Top five european hotels for wine lovers
A hotel with a decent wine list is one thing but a whole retreat based around the grape is another other matter. If you want to be guaranteed an experience where the destination truly celebrates oenophilia rather than being just another part of the journey here are five great places to start.
La Grande Maison, Bordeaux
As gourmet hotspots go, this recently opened bolthole in southwest France comes with stellar credentials. Owned by wine magnate Bernard Magrez (who also lays claim to several grand crus vineyards in the region), and with the world’s most starred chef, Joël Robuchon, overseeing the kitchen (under the expert management of executive chef Tomonori Danzaki), it cocks a snoot at the trends towards street food and rough luxe with an approach that is resolutely formal, traditional and ostentatiously over-the-top. If you’re celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime event, book one of its six bedrooms and steel yourself for exquisite cooking presented with theatrical flair and a wine list that stretches to 259 grands crus.
L’AND Vineyards, Alentejo
If contemporary architecture and a resort-style setting are more your thing, this five-star hideaway in southern Portugal ticks all the right boxes. With a one-star Michelin restaurant headed up by Miguel Laffan and a striking Caudalie spa (the products are, fittingly, based around vinotherapy or the therapeutic properties of grapes) there’s plenty of opportunity for high-end pampering before you even get started on the fruits of the vines that surround its 22 suites. But most visitors come to sample the latter, via tutored tastings and winery tours.
Marqués de Riscal, Rioja
Almost a decade on from its opening this Frank Gehry-designed architectural showstopper still amazes guests on their first approach. But there’s more to this upmarket Spanish hotel than its gleaming titanium structure. As well as its two restaurants – Michelin-starred Marques de Riscal Restaurant and the more casual Bistro 1860 – there’s a wine bar where, alongside small plates of Iberian ham, chorizo and croquettas, guests can try fine vintages from the Marqués de Riscal cellars as well as more than 200 international labels, many of them available by the glass.
Andrássy Rezidencia Wine & Spa, Tarcal
In Hungary’s historic Tokaj-Hegyalja wine growing region (tours of local vineyards can be arranged), this five-star hotel and spa (treatments are tailored around vinotherapy) has won a following among modern-day wine buffs looking for less mainstream tastings. While its restaurant offers modern interpretations of Hungarian classics, it’s the accompanying wine pairing choices that most guests are more concerned about – the list runs to 80 different Tokaj wines from 25 different growers.
Castello Banfi Il Borgo, Tuscany
Set on Montalcino’s largest wine estate, by a medieval castle, this glamorous Italian hotel has been shaped from a hamlet of former estate workers’ houses. Romantic, traditionally styled suites - with terracotta floors, antique furnishings and linen-canopied beds – and classical Tuscan cooking (courses are also available) make it popular with honeymooners but it’s the estate’s Brunello that draws in visiting gourmands; in the on-site enoteca/ wine bar local sheep’s cheese and prosciutto can be paired to the estate’s wines.