Have you watched the royal weddings and dreamed of living life as a member of the royal family? Do you browse photographs of medieval castles and fantasize about what it would be like to live there or even just stay in a castle for one night? Castles are full of history and luxury; their allure spans over generations and to people from all over the world. When these castles were built, it was impossible for anyone not connected to the Royals to stay there, but now, many of these ancient castles have been transformed into castle hotels where even the common folk can stay for a night and be treated like Royalty.
1. Glenapp Castle
This historic castle, located in Ayrshire, Scotland was where Winston Churchill plotted the D-Day landings that helped to end World War II. Glenapp has been transformed into a luxury 5-star hotel that features panoramic views of the Irish Sea. The family-owned estate boasts 36 acres of beautifully manicured lawns and gardens where guests are allowed to wander freely. Guests can also enjoy a variety of sporting activities and gourmet dining. Glenapp Castle features classic Renaissance design with Gothic ambiance and is decorated with period pieces that make guests feel transported back in time. With only 20 rooms, guests are encouraged to book this castle hotel early.
Aldourie is not an official castle but is part of a movement in architecture known as Baronial Castles. These large mansion estates were constructed to be the size and structure of traditional medieval castles but were not built for royalty. Rather, these styles of estate homes were constructed for the wealthy and nobles. Aldourie was the very first baronial castle built in Scotland and is located in the Loch Ness area. Constructed in 1626, the estate was home for a time to GF Watts, famous artist and was used to house noble families that traveled with the Royal family. The estate features glamour and decadence with all 15 rooms decorated in fairytale grandeur with large four-poster beds and private bathrooms. The entire castle hotel can be rented for private use.
3. Inveraray Castle
Inveraray Castle on the West Coast of Scotland was once the home to the famous Duke of Argyll and is one of the most visited castle hotels in Scotland. The castle was built in the 1400’s on the shores of Loch Fyne but was extensively remodeled in the 1700’s and features Palladian Gothic-style architecture with baroque elements. In 1877 a fire devastated the estate which resulted in another remodel of the interior with a third floor added as well as the conical roofs that were added to the towers. The castle hotel is located on Argyll Caravan Park and features private homes that can be rented for short-term use while the castle can be toured and visited by the public.
4. Lismore Castle
This Irish Castle was owned by Sir Walter Raleigh and dates back to the 12th century. Lismore Castle is run by a butler and a guest liaison manager but is owned by the family of the Duke of Devonshire. Guests staying at the castle which can be rented for private use only also enjoy a chauffeur, gardener, and personal chef. Views from the castle feature the ethereal Irish countryside, centuries-old cathedrals, and small surrounding villages. Horseback riding, hikes through the mountains, an art gallery, and dining in gourmet restaurants are all part of the Lismore Castle experience. The castle hotel also has many modern amenities suited for royalty from Wi-Fi to a cinema room.
5. Eastnor Castle
The Hervey-Bathurst family of England are the owners of Eastnor Castle which is also a popular tourist attraction located at the base of Malvern Hills. Constructed in 1812 by the first Earl Somers whose family was distinguished in politics and military in England. The castle is decked out in Medieval armor and large fine art paintings throughout the interior. The estate sits on 5,000 acres and features a knight-maze that is popular with children. Eastnor Castle is open to the public but can be rented for events and overnight stays for private parties. Weddings are common at Eastnor Castle as well as corporate events and can be a private location for filming. There are 12 bedrooms total and two private cottages on site that were recently remodeled. The property is surrounded by Deer Park and provides access to the arboretum and a fishing lake.
6. Roch Castle
Nestled into the countryside of Pembrokeshire, Wales, Roch Castle has a long history dating all the way to the turn of the 12th century and is listed as a Grade 1 ancient monument. The first owner of the castle was Adam De Rupe, a Norman Knight. The castle has since been home to Welsh conquerors and courtesans and was even a stronghold during the Civil War and was abandoned soon after. The castle was rebuilt in 1900 and is now an award winning 5-star luxury hotel that was voted Best Bed and Breakfast by the National Tourism Awards of Wales in 2018. This castle hotel only admits guests that are 12 years old and above, and each stay includes a decadent breakfast. However, there are two gourmet restaurants located at its nearby sister properties.
7. Ashford Castle
One of the largest castle hotels in Ireland, Ashford Castle was once the home of the Guinness Family who brewed the famous Irish stout beer and recently underwent a $75 million renovation. Located in Country Mayo, Ireland Ashford Castle features 83 guest rooms and has been voted many times as the best resort hotel in the United Kingdom. The castle is over 800 years old and is the home to Ireland’s first school of Falconry, features a state-of-the-art spa, a private luxury cottage, cinema, cigar room, billiards, 350 acres of woodlands to explore and high-speed Wi-Fi. The best part of staying at Ashford Castle Hotel is that royalty and celebrities are often spotted on site. Even your pets can get the royal treatment at Ashford Castle.
8. Hotel de la Cite
This luxury castle hotel is located in Carcassonne, France. Carcassonne is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the South of France and is one of the top five most visited sites in France. Carcassonne region is also home to the largest brick cathedral in the world—Sainte Cecile Cathedral, and The Pont du Gard—The tallest Roman bridge in the world. Built in 1909, the hotel is not considered a part of the historic fortress but is located within its walls and surrounded by castle Tourette. 59 rooms within the hotel span two separate buildings. The suites feature hotels that overlook the fortified city, making it feel as though you are royalty, watching over your subjects. A library bar and Michelin star restaurant are onsite for guests as well as a spa and business center.
9. Schloss Leopoldskrong
Travelers who love The Sound of Music will be delighted to stay in Schloss Leopoldskrong in Salzburg, Austria. This palace hotel was the setting for the Von Trap family home in the beloved musical and still features its 18th century Rococo charm. Schloss sits on 17 acres and was built in 1736. The palace is a 5-star hotel that features 12 suites and 55 standard rooms. The suites are located in the palace itself while the standard rooms are part of the former palace administration building onsite. From the guest rooms, visitors can see panoramic views of the majestic mountains and Hohensalzburg Fortress. The grounds feature a renowned sculpture park, garden theater, and lake. The castle hotel is one of the most sought-after wedding venues in Austria, attracting couples from all over the world.
10. Castello di Monterone
The Italian castle hotel, Castello di Monterone, will deliver guests back to the 11th century Italy with its Turkish baths, exposed stone walls, vineyards, and 18 rooms each inspired by a different theme. Located in the historic Perugia center along the historic road to Assisi. Built around 1200 and has an infamous history of possibly once belonging to a knight of Templar. The castle is located just meters from the Templar Church of St. Bevignate. The castle was also involved in and damaged during the Perugia Civil War in the 15th and 16th centuries with renovations not occurring until the mid-1800’s. The current castle was finished in 1886 and has gone through minor renovations since. One of the rooms, La Segreta, meaning “the secret” was not even discovered until 2005 when restoration work was being done.
11. Neemrana Fort-Palace
Not all castle hotels are found in Europe. Neemrana Fort-Palace is a luxurious hotel palace found in the hills of Rajasthan, India, a location dating back 2 billion years. The fort-palace was constructed in 1464 and is a heritage hotel that features 14 different levels sprawled over six acres. The palace is opulent with hanging gardens, an ayurvedic spa, pools, and an amphitheater. For adventure lovers, guests can try out India’s very first zip line attraction found at the hotel. Guests will find themselves walking through medieval times when visiting the castle which has been restored with lifts installed to ensure that guests of all abilities can traverse the amazing property. There is a total of 74 guest rooms and frequently hosts special events and festivals.
12. Parador de Oropesa
Castle hotels are expensive by Parador de Oropesa, a 14th century Spanish Castillo located in Toledo, Spain is one of the most affordable castle hotels. One of the first owners of the Castillo was Alvarez de Toledo who was the count of Oropesa and has also been home to soldiers during times of war, nobility, and religious leaders. The Castillo was purchased by a government-owned hotel chain to become the first historical Parador. The town of Oropesa is still surrounded with medieval charm including ancient monasteries, convents, and other palaces. Guests who stay in April can enjoy the Oropesa Medieval Days when the entire town celebrates its ancient heritage.
13. Chateau Heralec
The Chateau Heralec is surrounded by UNESCO World Heritage sights of the Czech Republic, making it one of the most sought-after historic hotel destinations in Eastern Europe. The Chateau was built in the 1200s and has been home to many noble families throughout the Czech Republic and is a national cultural monument for the people of Heralec. Only an hour from Prague, the Chateau is a vacation destination all on its own. The King Suite is the jewel of the castle hotel featuring a secret tower, carved wooden ceilings, and mosaic tiled floors. The ground floor of the southern wing features the L’occitane spa and private swimming pool. Guests can also take convertibles out for the day or enjoy hot air balloon rides, a Zoo, fishing, helicopter rides, horseback riding and more when visiting Chateau Heralec.
14. Burg Wernberg
German castle was constructed in the 12th century on a hillside outside of Bavaria. Once owned by the Nothaft family who was knights, the castle was put under the protection of Emperor Charles IV in 1367. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle was sold many times to counts and other noble families. In the 18th century, the castle was used as a military camp and once held 2,000 occupants. Restoration efforts began in 1920, and the castle was converted into a hotel in 1953 but still includes an authentic drawbridge, palace halls, and suites fit for royalty. Wernberg castle hotel underwent massive renovations in the 1990’s and is now one of the top 100 best hotels in Germany.
15. Dromoland Castle
Although being rebuilt several times over the last centuries, the historic Dromoland Castle in Ireland the property dates back to the early 11th century. King Brian Boru, one of the last Kings of Ireland, was the first owner of the castle and ownership of the property stayed within the ancient family line for nearly 1000 years. In 1962, the castle was bought, restored, and opened as a high-end luxury castle hotel. The exterior of the castle is reminiscent of medieval architecture with towers and a stone façade. The estate spans 450 acres, and the staff believes that every guest is royalty. A spa and golf course are located on site as well as a falconry school that guests can visit, a shooting and archery range, stables, and fishing.
No matter where you are or where you come from, the world has plenty of luxury castle-hotels that are historical and breathtaking, all waiting for you to make a reservation and immerse yourself in opulence.