The #1 hotel in the world, along with another 20 on the list of the 50 Best Hotels in 2023, is in Europe.
The new ranking of award-winning hotels is the debut edition by the “50 Best” organization that has been annually publishing The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and The World’s 50 Best Bars.
The ranking is assembled from votes from 580 international hotel and travel experts (with a 50/50 gender balance).
The Best Of The best
Passalacqua, a luxury 18th-century villa overlooking Lake Como in Italy, was named the best hotel in the world this year from the list featuring hotels from 35 destinations across six continents.
The beautiful villa surrounded by terraced gardens and managed by the De Santis family, who also are behind the Grand Hotel Tremezzo (also at Lake Como), was the former home of composer Vincenzo Bellini.
The hotel offers 24 rooms spread out over three buildings: the main villa, the eight-room Palazzo (housed in the former stables with original, massive exposed beams) and the four-suite Casa al Lago down by the lake, with rates starting at $1,300 per night.
“The hotel showcases the finest Italian craftsmanship in a sumptuous riot of ornate Baroque elegance,” 50 Best explains, ”…with original frescoes and ceiling carvings that are further embellished with gilded mirrors, 19th-century portraits, lacquered antique tables, Murano chandeliers and Il Bronzetto light fittings. Outside, seven acres of perfectly manicured terraced gardens with olive groves, mimosa, roses and magnolia lead to the sexy pool terrace dotted with vibrant JJ Martin-designed parasols that add a cheeky, fashionable flair to the otherwise classic opulence.”
The other awarded properties located in Europe include:
The Four Seasons Firenze hotel, also in Italy and housed within Florence’s largest private garden at the beautifully restored 15th-century Medici palace.
This establishment is “an oasis of Italian tranquil luxury” where guests are greeted by “grand floral displays and frescoes, before being shown to one of its 116 bedrooms adorned in antique furnishings,” the 50 Best organization writes.
The hotel, opened in 2008, offers 116 bedrooms starting at $1,000 per night. Of these, 79 are in the Palazzo della Gherardesca and 37 in the Villa, a former 16th-century convent graced with its own reception and butler service.
The hotel also features the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant, Il Palagio.
The Aman Venice hotel with its faultless location under the legendary Rialto Bridge in the San Polo district feels far from the crowds of San Marco but still within walking distance and housed in the 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli.
Described as a “seductive blend of resplendent Italian aristocracy and the slick understatement that the Aman brand is known for,” it includes priceless frescoes, Murano chandeliers and Rubelli silk wall coverings.
The Aman offers 24 rooms with a starting rate of $1,500 a night.
Since opening in 1812, Claridge’s hotel in London has played host to British high society, celebrities, politicians and royalty.
“It is the jewel in the crown of the Maybourne Hotel Group,’ 50 Best explains, with its “classy English eccentricity set in gleaming art deco surrounds.”
After a seven-year, huge-scale excavation project between 2015 and 2022, Claridge’s now offers a new Japanese-inspired 7,000 square foot spa, a 25 meter swimming pool, a gym, hair salon, many event spaces and restaurants including an in-house chocolatier and bakery.
It counts with 269 rooms at a starting rate of $1,200 a night.
Le Sirenuse hotel on the hilltop of the technicolour hotspot of Positano, on Italy’s Amalfi coast, is a family summer-house-turned-legendary hotel since 1951 by four Neapolitan siblings and has stayed in the family since.
A “darling of the jet set,” according to 50 Best, Le Sirenise, perched amid a dazzle of stacked houses tumbling down rugged cliffs to the sea, “has honed its offering, perfecting its all-white, ceramic-filled luxury to match its million dollar-view.” After a comprehensive refurbishment in the 1990s, the property remains a bastion of jasmine-scented Italian elegance, housing an impressive art collection and an artist-residency program.
It offers 58 white rooms, their floors finished with hand-painted ceramic tiles, all with private balcony or patio and Carrara marble bathrooms, at a starting daily rate of $900.
The Borgo Egnazia in Savelletri, Apulia, Italy, can be deceiving at first because it is a hotel “masquerading as a picturesque historic Italian village,” as described by 50 Best.
Opened in 2009, Borgo Egnazia is a Mediterranean wonderland with all of the beauty of a longstanding institution, matched with the contemporary luxuries of world-class lodgings. “A taste of la dolce vita in a fairy tale Apulian village,” complete with fortifications, prettily paved lavender-lined pathways, bougainvillea-draped alleys, a bell-towered church and a central piazza.
“Beyond the charade, there are facilities that don’t turn up in typical Italian hamlets, such as four pools, an award-winning restaurant, indoor and al fresco bars, and a spa inspired by Roman thermal baths.”
Ranging from ‘Casette’ stone cottages and 28 luxurious villas to romantic, minimalist rooms inside the central La Corte building, the property offers 183 rooms starting at $600 a night.
The Connaught hotel, a Mayfair institution in central London established in 1897 as The Coburg and renamed in 1917, remains a bastion of refined elegance in London’s crowded luxury hotel market, with its “enduring sense of discreet opulence.”
It also boasts a twice-ranked No.1 in The World’s 50 Best Bars, the elegant Art Deco-inspired Connaught Bar and two global culinary figures: former World’s Best Female Chef Hélène Darroze, with her eponymous three-star Michelin flagship, and Austrian-American master chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, who oversees two other dining spots within the historic premises.
The Connaught offers 121 rooms, including three distinct and unusual suites-meet-townhouses, starting at $1,250 per night.
The Four Seasons Madrid opened in 2020 following a seven-year project to restore seven landmark buildings.
“While it may reside within heritage confines, the hotel approaches its design aesthetic with devotion to contemporary and emerging Spanish artists,” 50 Best explains. “Some 1,500 pieces of work – including sculptures, photography and installations – adorn the public areas, capturing the city’s dynamic personality.”
A casual Spanish brasserie and bar on the artistic rooftop, a pan-Asian restaurant, a four-story spa – Madrid’s largest – with a glass-roofed pool and outdoor relaxation area are among the amenities to add to the fantastic location for exploring the city. “A quick walk will take you to verdant Retiro Park with its wonderful Crystal Palace and nearby art galleries like Reina Sofía, Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza.”
The 200 elegantly chic bedrooms start at $1,200 a night.
The Maybourne Riviera at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France, sits across the cliffs of the glittering Côte d’Azur, with Monaco’s soundtrack on one side and the Bellini-coloured townhouses of Menton on the other.
This stark, modernist style property, all clean-lines and cut glass, is a sleek temple to art and design that allows the light of the French Riviera to filter into minimalist interiors.
With a stylized spa, two restaurants in the hands of top chefs, the sea 300 meters below, the Maybourne Riviera offers three panoramic suites with 360-degree views of the coastline and 66 other rooms with private terraces, some with plunge pools that start at $1,000 a night.
Le Bristol in Paris, a landmark at the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré opened in 1925 and quickly establishing itself as a favoured haunt of the Paris culture set. It became home to the American Embassy during World War II, to return to its stylish form in the 1950s.
“Acquired by the Oetker Group in 1978, Le Bristol remained committed to staying open and serving its loyal clientele throughout a discreet six-year refurbishment completed in 2018,” 50 Best writes.
Fashion royalty and real royalty frequent the hotel’s sumptuous 190 rooms and suites with their pale pastel walls that backdrop Louis XV- and Louis XVI-period furniture, silk drapes and antique mirrors.
Le Bristol is home to the three-Michelin-starred Epicure restaurant overlooking the hotel’s flower-filled courtyard, the brasserie 114 Faubourg and the less-formal Café Antonia.
The Élysée Palace, Musée d’Orsay and Arc de Triomphe, are nearby.
Rates start at $3,200.
The World’s 50 Best Hotels in Europe also include:
The complete list of the world’s 50 Best Hotels here.