LIBERATING FOOTBALL TRAVEL

10 best hotels in Europe for football stays

Sleep by the stadium for themed lodgings and easy hops

Forget hurrying across town in time for kick-off – stay by the stadium and sleep easy

When new stadiums are built these days, initial plans call for an on-site hotel. Then budgets are scaled down and the first thing to go is the proposed hotel.

Despite this, partly thanks to burgeoning chains such as H4 in Germany and KOPSTER in France, several stadiums across Europe now have a hotel attached to the arena or close by.

With football tourism back in full swing, either for a midweek European fixture or a weekend away, here we suggest ten great hotels a short stroll from the stadium, where it doesn’t matter how long you spend in the bar after the game.

To follow: 10 best hotels in England for football stays.

Novotel Sevilla/Nick Épéron

10 Danubius Hotel Arena

Danubius Hotel Arena/Peterjon Cresswell

Currently offering rooms for around €50-€60 with direct advance booking, this sport- and business-focused four-star stands beside Hungary’s new national stadium, the Puskás Aréna, where the 2023 Europa League Final will take place.

There’s a spa and pool, combining to provide what Hungarians mysteriously call ‘Wellness’, with various kinds of relaxation massages and aromatherapy treatments. Classic Hungarian dishes – goulash, chicken paprikash – feature on the room-service menu and the lobby bar is handy pre- and post-match.

The nearby metro on the red M2 line whisks you into town in no time, the number 1 tram to MTK and Ferencváros likewise. Danubius Hotel Arena, Ifjúság út 1-3, Budapest

9 Iris Hotel Eden

Iris Hotel Eden/Peterjon Cresswell

Little better illustrates the transformation of Slavia Prague, once venerable also-rans, then mainly Chinese-owned since 2005, than the four-star, business-friendly hotel next door, the Iris Eden.

Four guest rooms enjoy a full view of the stadium and all have access to two restaurants, three conference rooms and handy parking. Part of the Czech Inn Hotels group, the Iris Hotel Eden is named after this area of Prague 10 south-east of town where Slavia moved in 1953. Their original wooden ground was torn down in the early 2000s and a contemporary, 20,000-capacity arena built in its place, where Slavia have won six titles this century. Iris Hotel Eden, Vladivostocká 2, Prague

8 Novotel Sevilla

Sevilla Novotel/Yuan Yuan Fu

It wasn’t that long ago that the unfailingly atmospheric Estadio Sánchez Pizjuán, home of Sevilla FC, was surrounded by age-old Andalusian bars where Sevillistas would gather pre- and post-match.

Now, the whole zone of Nervión around the ground feels like one big mall, with bland eateries to match. Gentrification started a long time ago, of course, and if you’re staying at the comfortable four-star Novotel Sevilla alongside the stadium, you may feel that this isn’t such a bad thing after all.

The rooftop pool takes in views of the city, the gym is bathed in natural light, as is the gourmet bar where contemporary Mediterranean cuisine is served. Walking distance from Santa Justa AVE train station, with a metro station alongside, the hotel operates the laudable policy of noon check-ins and noon check-outs. Novotel Sevilla, Avenida Eduardo Dato 71, Seville

7 H4 Hotel Mönchengladbach

H4 Hotel Mönchengladbach/Alan Deamer

Lay your head on a pillow centrepieced by the diamond-shaped Borussia badge, brush your teeth beneath an likeness of the German Cup last lifted by Die Fohlen in 1995 and relax by a huge image of former Borussia star Martin Dahlin…

This 131-roomed themed hotel stands in the same building as the club shop and museum right beside Borussia-Park, the 54,000-capacity ground south-west of Mönchengladbach that replaced the legendary Bökelberg. The H4 (‘Hah-Fier’) does not offer match packages although has covered its restaurant ceiling in a vast photograph of the classic Borussia side from the 1970s. Here, those with VIP match tickets can dine before the game. There’s a sauna, too, and seminar rooms for meetings.

Currently sponsoring three clubs – Borussias Dortmund and Mönchengladbach, and Werder Bremen – the Hesse-based H-Hotels group has realised the benefits of event-centric accommodation, and is looking to open the H4 Hotel Paris Pleyel, with a rooftop bar and pool, beside the Stade de France in the winter of 2023.

The H4 Mönchengladbach is the first of its kind in Germany – it certainly won’t be the last. Oh, and the address? Natürlich, Hennes Weisweiler Allee, named after the famous coach whose decade-long stint at Mönchengladbach transformed the club. H4 Hotel Mönchengladbach im BORUSSIA-PARK, Hennes Weisweiler Allee 1, Mönchengladbach

6 KOPSTER Hotel Lyon Groupama Stadium

Parc Olympique Lyonnais/Peterjon Cresswell

Like H4 Hotels in Germany, KOPSTER, under the umbrella of the Lyon-based Lavorel hotel group, are slowly building an event-centric brand with football the focus. First stop, naturally, is Lyon, where their first venture forms part of the new stadium complex halfway between France’s second city and its airport east of town.

Basing its brand on the word ‘kop’ (‘…evoking our passion and enthusiasm to serve and take care of you’, no less), this flagship lodging offers pre-match meals but not match-day packages. Guests either stay in an Unik Room (only €65 if direct-booked on specific days, Sundays usually cheapest) or a larger Ekip Room, breakfast easily slipping into cocktails in the slick, urban surroundings.

KOPSTER’s next move is west Paris, where another hotel is due to open by year-end 2022 a short walk from Colombes, Racing’s old stadium currently being rebuilt to host the hockey tournament of the 2024 Olympics. KOPSTER Hotel Lyon Groupama Stadium, Avenue Simone Veil 12, Lyon

5 abba Euskaldana hotel

Of the many great things about Bilbao’s rebuilt San Mamés stadium – city-centre location, superb museum, excellent bar/restaurant, top-notch transport links and, most of all, attachment to a pioneering football past – one is this striking four-star hotel immediately opposite.

A free mojito comes with direct booking, best sipped on the panoramic sun terrace overlooking the de facto Basque capital. Celebrated Basque cuisine is served in El Botxo restaurant, the set weekday lunch €19, €22 at weekends.

Flat-screen TVs feature in the 82 contemporary rooms, with real-life match action not ten paces away. abba Euskaldana hotel, Ventosa Bidea 34, Bilbao

4 Riviera Marriott Hotel Monaco

Marriott Riviera Hotel La Porte de Monaco/Peterjon Cresswell

Now we’re talking. Marking the border between Monaco and France, the marina-located Riviera Marriott is the kind of place where Roger Moore and Tony Curtis would have zoomed up in sports cars on a playboy quest for posh totty and adventure.

Unsurprisingly pricy – most rooms have balconies overlooking the yachts gently bobbing in the Med – the Riviera Marriott can also be patronised pre-match for an apéritif at the terrace Bolinas bar/restaurant before you stroll the five minutes over to the Stade Louis II to see AS Monaco play.

True, it’s €10 for half a litre of Carlsberg and €7 for a glass of wine, but where would you rather be? Here or some shabby UK chain by an identikit stadium at an out-of-town retail centre? Exactly. Pay the extra and lap it up. You only live twice, after all. Oh, and if you happen to need it, there’s a heliport and limousine service alongside. Riviera Marriott Hotel La Porte de Monaco, Port de Cap d’Ail, Cap d’Ail

3 Hotel Molitor Paris-MGallery

Molitor/Peterjon Cresswell

For the Parc des Princes, the nearest lodging is the elegant Molitor, halfway between the north end of the stadium and tennis mecca Roland-Garros.

A classy swimming pool when opened by Johnny Weissmuller in 1929, the building fell into disrepair, then became an unofficial artists’ studios. It was duly converted into a 124-room/suite luxury lodging with a high-end restaurant, sauna and, of course, pool.

Factor in a rooftop terrace open for cocktails and light dining in summer, a single-sex hammam and private sports lessons on tap, and you have a very classy place, indeed. No, not cheap, but then it’s not every day you can make like Dick Diver then head over to watch Neymar, Mbappé and Messi strut their stuff. Hotel Molitor Paris-MGallery, rue Nungasser et Coli, Paris

2 J Hotel

Juventus Stadium/Alan Deamer

The first major club in Italy to build their own stadium, freeing themselves from municipal chains, Juventus have since stretched the brand by opening the J Museum at the Allianz Stadium and, behind it, the J Village.

Centrepiece of the sports complex is the J Hotel. Perfect for “the authentic black-and-white experience”, the hotel offers match packages of a stay and ticket for most home games 20 days in advance, so you can book ahead for that special birthday treat.

There are also deals linked to visits to the J Museum and city tours. Guest rooms, 138 in number and five in category, all with Sky channels, are decorated with Juve-themed pictures and murals, while the Tàola restaurant serves Italian specialities as part of its €15 lunch specials as well as à la carte. The day’s football press, pink or white, awaits in the Tàola lounge bar, along with Juve match action on TV. J Hotel, Via Traves 40, Turin

1 UPon Lisbon

UPon Lisbon/Peterjon Cresswell

Could there possibly be any better sight that the sun setting over Benfica’s Estádio da Luz from the 23-metre, year-round pool – or perhaps skybar – atop the high-design lodging, aptly named UPon Lisbon? 

With your back to the Eusébio statue, ahead runs a little footbridge, above which rises this grand façade, filled with 129 stylish apartments. At the foot of the building, up a short flight of steps from the footbridge, STAY combines cocktail spot, sports bar and burger joint in one, with a sun-catching terrace facing the legendary stadium. 

There’s a panoramic gym, too. Even if it’s a bit out of your price range – it’s a four-star – then go for Sunday’s brunch-and-pool deal. Before taking in the match five minutes’ walk away, of course. Fun, savvy staff complete the picture. UPon Lisbon, Rua Luciana Stegagno Picchio 12, Lisbon