“The moment you turn into the serene courtyard of the Relais Christine, you feel like you’ve been let in on a secret,” says Indagare’s Simone Girner of the Paris hotel. The sentiment of having discovered something unique and personal is echoed at small-scale hotels across Europe, from a historic estate in Ireland to a contemporary architecture marvel in Provence. Read on for our favorite boutique hotels in Europe, each with under 50 rooms.
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La Réserve Paris
Inside a Haussmann-era mansion in the 8th arrondissement, La Réserve Paris delivers understated elegance in traditional Belle Époque style. In its 40 rooms, 26 of which are suites, expect silk-paneled walls, velvet headboards and antique furniture, along with contemporary creature comforts like TVs hidden behind mirrors. Don’t miss the green-toned living room, along with the candle-lit, 50-foot pool in the underground spa.
The Wittmore Barcelona
The Wittmore is a stylish, adults-only boutique hotel on an impossibly narrow street in Barcelona’s Barri Gotíc. Its public spaces and 22 rooms—which range from ‘Tiny’ to ‘XXLarge’—showcase a British-themed décor, with lots of plaid (and salt and pepper shakers shaped like kissing English terriers in the restaurant). The mood is definitively sultry: dark lighting, thick curtains, and many shades of red throughout the property. On the rooftop, there’s a guests-only lap pool and bar, which sometimes plays host to DJ sessions.
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Aman’s signature sleek ethos meets Venetian opulence at the brand’s 24-room outpost on the Grand Canal. Inside a 1550 palazzo—with ornate original details like Italianate chandeliers, gilded ceilings and elaborate crown molding—the hotel’s contemporary, neutral-toned and metallic furniture brings things into the 21st Century. Two gardens, including one on the Grand Canal, provide a rare opportunity for outdoor tranquility in this historic, dense city. Another space to enjoy: a rooftop terrace, an ideal spot for aperitivo hour.
Ett Hem, Stockholm
The 12-room Ett Hem, inside a 1910 townhouse in Stockholm’s posh embassy neighborhood, is reason enough to fly to Sweden any time of year. Its name translates to “a home,” which perfectly encapsulates the experience of staying at this Ilse Crawford-designed boutique hotel. Case in point: guests can enter the kitchen at all hours, where the chef will be happy to cook up whatever you’d like. The glassed-in orangerie is an ideal spot to soak up the summer sunshine or revel in the wintry wonderland, glogg in hand.
J.K. Place Capri
Perched on a seaside cliff in one of Europe’s most exclusive resort destinations, J.K. Place Capri draws sun-seekers to its 22 ultra-stylish rooms (each of which comes with outdoor space). On the ground floor, residential-style sitting rooms and a dining room open onto a large teak terrace overlooking the Bay of Naples. Throughout the property, decorative antiques, a nautical color scheme and the occasional ceramic bust call to mind a chic friend’s beach house. Indagare members love the hotel’s swimming pool and 24-hour shuttle service to Capri town, just ten minutes away.
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Deplar Farm, Iceland
From adventure travel company Eleven Experience, the 13-room Deplar Farm offers travelers an intimate escape on Iceland’s rugged Troll Peninsula. World-class guides take guests on epic day-trips, like heli-skiing, whale-watching, fly-fishing and surfing. The hotel itself blends into the dramatic mountainous landscape with a grass roof and glass walls. Its earth-toned rooms feature complimentary craft chocolates and local beers—small touches that go a long way after an active day. Deplar Farm earns extra points for foodies thanks to its impressive (and all-inclusive) culinary program.
Ireland’s ultimate country hotel, Ballyfin offers Old World extravagance coupled with genuinely welcoming service and an elegant, yet casual atmosphere. Just a 90-minute drive from Dublin, the estate overlooks a lake and comprises walled gardens, stables and trails. And while the 1820s Neoclassical building is austere on the outside, its interiors showcase silk-covered walls, oversized fireplace and towering columns. Each of the hotel’s 20 individually designed suites pays homage to Ballyfin’s 19th-century roots, from the Lady Kildare suite—with blue and white chinoiserie-style walls—to the gilt-covered Westmeath Room, with a domed French bed and portraits of Irish nobility.
Storfjord Hotel, Norway
The epitome of rustic-luxe comfort, Norway’s Storfjord Hotel is a sophisticated retreat overlooking a fjord that seems straight out of Frozen. Its log cabin-style buildings house 32 rooms, which feature exposed wooden beams, four-poster beds, leather armchairs and a muted color scheme. After exploring the surrounding region—kayaking, hiking, and sailing are all on offer—guests can return to evening drinks on the terrace and a three-course dinner in Stofjord’s restaurant, which highlights seasonal, regional produce.
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The Widder Hotel, Zurich
On a pedestrian street in the heart of Zurich’s charming old town, the Widder Hotel combines a row of nine Medieval houses into a 49-room boutique hotel. It’s a study in Swiss design, fusing 17th-century frescoes and antique tiled stoves with halogen bell-jar lights and mid-century modern leather furnishings. Despite its small size, the Widder is also home to five of Zurich’s best dining experiences, including a rustic butchery, fine dining restaurant, traditional Swiss kitchen and popular cocktail bar.
Heckfield Place, England
Barely an hour away from the bustle of London—and only 35 minutes from Heathrow—Heckfield Place is an immaculate 18th-century estate-turned-countryside hotel in bucolic Hampshire. Each of the hotel’s 45 rooms has its own character, while its gorgeous living spaces are ideal for such quintessentially English activities as reading and enjoying afternoon tea (with fabulous cakes). The 400-acre grounds, crossed by a river and featuring two lakes, are home to a biodynamic farm, walled gardens, and centuries-old trees.
Relais Christine, Paris
In the bustling 6th arrondissement, within easy walking distance to the best Left Bank shopping, the Jardin du Luxembourg and the quays of the Seine, this 48-room property has become one of our go-to options in Paris. Renovated in 2017, it’s got bold pops of color—mustard yellows, sea greens, crimson reds—that are grounded by antique furnishings, warm lighting and inviting sitting nooks.
Related: A Vogue Editor’s Guide to Paris
Wanas Restaurant Hotel, Sweden
In the bucolic countryside of southern Sweden, just two hours outside of Copenhagen, Wanas Restaurant Hotel has transformed a medieval estate into one of Europe’s most fascinating destination hotels, with a massive sculpture garden, an art gallery (which regularly showcases works from heavy-hitters like Jenny Holzer) and a casual but exceptional culinary program from Michelin-level chefs. Its 11 cozy guest rooms feature hyper-local furnishings, like leather sourced from the estate’s cows and benches made from found logs.
Villa La Coste, Provence
Villa La Coste is a 28-room hotel that invites guests to a modern art and architecture eden on the grounds of a 600-acre wine estate in Provence. It’s a living museum with pieces from the likes of Damien Hirst, Pablo Picasso and Richard Serra, plus buildings from Frank Gehry and Renzo Piano. The hotel’s minimalist suites feature white four-poster beds, marble baths and floor-to-ceiling windows. Alongside the wine and art, Villa La Coste also takes its cuisine seriously, with restaurants from star chefs Gérald Passadat and Francis Mallmann.
Honorable Mention: Rosa Alpina, Italy
At 52 rooms, Rosa Alpina in the Dolomites barely misses our size requirements for a boutique hotel. Still, it provides a truly boutique experience in one of Europe’s most striking regions, and is one of Indagare’s favorite luxury properties in the world. The family-owned hideaway is an ideal home base for hiking in the summer and fall and skiing in the winter. In its common spaces and guest rooms, expect pine-clad walls and flooring, multiple fireplaces, stuffed sofas and tempting reading nooks.
Contact Indagare to help you plan your dream European vacation.