oils.

The Cabernet Scrub uses wine grapes made into a marmalade exfoliant, which is said to moisturise, smoothe and nourish skin.

The wine experience continues at La Veranda restaurant which offers Tuscan dishes - paired, of course, with local wines.

Rooms start from €203 per night based on two people sharing.

Live inside a constantly changing art gallery in Rome

Rhinoceros Roma is often cited as one of the most fashionable hotels not just in the Eternal City but in the world.

Set in the historic heart of Rome, the hotel was established by Alda Fendi of the prestigious fashion dynasty in 2018 - and designed by world renowned French architect, Jean Nouvel.

The boutique accommodation prides itself on its constant rotation of art shows throughout the year.

Rhinoceros Roma is a temporary home to works from globally acclaimed artists like El Greco and Michelangelo.

Currently on show are works of art and design objects by French artist Ronan Bouroullec created by Galerie Kreo, a ‘research laboratory’ founded in Paris in 1999, dedicated to the production of contemporary pieces in a limited series.

Hop onboard the Rhinoceros Ride at the Rome-based hotel
Hop onboard the Rhinoceros Ride at the Rome-based hotelRhinoceros Roma

If art is not your thing, the roof terrace might be with views across the ancient city.

The hotel is made up of 25 apartments fully stocked with a functioning kitchen, state-of-the-art technology and luxury amenities. Each morning guests can enjoy a breakfast hamper complete with delicious Italian treats.

When you’re ready to explore Rome, you can jump in the ‘The Rhino Ride’, a compact electric vehicle reserved exclusively for hotel residents - making your trip more sustainable.

Rates for Rhinoceros Roma start from €600 per apartment, per night.


Step back in time with a stay at historical The Pavilions in Amsterdam

If you’ve ever dreamed of experiencing life in the 17th century, this could be just the place.

Set within two canal houses, which date back to the 1600s, The Pavillions is a tribute to that period - and the art and culture which thrived.

On the site of Amsterdam’s first University, the hotel transports visitors back to a bygone era, with traditionally Dutch touches.

The Pavilions' decadent lounge bar features a 60 square metre ceiling mural inspired by Rembrandt, painted by art students from Leiden University. That’s the same institution in which the Netherlands’ very own ‘Old Master’ was enrolled in the early 1600s.

Guest rooms carry on the theme, with sumptuous velvet fabrics and burgundy decor enveloping visitors in vintage vibes.


Located right by Amsterdam’s popular Tulip Museum, it’s the perfect base for exploring the best of the Dutch capital. If you have enough of the hustle and bustle of the city, an escape back to The Pavillions will help you forget the hectic, daily grind.

Rooms at this 4* hotel start from €304 per night.

Get off the beaten track in underdiscovered mainland Greece

Much of the Greek mainland is yet to be explored by many tourists, but it’s becoming a more desirable destination.

In fact, Zagori in north-western Greece, near the border with Albania, has just been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its outstanding natural beauty - and it’s the first Greek cultural landscape to receive this accolade.

If you’re keen to explore the region, you may want to pay a visit to Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas.


It’s not only home to luxurious accommodation, but also wild and rugged landscape, with rushing rivers and towering canyons. It was discovered by owner Vasilis Iosifidis in 1999. He found refuge amongst the hiking trails of Zagori and decided to build his house in Aristi, overlooking the Vikos Gorge and Mount Astraka.

Greece's Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas is very much of the beaten tr`ack
Greece's Aristi Mountain Resort and Villas is very much of the beaten tr`ackAristi Mountain Resort and Villas

Today, the luxury resort appears to be seamlessly built into the landscape, with the traditional construction methods of Zagori and ingredients of stone and wood, the resort is a haven for outdoor lovers unwilling to compromise on luxury.

It’s a tribute to this particular region of Greece, with guests invited to taste local products with traditional culinary classes, bathe at the resort’s tranquil open-air spa or take to the trails and hike with a private guide.

Birdwatching, photography workshops, river rafting or river walking as well as wine tasting and canyoneering are just a few other activities on offer, all while taking in the very best this little corner of Greece has to offer.

Nightly rates in a double standard room on a B&B basis start from €163 based on 2 people sharing. Villas are available from €569 per night for 2 people sharing on a B&B basis.


Stay like a rockstar at the Hard Rock Hotel Tenerife

You may have visited one of the world’s many Hard Rock cafes - but did you know the brand also has hotels around the world.

The five star offering is on the Canary island of Tenerife and is open to all kinds of holidaymakers, including children.

Packed to the brim with music history and memorabilia that decorates large parts of the hotel - think Elton John’s Rocketman costume and original setlists by Guns’N’Roses.

Continuing the musical theme, the island hotel offers a unique lineup of concerts and events, like a Children of the ‘80s themed evening.

At the Eden Pool Club, guests are able to hear the music underwater thanks to the DJ booth right in the middle of the pool.


While there are DJ training facilities on hand to entertain young visitors, those keen to relax have plenty of options too.

The resort’s Rock Spa offers an unusual ‘rhythm and motion’ treatment - that’s the first spa experience in the world that offers an immersive experience with amplified vibrations, pressures and sequences.

Each of the 365 rooms and 259 suites are musically themed too and for real fans, Crosley turntables and Fender guitars can be delivered to your room as part of the hotel's ‘Sound of Your Stay’ programme.

Rooms start from €556 a night, based on a family of four sharing a Deluxe Gold room on a B&B basis.

Make like a mediaeval traveller at the Alpbachtal region’s first five-star hotel

Hotel Böglerhof in western Austria has just been awarded five stars - making it one of a kind in the charming Alpbachtal region.


Boasting panoramic views of the Kitzbühel Alps, it’s been newly renovated, making it one of the most impressive wellness spaces in all of Austria.

It features a stand-alone wellness complex which includes an outdoor natural swimming lake, treatment rooms and yoga studios, which means this typically wintery destination can be appreciated all year round.

Hotel Böglerhof is a quirky escape among the mountains
Hotel Böglerhof is a quirky escape among the mountainsHotel Böglerhof

True to its Tyrolean roots, there are also a host of spacious steam and sauna options including an infrared cabin, a bio sauna and a steam bath, all offering the chance to soothe muscles, promote vitality and enhance wellness in breathtaking surroundings.

For those looking to splash out, the hotel’s Penthouse Suites feature outdoor beds for sleeping under the stars.

Throughout the resort, the historic hotel’s traditional style is paid tribute to - not least in the Fuggerstube restaurant.


Awarded three toques by the prestigious Gault & Millau guide, it has welcomed diners such as the mediaeval Duchy of Swabia. The inn’s original wine cellar, now well over 500 years old, is still very much in use.

Stays are from €165 per person per night based on two sharing a double room, all on a gourmet full board basis (buffet breakfast, late light lunch & gourmet dinner).

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