6 Family-Run Hotels in Europe

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A room at Kristiania Lech amidst the Austrian Alps.

All in the Family

These privately owned European hotels offer a personal definition of hospitality.

Avino’s Clubhouse by the Sea along the Italian Amalfi Coast.
Enjoy a meal in Michelin-starred Restaurant Pavillion in Zürich.

By Larry Olmsted

Some of Europe’s finest hotels and resorts excel because they are family-run, sometimes for centuries, with staff invested in the guest experience in a deeply personal way that goes far beyond a salary.
Virtuoso travel advisor Chad Clark agrees. “When you walk in the door and the owner’s mother’s paintings are on the wall, it’s not a chain hotel. At Les Prés d’Eugénie, for example, Michel Guérard has been a Michelin three-star chef forever, a legend, and you meet him. Dad’s the chef, Mom’s the interior designer, and the daughters work in marketing and reservations.” At this spa resort in southwestern France, a member of the family tries to meet every arriving guest, and they always write personal welcome notes.
No two families are the same, and no two family run hotels are the same, but it’s this kind of genetic pride and attention to detail that links many of Europe’s best properties. Here are a few standouts, where the family influence keeps guests coming back.
  1. Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux, France
  2. Hotel Hassler, Rome, Italy
  3. Kristiania Lech, Lech, Austria
  4. Baur au Lac, Zürich, Switzerland
  5. Palazzo Avino, Ravello, Italy
  6. Les Prés d’Eugénie, Eugénie-les-Bains, France
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, May 2014.