Through the keyhole: Discover who lived and stayed in Europe’s historic hotels

Despite the many unique features that set each of our historic hotels apart, many of them can say they’ve experienced the same thing at one point or another: celebrity guests! Plenty of the properties in our Collection have been around for centuries and, as such, have seen several famous folks and historic characters step through their doors. Here are just a few of them (and a bit about the properties that played host)…

1. Roch Castle: Haverfordwest, Wales

Roch Castle is defined by its drama (on the outside, at least!). High above the Pembrokeshire landscape, this hill-topped castle looks as though it was built for epic quests and adventures. Those who are lucky enough to book one of the six rooms here can look forward to personable five-star service, including breakfast made to order and a glorious Sun Room. With floor to ceiling glass walls and an alfresco viewing platform, you couldn’t ask for a better seat in the house from which to admire the Welsh countryside.

Who stayed here?

Roch Castle has over 800 years of history ingrained within its walls and has been home to Norman knights, lords, viscounts and other notable figures. One of these was Lucy Walter, who was the mistress of King Charles II and bore his child, the Duke of Monmouth. Another, and the first known inhabitant of the castle, was a Norman knight by the name of Adam de Rupe. As myth has it, Adam received a prophecy from an old woman saying that he would die from a snakebite within a year. Scared, he built Roch Castle on top of a rocky outcrop and hid at the top… but one day, his servant brought him a basket of logs in which a snake was hiding. It did indeed bite him and he died – or so the story goes

2. Schloss Wartegg: Rorschacherberg, Switzerland

It’s close to Lake Constance. Boasts a gorgeous turquoise bath (in an equally gorgeous spa). Is home to a Michelin-recommended restaurant. Yes, Schloss Wartegg is a castle with many delightful layers, making it undoubtedly one of the best historic hotels to visit for a serene stay in the Swiss countryside. Take advantage of the property’s many bicycle paths, admire the castle sheep and more on your rural retreat. You’re bound to return home refreshed.

Who stayed here?

Schloss Wartegg has a long history demarcated by vibrant characters, arguably the most famous being Empress Zita who spent time in exile here. She was the wife of Charles I of Austria, the last Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne. Along with this remarkable royal, the castle has also sheltered diplomats, counsellors, duchesses and more – all of which are well worth a closer look on your next coffee break. History never fails to fascinate us.

3. Grand Hotel et de Milan: Milan, Italy

The Grand Hotel et de Milan is your portal right into the heart of Italian history and culture. Sleek, stylish and in the centre of thriving Milan, it’s just a short walk away from the best places to eat, drink and shop as well as landmarks like the Duomo Cathedral: an unmissable sight and spiritual experience rolled into one. A variety of charming and decadent restaurants and bars on-site, as well as luxury five-star accommodation, make The Grand one of Italy’s most exceptional historic hotels. You’ll want to try it out for yourself presto.

Who stayed here?

This hotel has always been a favourite among the famous. Crafted by the architect Andrea Pizzala, who also created Milan’s Galleria De Cristoforis, it’s since been the haunt of diplomats, musicians and actors along with prestigious names including the Italian composer, Giuseppe Verdi, who put himself on the musical map by writing operas like Otello. The Polish painter Tamara de Lempicka and soprano Maria Meneghini Callas also stayed here among many, many others.

4. Renvyle House Hotel: Connemara, Ireland

It’s hard not to fall in love with Ireland’s rugged and rural splendour, particularly when you’re in one of our most striking historic hotels next to the Wild Atlantic Way. This is where Renvyle House Hotel has been for decades, delighting guests with its standout hospitality and location… often at once. The property’s outdoor Canadian hot tub allows you to enjoy the area’s birdsong as you recline and relax. Elsewhere, Renvyle’s restaurant – headed up by the award-winning chef Tim O’Sullivan – serves up divine dishes with ingredients from the hotel’s gardens and orchard. Perfection.

Who stayed here?

You need only look at Renvyle House Hotel’s extensive list of previous visitors to understand what a draw it’s always had. Oliver St. John Gogarty, the inspiration for the character Buck Mulligan in James Joyce’s Ulysses, once lived here. Since becoming a country house hotel in 1883, the property has also hosted the painter Augustus John, dramatist Lady Gregory, poet Yeats and politician Churchill under its roof. Quite the red carpet.

5. Hotel & Restaurant Schwarzer Bock: Ansbach, Germany

Who knew medieval vibes and modernity could go so well together? This is the balance that Hotel & Restaurant Schwarzer Bock has mastered thanks to the incredible efforts of its hoteliers, the Fuhrmann family. Behind its classically stylish facade and traditionally furnished areas are a range of rooms fitted with all the tech you’ll need for a comfortable stay, including coffee machines and flat screen TVs. Don’t be fooled, though. Despite its contemporary quirks, this hotel has actually been around for many hundreds of years… and beloved by tourists and locals alike, it’s set to be around for many more to come.

Who stayed here?

Hotel & Restaurant Schwarzer Bock used to be the favourite tavern of Prince Luitpold – the Prince Regent of Bavaria! It’s said that he came here to make merry with his officers over drinks before stumbling home to his castle (which, fortunately, was just next door). Legend has it he favoured the Ansbach Bratwurst and would frequently order it after a day of adventuring in the Bavarian countryside. Now that’s what we call a story to tell.

Impressed by the clientele at these historic hotels? Stay in touch to learn more behind the scenes news and hotel stories.


Love what you read? Share with your community:

Read more

Related Stories


No booking Available for this hotel :)