Ever wish the fantasy of living like a prince, princess, or whatever member of the royalty and aristocracy crowd you admire would come true?
Well, it can. There are dozens of castles around the world that have been transformed from ancient family homes into luxury hotels. On your next trip across the pond, why not stay a night? We bet you could get used to the lifestyle.
1. Pousada do Castelo
Bustling Lisbon is only about 70 miles away, but in Obidos, Portugal, the walled town that surrounds the Pousada do Castelo, little has changed since the 15th century.
Set on 350 acres, five-star Ashford Castle on the shores of Lough Corrib, County Mayo, Ireland, dates back to 1228 and was voted number four in the top 30 resorts in Europe this year. The property began a major refurbishment two years ago, and its 82 guest rooms are beautifully appointed with antique furniture, sumptuous fabrics, and the latest modern luxuries. The estate is a vast playground of activities for guests, including a top-notch spa, fishing, falconry, cycling, kayaking, golf, horseback riding, clay shooting, lake cruising, and tennis. Sounds like a fairy-tale getaway.
A luxury castle hotel in Yorkshire Dales, England, Swinton Park, has been owned by the same family since the 1880s and is the ancestral seat of the Earl of Swinton. Warm and grand, the castle is traditionally English, with antiques and family portraits. The estate includes 200 acres of parkland, including a four-acre kitchen garden from which its award-winning restaurant and cooking school sources ingredients. The property offers all the activities of a proper English country home—fishing, falconry, riding, and shooting, to name a few.
Built in the 16th century, Schlosshotel Münchhausen in Aerzen, Germany, is a luxury castle hotel with two golf courses, two restaurants, and a spa with an indoor pool. The property has long been acclaimed for its exceptional landscaping and plants—Tsar Peter the Great even explored the castle’s orangery to see its pineapple plants during a visit in 1715.
5. Castello di Ripa d’Orcia
Estimated to have been built in the early Middle Ages, Castello di Ripa d’Orcia stands on a Tuscan hilltop less than 30 miles from Siena, in Italy.
Overlooking a lake in Salzburg, Austria, Schloss Fuschl is a luxury castle hotel that dates back to the 15th century, when it originally served as a hunting lodge. The hotel boasts a renowned 3608-square-foot spa, a winery, several restaurants, and a fishery and offers golfing and beach and boat rentals.
Located in the heart of Calvados, France, Château d’Audrieu is a stunning French castle hotel that dates back to the 18th century and is listed as a historic monument. Surrounded by an elegant, tree-lined 20-acre park and flower gardens, the hotel is petite, with 25 rooms and four suites, a restaurant, a swimming pool, and access to golf, horseback riding, polo, bikes, and sailing.
8. Inverlochy Castle
Queen Victoria was once a guest at Scotland’s Inverlochy Castle (as she wrote in her diary: “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot”), in the foothills of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the United Kingdom.