Hot Weekends: Five of the Best European Cities

Head north for some urban cool


Dylan Hotel, Amsterdam


Formerly a theatre, orphanage and a soup kitchen, the latest incarnation of this 18th century building is definitely its most polished.

Named after the writer Dylan Thomas (whose suite, main picture above, is the one to book if, like us, you rate a drinks cabinet over a mini bar), the Dylan Hotel's 40 rooms, including the amazing beamed attic, feel more like apartments.

In the heart of the central Nine Streets canal district, you've got all the cool shops, bars and restaurants on hand, but for venturing further, make like a local and rent a hotel bike (£10 a day).


The likes of Mariah Carey, Kate Moss, George Clooney and Justin Timberlake have all stayed here, loving it for the Michelin-starred restaurant, Vinkeles, the canal views, and, best of all, the private saloon boat for a floating dinner for two.

Reviewed by Lara Ferros

The Dylan, Keizersgracht 384 Amsterdam, 1016 GB; +31 20 530 2010. Doubles from around £250, B&B.

Eurostar has fares from London St Pancras to Amsterdam, via Brussels, from around £133 return.

SP34, Copenhagen

Inside the deceptively large townhouse (well, three townhouses joined together), in Copenhagen's buzzy Latin Quarter, the SP34 is laid-back and stylish.

No one does interior design like the Danes, and SP34 is no slouch on that front: the 118 rooms, lobby, bar and restaurants are all straight out of an ELLE Deco shoot.

Cool but not too cool for school. The effect is industrial, but with softer edges (the distressed wooden restaurant tables and candles flickering everywhere), so it manages to be ultra-stylish without being stark.


Warm wooden floors, soft grey walls, mid-century modern furniture and gorgeous vintage coloured-glass lamps soften the overall effect.

The bathrooms are stocked with REN toiletries, and huge windows fill the rooms with sun. Small(ish) it may be, but on a city break you don't spend much time in it, do you?

Reviewed by Kerry Potter

SP34, Sankt Peders Stræde 34, 1453 Copenhagen C, Denmark; +45 3313 3000.Doubles from £130, room only.

British Airways, has return flights from London Heathrow to Copenhagen, from around £120.

The Thief, Oslo

Oslo's Tjuvholmen peninsula, aka Thief Island (from its time as an 18th century prison colony), is now a buzzy cultural playground for lovers of art, design and good food.

Overlooking the canals, it is also home to The Thief, a cutting edge Design Hotel with a knockout art collection, including works by Richard Prince, Bryan Ferry and Peter Blake (who also designed the Oslo Suite), and next door is the iconic Astrup Fearnley Museum (entrance free to hotel residents).


Add former guests Jay Z and Rihanna into the mix and this stylish haunt clearly warrants its rock star status.

Guests without Grammys will find the not-so-standard standard rooms equally satisfying, with big plush beds and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Oslofjord.

Restaurant Fru K delights with an inventive Scandinavian menu (whitefish caviar, turbot soup…), and the rooftop bar makes the most of Norway's long summer nights with cocktails, cool DJs and sunset views.

Reviewed by Miette L Johnson

The Thief, Landgangen 1, 0252 Oslo; +47 24 00 40 00. Doubles from around £185, room only.


Norwegian Air, flies to Oslo from London Gatwick, from around £75 return.

BoHo Hotel Prague

This former Art Deco post-office-turned hotel in Prague's historic centre is the work of Spanish architect Antonio Puig, whose clean lines, soft neutral palette and contemporary feel are a soothing contrast to all the medieval grandeur of Prague's old town.

The 57 rooms are exquisitely designed with a focus on craftsmanship and the very best materials: marble, bleached wood panelling, ornate plasterwork and thick pile rugs, plus design twists like your bathtub and rain shower housed in a modernist tinted glass box.

Breakfast is the real champion here. Take a seat in the dining area with its charcoal-coloured tables and tuck into a pile of pancakes with salmon and cream cheese.

The hotel's location makes sightseeing easy – Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge are a mere 15 minutes' walk away.

Reviewed by Sunil Makan

Boho Hotel, Senovážná 4, 110 00 Praha, Czech Republic. +420 234 622 600. Doubles from around £138, room only.

Kirker Holidays offers three nights B&B from £619, inc flights, transfers and concierge services.

Clarion Hotel Post, Gothenburg

Another former post office, this one, built in the 1920s, has half a post van artfully flattened on to the lobby wall, so there is no mistaking its history.

Rooms are light and spacious (with the kind of Nordic mid-century-style furniture you want to take home), some in the original building and some in the more modern adjoining annexe.

Ask for a room at the front in the former for floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the station square.

The lobby bar is dark and atmospheric and quite a scene come evening, as is the restaurant, Norda, where chef Marcus Samuelsson keeps a fashionable crowd happy with a kind of Scandi/New-York-diner fusion (kimchi ceviche, blackened salmon and chilli, pork bun with pickled cucumbers), served, weather permitting, on the huge, sunset-facing terrace.

And best – and most unexpected – of all, there's a rooftop pool: small, yes, but a great suntrap.

Reviewed by Susan Ward Davies

Clarion Hotel Post, Drottningtorget 10, Gothenburg, Sweden; 00 46 3161 9000. Doubles from around £154, room only.

British Airways has return flights from London Heathrow to Gothenburg, from around £130.

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