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Historic Hotels of Europe Announce 2017 Award Winners, From Best Castle to Most Romantic

Festningen Hotel & Resort in Norway, the 17th-century fortress bursting with majesty, won Historic Hotels of Europe’s Historic Hotel Castle Award for 2017.

Historic Hotels of Europe announced the winners of its 6th annual awards honoring the most unique, important and cultural properties spanning across the continent across eight special categories, from weddings to fine dining.

Festningen Hotel & Resort in Norway, the 17th-century fortress bursting with majesty, won Historic Hotels of Europe’s Historic Hotel Castle Award for 2017.

Romantik Hotel Castle Rheinfels based in Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Middle Rhine Valley, won Most Romantic Historic Hotel of the year.

The ceremony took place in November at the legendary Barberstown Castle near Dublin, Ireland. Originally built as a fortress in 1288, the castle’s most famous owner was Eric Clapton during the 80s. Its current host Ken Healy hosted the gala dinner, which was attended by the first three nominees in each category and dozens of representatives from the finest historic hotels.

From the 400 exceptional stays throughout Europe, the winners of the sixth prestigious Historic Hotels of Europe Awards are:

  1. In the Historic Host of the Year category, Dalen Hotel in Norway came in top. Known as the ‘fairytale hotel’ with its dragonheads, spires, towers, and balconies – the hospitality is equally dream-like.
  2. Winner of the City Historic Hotel Award was the incredible four-star boutique Heritage Avenida Liberdade, located in the heart of Lisbon, Portugal.
  3. From cosmopolitan retreats to sprawling vineyards, L’Unicorno Agriturismo in Italy won the Historic Hotel Countryside Award.
  4. Sundbyholms Slott in Sweden received an award for its outstanding castle weddings in the Historic Hotel Wedding Experience category. With its very own chapel, cake services and cannoneers who shoot real 17th-century gun salutes on reception, the hotel was a worthy winner.
  5. Another historic treasure crowned was Festningen Hotel & Resort in Norway. Perched on an iconic hill overlooking Finnskogen forest, the 17th-century fortress is bursting with majesty, landing it the Historic Hotel Castle Award this year.
  6. Dedicated to the revival of the traditional cuisine and aromas of Mani and within luxurious surroundings, Kyrimai Hotel Restaurant was the foodie’s choice. The wonderfully restored 19th-century building complex on the southern tip of rural Greece surrounded by water, was crowned with the Historic Hotels Gourmet Award.
  7. Romantik Hotel Castle Rheinfels topped the 400-strong collection of historic hotels for its sheer heart-stealing ambience. Based in Germany’s UNESCO World Heritage Middle Rhine Valley, the four-star castle won Most Romantic Historic Hotel of the year.
  8. Historic Hotels of Europe celebrates high standards of cultural and historical-hotel-keeping throughout the continent, so the Historic Hotel with ‘A Story To Tell’ award is very special. This year, it went to Allegory Boutique Hotel, a truly unique small property in the medieval town of Rhodes, Greece with just 6 units named after the Ovidian characters.

Award winners can be viewed here:  http://www.historichotelsofeurope.com/award.html

“The winners of the 2018 Historic Hotels of Europe Awards represent an inspiring group of hoteliers with exceptional historic properties and outmost dedication to authentic hospitality spanning across Europe”, said Barbara Avdis, Chairman of the Historic Hotels of Europe. “The Hotels receive their merit with the organization’s highest honor, a guest’s choice, the Historic Hotels Awards.”

Historic Hotels of Europe is a membership organization representing unique places to stay in Europe. Encompassing castles, chateaus, palaces, monasteries, convents and more, they have almost 400 members dotted across 11 countries. Each property within the association has been handpicked for its historical architecture and the unique stories it tells.

“Whether you’re living like a lord or lady at a 16th-century manor, or a spa-based bliss in the Med, the aim is to give guests that ‘something special’ – a genuine, one-of-a-kind experience.”

For more information, www.historichotelsofeurope.com


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Historic Hotels of Europe Name Best of 2016 Award Winners

Castle Hotel Sonnenburg, in St. Lorenzen, Valley Pustertal, Italy was awarded Historic Hotels of Europe's Best Castle Historic Hotel 2016.
Castle Hotel Sonnenburg, in St. Lorenzen, Valley Pustertal, Italy was awarded Historic Hotels of Europe’s Best Castle Historic Hotel 2016.

Castles, a convent, elegant country houses and a former tobacco store are  among the 10 luxury hotels named winners of Historic Hotels of Europe awards for 2016.

Guests voted for their favorite hotels in 10 categories, including romance, legend, fine dining, and spa facilities.

Historic Hotels of Europe (HHE) chairman Barbara Avdis said: ‘These awards are an opportunity to reward the outstanding effort that the staff at our member hotels put in to ensure their guests are happy.

“It’s also a celebration of the commitment our members make to maintain the incredibly rich heritage and stories encapsulated in these buildings – and to recognize their constant striving to provide an excellent service for their guests.”

HHE is a not-for-profit umbrella company championing more than 500 of Europe’s most historically-significant hotels.

Each member hotel is unique and each is wrapped inextricably into the history of their location – and of Europe beyond. That’s why the organization selected ten separate categories for the judging.

“The HHE members are so diverse in location, history and type, so having one common measure would be unfair to all,” Barbara Avdis commented.

The winners of the fourth HHE awards were announced in November at a gala dinner at Château de l’Epinay in Saint-Georges-sur-Loire, France.

Winners include Chesa Salis in Bever, Switzerland. Owners Jurg and Sibylla Degiacomi describe their hotel as ‘your home in the Engadin’, so they were delighted to take home the award for best customer care. Little wonder Chesa Salis is a frequent retreat for celebrities escaping the bustle of nearby St Moritz.

Another winner is Aigialos Hotel, in Santorini, Greece. The 16 renovated neoclassical houses that make up the hotel were originally the homes of the island’s noble captain families. Named best historic hotel with a story to tell, the Aigialos charms visitors with its cobbled walkways, overlooking deep blue seas and the island’s volcano.

Winner of the most romantic hotel is Vadstena Convent Hotel, in Sweden. The property has a remarkable history: originally a royal palace, in the 1300s it was the scene of lavish parties thrown by King Magnus Eriksson and his wife Blanche. But the place underwent an abrupt change of fortune when it was transformed into a monastery and convent so austere that log fires, even in a Swedish winter, were strictly forbidden. Vadstena has even been a nursing home for wounded soldiers during wartime – but today it’s a luxury hotel packed with historic charm.

“Our historic hotels are eclectic and authentic, and we aim to take our guests on a journey of inspiring experiences beyond the expected,” Avidis commented

The winners are:

1. Best Castle Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Castle Hotel Sonnenburg
Country: Italy
Member of: Schlosshotels & Herrenhäuser

2. Best Countryside Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Hotel See-Villa
Country: Austria
Member of: Schlosshotels & Herrenhäuser

3. Best Customer Care Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Chesa Salis
Country: Switzerland
Member of: Swiss Historic Hotels

4. Best Historic Hotel Spa Award 2016
Winner: Szidónia Manor House
Country: Hungary
Member of: Hungarian Castle Hotels Association

5. Best City Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Hotel Elizabeth
Country: Slovakia
Member of: Historic Hotels of Slovakia

6. Best Historic Hotel New Member Award 2016
Winner: Hotel Marpessa
Country: Greece
Member of: Yades Greek Historic Hotels

7. Best Historic Hotel with “A Story to Tell” 2016
Winner: Aigialos Hotel Santorini
Country: Greece
Member of: Yades Greek Historic Hotels

8. Best Adventure and Activities Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Knutholmen
Country: Norway
Member of: De Historiske

9. Historic Hotel Best Restaurant 2016
Winner: Marlfield House
Country: Ireland
Member of: Ireland’s Blue Book

10. Most Romantic Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Vadstena Convent Hotel
Country: Sweden
Member of: Countryside Hotels Sweden


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