European Christmas: Strasbourg, Cologne and Milan

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Curated By

Paige Menze

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  • Strasbourg

  • France

  • Milan

  • Luxury Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Romantic

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European Christmas: Strasbourg, Cologne and Milan
Curator’s statement

In December of 2023, I did a trip to scope European holiday destinations while staying in a variety of properties along my stay. Starting at the stunning Maison Rouge in Strasbourg, then to the Hotel Wasserturm in Cologne, and Aethos in Milan. The stays were all lovely and I would stay at all of these properties again.

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Where to stay

Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection

A heritage hotel with elegant decor and refined hospitality that will transport you to the beauty of yesteryear.

Aethos Milan (The Yard)

Experience contemporary Italian sophistication in the heart of Milan, where style, comfort, and urban tranquility create a distinctive and inviting stay.

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Maison Rouge Strasbourg

This property was the first stop on our journey. The hotel was beautiful and unlike most properties in Petite-France Strasbourg had parking available at the property. Something to note the journey into this foot traffic only town was a unique one, but the property when called was easily able to walk us through how to get to their parking area. We were greeted by a very busy lobby with a group of extremely friendly staff. They got us all checked in and concierge gave us some great recommendations and layout of the Christmas markets and great ways to explore the town. The rooms for a standard room were extremely small, but very nice, clean, and beautifully decorated with comfortable beds. We hit the town to explore next and the proximity to all the Christmas markets etc. was worth every penny. The next day we headed to Colmar which was just a 45 min drive to south. Would definitely recommend this to a future client going to the Alsace region in France.

Christmas decorations around a tall, red building

Image 1: Strasbourg holiday decorations ; Image 2: The Doping Bar at Aethos Milan

A tall Christmas tree outside during the nighttime

Image 3: Petite-France Strasbourg Christmas ; Image 2: The Doping Bar at Aethos Milan

Hotel Wasserturm Cologne

This property was very nice in a quiet area of Cologne. The building the hotel has reimagined this old water tower into a beautiful hotel. We were greeted with friendly staff who quickly got us checked in and upgraded our rooms. The rooms were very nice with comfortable beds. We were able to walk a short distance to start approaching the Christmas Markets. The markets in Cologne were the best we saw bar none. The unique themes and stunning structures were breathtaking with lots of great gifts, food, glühwein, and beyond! The city of Cologne was a very pleasant surprise for this group and would highly recommend the property with an incredible price point!

A low-angled photo of large Gucci display inside a building with glass ceilings

Image 1: Christmas inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II ; Image 2: High-end designer holiday installations along Via Monte Napoleone

Plates of food on a table with wine glasses

Image 1: Fantastic meal at Osteria Conchetta! ; Image 2: The Doping Bar at Aethos Milan

Aethos Milan

This property is the new cool kid in Milan. With a variety of different themes throughout the hotel from bright and airy to dark and moody the interiors took our breath away. The staff at check in and throughout the stay were very kind and helpful even with a lot going on at the property. The setup of the hotel is very unique in that you have to walk through the bar/lounge or fine dining restaurant to reach the actual guest rooms. This was a little interesting when we walked through a private party being hosted in the large lounge/bar. Once we got to the room all was forgotten as we were greeted by stunning interiors, complimentary bottle of wine, and an extremely spacious room. Please note the room you technically have to walk through a covered outdoor walkway and if there is an event/weekend it can be a little loud until closed down around midnight. This was no issue for us, but something to note. This area of Milan is a little off the beaten path, but in great proximity to Navigli, great restaurants, and a more residential area of Milan. It is as least twenty minutes from the city center so would probably not recommend this area for a first time visitor unless you are staying in Milan more than a couple days.

Need to Know

I recommend this trip for a variety of groups and trips types. It would be great for a small group of friends, a couple, or mother daughter trip. It was truly magical and the properties all had unique personality while being in an attainable price point.

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Europe. In need of further inspiration? Check out Ying Tonndorf’s guide, The Ultimate Guide to Europe's Christmas Markets.

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Travel Advisor

Paige Menze

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