Looking for somewhere to go for a week of spring training but want to ride in a group?
Wanting to explore a new part of Europe but dont want to spend all of your time researching routes and asking people in a foreign language for directions when you get lost?
Do you want someone to help get your bike running smoothly after packing it up in a bike box.
Luckily, there is a growing number of hotels in Europe catering just for you (and your bike). The concept of the “Bike Hotel” originated in Italy to attract cyclists from across the world, particularly in Emilia Romagna where the warm weather, quiet roads and variety of hills have been used for years by pro teams for early season training. As more enthusiasts started travelling more and more with their bikes, the facilities at these hotels got better and more services were added specifically for riders like us.
Now there are terrific bike hotels all over Italy and the concept is spreading to Spain and beyond. But what makes a hotel a bike hotel and what separates the good from the great?
At all of our Bike Hotel Plus properties, there are local guides based at the hotel normally included in the cost of your stay. These are riders that know the area like the back of their weirdly sun tanned hands, with the best knowledge of local routes, where to go if the group want to go harder or easier and the best places for a coffee stop. Some hotels have numerous guides so guests can choose each day which route to ride and which average speed is most suitable to their ability – ideal if you are in a mixed ability group. This is perfect if you want to maximise your riding time and ensure you go to all the best roads in the region on your holiday.
These local guides are often the highlight of the trip and offer a real insight into what life is like in that area. Many of these guides stay at their bike hotel for years and the same customers come back to see them year after year. And of course, it is your duty as a guest to attack them on the steepest part of the main climb!
If you are anything like us, you can be a little bit protective of your bike(s). Luckily, at a Bike Hotel there are incredible facilities to keep your bike safe and well maintained. All of our Bike Hotel & Bike Hotel Plus properties have dedicated, secure bike storage rooms normally with CCTV and capacity for a lot of bikes. Not only that, but these storage rooms also have equipment (track pump and normally a set of tools for your bike) so you do not have to pack extras in your bike box or spend your first day locating pumps from the local town. Most hotels also have a cleaning area with a jet wash and many also have an on-site mechanic and / or bike shop to help you if you have any issues and fix any issues that arise during the week.
If you choose not to bring your bike, all of our Bike Hotels & Bike Hotel Plus have a fleet of high quality bike rentals. This is a great option if you are on a short break or don’t want all the hassle of packing your bike up.
After a tough day of riding, the Bike Hotels are waiting for you with exactly what you need to recover and relax. Most Bike Hotel & Bike Hotel Plus properties have special afternoon meals for cyclists and a lot of these hotels are in great food regions so you can refuel on amazing local specialities. Having refueled, you may want to relax before dinner. All of our Bike Hotel & Bike Hotel Plus properties have some spa facilities. Some have just a sauna / steam room, others have indoor pools, sports massages, gyms and even ice baths. Everything you need to get the legs ready for another ride the next day…
Whether it is during a Grand Tour or early season training, the pro teams stay in the top Bike Hotels throughout the year to use the same facilities as us. Often, the local guides that take us out are the same ones that lead the pro teams on their training rides and the competition for KOM / QOM on the local hills is intense! The pro teams tend to do their spring training early, from December to February rather than March to May but often you can be staying at the same time as a top team.
Of course, one of the most crucial points of any hotel is the location and this is particularly true of a bike hotel. We have hotels on the Ghisallo climb in Lake Como, at the base of the Stelvio in Bormio, overlooking the beach in Port de Pollensa Mallorca and opposite a patisserie in Bagneres de Luchon. Most hotels are family run so you can get a real appreciation of how cycling plays a part in local life – what the Race of the Falling Leaves means to the people of Como, what its like to have the Stelvio as your local climb and what the pro teams are like on their training camps in Costa Daurada.
Not all bike hotels are the same so we have categorised them as follows:
Bike Friendly Hotel – The minimum requirement for our hotels and normally used for sportives where there are no bike hotels. These properties have secure bike storage or happily allow bikes in bedrooms and provide an early breakfast for cyclists on the morning of the sportive.
Bike Hotel – These will all include a dedicated bike storage room, spa facilities and knowledgable staff who can advise on where to ride and how to get the most out of your trip.
Bike Hotel Plus – There are not many of these in the world. All hotels have local guides normally included in the booking rate, dedicated bike storage room including equipment and normally an on site mechanic or shop. Cycling is the key focus for these hotels during the season and staff have great knowledge of local routes. Most have extra services for cyclists including a daily laundry service, bike cleaning area & special afternoon meals.
So if you are planning your next cycling holiday or sportive break, make sure you stay at a Bike Hotel to really discover the best local routes and make sure your bike is properly looked after. Check out our favourite 10 Bike Hotels in Europe here