[slideshow] Cicero once said, “There’s no place more delightful than one’s own fireplace.” Things have changed a bit in the last 2,000 years — namely the plenitude of luxuriously cozy inns with roaring fireplaces. I can personally attest that sitting in front of the stone hearth at the Ilse Crawford-designed Olde Bell Inn playing cut-throat games of Scrabble, reading and drinking pints of cider is an experience you can’t quite recreate at home. Here are a few of the coziest, most stylish inns, lodges and cottages on my travel radar (roaring fireplaces, a major bonus):
The Gatsby House. Once belonging to the biggest tweed-making family in Donegal, Ireland, the Gatsby House was renovated after being empty for 11 years. Now, it’s a stylish old-meets-new house and cottage with flocked wallpaper and roaring fireplaces.
Olde Bell Inn. With a stunning makeover by Ilse Crawford, this charming coaching house is England’s oldest functioning inn. Hang out in the pub, eat English comfort food in the restaurant — lamb shank! pheasant pie! — and nab an afternoon seat in front of the gigantic blazing fireplace.
San Lorenzo. This four-bedroom, 16th-century maso (South Tyrolean farmhouse) has pinch-me views of the surrounding land and town below. But if you can peel your eyes away from the countryside, the updated interiors are simple, rustic and beautiful. Huge fur blankets sit on the beds, and there’s even a head-scratching stove bench with a bed hovering above it.
Le Lodge Park. It’s a super chic ski lodge to be sure, but in addition to the tartan, taxidermy and antler chandeliers, there’s also the mother of all in-suite fireplaces: an outsized, black-washed stone number with a black antelope hanging above the mantel.
Gargunnock House. It’s difficult to imagine a 25,000-square-foot mansion feeling cozy, but this immaculate Scottish manse is all interiors that are grounded with comfortable, plush furniture and fireplaces at every turn — like at the end of the extra-long table in the dining room, for instance.
Lej da Staz. Fireplace or not, this adorable 10-room Swiss lodge is impressively consistent with its “pure alpine chic” aesthetic: red-and-white plaid curtains, driftwood lamps, tree trunk side tables, folksy needlepoint pillows, wood paneling, sheepskin rugs and taxidermy.
Meghan McEwen is a creative force behind her popular travel blog designtripper, where she explores the intersection of travel and design with genuine curiosity and good taste. Former editor-in-chief of the design magazine CS Interiors, Meghan is now a freelance travel and design writer, whose work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Budget Travel and Cookie Magazine.