The Big Six: European city rentals

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Residenza Napoleone III, Rome

This grand 16th-century palazzo displays pomp and elegance in equal measure. The Napoleon Suite has three rooms decorated with antique furnishings, oil paintings and tapestries, draped curtains and parquet floors. The snug Roof Garden Suite is stacked with well-thumbed books, the outdoor terrace strewn with potted plants and lavender.

Residenza Napoleone III, Via Fontanella Borghese 56, Rome, Italy (00 39 347 733 7098; residenza napoleone.com). One nights' rental from €730, B&B. Suites sleep two.

Hotel d'Hallwyll, Paris

This neo-classical mansion was sculpted by French architect Claude-Nicolas Ledoux in 1766 at the behest of a Swiss colonel. Today, a marble staircase sweeps guests up to a stylish one-bedroom apartment. Here, velvet curtains contrast with bright rugs; shelves are laden with candles and shells; an artist's easel sits below a skylight. Outside, a lantern-lit terrace has views of the Marais district. The Centre Pompidou is a short walk away.

Hotel d'Hallwyll, Michel le Comte, Paris, France (00 32 2 345 5753; almidi.com). Weekly rental starts at US$1,850 (£1,233). Sleeps two. (The owner is based in Belgium and quotes rates in US dollars.)

Boutique Apartments, Amsterdam

This canalside retreat overlooks the Singel in the fashionable Negen Straatjes ("nine streets") area of the Dutch capital. It has one open-plan suite with exposed brickwork, purple lighting, stacked design tomes, a Jacuzzi and patio outside. Meanwhile upstairs, there's a larger spilt-level apartment with two double bedrooms, wallpaper emblazoned with water lilies and a pair of black Eames chairs angled around a plasma television. Both have a kitchenette, complete with a Nespresso machine and fridge stocked with drinks on arrival.

Boutique Apartments, Singel 401, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (00 31 20 707 7954; amsterdamboutiqueapartments.com). Two nights' rental starts at €433. Apartments sleep two to four people.

Baixa House, Lisbon

Owned by a landscape gardener, these 12 elegant apartments are each named after a park in the city. A botanical theme pervades, from the leafy artwork and floral wallpaper to the freshly-cut flowers in each room.

Baixa House, Rua dos Fanqueiros 81, Lisbon, Portugal (00 351 91 9090 895; baixahouse.com). One night's rental from €110, B&B. Apartments sleep two.

El Palauet, Barcelona

Six period suites reflect the architecture of the Catalan capital at El Palauet, with ornate cornicing and striking stained-glass windows. Some have balconies with views of the tree-lined shopping street of Passeig de Gràcia below.

El Palauet, Passeig de Gràcia 113, Barcelona, Spain (00 34 93 218 0050; elpalauet.com). Nightly rental from €715. Suites sleep four.

Lux 11, Berlin

Clean lines and white walls create a minimalist scene at Lux 11, which boasts a prime position in Berlin's Mitte district. Hemmed by museums and cafés, Lux offers 72 apartments with open-plan bathrooms and neat, functional kitchens. Tire of self-catering and there's a restaurant downstairs.

Lux 11, Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse 9-13, Berlin, Germany (00 49 30 936 2800; lux-eleven.com). One night's rental starts at €119. Apartments sleep two.

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