The best breaks for a weekend of luxury in Europe
Time is the one luxury we're all short of. When it comes to getting away from it all and enjoying some time dedicated to those you care about the most, it can often seem like there simply aren't enough weeks in the calendar. Luckily, the interconnected nature of today's world means that you needn't squander all your holiday time in one sitting to enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation. With a handful of exotic destinations right on your doorstep, Europe represents the perfect playground for a city break that's sure to soothe your aches away and reignite your passion for life. A Friday afternoon flight could see you dining on exquisite French fare that same evening, enjoying a luxuriously long coffee break in Italy the next morning or whiling away the entire weekend among idyllic Spanish surroundings. Whatever kind of getaway you have in mind, Quintessentially Travel are here to help. Here are just a few of the properties and destinations to choose from for your next indulgent European city break.
Aman Venice - Venice, Italy
There’s good reason why Venice is known as La Serenissima. With its backdrop of quaint Gothic architecture and labyrinthine network of canals, there’s no better place to kick back and unwind to the sound of the water gently lapping at the edges of a gondola. Home to ancient art galleries and upmarket boutiques alike, the Queen of the Adriatic is a delightful mixture of the cosmopolitan and the classic in a single, picturesque experience.
For a truly memorable stay, we recommend the Aman Venice. The property itself exudes elegance from the very brickwork, combining Renaissance charm with refined classic décor as Rococo masterpieces rub shoulders alongside ornately adorned ceilings. The Aman is far from just a pretty face, however. The cuisine on offer in its Palazzo Kitchen is cooked up by the world’s finest chefs, while the hotel also has plenty of exclusive offers in the shape of private opera box tickets, sunset boat rides and complimentary entry into some of the city’s most impressive architectural marvels.
Il Sereno – Lake Como, Italy
Nestled in the foothills of the Alps mountain range in northern Italy, Lake Como is the perfect compromise between an urban holiday vacation and a rural retreat. With a stunning mountain range on one side and the expansive tranquillity of the lake on the other, the destination represents an ideal place to recharge your batteries and reconnect with nature. Scenic hamlets are clustered around the water’s shores, offering up plenty of picturesque watering holes in amongst all the Renaissance and Romanesque architecture.
Complete the experience by staying at Il Sereno Hotel in the laid-back commune of Torno. Tastefully designed with an emphasis on modern elegance, the hotel’s four spacious suites draw the al fresco appeal of the lake indoors with floor-to-ceiling windows and an abundance of natural light. Its Michelin-starred restaurant serves up artful interpretations of regional specialities using the finest local ingredients, while guests can also enjoy all manner of extra-curricular activities, from helicopter tours to spa treatments.
Six Senses Douro Valley – Porto, Portugal
For a city that’s so deeply steeped in history, Porto is currently enjoying a reputation as an up-and-coming destination from a tourism perspective. That dichotomy is reflected in the city’s winding cobbled streets, as well; the historic centre sees Baroque cathedrals and colonial-era architecture embellished with vibrant street art and colourful mosaic tiles. Delectable culinary dishes clamour for attention alongside palate-massaging aperitifs, including, of course, the port for which this coastal haven is named.
For a more restful hideaway, why not stay at the Six Senses in the Douro Valley? Located at a comfortable remove of under two hours from Porto proper, this stunning property offers sweeping views of the lush valley greenery below. The 19th-century manor house has been recently renovated with impeccable refinement, boasting an onsite spa and fitness centre, various diverse dining experiences and, of course, its very own wine library. For a world-class hotel located in the world’s oldest demarcated wine region, would you expect anything less?
Finca Cortesin – Casares, Spain
If a city escape sounds a little too hectic for your tastes, why not check out the Costa del Sol’s best kept secret in Casares? This sleepy hillside village is located under ten miles from the gorgeous Andalusian coastline and represents the perfect place to unwind. The square white edifices of the town are stacked one on top of another, resembling a tumbledown pile of sugar cubes, while a medieval Arab fortress perches picturesquely at the top.
To take advantage of the twin pleasures of the village and the seafront, Finca Cortesin offers everything you could possibly desire. The palatial property is set inside 23,000m2 of perfectly manicured gardens and offers access to four swimming pools, a 6,000m2 beach club, tennis and padel courts and a world-class, 18-hole golf course that consistently ranks among the most highly regarded in all of Spain. Finish off the day with a revitalising Thai massage and you can’t fail to return from your break refreshed and ready to go again.
Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat - Côte d’Azur, France
The French Riviera is world-renowned for its sophisticated beach resorts, haute cuisine dining and high-end shopping opportunities, so if it’s opulence and indulgence you’re seeking, look no further. It’s been popular with the rich and famous for centuries, so strolling through the sun-baked streets of any of its exclusive urban epicentres or taking to the water for a day on a luxury yacht is a sure-fire way to spend a weekend in style.
Continuing the theme, no stay on the Côte d’Azur would be complete without a prestigious hotel to match and the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat is the ideal candidate for the role. Part of the celebrated Four Seasons brand, the Cap-Ferrat has been frequented by such luminaries as Elizabeth Taylor and Sir Winston Churchill. Follow in their footsteps by pampering yourself at the VIP Suite in Le Spa, indulging in Provençal and Mediterranean-inspired dishes created by a Michelin-starred chef at Le Cap or simply feasting your eyes on the beauty of the surrounding enclave from the hotel’s panoramic perch.
A Quintessential experience
At Quintessentially Travel, we understand that planning a holiday can be a time-consuming process in itself, before you’ve even begun to think about how you’re going to find the hours to enjoy your escape. We also appreciate the value of local knowledge and insider information in turning an agreeable experience into an unforgettable one.
That’s why our extensive network of travel specialists are relentless in their pursuit of the next hidden gem, constantly scouring the globe to come up with city breaks designed to gratify every preference and satisfy every palate. We go the extra mile to forge partnerships with some of the world’s best hotels, earning you access to all those little extras and VIP benefits which really make a holiday memorable. To find out more about how we can tailor-make the trip of a lifetime, get in touch with our team at Quintessentially Travel today.