The odds are good that you probably aren’t going to call a castle home, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t rent a room or two for an ultra-luxurious escape. If the idea of a getaway to the homes of one-time queens and kings sounds too romantic and adventurous to resist, there are castles worldwide that have been strategically updated to answer your need for old-world charm and decadent comfort.
Ashford Castle, Ireland
As soon as you begin to make your plans, you’ll notice that one castle appears on everyone’s “must visit” lists: Ashford Castle in Ireland. The de Burgo family first laid stones for this castle in 1228 and families for eight centuries, including the Guinness family, have enjoyed looking out over the crystal waters of Lough Corrib. Today, the castle boasts a spa, 83 bedrooms and all the things that come to mind when you think of castles: suits of armor, ramparts and turrets, as well as Waterford chandeliers and rococo mirrors.
Ruthin Castle, Wales
If you have ever wanted to feast like Henry VIII, Ruthin Castle may be your spot. It does have a bit of a gruesome past, and ghost hunters will be intrigued, as this castle sports a dungeon, drowning pool and whipping pit. Luckily, this one-time castle of Henry VIII has transformed into a much more romantic spot above stairs, although the medieval feasts remain.
Swinton Park, England
Swinton Park has the charm that speaks of Jane Austen. It was once the home of the Cunliffe-Lister family, but this 30-bedroom castle hotel can easily be yours for the night. Each room is individually designed and luxuriously decorated. Sadly, Mr. Darcy is not included.
Hotel de la Cité, France
Set amidst the medieval Carcassonne, the Hotel de la Cité is one of the world’s few hotels that lives inside a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It feels like you have stepped back into time, as you sip drinks on the terrace. Of course, you must save room for dinner at their Michelin-starred restaurant.
Dornröschenschloss Sababurg, Germany
Many people refer to castles as being out of a fairytale, but Dornröschenschloss Sababurg is literally the setting for one: Grimm’s “Sleeping Beauty.” The good news is you won’t need to be saved from your vacation inside this 650-year-old luxury hotel.
Hotel Schloss Thannegg, Austria
If you have always wanted to explore the Austrian Alps, why not do it in style? Hotel Schloss Thannegg features stunning views and ceilings that were crafted in 1150. The wine cellar is more than 850 years old. But the castle hotel also offers more modern amenities, including a free shuttle to the best Alpine skiing.
Chateau Heralec Boutique Hotel & Spa, Czech Republic
Chateau Heralec Boutique Hotel & Spa lives inside a 13th-century castle in the Vysočina region of the Czech Republic. It features 20 opulent rooms, including the King’s Suite, with a mosaic floor that has to be seen to be believed.
Castel Porrona, Italy
If your heart was set on a vacation to Tuscany, Castel Porrona receives rave reviews. The village it resides in goes back to the 11th century, and the view is everything you would imagine – olive groves, vineyards and sunflower fields. The hotel itself has 25 exquisite rooms. Don’t miss the chance to sip some of Tuscany’s finest vintages on the flower-adorned terrace.
Parador de Oropesa, Spain
An imposing fortress, Parador de Oropesa was constructed in 1402 and has been run as a hotel since 1930. Palace rooms are spacious, and many have stunning views of the village, the valley and the mountains.
Pousada de Óbidos, Portugal
Book a stay at the Pousada de Óbidos if you are looking for a uniquely intimate, boutique-like experience. The castle only offers nine rooms, and it is considered to be one of Portugal’s finest hotels – so book early, particularly if you are traveling in the summer.
The Castle in Clarens, South Africa
The Castle in Clarens also finds itself linked to a fairytale, in this case, “Rapunzel.” It’s a medieval manor home that was only built to service four guests. Each room is decorated with scenes straight out of the fairytale, while the castle itself is often called “Rapunzel’s Tower.”
Kasteel Wittem, Netherlands
Kasteel Wittem sits on almost 80 acres of parkland, giving you the feeling of a true country escape. When you arrive, you are given a welcoming glass of champagne (or whatever you would prefer). From there, you can retire to your room, which is a delightful mix of contemporary amenities and old world charm. The Tower Room is among the most popular accommodations, as it has its roots firmly in the 11th century.
Talabgaon Castle, India
Talabgaon Castle, in Rajasthan, was originally constructed as a fort in 1818 by the same family who owns the castle today. It boasts an opulent interior and surprisingly open and spacious rooms. The property includes a pool and polo grounds. The Heritage Room is perfect for a splurge, as it has an enclosed balcony with enticing garden views.
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