If you want to experience a hotel with pedigree and can afford financially seize the opportunity at your earliest convenience.
Châteaux, or castles, or Schloss hotels have all belonged to royalty at one time, and now are either entirely converted to luxurious hotel accommodations or are residences of the owners plus suites for rent.
Almost all are in the country, and require your own or a rental car (in some cases you need a boat or other transportation to reach the hotel), but if you want to experience a truly memorable stay, luxury, tranquility, and in most cases outstanding food, give it a try.
There are a few castle hotels that are inexpensive, like the one in Germany that has been converted to a youth hostel.
There is no shortage of castle hotels in the United Kingdom and continental European countries, especially in France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
Scotland and England offer several opportunities to experience castle hotels –Glengorn Castle, Mull, Scotland on the Isle of Mull is a 19th century castle that offers bed and breakfast and apartments with cooking facilities.
Saddel Castle, Mull of Kintyre, Scotland dates back to 1508.
Amberley Castle, Sussex, England is 90 years old. It offers 19 suites, all furnished differently with antique furniture and four-poster bed.
Thornbury Castle, Gloucestershire, England – Henry VIII and many of his wives stayed at this castle. You can book a room in this Tudor-age castle at a reasonable cost.
Ruthin Castle, Wales dated back to 1277, and was owned by several royalties.
Many castles are distinguished by moats (a protective deep ditch of water around the base of the castle walls); drawbridge(s) (a bridge over the moat that can be raised to thwart attackers); port cullis (a giant metal gate lowered overnight to keep foes at bay); machicolation (protected gaps at the top of the castle wall that allows guardians to pour boiling oil on attackers); arrow slit (narrow windows through which archers could defend the castle).
Portugal – Pousada de Palmelo, Lisbon is a 17th century fortress set on the top of as hill with breathtaking views and offers huge rooms. The restaurant is known for its fine food, and delicious local wines.
Palacio de Estoi, Algarve dates back to 1909, and is now transformed to a boutique hotel. It offers excellent dining.
Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Cormo is an estate in the Douro Valley home of the Port wine. The 18th century manor house is not a castle, but the setting is unique. Vineyard visits; port tasting and/or olive oil sessions, and excursions are recommended.
Germany has many castle hotels here called Schloss hotels.
Here is a small selection:
Schlosshotel Colmberg, Bavaria; – Hugenpoet (near Dusseldorf); -Schonburg, – Liebenstein (Middle Rhine); and Stahleck (Bacharach). Stahleck is unique because it is a hostel, costs relatively little and provides the opportunity for families on a budget to experience a castle hotel.
Spain has 2000 castles and many hotels called paradores. A government-owned corporation administers all. Paradors are imposing buildings and offer unique opportunities to experience luxury hotels and the same time study history as well as historical architecture.
Here is a selection:
Parador Baiona (Galicia); – Carmona, – Tortosa (Catlunya); – de Alarcon, – de Oropesa (Castilla- La Mancha)- de Granada, de Jaen (Andalucia); – de Chicon (Madrid). The last parador is a boutique hotel with 36 rooms.
Italy- Castello di Gorganza (Tuscany); Monasterio-Fortezza di Santo Spirito, (Abruzzo); Villa D’Este (Lombardy); Castello di Pavone (Piedmont); and Palazzo Dragoni (Umbria). The above represent only a fraction of the hundreds of castle hotels in Italy.
France Chateau d’Isenbourg, – d’Osthoffen (Alsace); Chateau de Lugny, – de Gilly (Burgundy)’ Chateau d’Artigny, – de Pray, – de Marcay (Loire); Chateau de Lignan, – de Ayres (Roussillon), Chateau de Vollara (Auvergne).
Ireland – Adare manor Hotel (County Limerick); Dromoland Castle (County Clare); Waterford Castle, (County Waterford); Abbeyglen Castle (County Galway); and Kilkea Castle (County Kildare).