How The 1% Vacations (This, You Need To See)

Photo: Courtesy of the Royal Riviera.
From the way we dress to the music we listen to, what's popular today is almost guaranteed to feel passé tomorrow. But there are still a handful of iconic European hotels that manage to remain relevant decade after decade — through the roaring ‘20s, the hedonistic ‘60s, the decadent ‘90s, and into the 21st century. We can only imagine the events and extravagance that some of these places have witnessed over the years.

Ahead, we look inside 10 of the continent's most eternally stylish hotels — places that have remained at the top of the luxury game from day one, hosting notable guests, making film appearances, and acting as backdrops for high-end fashion shoots. You may not be able to afford a room, but click ahead to experience the opulence and class of a bygone era at these renowned European institutions.
Advertisement
1 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of the Belmond Hotel Cipriani.
Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice
When George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin last September, images of superstar guests at Hotel Cipriani were broadcast around the world. It’s no surprise that Clooney held part of the ceremony here — he’s such a regular that he’s designed his own cocktail, the Buona Notte, which is available at the hotel’s picturesque Gabbiano Bar. Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie are also known to have stayed at the charming Cipriani.
2 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of the Belmond Hotel Cipriani.
Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice (Continued)

The hotel, originally built in 1958 (and owned by the Guinness family), has an incredibly enchanting atmosphere, with an Olympic-sized pool, manicured gardens, and striking views of Venice’s lagoon and the Doge’s Palace. The dreamy destination is also home to Oro (pictured) — undoubtedly one of Europe’s best restaurants.
Advertisement
3 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Plaza Athénée.
Plaza Athénée, Paris
Plaza Athénée is the pinnacle of Parisian chic. Christian Dior shot his campaigns here, the power players of fashion have flocked here for years, and it was Carrie Bradshaw’s temporary residence during the Sex and the City finale (perhaps the highlight of her relationship with Aleksandr Petrovsky).
4 of 20
Photo: Eric Laignel / Courtesy of Plaza Athénée.
Plaza Athénée, Paris (Continued)
The Art Nouveau-style hotel opened in 1913 on Avenue Montaigne, and has hosted a number of icons, including Grace Kelly, Jackie Kennedy, and Elizabeth Taylor, to name a few. With more than 100 years of dedication to style and luxury, Plaza Athénée has cemented itself as a symbol of French fashion. The hotel’s immaculate attention to detail and opulent décor creates a wonderland that is basically haute couture you can live, sleep, and dine in.
5 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Majestic Barrière.
Majestic Barrière, Cannes
Since the Cannes Film Festival launched in the 1940s, Majestic Barrière has accumulated the most star-studded guest book imaginable. The Belle Époque-style hotel has a long-standing affiliation with the film festival, and often hosts exclusive parties throughout the event. Candid photos of celebrities from cinema’s golden age and contemporary stars alike are displayed like family portraits.
6 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Majestic Barrière.
Majestic Barrière, Cannes (Continued)
It also boasts the ultimate dressing room: the exquisite Christian Dior Suite (pictured), where VIPs get ready for the red carpet. The suite is based on the House of Dior in Paris and is brought to life with the brand’s emblematic cannage motif and signature dove gray hues. For north of €16,000 per night, it’s all yours.
7 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Schlosshotel im Grunewald.
Schlosshotel im Grunewald, Berlin
Much of whatever Karl Lagerfeld touches turns to gold, including Chanel, Fendi, and Berlin’s Schlosshotel im Grunewald, which he redesigned in 1994.

The Baroque mansion has a history entrenched in German politics and international relations, but the 1950s saw it develop into an exclusive hotel, hosting the likes of Marilyn Monroe and President Kennedy. Eighty years after it opened (and rapidly began attracting fame and fortune), the visionary designer reimagined the hotel to maintain its heritage while adding his signature contemporary aesthetic.
Advertisement
8 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Schlosshotel im Grunewald.
Schlosshotel im Grunewald, Berlin (Continued)

The modernized icon has since hosted a range of high-end fashion shoots and events and has maintained a star-studded clientele, counting J.Lo, Sean Connery, Jay Z, and Queen Bey among its more recent prominent guests.
9 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Le Richemond.
Le Richemond, Geneva
As the home to the United Nations and The World Health Organization, Geneva has hosted its fair share of international dignitaries over the years, and many of them have visited the picturesque Le Richemond. The regal hotel, now in its 140th year, has also attracted an eclectic mix of artists, musicians, and renowned icons, including Andy Warhol, Michael Jackson, Sophia Loren, and Walt Disney.
10 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Le Richemond.
Le Richemond, Geneva (Continued)
Le Richemond offers good reason to visit, with the majority of the pristine city’s attractions in sight: the landmark Jet d’Eau, The Rhône, Mont Blanc, the 16th century old town, and the Brunswick Gardens are all on show. The alpine surroundings, luxury atmosphere, and old-world charm of Le Richemond give it a timeless appeal that continues to attract leaders and luminaries from all around the world.
11 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Royal Riviera.
Royal Riviera, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
Positioned on the lush peninsula between Monaco and Nice, Hotel Royal Riviera is one of the most prominent retreats along the Côte d’Azur. The candy-colored palace was originally built for British aristocracy in 1904 and was later developed into a fashionable hotel.
12 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Royal Riviera.
Royal Riviera, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat (Continued)
Since the 1920s, it has attracted many international musicians, actors, and aristocrats vacationing in the South of France. The Michelin-starred degustation restaurant, La Pergola, is a destination in itself. U2’s Bono, who has a house in the nearby village of Èze, has been known to drop in with his famous entourage.
Advertisement
13 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Palazzo Manfredi.
Palazzo Manfredi, Rome
When in Rome, it’s all about exploring the historic landmarks of the imperial period, which is perhaps why Palazzo Manfredi is one of the city’s most adored hotels. Positioned above the old gladiator training grounds, the 17th century palace offers unobstructed views of the iconic Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Domus Aurea. It’s also within walking distance of the Pantheon, Capitoline Hill, and San Pietro in Vincoli — a basilica that houses some of Michelangelo’s most spectacular work outside the Vatican City.
14 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Palazzo Manfredi.
Palazzo Manfredi, Rome (Continued)
The refurbished boutique hotel has hosted Warren Buffett, Gisele Bundchen, Matthew McConaughey, and Richard Gere, among many other notable guests, and has established itself as a destination for directors and photographers shooting in the Italian capital.
15 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Villa Belrose.
Villa Belrose, Saint-Tropez
Villa Belrose is one of the French Riviera’s most beautiful and intimate boutique hotels, offering unparalleled panoramic views of the glittering Gulf of Saint-Tropez. The palatial hilltop hotel has played host to royalty and has been featured in a variety of European films and fashion magazines, including L'Officiel.
16 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of Villa Belrose.
Villa Belrose, Saint-Tropez (Continued)

Its Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Petit Belrose, has become a destination for well-heeled Saint-Tropez holidaymakers and celebrities taking time out from socializing at the notorious Club 55 and Byblos.
17 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of The Ritz.
The Ritz, London
Throughout its history, The Ritz has exemplified British aristocracy and elegance, attracting members of London’s high society, royalty, and international leaders. The majestic hotel inspired Fred Astaire’s famed "Puttin’ on The Ritz" back in 1930, and more recently, it was featured in the classic Brit rom-com, Notting Hill. It’s also a firm favorite with the royal family — the ultimate seal of approval in the United Kingdom.
Advertisement
18 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of The Ritz.
The Ritz, London (Continued)
The Ritz’s Louis XVI-style décor echoes the grandeur of the Edwardian era; you can almost see the likes of Consuelo Vanderbilt, Charles de Gaulle, and King Edward VIII sashaying through the hallways as they did in the early 1900s.
19 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of the St. Regis Hotel.
The St. Regis, Florence
Originally built in 1432 (!), the St. Regis shares the same architect as the Duomo — the Tuscan capital’s star attraction. The 15th century palace is located on the Arno River, close to Ponte Vecchio, Uffizi Gallery, the Duomo, and renowned Florentine fashion houses: Ferragamo, Gucci, Pucci, and Cavalli.

20 of 20
Photo: Courtesy of the St. Regis Hotel.
The St. Regis, Florence (Continued)
Over the centuries, the hotel has hosted royalty, celebrities, and an array of events in its beautiful Salone delle Feste ballroom. It also had a role in the 1985 film, A Room with a View. The grandeur of the Italian Renaissance remains perfectly intact here almost 600 years later, making it one of the city’s most revered destinations.
Advertisement