HomeEuropeEurope Takeovers: Castles, Trains, and River Barges

Europe Takeovers: Castles, Trains, and River Barges

Whether it’s in the coming months or next year, more folks are thinking about group celebrations – a sort of post-COVID reunion with family and friends. 

If you are looking for a spectacular venue, in this week’s issue we highlight hotels, river barges, castles, and trains for groups of 10 to 200.

 1.    Splendido Mare, A Belmond Hotel, Portofino
2.    Belmond Afloat in France  
3.    La Chartreuse de Cos d’Estournel, Bordeaux, France  
4.    Dromoland Castle, County Clare, Ireland    
5.    Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train, Scotland 
6.    Venice Simplon-Orient-Express 
7.    La Réserve Paris Apartments 

1. Splendido Mare, Portofino

Number of bedrooms: 14
Number of guests: 32
Price: Starts at $29,000/night with a minimum two-night stay

Located down the hill from the iconic Hotel Splendido, the 14-room Splendido Mare is reopening on April 16 following a major renovation led by Paris-based designers FESTEN Architecture. 

Inspired by its history in a fishing village, the design will reflect the cultivated casual atmosphere with natural woods, ropes and brass accents, along with traditional Ligurian colors of sea green, terracotta and amber. Extended families and small groups will enjoy this charming guesthouse in the heart of Portofino – complete with a traditional gozzo to explore the coast of the Italian Riviera. 

Belmond Splendido Mare

2. Belmond in France  

Number of bedrooms: Total of 7 river barges ranging from 2 to 6 bedrooms   
Number of guests: 4-12 guests   
Price: Starts at 40,000 Euro for a six-night itinerary based on eight passengers, fully inclusive 

Collectively known as Belmond Afloat in France, Belmond’s fleet of seven luxury barg es is available for private charters with a nearly 1:1 crew to guest ratio that can accommodate anywhere from four to 12 passengers. More akin to floating villas, the barges feature a dining room, lounge and sundeck as well as private floating pools. The week-long itineraries are all-inclusive and completely customizable to meet the individual needs of each guest. Want to hop off for a scenic bike ride along the river? No problem!  

Belmond Afloat in France

3. La Chartreuse de Cos d’Estournel, Bordeaux, France  

Number of bedrooms: 8    
Number of guests: 16    
Price: Starts at $20,000/night   

Located in the heart of a 200-acre vineyard in Bordeaux, La Chartreuse is the private residence of Michel Reybier, the owner of La Réserve hotels in Paris, Ramatuelle, Geneva, and Zurich. The Cos d’Estournel vineyard is one of just 14 Chateaux ranked as Second Growth in 1855. 

The Jacques Garcia-designed house is decorated in a mix of European antiques and Asian tapestries, and has six bedrooms and two suites, a library, dining room, hammam, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and of course, a wine cellar. 

La Chartreuse de Cos d’Estournel

4. Dromoland Castle, County Clare, Ireland    

Number of bedrooms: 97   
Number of guests: 190   
Price: Starts at $33,000/night   

Set on 450 acres with gardens based on the same designs as the Gardens of Versailles, Dromoland Castle in Ireland can make all your regal dreams come true. Originally built in the 16th century as the home of the O’Brien family (whose lineage dates back to one of the last High Kings of Ireland), the property is steeped in Irish heritage, and showcases that unspoken Irish warmth more today than ever before. 

Former guests include none other than the Beatles, who frolicked on the lawn in the ‘60s. There’s no shortage of activities at Dromoland Castle, from the 18-hole golf course to falconry. Groups can also rent out sections of the castle if they don’t need quite so much space.  

Dromoland Castle

5. Royal Scotsman, Scotland 

Number of cabins: 12 
Number of guests: 24 

Price: Two-night itineraries start at 35,000 GBP and three-night itineraries start at 55,000 GBP. The rate includes all meals onboard with bespoke menus, complimentary beverages (including alcoholic drinks), tailored excursions with a dedicated vehicle, a Belmond host on-board, traditional Scottish entertainment after dinner, and complimentary Wi-Fi.  

As part of Belmond’s new Exclusive Places offer, groups can charter the entire train for a private experience through Scotland. Departing from Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, Belmond Royal Scotsman travels on circular routes through the heart of the Highlands and is Scotland’s only luxury sleeper train. 

With only 24 passengers on-board, the train replicates a ‘Country House on Wheels’ and has two-night or three-night journeys. Guests can also tailor itineraries with bespoke excursions depending on each traveler’s preferences, including stargazing in the Cairngorms, which boasts some of the darkest skies in Europe; hiking the gorges of Aviemore; canoeing on Loch Ness; clay pigeon shooting at Rothiemurchus Estate, or teeing off for golf at some of the country’s most famous courses. 

Royal Scotsman

6. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express 

Number of cabins: 4 
Number of guests: 8 
Price: Starts at $50,450 for a one-night journey in a private carriage with four cabin suites or three Grand Suites

Guests can book an entire carriage on the 1920s Art Deco gem as it traverses across Europe, from London to Venice. A private carriage consisting of four cabin suites can accommodate up to eight passengers, or three Grand Suites can be connected for groups of six. Each Grand Suite features a separate living area and an en-suite marble bathroom and shower. 

Groups will also enjoy a dedicated 24-hour steward, free-flowing champagne, a private dining table in the Cote d’Azur car, and private transfers to and from the train station. For the ultimate experience, the entire train can also be fully privatized for 96 passengers. A one-night journey from London to Venice will start at $365,000, fully inclusive. 

Venice Simplon Orient-Express

7. La Réserve Paris Apartments  

Number of bedrooms: a total of 10 apartments ranging from 1- to 4-bedrooms    
Number of guests: up to 40 
Price: Starts at 1,700 Euro/night for the one-bedroom apartment; starts at 25,000 Euro/night for a full buyout 

Overlooking the Trocadero in the capital’s 16th arrondissement with unbeatable views of the Eiffel Tower are the 10 La Réserve Paris Apartments. There are one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom flats, ranging from 1,500 to 3,000-plus sq. ft. Guests staying long-term can select original artwork to adorn the walls and have a home gym or theater set up. 

The area is known for being more residential than the retail-heavy 1st or 8th arrondissements – this is truly the place to live like a local. The 16th is also home to the Bois du Boulogne, the 2,000+ acre forest – known as one of the ‘lungs’ of Paris due to the oxygen its woods breathe into the city. The former hunting grounds of French kings dating back to the 7th century, the forest is now home to hiking trails, ponds, and the Roland Garros tennis courts, where the French Open is held. Guests of the La Réserve Paris Apartments get exclusive access to the courts.  

La Reserve Paris

Doug Gollanhttp://douggollandotcom.wordpress.com
I am Editor-in-Chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons and DG Amazing Experiences, and a Contributor to Forbes.com.


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