Wine cellars are often thought of as subterranean crypts or vault-like spaces, where naturally cool, dark environments assure stable conditions for storing bottles during aging.
However, many hotels are also making their cellars cool places to hang out. (See what we did there?) Inside these well-designed, glitzy spaces, visitors can book tasting experiences that will have them surrounded by thousands of bottles of storied wines. What’s a better way to drink than that?
From the Rome Cavalieri’s staggering 76,000-bottle collection to the lair-like cellar embedded in lava rock at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, here are nine hotel wine cellars definitely worth exploring.
Park Hotel Vitznau
Housing some 35,000 bottles, Park Hotel Vitznau’s wine cellar is the largest and most expensive in Switzerland, with a total value of more than $25 million. It’s divided into New World, Old World, Château d’Yquem, Champagnes and Rarities sections.
The displays are as varied as the wines, ranging from pentagon-shaped boxes stacked in neat rows to a floating wall of bottles.
Heads up, if you want a tour: Access is granted exclusively to hotel guests, so be sure to check in.
The Little Nell
Aspen-folk will assure you that you’ll come for the winter and stay for the summer. But we think you may stay for the wine cellar at The Little Nell.
It’s a winding journey to the cellar. Guests are led through the kitchen, down a back staircase and into the garage. There, they’ll find a ruby-lit cellar holding 23,800 bottles and counting. An aging attic creates room for the ever-expanding collection. Meanwhile, wine crates—which are covered in the scribbled signatures of past imbibers—are stacked high across four rooms and hold selections ranging from 1885 Madeira to 1967 Sauternes.
Want to visit? Guests can reserve a private wine tasting with the resort’s sommelier team or book a private chef dinner for up to six people.
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
This hotel boasts Rome’s only three-Michelin star restaurant, La Pergola. Here, diners have two wine lists from which to choose. One list encompasses international bottles, while the other spans Italian wine regions. In total, the double-tiered wine cellar holds about 3,600 labels and some 76,000 bottles.
The all-encompassing selection is the result of chef sommelier Marco Reitano’s diligence, as he annually tastes across much of the collection to create the list. Standouts include rarities like a 1922 Chateau Lafite Rothschild and 1945 Pétrus, as well as at least 34 Gaja Barbaresco wines at any given time.
Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo
Revered as the world’s largest hotel wine cellar, the caves under Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo are truly a sight one must see to believe.
Spanning over 16,000 square feet, the cellar holds more than 350,000 bottles, about 50% of which are Bordeaux selections. The rest of the French-centric collection comprises four additional wine regions: Champagne, Provence, Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. Reservations for the cellar include Grand Cru wine tastings or paired dinners overseen by a master sommelier.
The Retreat at Blue Lagoon
Nearly ten feet under the steamy silica waters of the Blue Lagoon is an entirely different world. A key unlocks an elevator at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, which descends to a chamber lined by lava rock preserved from a 1226 volcanic eruption. It has the distinct look of a Bond villain’s lair, and we’re not mad about it.
Here, just over 4,000 bottles, including limited inventory of the 2007 Domaine de la Grange des Peres and 1960 Vega Sicilia Unico Gran Reserva, are housed in shelving integrated into the rock, which is still stained blue from the lagoon’s geothermal waters.
Private wine tastings are available daily by appointment between noon to 4 p.m., while an open wine tasting is held daily at 5 p.m. Guests can also splurge with a caviar and Champagne tasting, available upon request.
The Stafford London
Below Westminster’s lavish St. James’s neighborhood is a storied 17th-century wine cellar, which was also used as an air raid shelter during WWII.
Today, the 380-year-old cellar belongs to the stylish Stafford London, where hotel sommeliers are available to host wine tastings, wine-pairing dinners and blind tastings, as well as larger events like holiday parties and wedding receptions. It’s actually fairly roomy down here, with standing room for up to 75 guests.
There are over 8,000 bottles of international wines here, kept under iron-gated lock and key, of course.
In a tropical oasis, passing time in an underground lair may not be the first activity that springs to mind. But in the stifling afternoon heat of the Caribbean’s dry season, a visit to this wine cellar may be just the refuge you’re seeking.
Designed and curated by Quintessence Hotel’s owner, Geoffrey Fieger, this 2,000-bottle cellar was built in stone, brick and red cedar to mimic the style of a traditional Tuscan cavern. Experiences include private collection tastings, which might feature rarefied bottles like 2004 Salon Cuvee “S” Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut.
Another option for cavern-curious guests: The ultra-extravagant adventure package “Bruts, Blancs & Beaches,” which includes round-trip flights from the U.S. to Anguilla via private jet, plus penthouse accommodations and exclusive access to select vintages throughout your vacation.
The Yeatman Hotel
Porto may be celebrated for its Ports, but the Yeatman Hotel’s cellar offers wines from all over Portugal. Out of a collection of 30,000 bottles, 96% is dedicated to Portuguese wines.
As a luxury wine-centric hotel, the Yeatman invites guests to choose from a variety of wine-based programming throughout their stay, including the property’s popular sunset wine dinners. But only students at the hotel’s wine-focused masterclasses and those who book wine flights and private dinners are granted access to the cellar.
Château La Coste
Just 15 minutes north of Aix en Provence central, the estate of Château La Coste extends its attention to fine art to its chic cellar at its on-site Hélène Darroze restaurant. The marble-clad cellar is minimalist, but packs a maximalist attitude.
Featuring around 600 unique wines, the cellar also includes a section dedicated to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, as well as an impressive list by the magnum and jeroboam.
Château La Coste also features its own wine from their Provence estate and from its vineyards in Argentina, plus unique selections from Italy, Spain, Israel, Greece, Chile and Uruguay.
Guided sommelier tastings are available on request.