Old-World vs Contemporary Luxury – Best of the Best Hotels

For holiday hotels do you prefer old-world grandeur or contemporary luxury? In most destinations there’s one or the other. But in some you’ll find the best of both worlds.

So let’s explore seven iconic destinations. Which hotel would you choose?


Four Seasons George V vs Bulgari Paris

These two remarkable hotels are opposite each other on Avenue George V in Champs-Elysees.

Bulgari Paris is a modern interpretation of Italy meeting France, a hotel for fashionistas that dazzles by design.

Four Seasons George V is equally as opulent, but the formal style and art deco design is completely different.


Belmond La Residencia vs W Barcelona

Two hotels confidently taking a new approach on the Mediterranean, but with entirely different inspirations.

Resembling a traditional 17th-century village, the charismatic La Residencia is all about candle-lit courtyards and labyrinthine stone paths.

Like a sail looking out to sea, the curving glass of W Barcelona is miles away from Barcelona’s gothic quarter or Gaudi designs.


Hotel Sacher Vienna vs Rosewood Vienna

We can’t imagine a W or Bulgari in Vienna, but historic pomp is now rivaled by contemporary interpretations of Viennese design.

There’s the timeless elegance of Hotel Sacher, as if you’ve stepped into the era of Habsburg emperors. Think crystal chandeliers and oil paintings.

The new Rosewood Vienna is also true to the city’s grandeur, but delivers residential-style suites mixing gold, copper, marble and more.


Mahali Mzuri vs Elsa’s Kopje

Safari camps also span the eras. Some are inspired by Livingstone and the explorers of old, others are an innovative image of the future.

Mahali Mzuri is certainly the latter, Richard Branson’s camp bringing marble bathrooms and swimming pools to the Masai Mara grasslands.

Whereas the rustic, colonially-styled Elsa’s Kopje seems to come from a century ago, with cottages hidden on a wildlife-rich hillside, full of wood and vintage features.


Areias do Seixo vs Tivoli Palacio de Seteais

Lisbon offers city chic and beach bliss, old palace hotels and innovative architecture. And these two hotels reflect the broad appeal of Portugal’s capital.

Tivoli Palacio de Seteais was the playground of the Portuguese royal family. It’s packed with frescoed walls, chandeliers, antique furniture and traditional touches.

Whereas it’s glass, concrete, steel and infinity pools at Areias do Seixo, a stylish new hotel on the rugged Atlantic coast.

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Deplar Farm vs The Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland

Here we have two wellness retreats in rural Iceland, surrounded by wild nature and space. Both are relatively new, but their roots and design are poles apart.

Gaze through floor-to-ceiling windows onto hardened lava and your own mineral-rich spa pool, at The Retreat, a lunar-inspired oasis.

Deplar Farm is a converted 18th-century sheep farm covered in moss, with interiors exuding old Icelandic charm. The wellness programs and atmosphere is certainly not old fashioned though.

Hvar Island, Croatia

Palace Elisabeth vs Maslina Resort

Hvar was the birthplace of Marco Polo and the old towns hark back to a Venetian era. But it’s also a modern beach leisure destination on the Adriatic.

An Austrian empress commissioned Palace Elisabeth and the elegant 19th-century design evokes Hvar’s storied history.

Maslina Resort has modern panoramic suites amid olive groves and pine trees, a new-world beachfront sanctuary bringing an updated version of tourism to this popular island.

Which Hotels Do You Prefer?

Which are your favourites from this article? Can’t decide? Why not stay at both. Combine the old-world glamour with what’s new for the full perspective on your destination.

Need personalised hotel advice? That’s one reason we’re here, so you can enjoy the hotel that best suits your mood and travel style.

Let’s plan your next holidays

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