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5 Stylish European City Breaks To Book Now

A 17th-century gated archway provides a suitably grand entrance to The Dylan hotel, on Amsterdam’s historic Keizergracht canal

Whether you’re seeking an otherworldly wellbeing escape or an instant cultural fix, these are the city breaks to explore now – and the exciting new openings to check out when you get there. By KATIE BERRINGTON

Lifestyle

AMSTERDAM, for recharged nightlife

Amsterdam is a perennially popular city-break destination, but the vibrant Dutch city – renowned for its iconic art institutions, lively nightlife and structure of Unesco World Heritage canals – is just as impressive in the fall as it is during the summer months, and is much easier to appreciate without the crowds. There is no shortage of bars to stumble upon in the city – with a renewed buzz about them now they’re allowed to open again – but, for a different kind of nightlife, the city’s Museum Night in November sees many of its impressive cultural destinations open their doors into the early hours. With its prime location on the Keizersgracht canal, The Dylan remains a fashionable stalwart on the accommodation front, offering a chic array of rooms, as is the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Vinkeles, on the food front.

The Dylan is one of Amsterdam’s finest boutique hotels, with classic features and unique design touches in every room
Soho House has finally opened its long-awaited Paris clubhouse in Jean Cocteau’s former home, featuring interiors (and exteriors) that pay homage to the building’s storied past. (Artwork on bedroom wall by Roberto Ruspoli)

PARIS, for decadent hotels

Paris never goes out of season – and a few new openings in the French capital have added to its magnificent hotel scene of late. These include Cheval Blanc, the 19th-century Seine-side property owned by LVMH that has been exquisitely overhauled by architect Peter Marino, and the design-forward Hotel les Deux Gares, which has interiors helmed by British designer and master of maximalism Luke Edward Hall. Meanwhile, Bvlgari is unveiling a new property, designed by the Italian architectural firm Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Parisian architects Valode & Pistre, in the Triangle d’Or, and Soho House has recently opened its Parisian establishment (Rome is next on the list), in the former family residence of influential artist, poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau, and situated in the fashionable neighborhood of South Pigalle. It’s also well worth adding an excursion to the opulent Airelles Château de Versailles, le Grand Contrôle – a newly opened hotel in the grounds of the palace that was once home to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette – which is only an hour away from central Paris.

Café Coco in Copenhagen’s Coco Hotel is a relaxed oasis, where guests and locals cross paths to enjoy a coffee, a drink or a light meal

COPENHAGEN, for award-winning food

Copenhagen is a must-visit for culinary aficionados – but make sure to plan well in advance to secure table bookings. It is, of course, home to the three Michelin-starred Noma, René Redzepi’s legendary restaurant, which took the title of the World’s Best Restaurant in 2021. And if that isn’t tantalizing enough, the Danish capital also boasts the restaurant holding second place (as well as three Michelin stars) on the same list: Rasmus Kofoed’s Geranium, where the food is akin to art. The new Coco Hotel, in the fashionable neighborhood of Vesterbro, is a chic boutique addition to the city, with a sustainable focus. It is the first hotel from the Copenhagen Food Collective (Cofoco), an enterprise rooted in the local community and farm-to-table dining, which currently has 14 restaurants across the city.

Copenhagen’s legendary Noma restaurant is on every foodie’s bucket list – followed by a cozy nightcap and a super-stylish place to rest one’s head at Coco Hotel

REYKJAVIK, for otherworldly wellbeing

For ethereal landscapes and an abundance of natural wonders, Reykjavik is one of the most dream-worthy city breaks. Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights (possibly a once-in–a-lifetime celestial experience, so if you can, then you probably should) need to plan an Icelandic trip between September and March, when the nights are longest. (For the most successful stargazing, though, it’s best to venture further out of the city.) Make sure to factor in a trip to the spectacular new Sky Lagoon, a geothermal experience overlooking the North Atlantic and located close to downtown Reykjavik, where you can immerse yourself in a seven-step, ultra-rejuvenating sensory ritual.

Guests at Reykjavik’s Sky Lagoon can enjoy breathtaking views from the hotel’s sauna – through the largest single window in Iceland – as well as “the sensory treat of coastal aromas and acoustics”

MADRID, for an abundance of art

When the summer tourist season has ended, the magic of Madrid becomes even more apparent, making the fall and spring optimum times to visit. New openings close to the capital’s art neighborhood make for an ideal basis from which to explore the local culture. The Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid unveiled its award-winning redesign this year, showing off major and meticulous renovations to the 110-year-old Belle Époque palace in the Golden Triangle of Art – with the Prado art museum practically on its doorstep – and near to the city’s shopping district. A little further away, but still within easy walking distance of the Reina Sofia Museum and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Rosewood’s Villa Magna has also recently opened again – reimagined by the luxury hotel group with architect Ramón de Arana and Bar Studio to create an elegant urban oasis. The magnificent property boasts four restaurants – including Amós, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jesús Sánchez – and a sleek signature Rosewood Spa. Rounding out the brand-new openings, Four Seasons has arrived in the heart of the city. An art destination in itself, the property is home to a collection of almost 1,500 pieces – from classics to contemporary works by emerging artists. But it’s not only about the new: at the other end of the spectrum, the city’s oldest hotel, the Gran Hotel Inglés, which dates back to 1886, gives guests the chance to soak up the rich history of the city.

With an elegant, timeless design and vibrant atmosphere (not to mention delectable cocktails), the Pictura bar at the Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid is possibly one of the city’s most glamorous nightspots

CITY CHIC