Places That Put You in the Middle of the Action
Posted May 2, 2018 1:30 a.m. EDT
Hotels on Europe’s festival circuit come in a range of styles, from party-centric to serene retreat. Some even create their own festivals devoted to food, literature or music, and others offer easy access to destination events nearby. The following new, improved or event-staging hotels welcome guests to celebrate.
Music is in the air throughout the year in Salzburg, but especially in summer with the Salzburg Festival, July 20-Aug. 30. Additionally, this year’s Whitsun Festival, held May 18-21, will celebrate composer Gioachino Rossini, who died 150 years ago. On the Salzach River, walking distance to the festival district, the 56-room Hotel Stein has just reopened after a two-year renovation, adding a restaurant to its popular rooftop bar. Although the hotel traces its roots to a 14th-century inn, its new décor mixes modern furniture with Venetian glass lamps and mural-size black and white photography. Rooms from 250 euros, or about $309; hotelstein.at.
Built in the 17th century as a gift from the Duke of Buckingham to his mistress, Cliveden House has seen plenty of drama, including the scandalous Profumo Affair in 1961 when a British war secretary became involved with the mistress of a Russian spy. Now operated as a 38-room hotel set on 376 acres about 30 miles west of London, the estate generates its own intrigue, albeit of the bookish kind, with its Cliveden Literary Festival. Held Sept. 29-30, the festival, themed to politics and history, continues the property’s tradition of holding literary salons for visiting writers, including past guests like George Bernard Shaw and Jonathan Swift. Rooms from 340 pounds, or about $486; clivedenhouse.co.uk.
Grand Hôtel Cabourg
Cabourg, on the Normandy coast of France, has its own Cannes moment each June with the Film Festival of Cabourg, which is devoted to romantic films. Running June 13-17, the festival, known to draw stars like Marion Cotillard and Juliette Binoche, includes an outdoor venue projecting films at the beach. Between screenings, follow the celebrities to the classic Grand Hôtel Cabourg, a 1907-vintage landmark famously patronized by author Marcel Proust, that hosts interviews with actors. Now part of the heritage- and design-focused MGallery by Sofitel collection, the 74-room hotel offers classes in making the madeleines that inspired Proust. Rooms from 190 euros; sofitel.com.
Among the Cyclades Islands in Greece, Mykonos has the reputation as the party place for beach clubs and annual events such as the gay festival Xlsior Mykonos (Aug. 22-29). But it’s also an island of religious fervor, displayed most publicly on Assumption Day, Aug. 15, with a festival at the Monastery of Panagia Tourliani. The new Katikies Mykonos straddles both worlds, offering access to the club frenzy nearby and a retreat from it. Opening in June, the 35-room seaside hotel channels the marine world in blue and white décor and keeps the emphasis on the outdoors with two terrace-based restaurants and two swimming pools. Rooms from $420; katikies.com/katikiesmykonos.
Conscious Hotel Westerpark
Westergasfabriek combines the green space Westerpark and a former gas works into an indoor-outdoor cultural attraction that stages regular concerts and markets as well as big events like the musical Milkshake Festival (July 28-29). Earlier this spring, the new Conscious Hotel Westerpark opened in a grand building that once served as the plant offices between the factory and the park canal. Solely wind-powered, the sustainably built hotel features 89 spacious rooms, bike rentals and a restaurant with an aquaponic growing system serving organic food. Rooms from 160 euros; conscioushotels.com.
The country estate K Club, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, is its own destination, set on 550 acres, about a 30-minute drive southwest of Dublin. On Aug. 19, it will launch its first Taste of Kildare Festival. Taking place in its Victorian walled garden, the event will include cooking demonstrations, talks and a market featuring area restaurants. Apart from the festival, the 140-room hotel offers golf on a course that held the 2006 Ryder Cup, as well as falconry, fly fishing and horseback riding. Rooms from $265; kclub.ie.
CASTIGLIONCELLO DEL TRINORO, ITALY
What was a medieval village in the Val d’Orcia is now Monteverdi Tuscany, an albergo difuso, or diffused hotel, that spreads the inn over the village footprint. Bringing the old town to life in summer, the retreat holds a series of classical, jazz and operatic concerts in a 14th-century Romanesque church. When not attending shows, guests of its 19 rooms and three villas can take a cooking class in the new Culinary Academy opening in June in the former village school, or steep in the baths inspired by Roman traditions in the newly expanded spa. Rooms from 575 euros; monteverdituscany.com.
Established as a theater festival in 1953 at the town châteaus, the Festival de Wiltz in the Ardennes region of northern Luxembourg has expanded to include dance, opera and musical performances each July. This year, from June 27-July 30, the lineup includes the Australian circus company Gravity & Other Myths, the singer Melody Gardot and the opera “Don Quichotte.” A 15-minute drive from the festival grounds, the newly expanded Urspelt Castle offers 56 rooms, a spa and outdoor swimming pool in the Natural Park of Our, a rural region that is home to castles and hiking trails. Rooms from 95 euros; chateau-urspelt.lu.
The Nomad Pop-Up Hotel
Electronic, rap and hip-hop music fans will gather at Meo Sudoeste, Aug. 7-11, in Zambujeira do Mar, a coastal town in Portugal’s southern Alentejo region. After catching DJs Harwell and Marshmello, and rapper Lil Pump, festivalgoers can crash at the limited-run Nomad Pop-Up Hotel, a temporary riverside tent village with bathroom facilities, including showers and a cellphone charging station. Tents sleep from four to five guests. Some are furnished, glamping style, with beds, tables and outdoor chairs; the cheapest come unfurnished. The mobile camp also pops up at other Portuguese music festivals, including Festival Forte near Coimbra, Aug. 30-Sept. 2. Rooms from 100 euros; thenomadpopuphotel.com.
The Pavilions Madrid
Madrid’s festivals span the cultural spectrum. From May 11-15, the Spanish capital honors San Isidro with a parade of giant figures, traditional dances and bullfighting. July 12-14, the Mad Cool Festival brings Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkeys and Jack White to town. Opened in April, the new 28-room Pavilions Madrid hotel in the Chamberi neighborhood, including a garden-like restaurant with plants cascading from the ceiling, offers a tranquil break from the action. The hotel also serves as a gallery; the contemporary artwork found throughout highlights local artists and is available for sale. Rooms from 190 euros; pavilionshotel.com/madrid.