By Larry Olmsted
Canaves Oia, Santorini, Greece
When John Chaidemenos inherited some seaside caves, he and his wife had the idea to start a luxury hotel (canaves means “houses carved in stone”). Son Markos now operates the property, with 39 newly renovated rooms featuring a whitewashed color scheme and antiques his mother sourced from Greek sea captains.
Château de la Barre, Loire Valley, France
With over six centuries of unbroken lineage, the Vanssay family has owned the eight-guestroom château since 1404. The current owners, Comte and Comtesse de Vanssay, host a twice-weekly candlelit dinner for guests amid family portraits, silver, and crystal.
La Ferme Saint Siméon, Normandy, France
Once beloved by impressionist painters (Monet stayed in room 22), the 29-room inn was purchased in 1979 by the Boelen family. In keeping with tradition, guests can take impressionist art lessons in a painting studio.
The Goring, London, England
Near Buckingham Palace, the hotel has been run by the Goring family since it opened more than a century ago. A farmer provides wool for its signature life-size toy sheep, which adorn each of its 69 individually decorated rooms.
Hayfield Manor, Cork, Ireland
Annemarie and Ettienne Van Vrede manage this property owned by Annemarie’s parents. Each of the 88 guest rooms is decorated differently with antiques and bespoke furnishings, including pieces dating to the 1700s.
Hotel Sacher Wien, Vienna, Austria
The historic 149-room hotel, where the Sacher torte was created, has been owned by the Gürtler family since 1934.
Hotel Santa Caterina, Amalfi, Italy
Giuseppe Gambardella constructed the hotel in 1880, his son Crescenzo redesigned it in 1904, and now Crescenzo’s daughters, along with their three children, run the 66-room property, famous for its themed suites.
Hotel & Spa Rosa Alpina, Alta Badia, Italy
Eighty-five years ago, when Hugo Pizzinini’s grandfather tried to buy a guesthouse in the Dolomites, he produced a picture of his children to guarantee the debt, saying that together, the family would see it through. Three generations later, Hugo helms this 51-room alpine property, with a two-Michelin-starred restaurant.
Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy
“We went to the Sirenuse, an old family house converted into a first class hotel. Every room has its little balcony and looks out over the blue sea to the islands of the sirens,” John Steinbeck wrote after visiting in 1953. The hotel is still owned by the Sersale family, but has grown to 58 rooms, with a spa, fine dining restaurant, Champagne and oyster bar, and a yacht for excursions.
6 More Family-Run Hotels in Europe:
Les Sources de Caudalie, Bordeaux, France
Hotel Hassler, Rome, Italy
Kristiania Lech, Lech, Austria
Baur au Lac, Zürich, Switzerland
Palazzo Avino, Ravello, Italy
Les Prés d'Eugénie, Eugénie-les-bains, France
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, May 2014.