A guide to 6 luxury hotels worth visiting more than once
I love to discover new hotels, and since no one has limitless time to travel this means that I have visited many hotels only once and even when I had a fantastic time, it is not very likely I will return a second time.
On the other hand, there are hotels that continue to lure me back for various reasons.
Spending most of my time at home and using that time to finally get my photo archive in a better shape, I have come across several places I would really love to go back and re-explore more in-depth.
Below, I have listed 10 fantastic luxury hotels I am determined to visit again.
The Yeatman, Porto
There are many reasons to put Porto on your bucket list. From the picture-perfect historic neighbourhoods nestled on the hills just above the Douro river with steep, winding cobble-stoned streets, colourful houses and many stunning monuments like the Clérigos Tower, Porto Cathedral or Sao Bento Railway Staion to the city’s many port houses and lively culinary scene, this small city in the north of Portugal is the perfect location for a long weekend or as starting point for a trip into the nearby Douro Valley, the UNESCO World Heritage site awarded wine-growing region characterized by its steep rolling hills.
The other reason for a visit is the splendid The Yeatman hotel.
From its prime position towering high above the Douro in Vila Nova de Gaia, the hotel offers one of the most stunning views over Porto on the opposite site of the river.
Whether it is for breakfast, a snack-lunch, afternoon tea or evening drinks, the large terrace is the most perfect place to enjoy spectacular views over the city.
The hotel belongs to one of the founding families of the port industry in Porto, who also still own some of the city’s port labels, including the well-known Taylor’s. The Yeatman is officially branded a ‘wine hotel’. Though there are no vineyards in sight, you are indeed only steps away from the most renown port houses like Taylor’s, Graham’s, Sandeman and Offley.
In addition, the hotel has entered into partnerships with a large number of excellent Portuguese wineries. Each of there rooms holds the name of one of these wineries and inside you will find pictures, artefacts and bottles of the particular winery the room is named after.
In addition, the hotel’s own wine cellar is home to one of the larges collections of Portuguese wines as well as many others from around the world.
Schönburg Castle, Middle Rhine Valley
Who does not love a romantic getaway staying in a historic castle towering high on a hill and overlooking a beautiful river valley below?
Schönburg Castle looks back to a varied history with the first mentions of the castle attributed to the period of around 911 to 1166. From the 12th century, it belonged to the Dukes of Schönburg who ruled over the town of Oberwesel. In 1689 the castle was burned down by French soldiers during the Palatinate Heritage war and was restored only in the late 19th century when it was acquired by an American of German origins.
Today, Schönburg Castle belongs to the town of Oberwesel who in 1957 granted a long term lease to the family establishing and now managing the castle hotel in the third generation.
Schönburg castle is one of the best spots to enjoy the famous Rhine in Flames festival taking place around the town of Oberwesel in mid-September. Huge fireworks taking place on the river can be enjoyed from the prime position from the castle grounds. Be warned however, the hotel is usually booked out for about two to three years in advance for the dates of the festival.
The good news is, Schönburg Castle is a beautiful spot offering stunning views over the Middle Rhine Valley, an UNECSCO World Heritage site at any time of the year.
Alfonso XIII, Seville
One of Seville’s great landmarks, the imposing Alfonso XIII was commissioned by the King of Spain to host some of the most prominent guest of the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition.
Seville’s main attractions, the Cathedral and Reales Alcázares, the royal palace in Seville, Spain, built for the Christian king Peter of Castile, are just steps away. But truly the hotel itself feels like stepping into a palace of the Moorish past of the country; and it still lives up to the intention with which it was built: To become the best hotel in Europe.
There is no question, Hotel Alfonso XIII is still part of this category. Indeed, today the hotel is part of the prestigious Luxury Collection Hotels. There are a couple of excellent dining options, including a fine-dining restaurant and a wonderful terrace restaurant offering some of Seville’s best tapas.
The exquisitely furnished rooms are spacious and some even come with a terrace overlooking either the city of the hotel’s garden and pool area.
Chateau Frontenac, Quebec City
I am not so much into hotels with hundreds of guest rooms, but the renowned Fairmont Hotels chain is really one who manages to deliver a wonderful experience despite the huge scale of most of their hotels.
Chateau Frontenac, located within Quebec’s historic UNESCO World Heritage site, sits prominently on top of the old town upper district overlooking the historic Petit-Champlain quarter and St. Lawrence River – occupying a position that is second to none in the whole city.
With a couple of dining options along with a large spa and fitness centre, there are plenty of opportunities to spend your time inside the hotel.
However, next to the excellent guest service, it is really the location and the proximity to the city’s beautiful historic quarters and nearby monuments that really makes me want to come back to Chateau Frontenac sooner rather than later.
If you want to learn more about what it is like to stay at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, check out my post about the hotel.
McArthur Place, Sonoma County
Today, most of my travels are planned very carefully from start to finish, with all hotels and stops in between usually arranged in advance.
Though I have come to prefer this type of planning, there was a time I would depart to a destination only with a plane ticket and maybe a hotel booked for the first night. Leaving everything else to sort out on the go.
It might be a slightly riskier way to travel as you often don’t know where you will end up for the night. Thankfully, I was mostly lucky with the hotels I ended up during those trips. In fact, I have made some wonderful unexpected discoveries. Since none of them were planned some of them continue to be my most cherished experiences to this date.
McArthur Place in Sonoma County was one of them, and definitely one of the luckiest discoveries I ever made.
A lovely compound located about ten minutes’ walk away from the centre of Sonoma, the place is composed of a couple of old cottages, a lovely curate lush flowering garden and an excellent restaurant.
Recently, I found out the hotel has undergone an extensive renovation. Indeed, the new sleek modern design is even more my style. The guest rooms now feature natural material kept in a colour scheme of white, cream and brown. I could move in right now and never leave. In particular choosing one of the rooms with private patio.
Another reason to return, off course are the nearby fantastic Sonoma County wineries and the many more excellent dining opportunities in the nearby area, including both Napa and Sonoma Country.
The Boar’s Head Inn, Charlottesville, Virginia
This one was another lucky discovery during a trip with no pre-booked hotels. This time road-tripping from Washington DC right down to Virginia Beach, including the amazing Virginia wine country and Blue Ridge Parkway.
I was looking for a place to stay overnight not too far from Blue Ridge Parkway and driving around to find a hotel in the late afternoon, the sign of Boar’s Head Inn came quite handy.
At first, the complex seemed like the typical motel, even though clearly on the upscale. But once reached the room after walking along the rather nondescript corridor, it was clear this was a special place. Furnished in typical country house style, the rooms are cosy and come with all modern amenities.
The most intriguing part, however, was the food. The restaurant, upon entering looked nice but rustic and by no means had me prepared for the menu that followed. Fittingly, the menu included wild boar which seemed an obvious choice. It was, hands down one of the best I ever had.
Diner, followed the next morning by an fantastic breakfast and a short stroll through the vast compound really made me wish I had time to stay longer than only the one night – and still wanting to explore more of Virginia, maybe coming back for Indian Summer – the Boar’s Head Inn ever since leaving had been on my list of hotels I want to come back to.
What is your favourite hotel you want to visit again? And why?