New and renovated properties debut standout features

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The gas station-themed room at the V8 Hotel in Stuttgart, Germany. A second property is scheduled to open by the end of the 2016.
The gas station-themed room at the V8 Hotel in Stuttgart, Germany. A second property is scheduled to open by the end of the 2016.
Felicity Long
Felicity Long

2015 was a tough year for Europe, but that didn’t stop some interesting upscale hotel openings and renovations from going ahead full speed.

Standout properties with eye-catching features include the Domaine de Manville, a 250-acre restored farmhouse outside Avignon, which opened in March 2015. The property, whose transformation into a posh hotel took eight years, features 30 rooms and suites and nine villas.

Other amenities include a Kid’s Club -- a relative rarity in European luxury properties -- outfitted with two gypsy caravans. There also is an 18-hole golf course designed by Thierry Sprecher and a glassed-in atrium serving drinks and breakfast.

The hotel is located near Carrieres de Lumieres, an annual sound and light show dramatically projected onto the face of a nearby quarry. This year the light show, which opened March 4 for the season, will showcase the works of artist Marc Chagall. To mark the multimedia exhibition, the Domaine de Manville will offer two free tickets to the show for every room booked through May 28.

In Evian-les-Bains, located on the French side of Lake Geneva, the Hotel Royal, one of three properties owned by the mineral water brand, unveiled a massive, three-year, $95 million renovation in July. The redo included carving out seven new suites from the meeting space on the sixth floor, as well as revamping the 118 guestrooms and 25 existing suites.

The property’s best-known feature is the thermal spa that makes the most of the Evian water source nearby, but here families will find another unusual example of a high-end European property with a vast and inviting children’s club. Facilities for young guests feature everything from a covered indoor pool, a stage for play acting and nap rooms, as well as supervised activities for various age groups.

There also is the newly renovated 18-hole Evian Resort Golf Club and access to ski in winter months. Summer visitors can take advantage of chamber music festival called Evian Musical Encounters from July 2 to 10 at La Grange au Lac in the hotel park.

In Germany, car lovers can rev their engines at a new V8 Hotel, set to open at the end of 2016 at Stuttgart’s Motorworld. The 153-room property will feature 16 themed rooms where guests can sleep in their favorite sports cars. Other features include a Car Wash Room that mimics the real thing with pipes and a tunnel controller, as well as a Route 66 room with a drive-in movie theater and gas station. The property will be the second V8 hotel in Stuttgart.

In Italy, the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, located in Montalcino, Tuscany, will reopen for the season March 24 with a menu of new programs and activities. The hotel, which was founded by Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo, created new horseback riding and bike tours this season, along with gardening and flower arranging and cooking classes at the resort’s La Canonica Cooking School.

The 800-year-old estate features 23 suites, 10 villas fashioned from restored 17th and 18th century farmhouses, two restaurants, a Brunello di Montalcino winery and a spa, fitness center and private golf course. The resort also boasts the ruins of an ancient castle, a medieval church and an historic village within the resort called the Borgo.

Summer visitors can take advantage of a new, three-night Private Palio Experience in July and August that includes front-row seats at Il Palio, a famous horserace in nearby Siena.

Finally, in Greece the Iconic Santorini, a cave hotel perched on the volcanic caldera wall in Imerovigli village, will unveil a new Cave Suite, literally a suite within the volcanic cliffs, when it opens for the season May 1. The suite offers an oversized private terrace with its own pool overlooking the Aegean.

The 19-room property also renovated its Cliff Suite, complete with an indoor private pool and two wraparound terraces for optimum sea views.

The Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco was founded by Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo; a previous version had the last name misspelled.

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