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The very best luxury spa hotels in Europe 

Discover our selection of the best luxury spa hotels in Europe right now.

By LLM Reporters  |  May 23, 2022

Words by Marianna Hunt

Since the 1800s the great and good have made trips to Europe to ‘take the waters’ – touring its world-famous spa towns and cities to wine, dine and, of course, bathe.

In recognition of their cultural impact over the centuries, last year UNESCO designated the Great Spa Towns of Europe a collective World Heritage Site.

Follow our guide to the best spa hotels to visit right now.

Brenners Park-Hotel and Spa, Baden-Baden in Germany

Brenners Park-Hotel and Spa exterior
A stalwart among the luxury hotels of spa city Baden-Baden, Brenners is celebrating its 150th birthday this year

A stalwart among the luxury hotels of spa city Baden-Baden, Brenners is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. Over the last century and a half it has hosted everyone from King Edward VII to George Clooney.

A stay at Brenners is a delicious lesson in the joy of being lost. Like the Château de Versailles, the hotel sprawls across at least five different buildings with grand interlacing staircases, outdoor trails through magnolia gardens and a multitude of different bars and restaurants.

To reach two of them requires you to traverse the small brook, the Oos, which runs beside the hotel, over a bridge with golden gates. Tinkle the bell on the way back to be let in by the concierge.

Brenners is best known for its world-class spa and health facilities. The pool is housed inside what looks like an Athenian temple – with coral pink walls, marble benches and Doric columns. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow swimmers to look out over the gardens as they paddle. Brenners offers a huge array of treatments – from massages to nutritional advice and professional medical care.

Swimming pool at Brenners Park-Hotel and Spa
Brenners is best known for its world-class spa and health facilities

Spring is an ideal time to visit, when the magnolia and cherry blossoms are in their full glory.

A visit to the Fritz and Felix restaurant is a must – followed by a nightcap in the Kaminhalle bar where a live pianist is often found playing. The bar itself looks like something straight out of the Orient Express – all Mahogany tables, gold lamps, and well-floofed crimson armchairs.

The spa town of Baden-Baden has plenty to offer besides relaxing in the hotel pool. There are 500km of hiking trails in the surroundings with German wine taverns offering excellent refreshment. Make sure to stop by Schloss Neuweier – a winery and restaurant located in an old castle.

Rates at Brenners start from €270 per night, room only.

Matild Palace, Budapest in Hungary

The hotel reopened its doors in summer 2021 after a huge five-year renovation project

Matild is one of a pair of twin palaces rising like elegant wedding cakes on either side of Rákóczi Avenue – Budapest’s main artery.

The palaces were commissioned by Her Imperial and Royal Highness Marie Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha as a party pad for her friends. Built in the height of the Belle Époque era, Matild’s sumptuous art nouveau design was used as a showcase for demonstrating the best of Hungarian craftsmanship at the time – from the wrought iron entrance to the ornate glass windows. Still today it is spectacular. 

The hotel reopened its doors in summer 2021 after a huge five-year renovation project. The interiors have been given a stylish modern update, with a dramatic glass lift, high-tech rooms and a secret rooftop liquor bar in copper and glass, which boasts 360-degree views over Budapest. 

A lovely sea-blue colour scheme runs throughout the hotel – from the high-end spa (which looks like a turquoise iced grotto) to the bathrooms, designed like a Turkish hammam in wet room style with teal and gold tiles. 

the swan spa
The Swan Spa features a Hungarian-influenced bath experience with traditional thermal therapy and Hammam rituals designed to awaken the senses and purify the mind, body, and soul

The rooms are a fun display of technological wizzardry – with mirrors that turn into TV screens that can tell you tomorrow’s weather and a toilet that automatically opens/closes for you. 

The food offering is another stand-out area. The restaurant, Spago, is run by internationally celebrated chef Wolfgang Puck and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t miss trying the spicy tuna tartare, served in a trio of savoury ice cream cones flavoured with sesame and miso. At breakfast, home-baked breads and pastries of all shapes and sizes are laid out like they would be in a bakery. 

Aside from its own spa, the hotel is well-located for access to Budapest’s many thermal baths. Though not named on UNESCO’s list of Europe’s Great Spa Towns (possibly due to the Turkish influences of its bath culture), Budapest has some of the most thermal springs of any city. 

More than 100 sources supply the city’s 31 spas and baths with millions of gallons of mineral-rich water daily. The Szechenyi Baths are the best known – but for an intimate experience, go for the 450-year-old Rudas Baths just over the river from the hotel. 

Rates at Matild Palace start from £450 per night including breakfast.

The Bath Priory, Bath in the UK

The Bath Priory exterior
Nestled within four acres of mature award-wining gardens and spacious terraces, The Bath Priory sets itself apart as a peaceful haven in a bustling city

Bath is the only place in the world to be a double-listed UNESCO World Heritage site – firstly for its Roman remains and Georgian architecture, and secondly as part of the new listing for Europe’s Great Spa Towns. 

Set within four acres of lush grounds, The Bath Priory offers all the benefits of being within walking distance of this vibrant spa city – while also offering a tranquil countryside escape. It is just a 25-minute walk into town to the historic Roman Baths and modern Thermae Spa – a route which takes you via Bath’s lush Botanic Gardens and the Royal Victoria Park. 

Swimming pool at The Bath Priory
The five-star hotel also has its own spa – the only L’Occitane spa in the UK

The five-star hotel also has its own spa – the only L’Occitane spa in the UK. There is an indoor pool, sauna, elliptical steam pod and relaxation room – even a nail bar for an impromptu manicure/pedicure before dinner. Treatments cover all the bases you’d expect and every guest with a booked treatment is greeted by a ‘welcome ritual’ (a soothing foot bath). Spa days can be booked by both hotel guests and day visitors. 

The hotel has one of the best restaurants in Bath: the upmarket Bath Priory. Those looking for something more relaxed should go for the ‘Pantry’ menu, which can be enjoyed either inside or surrounded by wisteria on the garden terrace. 

A night’s stay at The Bath Priory starts from £280 per room, for two sharing and including breakfast.

Grotta Giusti, Tuscany in Italy

Grotta Giusti exterior
Grotta Giusti’s home is the old family villa of a poet, in the heart of Tuscany, set in a large park with a thermal spring and an incredible thermal grotto

Grotta Giusti in Tuscany is the only hotel in the world where you can scuba dive in a thermal cave system. The five-star establishment centres around a natural thermal spring, surrounded by a subterranean cave system and an underground lake – described by composer Giuseppe Verdi as the eighth wonder of the world. The cave acts as a natural steam room, with temperatures ranging from 28 to 34°C and sections named Paradise, Purgatory and Hell (a nod to Dante) depending on their heat. 

It is a conversion of an ancient country villa, owned by the family of the poet Giuseppe Giusti. The house is surrounded by 45 hectares of gorgeous Tuscan parkland. Inside, the rooms reflect their history as a home for Italian aristocrats – without falling into the trap of over-furnishing and becoming gaudy. There are Murano glass chandeliers and frescoed rooms. 

Grotta Giusti cave
Grotta Giusti is the only hotel in the world where you can scuba dive in a thermal cave system

The place has just gone under a significant refurbishment – unveiling a new thermal spa complete with a cold fog shower and ice waterfall. 

There is also a high-quality restaurant, using organic and seasonal ingredients – many of which are sourced from Grotta Giusti’s garden. The hotel is located just outside of Montecatini Terme – one of the 11 Great Spa Towns of Europe selected by UNESCO – and both Florence and Pisa can be reached easily by car. 

A double room costs from €336 per night (not including breakfast).

Grandhotel Pupp, Karlovy Vary in Czech Republic 

Grandhotel Pupp exterior
Grandhotel Pupp is an impressive hotel with a tradition dating back to 1701, located in the historical center of Karlovy Vary, 300 m from the spa colonnade

What does Scarlett Johansson have in common with Napoleon Bonaparte and Ludwig van Beethoven? Not a lot, except for the fact that all have stayed at the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary. 

Said to have inspired Wes Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel, Grandhotel Pupp is a true grande dame of European spa hotels. The neo-Baroque building dates back to the late 1800s, when the spa town of Karlovy Vary was in its heyday. 

For many years it was blocked off by the iron curtain, but the hotel has experienced a huge revival since the 1990s thanks, in part, to an international film festival which has drawn in A-listers from Daniel Craig to Antonio Banderas. Most opt to stay at Pupp while in Karlovy Vary. 

The hotel has a large heated pool and spa with saunas and treatment rooms. It also has its own casino where well-heeled locals and visitors alike play blackjack, poker and roulette while sipping on Pupp’s signature cocktails. 

Grandhotel Pupp spa and swimming pool
The spacious and well-equipped spa of the Grandhotel Pupp represents a modern concept of the spa tradition of Karlovy Vary

There are five restaurants/bars – with sky-high ceilings and crystal chandeliers. The menus are a high-end take on traditional Czech food, made with top quality ingredients. 

Grandhotel Pupp is the result of the gradual merging and reconstruction of various historic buildings over the course of three centuries – and so each bedroom is completely unique. 

There is plenty to do in the surroundings – from visiting Karlovy Vary’s spas (it is another of UNESCO’s 11 Great Spa Towns) and drinking the waters to hiking in the surrounding nature reserves.

Prices for a stay at Grandhotel Pupp start from €150 per night.

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